The Best Threaded Holes For Resin Parts

Threaded inserts are great for melting into FDM prints with a soldering iron. The process isn’t so simple for resin prints, since they don’t generally soften with heat. Off course, you can also print the threads directly, screw a bolt into an un-threaded hole, or tap a hole. Following his usual rigorous testing process, [Stefan] from CNC Kitchen investigated various ways of adding threaded holes to resin prints.

After establishing a pull-out force on PLA using threaded inserts (205 kg) and tapped holes (163 kg), [Stefan] tested parts printed with Prusament Tough Anthracite resin. Un-threaded and tapped holes failed at 44 kg and 55 kg respectively, while printed threads were almost twice as strong, reaching 106 kg before breaking. Stephan also tried gluing inserts into the parts using resin and CA glue. The resin didn’t cure properly in the opaque parts (6 kg) while CA was comparable to plastic threads, failing at 52 kg.

Chart of results
TLDR: Print your threads for best results

[Stefan] also tested regular ELEGOO Translucent resin. The higher hardness of the cured resin allowed the parts to hold on to around 100 kg for un-threaded and tapped holes, while printed threads reached 120 kg. Threaded insert glued with resin did better on the transparent parts thanks to improved UV penetration, but were very inconsistent. Inserts glued with CA performed about the same as on the Prusament parts, failing at 56 kg.

In an attempt to improve the performance of the inserts [Stefan] printed some parts with stepped holes to match the geometry of the inserts, which had the advantage of preventing the insert from falling through during gluing. It only made a marginal difference on the Prusament parts but boosted the strength of CA-glued inserts on the ELEGOO resin to 82 kg. Two-part epoxy was also tried, which matched the un-threaded holes in strength.

So for resin parts you’ll probably be best served by just modeling the threads in CAD and printing them directly. If you need to be able to repeatedly screw and unscrew fasteners in a hole without stripping, threaded holes with CA or epoxy might be a better solution.

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resin printed pulsejet engine in operation

A Detonation Engine Prototyped Using Resin Printing

Over the years [Integza] has blown up or melted many types of jet engine, including the humble pulsejet. Earlier improvements revolved around pumping in more fuel, or forced air intakes, but now it’s time for a bit more refinement of the idea, and he takes a sidestep towards the more controllable detonation engine. His latest experiment (video, embedded below) attempts to dial-in the concept a little more. First he built a prototype from a set of resin printed parts, with associated tubing and gas control valves, and a long acrylic tube to send the exhaust down. Control of the butane and air injection, as well as triggering of the spark-ignition, are handled by an Arduino — although he could have just used a 555 timer — driving a few solid state relays. This provided some repeatable control of the pulse rate. This is a journey towards a very interesting engine design, known as the rotating detonation engine. This will be very interesting to see, if he can get it to work.

supersonic exhaust plume from a pulsejet engine
Supersonic exhaust plume with the characteristic ‘mushroom’ shape

Detonation engines operate due to the pressure part of the general thrust equation, where the action is in the detonative combustion. Detonative combustion takes place at constant pressure, which theoretically should lead to a greater efficiency than boring old deflagration, but the risks are somewhat higher. Apparently this is tricky to achieve with a fuel/air mix, as there just isn’t enough oomph in the mixture. [Integza] did try adding a Shchelkin spiral (we call them springs around here) which acts to slow down the combustion and shorten the time taken for it to transition from deflagration to detonation.

It sort of worked, but not well enough, so running with butane and pure oxygen was the way forward. This proved the basic idea worked, and the final step was to rebuild the whole thing in metal, with CNC machined end plates and some box section clamped with a few bolts. This appeared to work reasonably well at around 10 pulses/sec with some measurable thrust, but not a lot. More work to be done we think.

We hinted at earlier work on forced-air pulsejets, so here that is. Of course, whilst we’re on the subject of pulsejets, we can’t not mention [Colinfurze] and his pulsejet go kart.

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Transparent Cylinder Shows You What You Otto Know About 4 Cycle Engines

When we think of a typical four stroke internal combustion engine, we think of metal. And for any type of longevity or performance, that’s certainly the right choice. But [Integza] wanted to see what happens inside a 4 stroke engine, and it wasn’t enough to see it from a transparent cylinder head. No, he wanted to see it in the cylinder itself. Thanks to advances in material sciences, he got his wish as seen in the video below the break.

While researching possible transparent materials to use as a cylinder on his model engine, he learned about resin polishing. Combining his newly learned resin polishing knowledge with his knowledge of 3D printing, [Integza] printed a new cylinder and polished the resin until it was transparent. The engine ran, but misfired terribly.

The experiment progressed into trying different fuels and learning the differences between them, as well as uncovering a new-to-him mystery: Why was the engine misfiring, and why did the different fuels act so dramatically different? Indeed, more learning and more experimenting is needed. But if you want to see the great sight of watching combustion take place in slo-mo, you have to check out the video below.

3D printing has come a long way in a short time, and may even hold the key to practical scramjets for hypersonic aircraft.

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3D Printing A Water-Cooled Jet Engine?

