Sunday, September 11, 2016

3D printing our own hull shapes and testing model

We can now print nice parts on our own printer

This has a lot of plastic in the hollow areas.  It is heavier than it needs to be. We will experiment with the settings for filling in and reduce the weight on future prints.

There are 4 places in the current design that went straight sideways over open space.  This is not something our 3D printer can do well.   Some printers with 2 print heads can make support structures out of a material that you can easily dissolve later.  Because of this these 4 sections on our part are messy and and had holes in them, so they were not waterproof.  It is sort of amazing that they printed at all.   We use gorilla-foaming-glue and then also painted the parts with Styrospray to make them waterproof.  Then we used quick ties to attach the 4 printed floats to a platform.
It can tip to either side and stay there
When the model tipped there was enough more weight on the down side that it would not come back up.  So we need more flotation at the waterline.  This is also very sensitive to the amount of weight.  The next shape we want to try is with the thin part as long as the rest of the float.   This will give more waterline area but no more drag.

We now have the ability to 3D print floats but we do not yet have the perfect float shape.  We can keep trying different shapes easily enough now.   If we do the designs right they should be waterproof without any glue or painting.

Note that this float design did not work well enough to even try in waves.  We will get further along soon.

If we rotate the part 45 degrees in the printer so it is going diagonally across the print bed we can print rather large parts.   We will do this at some point.   The bigger the floats the more weight the model can carry.  So we want bigger floats if we are going to put on batteries, solar, motors etc.

Along with testing float shapes we also want to eventually make 3 models that we make into drones so we can develop software for a train of our boats connected together.   Turning in a train of boats will be different than for a single boat.  The boats need to work together.   We want this software working well before we get to full scale and far more expensive boats.

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