Oct 15, 2017 | By David

You can’t spell additive manufacturing without fun, and in these dark times a little 3D printing wackiness could do us all some good. So here’s a round-up of five recent DIY projects, that probably won’t rival anything Airbus or 3DSystems has to offer, but they’ve got their own unique amateurish charm to spare. A 3D printed elephant that serves drinks? A cheap 3D printed emergency button? Yes, yes, and much more besides.

1. Inexpensive 3D printed emergency button

Hackaday contributor Jean Paradedel has made the most of his 3D printing expertise to create something that was not only cheap to put together, but also has the potential to save users a lot of money and maybe even their lives into the bargain. Nominated for the 2017 Hackaday Prize, it’s a 3D printed emergency button, for people in tricky situations who need help that it might not otherwise be possible to get.

If you fall over in your house, an emergency button can be a useful tool, but it’s often linked to an expensive call centre plan. Paradedel’s 3D printed wearable is intended to replace this kind of device, and can be put together for just $8. It’s based on an ESP8266 module, which sends an email to a care provider if a button is pressed. The whole thing is powered by a CR2032 watch battery and the device’s case was 3D printed. The button interface is obviously as simple as it gets, and the device is relatively unobtrusive and subtle, just 2.5 x 1.5 x 1 cm in size ( 1x0.6x0.4 inches). There is also a blinking LED linked to the circuit, to let  you know if the device is hooked up to your Wi-Fi network.

2. Cable 3D printer

Another Hackaday project to take a look at, this time from regular user Daren Schwenke. After previously upgrading the delta 3D printer to make it into a 6-color version that can switch colors mid-printing, he’s now working on a project that uses tensioned cables to move the printing toolhead more precisely. The strength of the printer is maintained such that any interference with the print head won’t affect the print.

Compared to a regular gantry-style 3D printer, this is a much simpler rig. It has a chassis shaped like a geodesic polyhedron consisting of fiberglass trusses, secured in place with 3D printed lugs. They are controlled by a Beaglebone Green and four steppers. The toolhead is stabilized with a steel rod in the centre of the rig. Schwenke repurposed a 4-foot garden stake for this task. As for build diameter, it can scale from around 200 mm to 600 mm.

Schwenke has a fair bit of 3D printing know-how himself, but he also learned and took inspiration for this cable-based 3D printing rig from Machinekit’s tripod kinematics and RepRap’s Flying SkyDelta project.

3. 3D printed elephant shot dispenser

I’ve often thought that elephants would make great bartenders. They’re a dexterous beast, with their long flexible trunks, and they never forget. Perhaps Instructables user robotgeek thought so too, and that’s where this impressive Drunky Dumbo project came from. It’s a version of the 3D printed shotbot, with a modified elephant toy as its main selling point.

The concept is simple. A 3D printed light sensor is fitted into the 3D printed elephant, and when it is covered up, this activates the circuit. A pump then dispenses liquid from a spout in place of the elephant’s trunk. Make that liquid your spirit of choice, cover the sensor with a shot glass, and the elephant will serve you up a shot whenever you feel like it. A silicone tube has been placed inside the spout, for extra hygiene.

The 3D elephant model was found on Thingiverse, and Fusion 360 software was used to put the whole design together, although any equivalent CAD software would serve the purpose equally well.

4. Mesmerizing 3D printed water droplet automaton

Over at Thingiverse, user videohead118 has used 3D printing to make their own version of a cool video they found online. It was a wooden automaton designed to simulate the wave pattern emitted by a single drop falling into a volume of liquid. This 3D printed version is a hand-cranked kinetic device that will provide hours of mesmerizing distraction, and some minor wrist exercise.

A hand crank on the side, when rotated, will turn a group of cams that raise and lower a series of concentric rings. A central shaft with a sphere on top simulates the water drop itself, giving the impression that the outer movements are ripples responses to its motion.

5. 3D printed LED lamp

Instructables user IgorF2 has 3D printed an impressive articulating LED lamp, that can be configured according to the user’s particular needs. He was concerned about getting the right amount of light when reading, for visual comfort and eye health, without the light being too overpowering.

The 3D design for the lamp was made in Fusion 360 CAD software, based on another articulating magnetic phone mount design. The lamp has two arms, and fastens to the wall with a wall mount. The user made use of a Voolt3D printer to produce all the components. This is a Grabber i3 based 3D printer. He made everything using 1.75mm PLA filament.

The angle of each individual component can be altered, making it an incredibly useful lamp that’s easy to suit to any kind of room or seating arrangement. It could also be customized with a motion detector or a camera, to add to its uniqueness and intelligence. Lamps are probably available for cheaper than this, but this level of comfort is hard to match, and you will also have the satisfaction of making your own light fitting using your 3D printing expertise.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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