The best thing that I get to do is focus the blog-light on our students’ work.
Last quaters’ assignment “To model and produce a mechanism (a device which moves) that is printed on our FDM printer using less than 3 cubic inches of model/build material (49.2 cc)”.
A variety of solutions to this homework assignment have been produced over the years, but THE best solution ever came from the team of Joy Markham and Joe Meier. This fighter is about 10 inches long (~ 250 mm).
The wings and canopy articulate. We even tried to give it some Open3DP-film special effects with some blue LED lighting.
Joy & Joes statement:
“During fall quarter, my good friend Joe Meier and I were given an assignment in our RP class at UW to design a moving assembly printed from the FDM 3D printer. Ever since I first learned how to use CAD software, I have been dying to model something from Starwars, and this project was the perfect reason to do so. I would have designed something before this project, but as an undergrad with a part time job, spare time for modeling is rare at best. Anyway, when Joe and I signed up to be partners for this class, I told him I had to make a Starwars part for at least one of our projects, and he heartily agreed to my plan. For each assignment we discussed whether we could do something Starwars related, but it was not until this last assignment that we thought it would really work. I considered making a person with moving arms and legs, but I have found that modeling people is difficult, to say the least, and I did not want to spend the time trying to make it work. Since we needed an object that had multiple parts and could move, the X-wing was perfect. Besides, the X-wing is so iconic of Starwars, and perhaps my favorite ship, so I had to go for it.
The modeling took me a good chunk of time, perhaps 8 hours total. The hardest part for me was simply figuring out the size of the thing. Despite my inability to find a set of schematics on the web, I worked out some dimensions that would keep the proportions correct. After that, I just cleared my schedule and sat down to start modeling. I knew we wanted the four wings separate so they could open and close as well as a separate cock pit lid that would open and close. Since Joe happens to be an EE student as well as an ME, we tried to incorporate electronics into all our projects. Initially we wanted to put a motor in the body that would rotate the wings with some gears. However, after I made my first model of it, we decided to just stick with something simpler. For the hinges between the moving parts and the body, we decided to use pin joints and insert a metal rod through the joint. Then we wanted to ensure that the wings would stay open or closed without being held by hands. One of Joe’s initial ideas was to get a spring in between the wings to hold them open. I wanted to make sure we could still get the wings to stay closed but neither of us wanted some external part that would obstruct the appearance of the X-wing. Then I noticed these two small square spaces I had put in the wings near the outside edges and thought why not make a latch that could hold the wings closed and then be held in these gaps when not in use. It worked out perfectly and we found that the springs used in ball point pens were the perfect size for our purpose. Another restriction of the assignment was to only use 3 cubic inches of material for the assembly. I made almost the entire model, except the lid, hollow so that we could make it larger.
Once we got all our parts printed, we spent a good number of hours in post processing. By we here, I mostly mean Joe, who really took the lead on the post processing. We had to remove the support material by hand and fix up all the joints so that the parts rotated smoothly. We also made little windows for the cock pit out of some clear plastic we scrounged up. Once we got it all fixed up and put together around eight at night on the due date, we were both so excited about it that we paraded it around to everyone we could find still in the ME building at that time of night and had the patience to listen to us. All in all, we are very proud of our work, and our only real regret is not having made two.”
Overall, this homework solution is a piece of beauty. Amazing! Congrats Joy and Joe.