Archive for June 2016

The Strange Case of the 3D printed Geared Ball

Geared sphere - 3D printed by Kevin CaronIf you read my last blog post, you know I’ve been playing around with some cool designs from Thingiverse.

Both are geared – one is a cube, the other a ball. You can see me playing with them in that last blog post – several people have remarked they are like a modern Rubik’s Cube. I’ve taken a geared cube to events and people just can’t stop handling it.

Lately, I’ve been having fun enlarging the designs to print on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, something that was a whole lot harder than I thought it would be – it isn’t just a matter of scaling up mathematically.

I’ve also been adding stripes to cubes while printing (another good reason to check out last week’s post to see me manipulate one).

But the point of this post is the strange thing I discovered after I printed the large black geared ball (right) ….

When you 3D print a geared cube, you print all the pieces at the same time. With the geared balls, you print all nine pieces – four large ones, four small ones and a middle – separately.

Difference between PLA and ABS 3D printed filament - Kevin CaronUsing my 3D Systems CubeX 3D printer, I had printed six of the pieces in black ABS filament for this 5″ geared ball when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough to print the last three pieces.

So I found some black 1.71 mm PLA filament, which is what the CubeX runs, and figured, “What the hell – filament is filament.”

After the last three pieces printed, I bought some 1/4 x 20 Allen bolts to assemble it, just as I’d done with a 2-1/2″ gray version I’d printed earlier.

But the black geared ball just wouldn’t go together. It probably took me two hours to assemble the gray one, but the black one probably took me three.

Finally, I realized that the three pieces I printed in PLA resin were slightly larger – the photo at right shows one of the smaller pieces protruding slightly.

I’d heard that PLA resin shrinks less, and this seems to prove it.

I want to try playing with this some more, comparing PLA to ABS, but since I finally got the black geared ball together, I’m happy for now.

Boys Just Gotta Have Fun

Thingiverse homepageYeah, girls have to have fun, but so do boys!

If you’re a regular reader, you know that not everything I make on my 3D printers is a sculpture. Every now and then, I make a part or something we need around the house, and I have plenty more of those kind of projects to work on.

Recently. though, I’ve also been playing with some designs from Thingiverse.

If you’re not familiar with Makerbot’s huge community of makers, members have uploaded more than 564,000 3D models and are adding more every day.

The cool thing is that you can upload your own designs as well as download whatever you want.

I like to browse Thingiverse like I browse for new books to read, and one day I found some intriguing designs that I couldn’t wait to play with ….

 

Of all the designs I found there, the geared cubes and spheres really caught my eye. Well, really, it’s my brother-in-law Bill‘s fault – he’s the one who got me hooked on 3D printing, in part because he sent me a geared cube. Once I found the geared cube, then I also found a geared sphere.

These are really cool designs – I give huge credit to the designers.

Of course, I couldn’t stop there. I enlarged the designs and also began adding stripes to them. The stripes are super cool when you start twisting the cubes because they then make their own designs.

So here, for your entertainment, are some videos showing me playing with these giant geared toys:

A geared sphere …. #3Dprinted #3dprinting

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