Apr. 21, 2015 | By Simon

Although there are thousands of objects in existence on various 3D print file sharing hubs and other networks, only a select few of these ready-to-print objects actually feature moving parts - a complicated design feature that usually involves engineering know-how from years of experience.  However for those downloadable projects that do feature kinetic properties, the satisfaction of not only printing multiple parts but also assembling them into a final, moving object is one of the more satisfying ways of completing a 3D printing-based project that only moments before only existed as multiple STL file parts.

Among others, “The Wave” sculpture from 3D printing enthusiast Adam Patterson is among one of the finest examples of what can be done with nothing but access to a 3D printer and some simple engineering skills.  Thankfully, Patterson has shared the project with everybody - including the necessary STL files to download and print on your own - over on Instructables.      

“This work is an original design that I've put quite a bit of effort into,” says Adam on his project page.   “So I figured I might as well share it with the community.”

Starting in Autodesk’s Autocad 2015, Adam designed each of the parts with the overarching goal of creating an assembly that was powered by a crank handle - meaning that the fit of the pieces was critical and there was little room for error from part to part.  

Each of the final parts designed by Adam in Autocad 2015 are provided on the Instructables page.  In total, there are 12 different types of parts making up a total of 40 separate printed pieces.  While the larger components such as the Arm Hinge Support, Camshaft Support and Base Plate only require a single copy, other parts such as the Arms, Camshaft Offsets and Ball Bearing Sleeves require multiples.

 Thankfully, Adam provided a quick link to get the parts printed locally via the 3D Hubs network in the case that a user doesn’t have immediate access to their own 3D printer for printing all of the parts. Otherwise, all of the parts can be downloaded directly from the page and sent directly to a local 3D printer software program and be printed.  

According to Adam, all of the parts were printed with 15% infill density with 3 top/bottom layers along 3 perimeters.  The one exception to these settings is the base plate, which can be printed at 5%-10% infill density.  For his own sculpture, Adam used Slic3r to adjust his print settings and all of the parts were printed using ABS filament.  

Once the final parts have been printed and finished, some additional tools will be needed for finalizing the assembly.  These include a hobby knife, a sharpie, medium viscosity CA glue, one small screw, sandpaper, thread and finally, ball bearings.  All of these items can be purchased via most hardware stores and are relatively low-cost.

As for the assembly of the parts, each of the subassemblies are created using the combination of ball bearings and thread as outlined in the video.  The crank handle sleeve is placed over the cylinder on the main crank handle and the screwed in place over the retaining top.  Once this has been completed, the handle is glued onto the main shaft and each of the subassemblies are placed onto the main rod.  Finally, everything is screwed to the base plate to maintain that the sculpture remains in place while in use.    

“A lot of time and effort went into this project. It's been a blast from start to finish,” adds Adam,  “and i hope it brings you as much entertainment as it has brought me!”

Check out the build instructions in-full over on Instructables.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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