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PLA Cube Gears for Replicator 2

by whpthomas, published

PLA Cube Gears for Replicator 2 by whpthomas Dec 21, 2012

Description

Many of us have been frustrated to discover that the pins for emmett's Screwless Cube Gears are not PLA compatible. They are too stiff, and in my experience, attempting to force them in can crack the pins and damage the piece itself.

So I set about trying to design some alternative pins for PLA. My first attempt was to make flexible end tabs, but while this worked, the cube gear axle is too short to support this approach. In the next attempt, I altered the internal structure of the tip of the pin to make it more flexible for PLA and redesigned the protrusions.

These new pins were designed using an ACIS solid in Shark FX (sfx file included) so will behave well with Makerware, ReplicatorG and skeinforge. They snap into place with moderate force and rotate freely.

Recent Comments

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Which files are they? And also, are all those pieces compatible with the PLA pins you have here?

Love this!!! Printed mine in RED PLA and all of the pieces just snapped together. No other finishing required at all. Done on a MendelMax 1.5

Can you add the gear files not all on one plate so I can print each item separately. I would like to print each part a different color.

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Instructions

PINS ONLY

If you have already made Emmett's Screwless Cube Gears, then these pins are a drop in replacement. Simply download and print PLA-gear-cube-pins.stl file - that's all you need.

If you are using Makerware I would recommend at least a 0.2mm layer height, 3 shells and 15% infill. In ReplicatorG I am doing the same, but using the skin module to achieve a 0.1 mm outer surface finish.

CUBE GEAR PLATES

If you want to make the PLA cube gears from scratch, simply download and print the two plates: PLA-gear-cube-plate1.stl and PLA-gear-cube-plate2.stl. The first plate includes my snap off ear raft print aids, to increase the surface area of the small gears to prevent them from breaking loose during printing.

Again, if you are using Makerware I would recommend at least a 0.2mm layer height, 3 shells and 15% infill. In ReplicatorG I am doing the same, but using the skin module to achieve a 0.1 mm outer surface finish.

BTW: The print in the photo was made with Makerware (default medium settings) and printed on my Replicator 2 the first day after it arrived - the original pins broke, hence the new PLA design.

Comments

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mondo50m on Jan 13, 2014 said:

Love this!!! Printed mine in RED PLA and all of the pieces just snapped together. No other finishing required at all. Done on a MendelMax 1.5

AAE on Dec 11, 2013 said:

Can you add the gear files not all on one plate so I can print each item separately. I would like to print each part a different color.

bjornsyse on Jun 3, 2013 said:

Great! When you say "at least" 0.2 mm. Do you mean a minimum of 0.2 mm, that is 0.2 mm an upwards, or do you mean "at least" as fine as 0.2 mm (in effect 0.2 mm an downwards).

Regards

- Björn

Henkbanaan on Mar 27, 2013 said:

I printed this on a Up! Plus in pla. The pins work perfect! Only one weird thing, the corners of the big gears, the highst point of the print, did not print completly. In other words the highst layers of the model did not print.

I have never had this with other prints. I noticed when you open the STL in netfabb you see a thin line at top of the corners of the big gears. This is exactly the place where my top layers did not print. So I guess this is an error in the stl?

Henkbanaan on Mar 27, 2013 said:

Could you upload a new stl with 1 seperate big gear cornerpiece?

Gernreich on Mar 3, 2013 said:

The core is a truncated tetrahedron.

VengeanceWrought on Feb 23, 2013 said:

I printed with the given settings and natural PLA on a Replicator 2, and found it was much easier to assemble and operate with small blasts of silicon oil applied (I did the same thing when I printed the Makerbolt).

This is such a cool design! This is one of the first designs I saw that made me really want a printer.

Darrellandson on Jan 8, 2013 said:

The plate and pin files worked just fine for me! Had to use pliers but the fit was firm and positive. