AMS Spring 2023

PLA Spring Powered Car: 3D Printed Fun

6K SmarTech

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This article could just as easily have been titled “things to do with your 3D printer when you want to use it but don’t have anything that simply has to be done.” That’s exactly the state of mind that creator Jason King was in when he decided to produce his spring powered vehicle. Looking for inspiration, he wandered through his most recent set of favorite objects from Thingiverse and decided to combine them into a single enjoyable project.

The main portion of the car he created came from a PLA Spring Motor Rolling Chasis design uploaded to Thingiverse by user Greg Zumwalt (gzumwalt) in 2014. After sorting through the files and determining which needed to be printed, he decided to use colorFabb’s Dutch Orange filament for the moving parts — with the exception of the spring, which he chose to print in RoboSavvy’s Green. The stationary components, two sides of the chassis, were printed in colorFabb’s Blue.

3d-printed-car-parts

Not being one to simply take things as they are, however, he soon began to look for modifications that he could make to the design. But first, he made some modifications to his 3D printer. He had found that a flaw common in the manufacture of these machines themselves was in an inadequate build plate. Rather than using the acrylic one included with his machine, he upgraded to a glass build plate from Performance 3D.

Having addressed that, he moved on to modifying the rear wheels of the car. The videos of the car as created from the Thingiverse model show the back wheels spinning wildly whenever the vehicle attempted to travel across a smooth surface. Some users had attempted to address the lack of traction by adding rubber bands to the back wheels. King was immediately drawn to the idea of using NinjaFlex rubber as he wanted the car to be 100% 3D printed.

3d-printed-pla-spring-carThe majority of parts were printed with PLA with 10% infill at a .2mm layer height with the exception the spring and knob that require greater strength and so were printed at 100% infill. NinjaFlex can be tricky to work with and so King slowed the print down to 30mm/s and got a perfect print the first time.

The assembly required a bit of trimming, shaping, and Teflon grease but shortly he had the car up and running. And now King’s imagination is up and running too as he immediately began to plan how to further pimp out his tiny ride.

Suddenly, I think I need one of these. Let us know if you have the same reaction in the 3D Printed Spring Powered Car forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

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