“I love making things. I am always looking for new opportunities,” Miller says. “I design and build robots, androids and automation. I just always want to build more stuff. I design and build durable, long lasting and reliable gear. No project too big, insane or farfetched.”
With skills as a designer, machinist, mold maker and CNC machine designer, electronics expert and fabricator, the self-taught Miller says he was inspired by the TV show Lost in Space. His only formal training? A high-school electronics class many years ago.
In his workshop, a place he calls the Dream and Imagine Studio, Miller builds androids like the four-foot-tall “Amy” and in this case, a 3D printed solenoid engine – or what he calls R.E.M. – a reciprocating electric motor.
“I finally am getting this done,” Miller says. “I had been making these from acrylic parts for some time in this configuration, but it was a very labor intensive effort. Cutting, gluing, painting parts. And everything of course has to be well aligned and fitted.”
So rather than take on the task using old school methods, Miller decided to try his hand at 3D printing the necessary parts to complete his motor project.
“I found a guy who helped me not only make the .stl files, which involved lots of napkin drawings and a lot of mind reading on his part, but also printed all the parts at a very reasonable cost,” Miller says.
As his mentor was set up to print with ABS, that’s the material Miller chose for the R.E.M. Engine. The entire project is built with ABS save for the hardware and the solenoid, and Miller says the results are all he’d hoped they’d be. He says the motor “goes together quick, works great and is all self-contained.” Though Miller says some of the parts will still require a bit of fine tuning, he’s happy with the outcome. He does have the urge to see the motor printed in PLA for testing purposes, but there’s an obstacle in his way along those lines.
“My budget is shot for the rest of the year,” Miller says.
He’s already tested the motor in an RC car, and it proved very durable and reliable. He adds that the motor was “a lot of work, but a dream come true.”
“This is my first project in 3D printing,” Miller said.
You can check out a variety of Miller’s robotics and other electronics projects on his YouTube channel or on his Google+ page.