For the 42nd annual Seafair Milk Carton derby the 3D printer group from the University of Washington (WOOF group) submitted a 3D printed milk jug boat. This boat weighs 40 lbs and is 3D printed using crushed melted milk jugs. Company Scrapblasters helped them turning milk jugs into excellent HDPE pellets ready for the extruder. "The stuff seems to be about as perfect as you could get. It is small but not powdery and it flows well so it shouldn't jam in the hopper."
After spending weeks of sorting milk jugs, getting them crushed, building a huge HDPE extruder and hacking a 4′x 8′ plasma cutter, the team was ready for the print. Still they need to finalize boat dimensions, model the part in SolidWorks, countersink hundreds of holes in the pegboard, and set up the build surface. They had issues with the HDPE not sticking to surfaces and peeling away, but printing on countersunk pegboard seems like a good solution. They hoped the plastic would get forced into the holes, and get mechanically anchored. That worked but there was still some warpage. "We'd like to try printing with a raft included in the base layer, that way all the warping will happen to a part that is trimmed off." noted the team in their blog.
There is really only one way to learn how to do something and that is to do it. During the print, the team has learned how to get layers to fuse together, how to make turns look beautiful, or how to control the printer manually if the g-code fails. Nevertheless the team succeeded with the test print. The 3D printed boat was nicely made and it joined the Seafair Milk Carton Derby yesterday.
It is difficult for the Seafair crew to categorize this 3D-printed boat. Obviously when they made the rules they didn't expect that someone simply shredded the milk jugs and printed the boat out instead of the traditional strapping of cartons to a structure.
Eventually the WOOF group was placed in the Adult 14+ Racing category and got an unofficial 2nd. Well done! you can check out more pictures here.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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