Troubles with The Arm

Working on our new super-cool gimbal arm for a while we’ve hit a bummer. The most stressed part of our design – the joint between the main arm and attachment jig – apparently is not strong enough to withstand required forces, even more, making it pretty susceptible to a so-called hangar-rash.

It took us couple hours to do a minor design change – running upper connection bolts all the way through the attachment jig to reinforce that whole thing.

Slicing on cura – that’s that easy part.

However running out of filament was a major problem 😀

Luckily one of our generous sponsors (Vilem) came back with an instant supply of 4 big rolls of it! Thank you Vilem!!! 🙂

Printing it was then easy, it just took whole weekend to get 4 of those as each print took 7hrs.

Bit of sanding + drilling and mounting and voila – it feels much stronger now.

Let’s see where it breaks next time. 🙂 Still, it keeps me wonder how all that 3D printing (Additive Manufacturing) made things possible for us. You mess up / break something and isn’t24 hrs later you have a better or replacement part in your hands without much stress and hustle.

Checking some articles on this I have found this one – Intro to Additive Manufacturing: Prototyping vs. Production, which is very nicely describing challenges of redesigning legacy products and prototyping with 3D printing provides tangible benefits.

They are mentioning 5 key points where 3D printing helps:

  • Accelerate Development Time – Exceeding the typical design cycle schedule by 3D printing your ideas overnight and having your parts available the next morning.
  • Fail Fast, Fail Often – 3D printing enables the engineering team to identify mistakes early in the process. Products are hardly ever right the first time, this process is mitigating the time lost with rapid prototyping.
  • Cost Effective – The traditional methods of developing a prototype can be time consuming and expensive. Multiple fabrication methods, reserving time on production equipment or not having access to the right technology can be costly.
  • Enhanced Creativity – Rapid prototyping is an efficient tool for engineers to quickly evaluate and improve on their ideas.
  • Product Testing – Form, fit and function. Feel the ergonomics of a new prototype, squeeze pieces to pressure fit an assembly or drop test the part to evaluate functional strength. Easy with 3D printing.

Sounds pretty handy, doesn’t it? 🙂

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