Category Archives: 3D Printing

3D Printed Precision Paste Dispenser

Design files for this project can be found here
3/16/2015 – Revision C update
6/25/2015 – Download link for my custom software added

Here is a design for a precision paste dispenser that I’ve been working on for the last few months. The goal of this project was to build a solder paste dispenser with a focus on consistent performance, 3D printable design, and minimal use of extraneous parts. While other designs exist (see here, here, here, here, or here), none of the existing designs are capable of low-volume paste dispensing at a consistency required for surface mount parts. These existing implementations are inherently limited by their design: they all use basic pneumatic or belt driven systems that simply don’t offer enough control. Commercial solutions certainly exist (see the Nordson’s EFD series, Fisnar’s PDV-1000 and RV5000DPM, IntelliSpense’s Auger Valve system, Techcon System’s TS7000, and Nordson ASYMTEK Spectrum II) but they usually run well into thousands of dollars ($5k+) for a basic system.

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4:1 Gearbox for NEMA 17 Stepper Motors

Design files for this project can be found here
Parts have been designed to be 0.3mm larger. This should be taken taken into account when printing.

10/6/2014 – Added video

Here is a design for a low-profile (18mm) stackable gearbox that fits onto a standard NEMA 17 stepper motor. The gearing ratio of 4:1 allows for increased torque and positional accuracy from the motor. Herringbone gears are used to provide smooth power transmission from the stepper motor while eliminating the need for thrust bearings. A flat rotating output platform is also provided to allow for easy mounting of attachments. More details along with a step-by-step guide to designing gears for 3D printing in Autodesk Inventor is provided below.

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Improved Ultimaker 2 Material Extruder

8/26/2015 – Added link to third-party update to design

As I am currently in possession of an Ultimaker 2 from the AMP Lab to create prototypes for yet another project, I’ve had the chance to thoroughly explore amature 3D printing and some of the software associated with modern sub-$3k 3D printers. I’ll leave the software issues for another day, but here I’ll detail a custom extruder design that addresses some major problems with the existing extruder implementations.

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Interactive Companion Cube

The latest code base for this project can be found here
Video and pictures are at the bottom of the post!

So I wanted to give a friend the 3D printed companion cube as a birthday gift, but I figured that just the cube by itself would be rather boring. Instead, why not add some audio functionality to the cube to make it a bit more impressive? And so I did. As I came up with this project idea only three weeks before the deadline, I was in a bit of a rush to get things working. As such, designing and ordering a custom PCB was out of the question. Instead of using a custom PCB, I came up with a stacking design using Adafruit’s perma-protoboards that would fit inside of the cube’s frame while still allowing enough real estate for all the components. As the frame was slightly smaller than the protoboards, I had to file the edges of the protoboards down a bit to get them to fit. The upside to this design was that I was able to achieve an extremely snug fit that should be pretty resistant to drops.

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3D Printed Portal Companion Cube

Download the CAD files here

Here’s something that I did a while back that I finally gotten around to finishing. Fans of the game Portal and Portal 2 will recognize this as the iconic Companion Cube that you carry around with you for a large part of the game. I designed and printed this a while back when I was trying to improve my skills with Autodesk Inventor and I’m pretty happy with the final design.

Being a modular design, the nine pieces minimizes the amount of materials and time required to print all the parts. The print itself is made of ABS plastic and the paint consists of a few layers of car paint primer and was painted by hand using acrylic paint.