Okay, this device won’t actually open any wormholes, that title may have been a little but misleading, sorry about that. But this moving, light-up Stargate device is still a pretty cool build that is bound to bring back fond memories for a lot of sci-fi fans. For those of you who may not know what this is, it is a replica of the Stargate from the movie of the same name and later a television show called Stargate SG1. The device is used to instantly travel the galaxy from one point to another by opening a wormhole that travellers can enter just like walking through a door. Fans of the Stargate movie and television show will recognize the familiar movements of the ring and of the chevrons (the v-shaped things on the outer ring) locking into place, signaling that the gate is ready to open.
Designed by Menno Lauwerens, the Stargate Mechanism is almost entirely constructed from 3D printed parts, including the gear motor and the movable dial. The Dutch native is new to 3D printing, having just completed construction of his first printer. He constructed a variation of the RepRap-Wilson with a bowden extruder called Marnic3D. It’s controlled with Octoprint which is running on a QNAP TS-251. After breaking his new toy in by 3D printing various objects and models downloaded from Thingiverse, Lauwerens set his sights on something a little more advanced and started designing his own projects to print. He started with Tinkercad and then moved on to the more robust FreeCad after taking a few lessons from YouTube.
His first project was to be a complex one and would incorporate several of his passions. Lauwerens is currently in the midst of designing a steampunk themed case that he would enhance with various 3D printed models that reference time travel and some of his favorite science fiction objects. The finished case will include a Flux-Capacitor from Back to the Future, a working clock, features inspired by Doctor Who and of course his finished Stargate Mechanism.
You can see the Stargate in action here:
“I started with the Stargate, which probably also is the most complex one. The idea was that it also had to have steampunk references, so I used big gears. I also wanted it to have a stop and go motion, and after some googling I found out about the ‘Geneva drive’ and decided that it had to be the center of the design,” explained Lauwerens.
A Geneva drive is a gear that will turn a continuous rotation mechanism into an intermittent rotary motion mechanism. It works by adding a driven wheel to the gear that has four slots and advances a single step of 90 degrees each time the drive wheel rotates. The drive was named for its frequent use in Swiss made watches and it is still commonly used today. It is also used in movie projectors and the machines that banks use to count money. By incorporating a Geneva drive in his Stargate motor, Lauwerens is able to control the movement of the dial and allow it to stop at each chevron without complicated motors or programming. It is really a quite elegant way of simplifying the device without sacrificing functionality.
“To power the machine I used a geared motor that I already had lying around. Next was the gear with the symbols. As with all the normal gears I used a gear-macro to generate the basic gear. I had quite some trouble getting the symbols on there, and there must be an easier way, but this is how I did it. I downloaded 2D symbols from the Stargate WIKI and used Tinkercad to generate STL files. I imported these files into FreeCad and rotated/moved them to the correct place,” Lauwerens continued.
All that needed to be done to complete the Stargate was adding some lighting effects and some paint. Lauwerens used standard 5mm LEDs which will light up in sequence thanks to a switch array that he made some tiny 6mm switches that he salvaged from an old printer. The design includes six switches in total, five to power the LEDs and one to stop the motor after the ring completes a full sequence.
Tell us what you think of Lauwerens’ steampunk and science fiction inspired project over on our Working 3D Printed Stargate Mechanism forum at 3DPB.com.