The Big Boy
Learn about our Flagship Project
Notable Design Choices
Generative Design Tool Mount
Metal 3D Printed Generative Design Part
Generative Design is a new trend in Computer Aided Design where simulated loads are put on a structure and the computer determines the most optimized design for the stresses put on the part. In this case, we designed our tool mount to be able to withstand the forces of both a spindle as well as a 3d print head. Our part was Printed with the Markforged Metal X in Stainless Steel. Unfortunately one of our prints failed due to a filament break (Pictured above)
The benefits of generative design are as follows:
- Optimized parts for load
- Less material used
- Ability to be additively or subtractively manufactured
Milled Steel Frame with Laser Cut Gussets
Strength and Rigidity, to spec.
Steel is an incredibly versatile material. Thanks to the generosity of the donors to the Bechtel Center, we were able to utilize community steel stock to make the frame of our printer. Due to us wanting a precise platform, we needed to take the irregularities out of the cold rolled steel tube stock that was available. Therefore we face milled each side, as well as tapped, drilled, and bored all of the features we needed into the individual pieces. Since our goal was to use the frame we have built to support a mill head, the steel here added for incredible rigidity to mill harder materials.
We were also able to use the Fablight Metal Laser Cutter to manufacture the gusset plates needed for the design. This was cut from 1/4 in sheet stock.
Learning Active Tooling
The parts shown were all manufactured on the ST-20 Lathe utilizing Active tooling. These parts are the couplings that lead from the stepper motors to the ball screws. Making these on the lathe allowed us to work with an unfamiliar CAM and manufacturing style. These parts are stainless steel.
Custom Dovetail Tool Changer
Creative Solution to a Common Problem
Our custom aluminum tool changer design uses magnetism and gravity to keep the tools aligned properly. The dovetail slots are cut to allow the female piece to grasp onto the male bracket and lock in place using magnets. Due to the steppers having more than enough torque to break out of the magnetic force and pick up the next tool. These parts were milled on the 4 axis mill.
Project Inception: August 2018
Design Completed: May 2019
Materials Procurement: August 2020
Manufacturing: November 2020 – November 2021
Assembly: November 2021
First Prints: January 2022
- 5 Axis mill
- 3 Axis Mill
- FDM PLA 3D Printer
- FDM Nylon/Carbon Fiber 3d Printer
- FDM Stainless Steel 3d Printer
- Metal Laser Cutter
- Wood/Plastic Laser Cutter