Sunday, 5 May 2013

My first experience with 3D printing

So my first experience with 3D printing was in December 2011 when I was in a machining workshop and noticed a fridge freezer type thing in the corner where an employee was putting something into it so I asked the guy who was touring me around the different machines what it was and he said it was a 3D printer...I wasnt very shocked since I knew they existed after watching several YouTube videos on them. The 3D printer was a Dimension SST printer and because I was curious I walked over to it and noticed it was spitting out its first layer after the employee reloaded the filament. I thought it was cool and thought of the potential uses for it in my hobby which is R/C airplanes with live cameras mounted known as FPV.
       After getting home I looked up the Dimension printer just be disappointed when I saw its price tag. Thinking that their has to be cheaper ones out there I began several months worth of research to find that their are allot of 3D printers out there to choose from with the main contenders in the low priced 3D printers being Ultimaker and Makerbot. At the time They both had very similar looking designs but the Ultimaker(At this point it was April 2012) looked to be the overall better design. I then went onto my original plan which was to design a quadcopter and mainly forgot about 3D printers until I could afford one as even their low price point were still out of my reach. 
         Once I began the design of my quadcopter I started brainstorming how a 3D printer could make the production of airframe kits more efficient and came to the conclusion that a 3D printer could have huge potential in my design mainly in the motor mount where the motors attach to the frame.
 Where normally on these designs the motor mounted directly to the aluminium arms this caused problems if the quadcopter was to crash as it would bend the aluminium where the bolts held down the motors...So utilising a 3D printer I came up with this design which was brilliant since the motor was not directly mounted to the aluminium. The motor was mounted to a motor mount plate which has bolt holes going through 3D printed parts which when tightened kept the whole assembly rigid in it position and the prototype worked very well(not the extended leg which acts as landing gear) This was my very first experience with 3D printing and I was instantly hooked on its potential. However the parts were printed at the machine place on the Dimension and not on my own printer. So I began designing my own!

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