One-Piece Tank Chassis Pushes Print-in-Place To New Heights

What’s better than 3D printing a tank chassis with working tracks? How about 3D printing the entire thing, moving parts and all, as a single piece? That’s [3D Honza]’s PiPBOT-1, and it’s the culmination of a whole lot of design work.

The design prints flat, then folds up into its final form.

[3D Honza] has been sharing progress pictures and videos on his Twitter account, and just recently released the first version of his design. Version 1.0 is just the mechanics, but he’s already at work on version 2.0 which includes the ability to attach servos to drive the treads. At this writing, the design is currently downloadable directly from his site and includes CAD files, which is great to see.

One part of the design we’d like to draw your attention to is the chunky hinge that doubles as a kind of axial structure making up the body. This allows the tank to print in an unfolded state with the treads and wheels flat on the print bed. After printing, the tank gets folded up a bit like a taco to attain its final form. It’s a clever layout that allows the unit to be printed according to a filament-based 3D printer’s strengths, printing as a single piece that transforms into a small tank chassis, complete with working treads, in a few seconds.

When it comes to vehicles and bots, whether to choose wheels or tracks is a serious question our own Lewin Day has explained thoroughly. And for those of you who choose tracks, this design is great for small devices but don’t forget it’s always possible to go bigger when it comes to 3D-printed tanks.

29 thoughts on “One-Piece Tank Chassis Pushes Print-in-Place To New Heights

  1. That’s very good, especially the free spinniness of it all. And the bit about the 1000 hours makes me feel better about how much time I have sunk into some 3D printed part designs. That’s actually what I find so appealing about 3D printing – you can justify almost unlimited obsessing over details, because the benefits will be realised every time the part is printed. If you make something by hand there’s always a point where you can’t justify any more tweaking.

    I am surprised he uses a paint scraper though; you’d think by now he’d have realised a hammer is the better way to get parts off a glass bed.

    1. I printed this on my Prusa Original MK3S+ with MatterHackers “generic” PLA at 0.3mm DRAFT mode in about 7 hours. It came out great, but some of the overhangs might benefit from thinner layers.

  2. Welp, Youtube continues its race to the absolute bottom as it shittifies itself. 3DHonza’s youtube account has been banned for scamming? Unless there’s some weird audio shenanigans where he’s flogging blatant crypto-scams subliminally, I would think one of you guys who actually got to see the video would have mentioned something about a scam.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if the AI’s weren’t incompetent, or so tragic if the AI didn’t represent the height of competence at that company. I will never understand why a company that actually owns online video advertisement industry doesn’t treat its suppliers (creators) well and its customers (advertisers) like a Ma Bell operator with a painful foot fungus. I guess it just goes to show the fundamental immorality of treating MBA’s like people instead of disposable scapegoats and talking calculators.

  3. I tried printing it twice with PLA but parts of it failed to stick, so printed it using PETG and it printed just fine. I do have a problem though. the treads move just fine, but I am unable to fold it in half. it seems like it is welded at the hinge. wont budge. do you have any idea how I can free it so I can fold it? I would love to have it work.

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