Jul 3, 2017 | By Benedict

Olaf Diegel, a design engineer and professor of product development at Sweden’s Lund University, has designed a miniature metal 3D printed “still,” a kind of alcohol distilling apparatus. The “iStill” trinket was designed for Lasertech, a Swedish 3D printing company.

If the name Olaf Diegel sounds familiar to you, it might be because of the Swedish professor’s affinity for weird and wonderful 3D printed guitars, which have found their way onto our website numerous times.

But this rock’n’roll engineer’s interests don’t start and end with musical instruments: with his latest project, Diegel reveals an affinity for…well..booze, designing a fancy 3D printed model of a still, an apparatus used to distill liquids.

According to Diegel, the metal 3D printed curio, dubbed “iStill,” was initially designed for Lasetech, a Swedish additive manufacturing company that wanted a showpiece 3D printed item to use during an executive giveaway.

However, Diegel got so into the idea of a 3D printed still that he decided to develop it further, treating the project as a design challenge in which he would try to use as little support material as possible in order to reduce post-processing.

“One of the largest obstacles, in my opinion, to the wide-scale adoption of metal AM is the large amount of post-processing that can be required if a part is not designed for metal AM,” Diegel says. “Some companies estimate that up to 70% of the cost of a metal AM part can be in pre and post-processing.”

With his 3D printed still project, Diegel attempted to use very few support structures, so as to reduce the need for the “laborious manual process” of removing support material.

“In a perfect world,” Diegel says, “we always want to try and design our parts to use as little support material as possible in order to avoid the labor of having to remove the supports, to produce a better surface finish, and to avoid wasting material on support material that cannot be reused.”

Needless to say, Diegel’s objectives were easier said than done. To keep post-processing to the bare minimum, the professor needed to avoid features with angles greater than 45 degrees from vertical, similarly steering away from overhangs larger than a few square millimeters.

The engineer stuck to his guns, eventually coming out with a 117 x 58 x 66 mm still that required minimal post-processing. All Diegel had to do was cut off the build plate and shot-peen the device, after which it was ready for display—and use!

The 3D printed still is not currently for sale, but Diegel's 3D printed guitars cost between $3,000 and $4,000.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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