Thread: 3D printers
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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3D printed main gears would likely not survive on larger helis. Smaller helis, with gears printed from nylon *might* survive if your printer settings are really dialed in. Things like brackets, clips etc. are all doable for low load applications in PLA (Typical filament for newbies) and ABS (A little harder to print as it doesn't tolerate drafts or changes in temp while printing so an enclosure is usually used)

There are MANY other filament types out there and each requires certain temps, flow rates, nozzles etc to print and even things like how filament is fed to the hot-end (The print head if you will) are important.

Most main gears are injection molded and/or machined. Nylon, Delrin etc are common materials.

As for the design side, there are tons of free tools out there that have more than enough capability to draw up parts. SketchUp, TinkerCAD, Meshmixer, even Fusion 360 if it's for personal, hobby use. I use SolidWorks, but my license is expiring soon and it's too expensive for most individuals (me being one of them) so I'm learning Fusion 360 with some help from the AutoDesk online tutorials and a YouTube series called "Learn Fusion 360 or Die Trying".

As for 3D scanning, it's been a few years since I've done this and things have likely changed, but it's not cheap. Basically, the object is scanned which generates a point cloud. A mesh or surface then needs to be built with those points and a 3D file is generated. This is either done manually or via machine.

Your 3D file, depending on format (We used to get STEP or IGES files) then needs to be turned into an STL (STereoLitography) file which is then "sliced" into GCode for printing.

The parameters for how that particular object is printed is yet another 'learning curve' item. Wall thickness, layer height, infill percentage and type etc. all play a part in the end result.

It's not hard to learn, it's just that there is a lot to it to get decent, repeatable results.

Personally, I've enjoyed the challenge and have my particular unit set up pretty well after a month or so of tinkering/testing and have printed a bunch of useful things. (and some really silly ones too!)

No helicopters were harmed in the creation of this post.
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