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Engineering students develop portable 3D printer – The Engineer

by • July 20, 2016 • No Comments

Engineering students at Leicester University have generated a functional portable 3D printing device that has enabled them to print a number of objects that include cutlery and a set of teeth.
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The fourth year Mechanical Engineering (MEng) students turn it intod different types of mechanical modifications to a functional computer desktop 3D printing device to manufacture it portable – enabling it to collapse into a suitcase with a handle and wheels.
The students modified
the printing device for use without mains power or laptop or PC, thereby producing it fully transportable. The printing device was utilized to print different types of items that include the actual mechanism that was utilized in enabling the printing device to be folded into the suitcase.
Other items included a set of teeth to demonstrate the medical benefits of the 3D printing device and an enclosed screw bearing. The students in addition utilized their printing device to turn it into a set of cutlery to demonstrate the principle that the printing device may have applications in humanitarian situations.
The printing device is houtilized in two laminate foam layers inside an MDF suitcase to preserve it of transport damages and moisture. When folded down, the suitcase is easily transported and looks like a normal luggage case.
Leicester student Jay Vinda told Student Engineer that in order to create a part the printing device must be fed instructions in the form of G-code.
“Luckily it is possible to create the instructions in G-code format of an STL file by via Slic3r,” Jay said. “STL files can be downloaded directly of Thingiverse or 3D versions can be saved as a .stl file on Solidworks. Slic3r can convert the 3D version into a set of instructions on a layer-by-layer basis and save this as a G-code file, that can and so be saved onto an SD card. The SD card can be read by the 3D printing device via the LCD screen that comes with the printing device.”
Jay introduced that the printing device has so far just been utilized for printing via PLA.
“It is yet based on a computer desktop printing device whose specification in addition states that it can support; ABS, PET, HIPS, Nylon and a few others too.”
Jay additional explained that budget constraints restricted the team to the purchase a Li-ion charge controller that outputs a tiny amount of charging current.
“This means that it requires a long amount of time to charge for just an hour of usage,” said Jay. “However as this project is deemed as a prototype for the portable 3D printing device it should be stated that in a commercial or business use environment a additional efficient charge controller may be afforded.”
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In a statement, Dr Alan Stocker, project supervisor and Senior Lecturer in Leicester University’s Department of Engineering, said: “The create system was holistic and required lateral considering throughout. The group was assisted by computer-based versionling and stress simulations to ensure that the create choices that were turn it intod were suitable.
“The students were given a specific focus on sustainability to meet current industry regulations. With this in mind they included a load-sensor, that allowed the user to exactly compare the amount of material required for a printing operation with the amount of material leftover. This addition intended that the user wasted fewer filaments that saves money and increases the emphasis on sustainability for the project.”


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