June 05, 2016. 3D Printing.

I’ve started to get on with my cunning plan for the use of the 3D printer…

The intention is to print of the bodywork as a prototype to check the design for fit etc, then to use the prototype to take a mold to get the real part.  Part of me wants to vac-bag parts straight off of the 3D print and do away with the mold in the middle, but that’s for down the road.

Here’s the first proper big part of the 3D printer…


The printer will do a 250mm diamter by 350mm tall cylinder so I’ve cut the design up into 17cm cubes, then I can do a 2 cube print.  Here’s the plan:


That breaks down to 9 big prints and a few fiddle fart bits.  This is the bottom left hand bit from above.

This part is in PLA which has proven far easier to work with than ABS, It weighs 400g so there’s about $10 woth of plastic in it.

I did this bit 8mm think, it’s pretty stiff so the parts glued together should have no trouble supporting themselves.

Layer thickness was 0.1mm which contributed to a print time of about 60 hours (~3400 layers to print).

I’m really happy with the surface finish, if I were making race car parts I’d be happy to take a mold or whatever from it right now.  As it is I don’t think it take much effort to get it to a properly acceptable surface finish.

This is the support material added by the slicing program:


Which is a PITA to get off…


I’ll not let it do that again, better to put the support in the part itself or orient things so its not needed.

These parts are not solid the software creates a skin and the interior is filled with a support structure.


Detail from the headlamp cover recess.


The next bits done…

This one was a bit quicker with only a bit over 2400 layers to do.

I put some structure in it to support the part as the angles flattened out.


The top inside of the headlamp cut out didn’t go so well it’ll need so work to be usable for a mold, not surprising as its near horizontal and didn’t have support, a lesson learnt there.


DSC_0308 by Doug Clark, on Flickr


DSC_0307 by Doug Clark, on Flickr

With my artistic talents if I attempted to form curves like this manually, it would have all ended in a soggy mess,

let alone trying to do a left and right and have them come out as a matched pair.



The two parts together, the match is good sub mm differences I’d say but some end flash to clean up before they can be glued to together.


At this point I’m probably going to stop as we’re moving country next month and I’m just making more stuff to pack at this point.

Another lesson learnt is the machine makes an annoying noise, its the noise its supposed to make but I can see its driving the family nuts having the thing going for days at a time when they can hear it. 

I’ll need to find a better spot for it in the next house.

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