Boy do I wish 3D printing was around when I was a little boy. The possibilities that this technology provides are endless, and when it comes to toys, that might just be a huge understatement. Every day, I come across interesting, fun ideas for 3D printed toys which I usually save in a folder on my computer for the day when my 15-month-old son is old enough to play with them. There are toy cars, figurines, board games, and even intricately designed toy guns. If you want it, there is probably already a 3D design available for it somewhere on the internet.
For one man, named Cort Wee, the 3D printable toy guns that were readily available for printing just didn’t cut it.
“When I saw a number of rubber band gun designs on Thingiverse, it reminded me of a gatling rubber band gun featured online many years back. It wasn’t 3D printed [though],” Wee tells 3DPrint.com. “I thought that a 3D printed version would be an ideal challenge to work on.”
Wee started designing the gun from scratch, using FreeCAD for Linux. It involved quite a bit of trial and error, especially when it came to designing the gun’s ratchet catch. However, the majority of the parts that he created for the gun each only required one iteration. He tells us that the biggest challenge was to minimize the overhangs so that it would 3D print correctly. In order to create the bevel gear for the gun, Wee used Greg Frost’s script for OpenSCAD. Blender was then used for some minor mesh editing and for checking to make sure the parts fit together correctly.
It was then off to 3D printing the pieces of the gun. In all, there are 13 separate STL files for the different pieces. Several of these need to be printed 6 times each, though (the barrel, ratchet wheel, and ratchet catch). The design files can be downloaded and the gun can be printed and assembled at home for anyone with a 3D printer.
Wee used a Rigidbot 3D printer that he had purchased on Kickstarter a while back, and the gun came out just perfectly, as you can see in the images provided. Wee, however, has more plans for this Rubber Band Gatling Gun. He wants to make it electrically driven.
“Right from the start, I wanted it to be electrically driven,” he tells us. “The hand crank version was always meant to be an intermediate step; something that everyone can print and use without having to touch any electronics. I got a stepper motor on order, so I’ll get around to the electric motor upgrade eventually. I’m easily distracted, so don’t wait up for it…”
If you do end up wishing to create your own Gatling gun from Wee’s design, he offers some tips to help provide for a more seamless assembly.
- Sand the curved surface on the “trigger” that rubs against the “ratchet catch” so that the gun fires more smoothly.
- Lay the barrel diagonally across your 3D printer’s build platform. This will ensure that it fits on most printer beds.
- Don’t follow the pictures provided, as he has modified the design slightly to make it function better. Your final print may look slightly different than the one pictured.
What do you think of this unique rubber band gun? Have you tried printing one and using it yourself? Discuss in the 3D Printed Rubber Band Gatling Gun forum thread on 3DPB.com.