3D Printed Scale Models
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.
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.