3D Printed Scale Models

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Partial or full scale 3D printed models allow rapid prototyping and testing of features such as parts fit, basic geometry, strength, part interference, inferface matching, and others. It is a useful step that can be used to validate designs any time a 3D model is available.

This can be electrical, but it's even more educational with hydraulics - where the working fluid is water and it allows for realistic prototyping of life-size machines.

Real working prototypes of life size machines can be build with:

  • Mechanical 3D printed structure
  • Small water pumps for real working hydraulics
  • Sensors such as pressure sensor in brick press
  • Working hydraulic cylinders and motors
  • Microcontroller - Arduino - for robotic control
  • Computer vision for appliances such as Robotic Vacuum Cleaner
  • Programming of Arduino

Thus, a rich learning curriculum can be created, and when we apply the Construction Set appraoch, this becomes like Legos.


Design and Prototyping

  • Use FreeCAD CAD files to generate STL files for printing.
  • Use the 3D printing software to scale the parts for faster printing.
  • Assess for basic geometry, fit, stregth, etc. and document the results with a picture and diagram
  • For models of 3D printed parts, it is useful to print with partial fill, such as 20%, prior to full 3D prints at 100% density. Use Cura to calculate print time based on different fill scanarios. Print time information is indispensible to production engineering.




Data Collection


Procuring Part Files

Search for similar models available off-shelf using 3D Printing File Repositories. Note that requests can be made to certain sites for generating 3D Printing Files - and uploading them to a repository if the file does not exist already - for free. See list of Services for Generating 3D Printing Files.