Robotic : from Design Spark Mechanical to 3D Printing a freewheel adaptator
For one of our 2016 project (French Robotic Cup 2016 : Beach Bot), we modified a beach bucket to transform it in a self-powered robot. The electronic design will be presented later. However we wanted to share how we used Design Spark Mechanical in conjunction with a 3D Printer to speed up our prototyping and development process. The presentation poster is available here (fr).
Our trained mechanical designers use more complex software, however, when a less trained team member wants to quickly design a 3D Printed part, relying on either a open source software or Design Spark Mechanical is an interesting solution. In this article we will shortly explain the process from the hand held schematic to 3D printed part.
1. Handheld schematic
The first step was to measure the free wheel size (left of the picture), and to imagine the adaptator by hand by drawing it (right of the picture). It was about adapting the freewheel one the bucket specific hole.
2. Creating the 3D Model in Design Spark Mechanical
Then we created the 3D model using Design Spark Mechanical in less than one hour. This is a good example of how fast it can be to draw a quick prototype in this software for a non-trained designer.
3. 3D Printing (Printrbot 3D Printer)
Printing the freewheel adaptator (exported to stl from DesignSpark Mechanical) on Printrbot Plus v2, with the freewheel on the front.
4. The custom adaptator
The part after printing in PLA, then assembled with the freewheel.
4. 3D Printed part installed in the robot for both Freewheels
Since DesignSpark mechanical allows straightforward export of valid STL files for any 3D Printer software, we 3D printed the part. 2 hours later the part was tested in the robot. We quickly fixed a few conceptions issues then reprinted it. The picture shows the two installed freewheels on their Design Spark Mechanical drew & 3D printed custom adaptors !
Using a Printrbot 3D Printer and DesignSpark Mechanical, we managed to design, prototype and test a small part of one of our autonomous robots in an evening (approximately 3 to 4 hours).