Giant 3D Printed Excavator Is Awesome, But Needs Work

Many of us adored big construction machinery as children. Once we got past the cute, tiny age, it became uncool to gasp with shock and awe at diggers and bulldozers for some reason . [Ivan Miranda] still digs the big rigs, though, and built himself a giant 3D printed excavator that looks like brilliant fun. 

Why did Lego never make MegaTechnic blocks? [Ivan] shows us the true potential of bigger building blocks.
The build relies on [Ivan]’s giant 3D-printed Lego-like assembly kit. It lets him simply bolt together a bunch of plastic girders to make the key parts of the excavator, including the base and the digger arm itself. The digger arm is controlled with linear actuators of [Ivan’s] own design, which uses servos and threaded rod to do the job. They’re not as cool as hydraulics or pneumatics, but they get the job done well. For propulsion, [Ivan] built a tracked drive system again using his unique Lego-like blocks. The tracks were tedious to assemble, but add a lot to the excavators Awesomeness Quotient (AQ).

The overall build is quite slow, and more than a little fragile. It’s not quite ready for hardcore digging tasks. In reality, it’s serving as a test bed for [Ivan]’s 3D-printed building blocks that get better every time we see them. Video after the break.

13 thoughts on “Giant 3D Printed Excavator Is Awesome, But Needs Work

    1. I worked for a mega-corp that sold similar monsters in a different business division.
      So, one day I asked my boss what could I get one for, using my employee discount.

    2. Truth. When we go into S.D. or LA, my wife has had to drag me from more than one construction site.

      My recent purchase of a used Kubota tractor with loader and backhoe have made myself and my neighbors dangerous. Very dangerous. Childhood fantasies and all of that rot.

      We are gonna build a freaking airstrip. Most of our womenfolk are not impressed. My wife is too cool – she wants me to teach her to operate it.

  1. Why oh why do some people insist on 3D printing everything? Its ONE tool. Not THE tool. It’s not the right tool for every job. Some things should not be plastic. If you are going to spend this much time designing and fabricating something, for god sakes learn how to work with appropriate materials. Welding and grinding is fun too.

    Oh..wait.. I know why he just 3D printed it… content…

    1. I was thinking the same thing myself. Even if we grant that he wants a modular, re-usable building system at that scale, there are various existing *metal* systems like Unistrut (and the non-brand-name “strut channel”, various aluminum extrusion systems, perforated square tubing, and if you still want to DIY it, there’s Gridbeam.

    2. His time, his money. Why oh why do strangers online have to try to dictate what other people do with their own resources? Would you be ok with letting someone else tell you what to do with your own property and time? The biggest waste isn’t him using 3d printing for whatever he wants, it’s commenters complaining about stuff they have no say in to begin with.

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