Man 3D Prints a Working DC Motor

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dcmotor4The question used to be, “What can you print with a 3D printer?”. The open source initiative in the 3D printing space has brought forth literally hundreds of thousands of unique and innovative designs. Websites such as Shapeways, Thingiverse, and Threeding, have contributed to a vast collection of 3D printable designs. These sites allow designers to take a design, improve upon it, and then make it available for the next person to come along and do the same thing. This is how the open source revolution that we have seen with 3D printing has led to the development of so many truly amazing design ideas.

The question now being asked is one of, “What can’t you print with a 3D printer?”. We have seen guns, prosthetic arms, and elaborate mechanical clocks. Now, a working DC motor can be added to that list. Thanks to a man on Instructables, anyone can now print out a working motor. While, the motor is 3D printed, as you can see in the video below, it does include several non-3D-printed parts, which are inserted mid-print into the design.

dcmotor3

“I designed and 3D printed a Brushless Direct Current (BLDC) motor, and used an Arduino to control the motor,” explained Instructables user, Pitrack. “All parts of the motor, excluding magnets, solenoid wrapping wire, and hall effect sensors, were printed with a Makerbot Replicator 2.”

The design features four distinct parts: The bottom enclosure, the top enclosure, the rotor, and the solenoids. All of the parts can be printed at once on most 3D printers. However, during the print, the 3D printer must be paused in order to add in certain components.

dcmotor1“The magnets and hall effect sensors were inserted into assembly by designing a correctly sized internal void in the appropriate place, printing to just below the top of the void, pausing the print and inserting the device, and then continuing the print,” explained Pitrack.

Once done printing, the pieces should fit together nicely. The complete instructions on creating this motor can be found on Instructables, and the program written for Arduino, which is used to control the computation sequence can be found on github.

This goes to show that almost anything is possible to print on a 3D printer if you put your mind to it, and take the time to think over the process. Off course some design ability and general engineering experience is helpful. What do you think? Have you tried to 3D print this yourself? Let us know how it turned out in the 3D Printed DC Motor forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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