If your neighbor’s toy Pomeranian has been terrorizing your kiddie pool, and the ankles of its occupants, then you might want to consider creating a toypedo to protect your local waters. Inspired by Thingiverse’s ‘Make It Float’ challenge rather than a diminutive dog, Patrick Bledsoe set to work creating a miniature torpedo that would both address the challenge and be a blast (although not literally) for the whole family.
In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Bledsoe explained his idea:
“The Thingiverse make-it-float challenge was what first got me thinking about water toys. When I browsed the other designs, I saw a lot of boats and other designs that floated on top of the water. One challenge design re-mixed that really cool coil-spring-motor toy and stuck it on a boat, and I thought it would be even cooler if the coil-motor was stuck on a torpedo! And so was born the idea to design an underwater torpedo toy.”
He turned his first challenge into a strength as he worked to create a project that would engage kids in the act of building the toy, not just playing with a completed end product.
“The toy I was envisioning was much larger than my print-area, though, so I decided to split the design up into sections that screw into each other,” Blesdoe explained. “The many-sectioned idea actually turned out to be a really cool idea, because it means that before kids can play with the toy, they have to figure out how to put it together. It becomes a mini engineering project that I hope will be fun enough to get them interested in engineering.”
While not the quickest object that can be launched in a pool, having top speeds of between .27 and .33 mph, it can travel distances between 12 and 18 feet. In addition, it can be assembled in a variety of ways and so encourages experimentation for optimal firepower. Bledsoe created two different sized propellors for the toypedo and found that a larger propellor generates more speed and great distance. Just as it is possible for a person to modify and build upon Bledsoe’s design, he created his toypedo by pulling together a variety of designs found on Thingiverse and Grabcad.
With a background in engineering, Bledsoe has been waiting for an opportunity to bring that knowledge to bear on a 3D printed project.
“As an engineer and table-top gaming enthusiast, a 3d-printer is really my perfect toy,” he says. “Up until this design, I’ve mostly just used my 3d-printer to make miniature figurines for Dungeons and Dragons. This design was a great opportunity to put my engineering skills to work!”
Following Occam’s Razor that the least complicated solution is often the best one, Bledsoe stuck with a shaft shaped design for the body and a simple rubber band motor to add the energy. Finally, he addressed the issue of ballast by attaching pennies to keep the toypedo from either dragging on the bottom or sinking heavily at one end.
In the videos of the test run, you can see that the toypedo runs smoothly through the water, albeit at a crawling pace, and is just crying out for the next generation of tinkering know how to give it that little extra boost. Let us know if you’ll be making your own in the 3D Printed Toypedo forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
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