While FDM printers have gotten bigger lately, there’s almost always going to be a part that is bigger than your bed. The answer? Break your design into parts and assemble them after printing. However, the exact method to do this is a bit of a personal choice. A mechanical engineering student wrote:
After researching the state of the art as well as your ideas here on reddit, I realized, that there are almost no universal approaches to divide a large part and join the pieces which maintain mechanical strength, precisely position each segment, and also counteract tolerances due to the FDM-process.
Therefore I tried to develop a universal method to segment large trim parts, additively manufacture each segment and finally join those segments to form the desired overall part.
The result is a research paper you can download for free. The method focuses on thin parts intended as automotive trim, but could probably be applied to other cases.
You can read about the thought process, but the final result was a joggle — a joint made with a rabbet and tongue. Adhesive holds it together, but the joint offers advantages in constraining the final product and the transmission of force in the assembly. Judging by the picture, the process works well. It would be interesting to see slicer software develop the capability to segment a large model using this or a similar technique.
Of course, you can just build a bigger printer, at least to a point. It seems, though, that that point is pretty big.
One of the basic truths of ground vehicles is that they are always cooler with tank tracks. Maybe not better, but definitely cooler. [Ivan Miranda] takes this to heart, and is arguably the king of 3D printed tank projects on YouTube. He has built a giant 3D printed electric skateboard with tank tracks with the latest version of his giant 3D printer. Videos after the break.
The skateboard consists of a large steel frame, with tracked bogies on either end. Most of the bogie components are 3D printed, including the wheels and tracks, and each bogie is driven by a brushless motor via a belt. Some bends were added to the steel frame with just 3D printed inserts for his bench vice. The bogies are mounted to the frame with a standard skateboard truck, which allows it to steer like a normal skateboard, by tilting the deck. It looks as though this works well on a smooth concrete floor, but we suspect that turning will be harder on rough surface where the tracks can’t slide. We’ll have to wait for the next video for a full field test.
The large components for this skateboard were printed on [Ivan]’s MK3 version of his giant 3D printer. Although it’s very similar to the previous version, improvements were made in key areas. The sliding bed frame’s weight was reduced by almost 50%, and the wheels were rotated, so they ride on top of the extrusion below it, instead of on it’s side, which helps the longevity of the wheels. This also allows bed levelling to be done by turning the eccentric spacers on each of the wheels. The rigidity of base frame and x-axis beam were increased by adding more aluminium extrusions. Although he doesn’t explicitly mention the print volume, it looks to be the same as the previous version, which was 800x500x500. For materials other than PLA, we suspect a heated build chamber will be required have any chance of making big prints without excessive warping.
[Ivan] really likes big prints, with a number of 3D printed tanks, a giant nerf gun, and a sand drawing bot. Continue reading “Electric Skateboard With Tank Tracks, From A Big 3D Printer”
Established FDM 3D printers designs generally lead themselves well to being scaled up, as long as you keep frame stiffness, alignment and movement in mind. [Ivan Miranda] needed a big printer for his big projects (videos below), so he built his own i3 style printer with a 800 mm × 500 mm usable print bed and about 500 mm vertical print height.
The frame of the new machine is built using 20×20 and 20×40 aluminium V-slot extrusions with some square tubing for reinforcement. To move all the weight, all 3 axes are driven by double NEMA17 steppers, via a DUET3D board with an expansion board for the extra motors. The extruder is the new E3D Hemera with a 0.8 mm nozzle. The print bed is a mirror, on top of the aluminium plate, headed by a large silicone heat pad. The first bed version used a smaller heat pad directly on the back of the mirror, but it heated up unevenly and the mirror ended up cracking. Look out for the ingeniously lightweight and simple cable management to the extruder. When all was said and done he printed a 800 mm long size 66 wrench as a test piece with zero warp, which is pretty good even for PLA. This project is also a perfect example of the power of 3D printing for rapid iterative development, as lot of the printed fittings went through multiple versions.
Although [Ivan] received most of the components for free, a printer like this is still within reach of the rest of us. We look forward to a lot of big prints by [Ivan] in his signature red, like a massive nerf gun and the ridable tank he is currently working on. Continue reading “Giant 3D Printer For Giant Projects”
We’ve seen some pretty big polymer 3D printers, but nothing quite as big as the University of Maine’s 3D printer with a 22,000 ft³ (623 m³) build volume. It holds the Guinness World Record for the largest polymer 3D printer, and with that size comes some interesting challenges and advantages.
You might have already seen the video of it printing an entire patrol boat hull in a single piece, and would have noticed how it printed at a 45° angle. Due to the sheer weight and thermal mass of the print bead, it cannot bridge more than an inch, since it’ll just sag. A 45° overhang angle is about all it can manage, but since the layers can be tilted at that angle, it ends up being able to print horizontal roofs with no support. A 10 mm nozzle is used and the extruded line ends up being 12.5 mm in diameter with a 5 mm layer height. The boat mentioned above was printed with carbon ABS, but it can reportedly use almost any thermoplastic. It looks like the extruder is a screw extruder from an injection moulding machine, and is likely fed with pellets, which is a lot more practical than filament at this scale. Check out the video below by [Paul Bussiere] who works in the Advanced Structures & Composites Center at the University. He also does a very interesting interview with his boss, [James M. Anderson].
The 45° layer angle is very similar to how some infinite build volume 3D printers work. For something more within the reach of the average hacker, check out the tool changing Jubilee.
Continue reading “Humongous 3D Printer Produces Boat And Challenges”
We’ve seen 3D-printed houses before, but most make use of prefabricated chunks. This hurricane and tornado resistant hotel suite in the Philippines was printed in one shot.
Sound familiar? This is the work of [Andrey Rudenko], who started by building a concrete 3D printer in his garage 2 years ago, moved on to 3D printing his kids a concrete castle in his backyard later that year and now appears to have a full-blown company offering commercial 3D printed houses. Way to go [Andrey]!
The building was designed in Sketchup no less, and the printer makes use of Pronterface for the control software. It’s absolutely fascinating to see this built at full-scale. We want one. Continue reading “3D Printing Houses From Concrete”