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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Resin Stacking Proves Messy And Difficult

3D printers are typically the tool you use when you want a one-off quick prototype. However, more and more, they’re being used to produce things in quantity. [Uncle Jessy] decided to try out the resin stacking technique in order to quickly produce many figurines on his resin printer. However, not everything went exactly to plan.

The technique is simple. The idea is to produce many copies of an object in a single continuous print on a resin 3D printer. To achieve this, the object is cloned many times, and scaffolding is created to allow the stacking of multiple objects on top of each other. This must be done carefully to avoid ruining the geometry of the object, and similarly to support material, uses more resin in the process.

[Uncle Jessy] experimented several times, but ran into multiple issues with the process when trying to print out some small Magneto figurines. An initial experiment using a raft failed when the print fell off the build plate. With the raft removed, the second print failed as the scaffolding didn’t print quite right. Further tweaks and beefing up the scaffold improved things, and [Jessy] managed to print 93 figurines in a single operation.

It’s a useful technique if you want to print a ton of models on a resin printer in as short a time as possible. However, expect to spend plenty of resin as you refine the technique. You’ll also need a big wash tank to clean the prints during post-processing. Video after the break.

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The Trials And Tribulations Of SLA Printing A Portable Wii Handheld

The G-Boy kit revolutionized the subculture around building portable home consoles, allowing an entire Wii to be crammed into a form factor the size of a original Game Boy. [Chris Downing] is no stranger to the field, and sourced a G-Boy kit of his own to build it to the best of his abilities. (Video embedded after the break.)

However, he wanted to step up above the FDM-printed parts of the original kit. Thus, he contacted the kit developer Gman, who provided him with the 3D model files so he could attempt a higher-quality SLA print himself. [Downing] had some experience with SLA printing in the past with the Form 2, but found some unique challenges on this build with the Form 3.

The benefits of SLA printing are the finer detail and surface finish it delivers. This is particularly nice on things like enclosures and buttons which are handled regularly by the user. However, the standard resin that ships with the Form 3 had issues with warping, particularly on thin flat walls which make up the majority of the G-Boy case.

Other issues included the fact that the standard cured SLA resin is much harder to thread screws into than softer FDM plastic, something which frustrated assembly of the design. It’s also brittle, too, which leads to easy breakages.

As a fan of a properly finished product, [Downing] decided to sand and paint the enclosure regardless. Tragedy struck when the spray cans started to spit chunks due to being over a year old. However, it serendipitously turned into a win, producing an attractive granite stone-like finish which actually looks pretty good.

The G-Boy kit took Wii portable builds mainstream, and drew many new builders into the subculture. [Downing] may be a stalwart of the scene, but still learned new skills along the way of the build.

We can’t wait to see what happens next in the scene, though we’d suspect someone’s already out there chopping up a rare PlayStation 5 as we speak.

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Line of electromechanical water valves dispensing a pattern of water droplets

Gravity-Defying Water Drop Display Shows Potential

[3DPrintedLife aka Andrew DeGonge] saw that advert for gatorade that shows some slick stop-motion animation using a so-called ‘liquid printer’ and wondered how they built the machine and got it to work so well. The answer, it would seem, involves a lot of hard work and experimentation.

Conceptually it’s not hard to grasp. A water reservoir sits at the top, which gravity-feeds into a a series of electromechanical valves below, which feed into nozzles. From there, the timing of the valve and water pressure dictate the droplet size. The droplets fall under the influence of gravity, to be collected at the bottom. From that point it’s a ‘simple’ matter of timing droplets with respect to a lighting strobe or camera shutter and hey-presto! instant animation.

As will become evident from the video, it’s just not as easy as that. After an initial wobble when [Andrew] realised that cheap “air-only” solenoids actually are for air-only when they rusted up, he took a slight detour to design and 3D print his own valve body. Using a resin printer to produce fine detailed prints, enabled the production of small internal passages including an ‘air spring’ which is just a small chamber of air. After a lot of testing, proved to be a step in the right direction. Whether this could have been achieved with an FDM printer, is open to speculation, but we suspect the superior fine detail capabilities of modern resin printers are a big help here.

In a nice twist, [Andrew] ripped open and dissolved a fluorescent marker pen, and used that in place of plain water, so when illuminated with suitably triggered UV LED strips, discernable animation was achieved, with an eerie green glow which we think looks pretty neat. All he needs to do now is upgrade the hardware to make a 3D array with more resolution, and he can start approaching the capability of the thing that inspired him. Work on some custom electronics to drive it has started, so this is one to watch in the coming months!

We’ve seen many water-based display device before, like this one that projects directly onto a thin stream of water, and this strangely satisfying hack using paraffin and water, but a full 3D Open Source display device seems elusive so far.

All project details can be found on the associated GitHub.

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