Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Functional 3D Printed Clock

This week's blog is by John Luongo, Z Corporation Associate Engineer.


As a machinist and engineer; mechanical time pieces have always fascinated me. They are a perfect meld of both skill sets. I’ve been collecting them for ten plus years.

Sometime ago, I found a website where a gentleman from the U.K. shared his passion for wooden pendulum clocks. For a small fee he sent me a copy of the .iges files. I converted them to .stl and 3D printed the components half scale on a Z Corporation ZPrinter. I used zp150 composite resin for the build material and ZMax to finish them off.


I’ll have to admit that Generation 1 was a bear to assemble because of all the parts.


After I assembled the parts, I modified the models (Generation 2) by adding contrasting colors and subassemblies to the design and ZPrinted them in full color (orange and black - just in time for Halloween!).


Doing so reduced the part count from over seventy pieces to under twenty, and it works! I’ve learned so much from doing this. Stay tuned for Gen 3!
http://www.zcorp.com

11 comments:

  1. Isn't this the old way of producing? Wouldn't it be possible to actually print the clock readily assembled... this would save assembly time and also make much more sense with the new technology on hand... the problem with this new tech is that people are still using it with an old frame of mind...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Deeeep – you make an excellent point! Assemblies can be printed as one piece as has been shown in the wrench video. I can envision a case where printing the assembled unit would result in a significant reduction or complete elimination of assembly time. In this case however, 3D printing is used for prototype purposes to check the design for things like form, fit, and function. But, your comment about reshaping how we think about processes, technologies, and solving problems is valid!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wouldn't this have been better suited to laser cutting of wood or acrylic sheet?
    ...with the added benefit of having fully functional production grade parts.
    (probably less expensive too)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Sean, good question. Since I'm still modifying the design, it's much, much faster and cheaper to ZPrint the prototypes, not to mention I have ZPrinters at my disposal. The prototypes I'm getting out of the ZPrinter are fully functional, so there's no issue with the strength of the parts. The original design was for a wooden clock. Right now it's much easier to quickly ZPrint and change subasseblies as I modify them, rather than print the whole clock.

    ReplyDelete
  5. it's much faster to print in 3D, than wait 6-9 weeks for laser cutter suppliers. Plus you are limited. + Our members have dealt with these types suppliers and they're not responsive. It's easier just to own one and make stuff happen.

    John@fortknoxis.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Why don't you upload the entire bill of material to www.kraftwurx.com and let us produce the clock as a novel productfor sale? We can ptint it on our brand new Zcorp 650 and you can earn some money for each unit too!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My design isn't finalized quite yet, so I'll hold off sharing it for the time being. The Website where I found the original design file is: www.woodenclocks.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  8. Is there any infiltration done on the parts when they come out of the printer, or do you simply blow off the dust and they're ready to go?

    In the past, I know ZCorp materials were too delicate for assembly until they'd been "postprocessed".

    Is that part of why you didn't build it all as 1 part?

    Really nice work :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you! Yes, like all 3D printing technologies, there is some post-processing required. In this case, the ZPrinted parts were dipped in ZMax, which makes them perfectly suitable for strong, stiff functional parts. I didn't build it all as one part because I'm still modifying the design, and it's just easier to just change the subassemblies rather than the entire clock. It didn't have anything to do with part strength. In fact, unfortunately it's a misperception that Z Corp parts are delicate. Here are the actual material properties for ZPrinted parts: http://www.flickr.com/photos/32406038@N02/6214534206/in/set-72157626286674152

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm sure it was a tremendously fun project. But not likely to fit on your wrist or in your pocket anytime soon. So congrats on reinventing the wooden clock, only an obviously more expensive one.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My goal as an engineer, and designer in this case, isn't to produce an existing, mass-produced product. I have a passion for time pieces - always have, and I want to design just the right one for me; not one meant to be worn on my wrist or carried in my pocket. In terms of cost, it is much less expensive than any customized time piece like this one that you could buy - at just $2 a cubic inch, it doesn't get any better than this. Fun? Yes, this project is my hobby and brings me a lot of joy and relaxation.

    ReplyDelete