3D Printed Tank Takes On The Elements

Commercially available radio control tanks are fun and all, but sometimes you’ve just got to build your own. [Let’s Print] did just that, whipping up a tank on his 3D printer before taking it out in the snow.

The tank is a fairly straightforward build, relying on a pair of brushed motors for propulsion, controlled by twin speed controllers hooked up to standard radio control hardware. Everything else is bespoke, however, from the 3D printed gearboxes, to the chassis and the rather aggressive-looking tracks. The pointed teeth of the latter leave deep indentations when the tank cruises around on mud, though weren’t quite enough to stop the little tank from getting high-centered in deep snow.

The build isn’t for the impatient, however. [Let’s Print] notes that the tracks alone took over 80 hours to run off in PETG, let alone the rest of the frame and gearboxes. However, we’re sure it was a great learning experience, and great fun to drive outside. Now the next step is surely to go bigger. Video after the break.

4 thoughts on “3D Printed Tank Takes On The Elements

  1. Sorry, I saw tank and 3D printing and since I know zip I have to ask. Out from left field…can you 3D print a fish aquarium? Or even print lenses? Clear plastic?

    1. Yea there was an article about printing lenses with a resin printer. As for printing a full aquarium I’d say not feasibly. The resin stuff is toxic, and would be difficult to print something that size, while fdm prints are more translucent than transparent in my experience. You could print the corners and then slot in glass tho.

    2. As Superpomme already alluded, Poly(methyl methacrylate) or PMMA is a common material for commercial lens. However, these parts tend to be injection molded or cast, as resin 3D printers are far from perfect.

      We are living in a time where fused-silica lenses/mirrors/filters are relatively inexpensive (good stability over time), but almost all core optics are now manufactured in China. Domestic suppliers are now mostly value added lab services rather than manufacturers.

      I started working with some cerium oxide polishing compound recently to do some repairs, and can appreciate the labor that goes into the DIY optics. If you don’t find these kind of messy projects fun, than you may want to check out edmundoptics.com or thorlabs.com .

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