Nov 24, 2015 | By Kira

Though many still believe 3D printing can only be used to create cheap plastic prototypes, decorations, or tchotchkes, South African 3D printing company Fouche 3D Printing is putting that stereotype to the test by developing fully functional 3D printed products. Earlier this year, company founder Hans Fouche developed a lightening-fast and garage-sized 3D printer, the Cheetah, and used it to create a 3D printed lawnmower and 3D printed vacuum cleaner, both of which were full-size working prototypes. Now, to coincide with the launch of the Cheetah 2 3D printer, Fouche has taken functional 3D printing even further, by creating what he claims is not only the first working plastic car jack, but the first ever car jack to be 3D printed.

Considering that the average vehicle can weigh between 1.3 to 3 tons of dry weight, car jacks have to be incredibly strong and durable. For that reason alone, it makes sense that manufacturers would want to avoid plastic altogether. However, using FDM 3D printing technology, Fouche’s Cheetah 3D printer lays down ABS plastic layer after controlled layer in order to produce incredibly thick and strong ABS parts.

The car jack, whose files are available to download on Thingiverse, was 3D printed from ABS granules (rather than traditional 3D printing filament) in just three hours. The main beam consists of two parts, an arm, and two hinge pins. The whole tool is held together with a few M6 bolts, nuts, and an M12 threaded bar to apply force. “Amazingly, the one hing pin was drilled and tapped M12 [the threaded bar] into the ABS Plastic, and this stood up to a full day of testing before stripping,” said Fouche. “This will be modified. The knee joint also suffered from alignment problems, and will have to be re-engineered, but as a first prototype, it performed remarkably well.”

Images from the company’s Facebook page show the 3D printed car jack in action, successfully lifting a four-door vehicle off the ground. Though it is still a prototype, and it would surely have to undergo national and international safety standard tests before being able to hit the market (trust us, you wouldn't want your feet to be anywhere nearby if the plastic should happen to give in), the 3D printed car jack definitely shows off the capabilities of the Cheetah 2 3D printer.

With a staggering standard build volume of 1000x1000x1000 mm, the Cheetah 2 prints with a 3mm nozzles directly from ABS, PLA or EVA granules (which are less expensive than many filaments). True to its namesake, the South African-developed machine is also incredibly fast—building up to 12 times faster than a regular desktop FDM 3D printer. According to the specs, it has a flow rate of 500g rams per hour with the 3mm nozzle, with the option to upgrade up to 2000 grams per hour. Likes its predecessor, the Cheetah 2 3D printer retails for roughly $10,000 USD.

The massive Cheetah 3D printer--big enough to hang a hammock in.

Whether you want to 3D print a car jack, lawnmower, or just install a hammock in it, Fouche and his Cheetah 3D printer are helping to undo the stereotype that 3D printing is just for cheap plastic tchotchkes.

Updated Nov 30, 2015:

Prototype 2



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Hans Fouche wrote at 11/30/2015 6:02:50 PM:

And here is the video.....

Buster Knut wrote at 11/24/2015 11:05:51 PM:

Looks more lethal than a printed gun

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