17/05/2020

UPDATE: New Etsy Items

My Etsy store has grown a bit :D

3D Printed Muji Gel-Ink Pen Holder

I have been wanting reusable pens for quite some time and a few of weeks ago managed to get some decent fine tip gel pens from Muji. To keep these organised I designed a compact vertical case that the pens "clip" into like so:

Also here are some fancy renders from SolidWorks Visualize. These were rendered in 2018 SP5 using "glass fiber" as the material to mimic the clear PETG look:

3D Printed Christmas Tree

This model was on my backlog for ages, and now it has finally materialised:

09/05/2020

PROJECT: Half-Life 2 AR2, Update #4 - Receiver & Barrel Test

LINK TO PREVIOUS POST

Exciting news, I have combined the receiver & barrel assemblies to get a better idea of how things will be functioning together :D


Currently the whole thing is controlled by 3 Arduino Nano's. This may sounds a bit overkill but doing so allows me to run time sensitive modules in parallel, which is a must for the animation sequences
Also, since the previous update the firing/cycling rate has increased to ~5Hz thanks to a stiffer spring. I can push it further but I would need to increase the PWM duty cycle, which would make the coil run hotter (think higher average current). This is something I am a bit cautions about as the body is printed in PLA which has a low glass transition temperature (~65°C)
I guess if I don't manage to reach 9Hz then we can call this the AR1.5 prototype ;^)


Couple of closing notes:
  1. I plan to print the final model in PETG which has a higher glass transition temperature (~80°C), so will have the option to push more current through the coil
  2. I want to try using a couple of sensors to get the firing pin position, this way I won't be purely reliant on PWM as I could simply switch the coil off once the firing pin has reached the end

30/04/2020

PROJECT: Half-Life 2 AR2, Update #3 - The Waiting Game

LINK TO PREVIOUS POST

Progress has been quite slow thanks to the hectic period we are in (I'm looking at you COVID19). You would think that working from home would give me more time to work on projects, but being stuck inside for a big portion of the day is quite mentally draining....

But getting back to progress, initial tests of the firing pin assembly were quite positive, I could get reliable cycling up to 3Hz (in the game the AR2 cycles at ~9Hz). The big limiter here is the return motion, which can be improved by using a stiffer spring. However if the spring is too stiff then the forward motion will be negatively impacted. So now I am waiting for a bunch of springs to try out

To keep myself occupied I have started working on the magazine assembly. So far I have defined the area that will house all the electronics (batteries, servo, control board...), and am now figuring out the shell movement (from magazine to barrel). Here is how the AR2 is looking so far:

Also, if you have not seen my previous post I have decided to get the multi material upgrade (MMU2S) for my 3D printer (Prusa i3 MK3S). I envision this being crazy useful as it will enable me to print soluble supports, which will make printing awkward shapes (basically everywhere on AR2) much easier

17/04/2020

RESEARCH: SolidWorks Topology Optimization

One of the things I have come to realise with my AR2 project is that having a multi-extrusion 3D printer would be crazy useful, as all my prints to date needed support material which unfortunately is a pain to remove. However, with a multi-extrusion printer you can do fancy stuff like print all supports in PVA, which dissolves in water!

Hence, I finally bit the bullet (bad time to be spending due to COVID19...) and ordered the MMU2S upgrade for my Prusa i3 MK3S. But there is a small hurdle, the MMU2S is designed for large (and preferably flat) working areas, something I do not have. So I decided to modify my current work space with a shelf to hold the 5 rolls of filament, and to spice things up I tried using the Topology Optimization feature in SolidWorks to design the shelf brackets. Overall, this produced quite an organic shape that reduced the bracket weight and gave it the best stiffness to weight ratio


The Steps

NOTE 1: I am running SolidWorks 2018 SP5
NOTE 2: Here is an easy to follow tutorial on Topology Optimization in SolidWorks 

  1. Make a 3D model as you normally would
  2. Add a SolidWorks simulation (SOLIDWORKS Add-Ins → SOLIDWORKS Simulation)
  3. Create a new Topology Study (Simulation → New Study → Topology Study)
  4. Select body material (I went with PET as I will be printing in PETG)
  5. Define the fixtures (faces where the body will be held in place)
  6. Add a force as well as it's direction (I went with 50N as at most the shelf will hold 5 1kg rolls of filament)
  7. Add a model goal (I wanted to reduce mass by 40% while having best stiffness to weight ratio)
  8. Specify the preserved regions and depth (I selected the bracket mounting faces and went with a depth of 2.5mm)
  9. Specify De-mold direction (arrow should be pointing towards flat surface)
  10. Create a model mesh (I used a 2mm curvature-based mesh)
  11. Run the simulation
  12. Finally, adjust the target Material Mass and calculate the Smoothed Mesh

The Results

  • Original model: 
    • 74.4g
    • 210851mm³
  • Topology Optimized model: 
    • 44.5g
    • 84013mm³

03/03/2020

UPDATE: Worth The Weight

This one is for all my mates who through the day would never come, and while it's not Half-Life 3, it's certainly a step in the right direction ;^)

WORTH


THE


WEIGHT

27/01/2020

PROJECT: Half-Life 2 AR2, Update #2 - Barrel Assembly

LINK TO PREVIOUS POST

Quick update coming at ya, I have just made the 2nd prototype for the AR2 barrel assembly:

Current variant seems to be working quite well, while still having enough room for electronics. Now I just need to fix a few minor errors and move onto the next moving assembly, the firing pin

UPDATE: Various 3D Printed Projects

Here is another quick update, this time covering some 3D printed projects I recently completed:
  1. My wife’s laptop seems to overheat when encoding videos or playing GPU heavy games. So I made a stand to give the laptop intakes/vents more air and move the screen to a more comfortable height. If you want to make one yourself, you can find the model here
  2. Another one for my wife who mainly works from a laptop connected to an external monitor. Recently work threw out a fairly decent PC (i7-3770k CPU, 32GB RAM, GTX 760 GPU), so we decided to refurbish it has her main computer. The problem she soon encountered was that it was a pain having to unplug the monitor/keyboard/mouse from her laptop and plug them into the desktop, so I designed a wee box to house USB & HDMI extension cables. Come to think of it we should have just got a KVM switch…
  3. Lastly, I made some 3D printed frames for the postcards & instax/Polaroid pictures we got along our 4 month overseas trip. You can grab the model here