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Old Aug 09, 2013, 10:35 AM
Kimmo Kaukoranta is offline
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Tampere, Finland
Joined Apr 2004
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New Product
Lightweight 3D printed wheels for F3P and other indoor models

I’ve been frustrated trying to find some light wheels for my F3P planes. After using 3D printing for making parts to my contra rotating systems, I started to wonder if it could be used to produce lightweight wheels.

So last winter I designed a wheel with 25mm diameter. I tried to make it as light as possible, while trying to keep within the Shapeways design rules for their “white strong and flexible ”and still making them stiff enough for ~100g models.

Instead of making the rim cross section round, I chose to use a cruciform type shape, like the fuselages of our indoor planes. Same shape was used for the 5 spokes as well. This provided enough thickness and thus stiffness in all directions, while using as little material as possible.

The 25mm wheels came out at 0.35g / pair. I previously used GWS plastic 25mm wheels that weight 1.10g / pair. Only 1/3rd of the weight, a considerable improvement. I used these in my model at the worlds in Coburg last winter.

Lately I also made a 20mm and 15mm versions with otherwise similar dimensions. The 20mm ones are 0.30g / pair and the 15mm ones <0.25g / pair.

One limitation of the printing process is that it’s hard to produce small holes, they tend to be blocked. However the material is softer there, the laser has not melted all of the nylon powder together. So it’s very easy to find the center and to drill it open. I used a 0.6mm drill but they can be enlarged to around 1mm.

I have given some of the wheels to my friends and the reception has been positive, so I decided to post here to see if these could have wider appeal. In case somebody would like to try them out, the wheels are now available in my Shapeways shop in the 3 sizes and either 4, 8 or 16pcs per model (because of the startup cost it’s cheaper to have several wheels in one model).

Since there is so little material used, the price is not that high either. If you decide to try them, please let me know what you think.
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Last edited by Kimmo Kaukoranta; Aug 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM.
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Old Feb 10, 2015, 06:32 AM
Kimmo Kaukoranta is offline
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Update for the wheels

There was recently a change in the Shapeways pricing that affected products with several separate objects contained in one file. The change is easy to understand since handling separate small parts by the printer operators can be difficult. This increased the price by roughly 50 cents per wheel.

I just changed them so that all wheels are bound together in a loop, so they can be handled as one object. It does not affect the end product, just lowers the printing cost. The loop can be just cut away and the wheels used like before.

See my shop in Shapeways for the prices etc:
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/kimm...ralight+wheels
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Old Feb 10, 2015, 12:41 PM
Kimmo Kaukoranta is offline
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Shapeways and ordering

After some questions I think I need to explain how the ordering from Shapeways works.

Shapeways not only a 3D printing service, but also a marketplace. This means that in addition to uploading your own designs and having them printed out for yourself, one can offer them to others to buy. In that case shapeways will charge the buyer the printing and shipping costs + a small royalty the designer of that product has defined. That royalty is then paid to the designer by Shapeways.

Shapeways will handle your whole order from start to finish without the designer having to do anything. For north american customers your parts will be printed out in their New York "factory of the future" and shipped from there. For european customers it's done in the Netherlands.

If you would like to know shipping costs to your location, you can just go to my shop under Shapeways and add the items you want to your shopping cart. On checkout it will show you the shipping charge and total, you can still cancel at that point. You can also add other cool stuff from other designers to that same order if you like.

Here's a video how the selective laser sintering process used also for the wheels works:
Shapeways White, Strong & Flexible 3D Printing (1 min 59 sec)
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Old Feb 10, 2015, 10:29 PM
Vince Caluori is offline
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United States, WA, North Bend
Joined Dec 2002
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Kimmo, The wheels look great! But i was disappointed when i visited your Shapeways site and clicked on the single motor coax and nothing came up!!

Are you saving a surprise for us??

Vince
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Old Feb 11, 2015, 01:50 AM
Kimmo Kaukoranta is offline
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