Author Topic: 3D Printing  (Read 1486 times)

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Offline sraynerTopic starter

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3D Printing
« on: April 08, 2013, 03:51:07 PM »
I was thinking of building a RepRap mendel for printing robot parts. Has anyone had any experience with the Medel or other 3D printer?

I'm not sure what the quality and strength of the parts would be like.

Offline jwatte

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Re: 3D Printing
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2013, 12:18:32 PM »
A 3D printer is a hobby in and of itself. You're going to spend as much time making the printer print well, as you will spend actually printing robot parts.
In general, yes, 3D printers can print robot parts. Check out TwitchMX, for example; all the yellow parts (and perhaps some others?) are 3D printed: http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?5939-TwitchMX-The-Mech-of-Many-Feet

If I were to buy a printer RIGHT NOW I'd either get a Type A Machines Model 1 (ready-assembled,) or a MendelMax v2 Kit. But I'm not -- I prefer to mill parts out of aluminum, as that's faster and more reliable.

Offline Gertlex

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Re: 3D Printing
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 09:01:33 PM »
In my experience, the strength is more than sufficient for just about anything on the hobby-robot scale.  One exception is if your robot is going to be falling on the parts similar to a biped I know of that tried 3D printed arm brackets... they break after a few falls.

Worst case, you end up prototyping a weak part and can replace it with sheet metal if needed.

Offline idee17

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Re: 3D Printing
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 09:58:11 PM »
How do you go about milling parts out of aluminium jwatte?

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Offline jwatte

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Re: 3D Printing
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 11:08:11 PM »
How do you go about milling parts out of aluminium jwatte?

I design the parts in a tool like Adobe Illustrator or VCarve Pro or Autodesk Inventor. Then I generate G-code for it. Then I take that code, and the aluminum, and some end mills and drills, to a workshop, and use a CNC mill to cut the parts.

Offline ErikY

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Re: 3D Printing
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2013, 06:42:49 AM »
I recently completed a MendelMax 1.5.

I have a pretty long thread on the Trossen forum about it.

Here is my take:

JWatte said it best that these things are a hobby in itself.

I think for a 3d printer to work reliably, it needs to be a precision machine, and plastic structural supports as found in the RepRaps are not ideal.

The RepRap community is incredibly helpful, and the fact that many can print as well as they do given the RepRap constraint of self replicating machines, is a testament to the engineering of the community.

I am currently designing and building a RepStrap, which is very similar except that I will not use plastic for supports or really anything I don't have to.

I have identified about 5 key areas of possible faults with 3d printers, particularly the RepRap, and I believe my end solution will address most if not all if these and give me a very reliable printer.

These things require a lot of patience and love to print, and I'm not sure there are any real exceptions to that right now.

I completely agree with JWatte that the two premier commercial hobbyist 3d printers are the Type A and the MendelMax 2, as both have little to no plastic.

Ultimately I wanted a 3d printer to enhance my robotics construction capabilities, and instead have kind of a sidetrack hobby which has taken me away from Robitics for the time being, unless you consider a 3d printer a robot, which it kind of is.

I do think the strength is remarkable considering its plastic, and you can get very creative by applying pieces if metal in key areas to protect/strengthen as needed.

It's also very, very cool to design something in openscad or blender and print it out, and use it.


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