Nov 12, 2017 | By David

Here’s another round-up of some fun DIY projects that have been shared around the hobbyist 3D printing world recently, hopefully giving you inspiration to get involved yourself, or at least providing some comfort in these turbulent times as summer curdles into the sour light of autumn. There’s a set of 3D printed tires that let you drive on water, a 3D printed semi-automatic railgun, and more besides.

1. 3D printed aquatic car tires

Users of remote controlled cars are finding their terrain options expanding at a considerable rate due to the increasing popularity of 3D printing and the consequent hobbyist modifications that are now available, but water has remained the final frontier. Up until now, that is! The results of a project carried out by Simon Sorensen have been demonstrated on his Youtube channel RCLifeOn, and they are pretty impressive. His remote controlled car travels upon the water much like a sailboat or like Jesus Christ himself, and we can definitely spend a long time watching this particular video.

His 3D printed tyres are equipped with paddles, to give them the level of traction they need to move across a surface beneath which they would otherwise sink like a stone. Not only is the motion of his JLB Cheetah fast and stable, but it’s also still able to be remotely controlled and directed as the vehicle makes it way across the water. The tyres were printed with a 5 percent infill, which leaves plenty of room for air inside to keep them floating. A 14.8V Lipo batter was used to provide the motor with the required power to keep the wheels turning.


2. Customized 3D printed doors

As far as doors for a server cabinet go, functionality tends to be the key. Few are the designs for doors to enclose a network server that are also memorable and aesthetically striking. But "Wouldn't it be funny to put Gründerzeit-style doors on the server cabinet?" So this project by one Austrian hobbyist Michael is a real one-of-a-kind. He built some new doors for his cabinet in the Grunderzeit style. This refers to an economically prosperous period of time in Austria and Germany, in the early part of the 19th century.

The basic doors were found in a furniture store, and he modified them in various ways to fit the cabinet in which his server was kept. A major part of getting the doors to fit properly was the hinge design, and this is where 3D printing came in. He used CAD software to model some elaborate customized hinges, and sent off to get them 3D printed in steel. With a Voronoi-based structure, modified with the hobbyist’s own personal flair, the hinges are an impressive feature that closely resembles the traditional Grunderzeit style. An FDM 3D printer was also used to put together a template for finishing the door’s wooden frame.


3. 3D printed Semi-Automatic portable railgun

If you’re looking for something to get a bullet from one place to another in a short amount of time, electromagnets are perhaps an even better option than the traditional gunpowder approach. That’s certainly the logic behind the development of rail-guns, which are usually seen as high-tech, heavy-duty military equipment. 3D printing technology is making everything much more accessible, however, and a hobbyist with the right expertise, equipment and mindset can now put together his own portable railgun without breaking the bank.

Described as a ‘journey’, the process of developing this portable DIY rail-gun took over 2 years. It was the pet project of a Youtube user known as NSA_Listbot, and he has shown off the terrifying results on his channel. NSA_Listbot custom designed both the magazine and receiver and manufactured it himself (minus the spring) using a 3D printer. He made use of a field-augmented circular bore, 4.5kJ capacitor bank, and a custom Arduino Nano. PETG filament was used to 3D print the main body of the gun, safely housing these components. Titanium and steel projectiles are both capable of being fired at incredibly high velocities, although the rate of fire is very slow. It takes around 45 seconds to fire all three bullets in the magazine, although that should improve as battery and capacitor technology does. Let’s hope it doesn’t improve too much, though.


4. 3D printed keys

We know all about the dangers of online hacking and the potentially huge impact of various cyber-security breaches, but could the digital world even affect the security of traditional physical locks? A Hackaday user called Dave Pedu has been testing out 3D printing keys, and the results of his project might give you cause for concern.

Pedu made use of parametric design techniques and OpenSCAD, a programming environment which makes it easy to manipulate 3D models. His design was based on the recognizable and commonly used ‘Kwikset’ lock and key pair. A photo of a key was used, and then processed in order to generate a 3D model. All the program needs is values for the heights of the key’s five teeth, and it can use these to automatically generate an accurate model.

Pedu used his Flashforge Creator Pro 3D printer, with 0.15mm layer heights, and he printed the keys using ABS plastic. After a couple of attempts, he was eventually able to successfully turn his lock with a 3D printed duplicate of his own house keys. Pedu believes that newer, tighter locks probably won’t work as well, as the plastic keys will simply break, but either way this is an exciting or potentially worrying development, depending on how you look at it. Maybe refrain from posting photos of your keys online, if that’s something you’ve been doing.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Jim K. wrote at 11/12/2017 8:13:20 PM:

As a locksmith for 25 years, I have experimented with 3D key duplication successfully. Once you have the static parametric key profile, you only need to "read" the depths (0-9) as the spacing is also static to the profile in most cases. The key in this photo is not a Kwikset, but a Weiser. Additionally, locks are inherently at their smoothest operability when brand new, not 'tight' as indicated above.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive