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Old 08-06-2017, 18:26   #1
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3D printing prototype parts.

I've been playing with some CAD software and a 3D printer, and am having a lot of fun. I see a lot of potential for making custom parts - first designing them using the CAD software, then 3D printing them in plastic to ensure fit and function, then sending the design file out to be machined or otherwise created in an appropriate full-strength material.

When I bought my boat, it came with an old Vetus windlass, and during the survey the clutch nut literally broke into several pieces. I made a temporary repair using a 20mm fine-thread SS nut, as the part is no longer available from the manufacturer. I have now modeled the part in AutoDesk's Fusion 360 software, and will be 3D printing the part tomorrow. If all goes well, I will get the final part machined out of 5052 aluminum.

Just thought I'd share some images, first of the original broken part, and the 3D renderings of my replacement design. Once I get the printed part tomorrow, I'll upload some pictures of it, and then later the final part too.
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Old 08-06-2017, 19:05   #2
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

That's the design process of today. I teach design, CAD,CAM,CNC machining and we do just that with future engineering and CNC machining students. We apply to electric vehicle design. Just imagine where we'll be in another 10 years..
I have a number of 3D printed parts on my boat...
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Old 08-06-2017, 20:05   #3
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I've been playing with some CAD software and a 3D printer, and am having a lot of fun. I see a lot of potential for making custom parts - first designing them using the CAD software, then 3D printing them in plastic to ensure fit and function, then sending the design file out to be machined or otherwise created in an appropriate full-strength material.

When I bought my boat, it came with an old Vetus windlass, and during the survey the clutch nut literally broke into several pieces. I made a temporary repair using a 20mm fine-thread SS nut, as the part is no longer available from the manufacturer. I have now modeled the part in AutoDesk's Fusion 360 software, and will be 3D printing the part tomorrow. If all goes well, I will get the final part machined out of 5052 aluminum.

Just thought I'd share some images, first of the original broken part, and the 3D renderings of my replacement design. Once I get the printed part tomorrow, I'll upload some pictures of it, and then later the final part too.
One thing to remember. when you design to make it on the printer you make it with the least amount of material because you are putting the material on and using up material and lots of time. When you go to production you are paying to take material off. Change your design from minimal material to be a solid and remove as little as possible to achieve the result - it will be cheaper.
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Old 09-06-2017, 03:49   #4
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

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Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
One thing to remember. when you design to make it on the printer you make it with the least amount of material because you are putting the material on and using up material and lots of time. When you go to production you are paying to take material off. Change your design from minimal material to be a solid and remove as little as possible to achieve the result - it will be cheaper.
I thought about that when designing the part. For example, the outside surface is concave, but I designed the inside surface flat, and easy radii on the inside corners to make milling easy. Basically I started with a solid extrusion, and then removed excess material. My first few tries did things addititively, but subsequently I switch to a subtractive method. I'm not a mechanical engineer or CAD guy, so I'm learning, and having fun doing so.
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Old 09-06-2017, 08:56   #5
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

For what it's worth: 5052 is primarily used as a sheet metal where 90 degree bends are required without cracking. Most commonly these have a temper of H-32.

If you're seeking a marine alloy, it would be 5086, but commonly 6061-T6 is a great alloy and then have it hard anodized.
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Old 09-06-2017, 10:01   #6
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Davidhoy

You're on the right track and all the previous is spot on. As an Engineer and Fabricator the advise I can pass along is:

1) Think of how it will be fabricated during the design. You can easily put things into the model that will more than double the price. ie Avoid radii at the bottom of milled pockets. This will require a nose radius on the end mill. (as an example)

2) Always dimension features from a common datum corner. The machine operator doesn't like changing the zero reference constantly. Doesn't apply if you supply the solid model and they program from that.

3) Geometry passed on in the solid model does not contain tolerance data. Toleranced features and fits are documented on the drawings.

4) A lathe will generate frito's at a rate many times faster than a mill. Thus lathe work is cheaper.

5) Design things with the minimal amount of re fixturing in the machine. Every time you have to flip the part, it costs more.

What you'll find is that now you have the tools to design and build things, you'll make things that just don't make any sense to anyone, even you.

I've got some AL 6061 stove knobs that probably cost $250 each. Used ProE, Mastercam, CNC Mill and Lathe. But what else was I going to do on a rainy Sunday.
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Old 09-06-2017, 12:07   #7
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

The wings that hold the expansion rod to hold my forward hatch open broke off. I had a 3D replacement manufactured and it turned out to be well worth the cost ($100 cdn total). Considering the part was no longer available and New Hatch at about $800 was the only suggestion from the manufacturer.
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Old 09-06-2017, 17:34   #8
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

I also bought a 3D printer and a big selection of spools of "ink" different colours and strengths right up to carbon fibre . I plan to make plastic parts like block pulley wheels and pulley cheeks and small things like the sliders that slide up the mast that you tie the sail to. The name of it slipped my mind. All kinds of things can be made like cupboard handles , knobs and the list goes on . I'll take it with me on the boat and if I use it once , it'll have paid for itself. I can't wait to turn it on.
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Old 09-06-2017, 19:30   #9
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Quote:
I also bought a 3D printer and a big selection of spools of "ink" different colours and strengths right up to carbon fibre . I plan to make plastic parts like block pulley wheels and pulley cheeks and small things like the sliders that slide up the mast that you tie the sail to. The name of it slipped my mind. All kinds of things can be made like cupboard handles , knobs and the list goes on . I'll take it with me on the boat and if I use it once , it'll have paid for itself. I can't wait to turn it on.
Same here! Which printer did you (and other posters) get?
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:21   #10
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Replaced the plastics part of the engine panel of my Yanmar 3GM30. The old one (black) had so many cracks, it was strange that it could hold the components. The new one has some extended functionality as you will realize, but no changes to the wiring behind.

I will use the original 3D-printed (Wanhao i3 plus, PLA) directly and see how it will survive.
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Old 11-06-2017, 07:34   #11
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Not what we can do of course, but 3D printing in Titanium and other metals is now being used in manufacturing.
The yet to be Certified GE advanced turboprop has several 3D printed parts in it.
http://www.gereports.com/brand-new-c...peller-engine/
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Old 11-06-2017, 19:57   #12
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

We have functional laser sintered prototype parts made in stainless and bronze, very impressive straight off the machine. Cant afford one yet but our first RP machine was $40k our most recent was about $4k. So I expect to be able to afford one not to far away - or not :-)
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Old 12-06-2017, 16:54   #13
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

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Originally Posted by Dave_S View Post
We have functional laser sintered prototype parts made in stainless and bronze, very impressive straight off the machine. Cant afford one yet but our first RP machine was $40k our most recent was about $4k. So I expect to be able to afford one not to far away - or not :-)


Know any good vendors that will laser-sinter parts, given a 3D CAD model? Home 3D prints are fine for simple non-structural parts, but others require the strength and durability of metal.
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Old 12-06-2017, 17:39   #14
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

I use an Ultimaker 2+ in the engineering classes I teach and have been very pleased with it. It runs almost continually. A couple of thoughts. If you are going to print carbon fiber, get a hardened extruder nozzle. The carbon fiber will eat your brass nozzles. I use a stainless nozzle for carbon fiber. My favorite material is NGen. I do print some HPA, but I have given up on ABS due to the smell. We also print a lot of nylon for structural parts. NGen is a lot like the other CPE+ materials, but somewhat stronger. Like the other CPE materials it is somewhat brittle. Pieces will break if you drop them. I have budget for another printer next year and will likely buy a Ulitmaker 3 so we can print water soluble support material on one head and our main material on the other. I have used a lot of other printers and the only one that comes close to the UM is the Lulzbot, but I prefer the full enclosure of the UM (the top is open obviously, but the four sides are closed) as I think you get more consistent prints.

If you want to print some really fun stuff, buy a roll of Ninja Flex. We have printed phone cases, display covers, PCB covers and really phenomenal octopuses.

The biggest issue with 3D printers in general is optimizing the printing parameters for a specific material. The UM default parameters are very conservative. They print really great parts, but are slow. We have tweaked them to get much faster through put with very little degradation of the part.
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Old 15-06-2017, 08:27   #15
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Re: 3D printing prototype parts.

Got my part 3D printed. This is a low-quality print, just for fit and function testing. Looks pretty good. Been trying to find the most economical way to get this made in aluminum. CNC machining and DMLS printing are quite expensive. Looking at lost-wax casting...

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