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Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

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Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by laneboysrc on Thu 19 Mar 2015 - 10:35

After long consideration, the LANE Boys finally got a 3D printer. One of the applications we had in mind is printing custom light buckets for RC cars. The first results are very promising.



The 3D printer market is changing rapidly. The printer we have chosen is the LulzBot Mini. It is an open source design, very nicely built, compact, prints quickly and is well priced.
There are printers with a much larger print volume, there are cheaper printers, there are printers with a better print quality -- but we felt that the LulzBot Mini has the combination of features that is right for us.

Our printer was shipped from a warehouse in the UK. It was ordered Thursday morning Singapore time, and arrived Tuesday afternoon.



The most impressive part so far was the out-of-the box experience: It took only 15 minutes from opening the box until we had the first print going. And that included installing software!



We recently started equipping RC cars with lights that were not foreseen to have them installed. We had to build light buckets from pieces of styrene. This is fiddly and time consuming work. It is hard to take measurements from the polycarbonate body shell, and it is hard to make tiny pieces from sheets of plastic. A set of light buckets took usually a whole Saturday afternoon to build.



Well, things are different now. The light buckets in the image above are for a Tamiya Nissan GT-R R34 body shell. While this car comes with light buckets for the front and rear lights, the client wanted also lights for the front fog lamps, the rear reversing/fog lamp and the 3rd light bucket.

The shapes are very simple in this case and it would have been no issue making them from scratch by hand. However, with the 3D printer all of the light cases above were done in a single evening -- and that includes the 3D design. For the front fog lamp and the combined reversing/fog rear light we even went through two iterations to ensure they fit perfectly.

A single print took between 11 and 24 minutes, depending on size of the light bucket and the print quality setting we chose. While the printer is doing its thing we could work already on the next project, making the whole process very efficient.

We are using HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene), which is basically the same material that the light buckets in RC kits are made from. The Tamiya cement works perfectly in case gluing is required.

Given that we had no prior experience in 3D design and printing, we are extremely pleased with the result. There is of course a lot more to learn, but things can only get better from here. We have already a long list of items we want to design and print...

So ... what shall we print next?

05
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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by oceanic on Thu 19 Mar 2015 - 12:03

Very nice! 3D printers can do wonders.

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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by Zax13 on Thu 19 Mar 2015 - 19:12

Now I know who to look for special project... Laughing
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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by RTECH on Sat 21 Mar 2015 - 9:56

Shocked Wow! That's great !
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How about some tools?

Post by laneboysrc on Sat 21 Mar 2015 - 19:53

oceanic wrote:Very nice! 3D printers can do wonders.

Indeed! Printed some RC-related tools in the last few days.

The world of 3D printing is all about sharing. MakerBot runs the web site Thingiverse where people can share all kind of objects they designed.

We found this simple cap opener. We resized it slightly to fit the Tamiya paint jars. Now we have a nice little tool to get the jars opened with less effort.


Since a few months 3 Racing is selling M3 taps with a neat little handle. Those are great for turn buckles and other RC use. We have M3 taps at home, together with the traditional machinists tap wrench. But it is cumbersome to use with the small size taps.

We found a customizable handle on Thingiverse and printed it. The design clamps the tap with two M3 nuts and grub-screws. It works very well.






Amazing times we live in ...
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How about driver figures?

Post by laneboysrc on Sat 21 Mar 2015 - 20:05

Another thing I wanted the 3D printer for is to get some variety in the figures we use for the cars.

I found a nice Wolverine head on Thingiverse and gave it a spin. On the left side is the first attempt with the default "fine" setting of our printer. On the right is the same figure with tweaked, even finer settings:  layer height of 0.1mm. Looks fantastic. The head is 25 mm tall, a bit too small actually. The head on the right took 1 hour 20 minutes to print, but who cares.
Note that the heads were oriented differently while printing. The one on the left lay down on its back while printing, hence the topographic-looking face and the support brim on the back (that I haven't cleaned up yet).
The one on the right was standing up normally while printing. This caused issues with the overhang of the nose. Minor quibbles.







Compared with Tamiya heads (Monster Beetle driver, Rally interior):


Unbelievable what is possible nowadays ...
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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by babyboy on Sat 21 Mar 2015 - 20:40

Wow...... amazing!
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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by boolean21 on Sun 22 Mar 2015 - 18:40

nice work!!!

when can we start placing orders?

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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by DWJL511 on Fri 29 May 2015 - 11:51

Simply amazing! Only limited by your imagination!
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Re: Starting on 3D printed light buckets for RC cars

Post by Marpek on Sun 31 May 2015 - 17:48

Amazing work mate!
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