So, even though I’ve got my Velleman 8400 printer and not assembled it, I’ve been thinking of what to do with it. Needless to say, with 3D printing that started in the community there’s not only a great set of community based CAD packages, but people like Autodesk are in on it as well with TinkerCAD and a quite interesting suite of free apps as well (including using your i-device as a 3D scanner).
I think my first project (I have some 3D experience with CAD anyway) will be to rework my composite fuel tank. I had to junk the original plan – it wasn’t possible to really make a part from the moulds – I had returns greater than 90 degrees on some flanges and that just doesn’t work.
What I’ll do this time is print a framework that bolts together, and bond on to that framework a set of plastic panels. The end result will be a completed tank that can then be moulded from. I’m also going to simplify the design with far fewer faces, but some of the curves (radius curves so the carbon can go in) will be much easier to make more accurately. I think I’ll make two halves that slot into each other much like the top and bottom of a Matryoshka doll.
I will make the panels out of (maybe) 3mm polypropelene sheet. It has great release properties, but then of course, is difficult to bond to the framework. Nothing that a good keying and epoxy won’t fix. I can use other plastics of course, and if I’m a little rough with the cut, then I will fill the gaps with wax. It’s only a tank and not a display item.