Printing Moving Parts

Printing Static Models is fun, but I’ve quickly become infatuated with the idea of printing things that move. I’ve only scratched the surface, but here’s what I’ve done so far:

Louvers

After a brainstorming session with my friend Zack, one of the ideas we came up with was printing louvers. The idea would be create a panel or a brick or something that could be built into a larger structure, and the object would contain hundreds of little louvers that could be activated to shut out or let in light and air.

Eventually we want to be able to print a solid piece and have it be functional without assembly (possibly using a dual extrusion printer with dissolvable material). For now I’ve just prototyped a 2 piece assembled louver panel. I designed it using tinkercad, which is super easy to use.

Louver Design

Louver Design in Tinkercad

Assembled Louver

Assembled Louver

I made the hole for the axle 5mm in diameter, and the axle 4mm. This worked pretty well, but the axle is a little loose in the socket.

Wheeled Vehicle

Last week I bought some assorted nuts and bolts, with no clear idea of what I would use them for, except that I thought they would be useful in assembling 3D prints. I designed this build explicitly to experiment with multi-part builds and moving parts. Again, I designed the model using tinkercad.

Design of Car

Design of Car

Partially Assembled Car

Partially Assembled Car

One Side of the Car

One Side of the Car

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The other side of the Car

This one took a couple of iterations to figure out how everything would fit together. At first I made the axle too small to fit through the wheel. PLA doesn’t have very good traction, so next time I’ll probably buy little rubber wheels.

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