Everybody knows the trick to holding a candle flame to a balloon without it bursting — that of adding a little water before the air to absorb the heat from the relatively cool flame. So [Integza], in his quest to 3D print a jet engine wondered if the same principle could applied to a 3D printed combustion chamber. First things first, the little puddle of water was replaced with a pumped flow, from an external reservoir, giving the thin plastic inner surface at least a vague chance of survival. Whilst this whole plan might seem pretty bonkers (although we admit, not so much if you’ve seen any of other videos in the channel lately) the idea has some merit. Liquid cooling the combustion jacket is used in a great many rocket engine designs, we note, the German WWII V2 rocket used this idea with great success, along with many others. After all, some materials will only soften and become structurally weak if they get hot enough in any spot, so if it is sufficiently conductive, then the excess heat can be removed from the outer surface and keep the surface temperature within sensible bounds. Since resin is a thermoset plastic, and will burn, rather than melt, this behaviour will be different, but not necessarily better for this application.

The combustion chamber itself didn’t burn

The issue we can see, is balancing the thermal conductivity of the resin wall, with the rate of cooling from the water flow, whilst making it thick enough to withstand the pressure of combustion, and any shock components. Quite a complicated task if you ask us. Is resin the right material for the job? Probably not, but it’s fun finding out anyway! In the end [Integza] managed to come up with a design, that with the help of a metal injector separator plate, survived long enough to maintain some sort of combustion, until the plate overheated and burned the resin around its support. Better luck next time!

This isn’t the first time attempting to use 3D printed resin for such an application, here’s an attempt to use the air-multiplier type setup with a combustion chamber. Of course making a combustion chamber from a toilet roll holder is far more sensible, just as [colinfurze] will attest, don’t try this at home folks!

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Open Database Shares Resin 3D Printing Settings

3D printing is much like CNC milling or welding or just about any physical manufacturing process, in that good results fundamentally come down to having the right settings. In an effort to aid those working in the resin printing space, [Adam Bute] has put together a community database of resin printing settings.

The site has sections relevant to a variety of resin 3D printers, sorted by manufacturer. Those eager to find the right settings for their given resin and printer merely need to click through and look up the appropriate data. The settings are crowdsourced, provided by manufacturers, community members, and users of [Adam]’s Maker Trainer website.

While it’s still important to run validation tests on a resin printer to get the best results, having a community-sourced list of settings can help users get up and running much more quickly than they otherwise might. It appears that community contributions can’t directly be made yet, but we suspect such a feature is in the works.

We’ve seen similar material databases before for melty-plastic printers, and those have proven to be valuable to the community. We’re sure this resin database will be received in much the same way. If you know about other great resources for printing tips and tricks, do drop us a line!

Super Tough Resin Is Literally As Tough As Nails

Resin printing still seems to polarize opinions amongst hacker types, with some considering such machines a good tool for the right tasks, and some just plain rejecting them outright. There are many arguments for and against, but like fused deposition modeling (FDM) machines, resin printers are improving in leaps and bounds — and so is the liquid resin itself. Nowadays low-odor resins are common, colors and finishes are varied, and now thanks to some dedicated development work, the brittleness that often characterizes such prints it being addressed. [Mayer Makes] has designed a super tough “engineering resin” that he demonstrates is so tough, you can print a nail and hammer it into a block of wood! (Video, embedded below, if you don’t believe it.)

This particular resin is destined for mixing, given its natural cured shade is a kind of greenish-grey, but it does have a neat trick of presenting a definite yellowish hue when not fully cured, which is very helpful. This is particularly useful when removing support structures as you can use the color change during the curing process to judge the right moment to snap off the thicker sections, minimizing the risk of damaging the print. The resulting printed part is also tough enough to withstand subsequent traditional post-processing, such as milling, giving greater final finishing tolerances. Try doing that with an FDM print.

One of the neat things about resin chemistry is that you can simply mix them in their liquid form to tune the resin properties yourself and they can also be colored with specially formulated dyes without affecting the other properties too much, so this new super-tough resin gives prototypers yet another tool in their resin armory.

Thinking of taking the plunge and giving resin printing a try? Checkout our handy guide which may give you a leg up! If that doesn’t swing it for you, you could always use resin to help smooth out your FDM prints. It’ll probably still smell funny, mind.

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3D Printed Parts Hold Up To Steam Heat

Steam turbines are at the heart of all manner of industrial machinery, particularly that used for power generation. [Integza] decided he needed to better understand this technology, and decided to build one himself – using 3D printing, at that. 

First, a steam source was needed, with a pressure cooker on an electric stove pressed into service. The steam was passed out via a nozzle printed in resin, which better resists heat than most FDM-printed parts. Similarly, a turbine wheel was printed in resin as well, with the steam outlet pointed directly at its vanes.

To really stress test the parts, more steam was required.  To achieve this, hydrogen peroxide was pumped through a manganese dioxide catalyst impregnated into steel wool to create steam. This made an absolute mess, but the printed parts nevertheless survived.

The steam turbine didn’t do any useful work, but was able to survive the high temperatures at play. We’d love to see such a device actually used to bear some load, perhaps in some sort of 3D printed power generating turbine design.

Alternatively, if you prefer your steam turbines more classically driven, consider this build. Video after the break.

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