3D Printed Screw Compressor Revisited

[Indeterminate Design] tried to 3D print a screw compressor some time ago but wasn’t satisfied with the result. He’s trying it again, and you can check it out in the video below. You can also download the 3D printable files.

This isn’t a 3D-printed keychain. The screw threads have to mesh with a small space between them, and the design is not trivial. Even if you don’t want to build your own, the look inside the engineering behind these devices is interesting, and there is quite a bit of background about how the rotor’s shapes are optimized.

The complexity of the rotors is probably what caused the last version to fail. The rotor profile, this time, was handled differently using a Python script to pick up data from an existing profile and output suitable 3D printing data.

The finished product sounds loud, and the Printables page notes, “[The compressor] is extremely dangerous…” so act accordingly. He did have a service do the screw printing using a special high-temperature resin. The first prints had backward angles and were a bit smaller than needed. So he finally printed his own screws over many hours. The other parts had to be printed numerous times to get the sizes correct.

Not the first compressor we’ve seen. One even used PVC.

12 thoughts on “3D Printed Screw Compressor Revisited

  1. Would this work with normal pla, when i used it as a waterpump? The water should keep the printed parts from melting. Maybe as a super soaker, or PC watercooling. Or would it fail?

  2. Nice design demo, and explanation!
    For lobe pumps you can use the Moineau Pump app (which I created several years ago) available from the Fusion360 store for free.

    I would agree that for air compressors, homebuilt 3DP parts are probably not going to be very successful. However, using such a pump to move water or oil might be more successful, due to the lower speed requirements, and self lubrication/cooling.

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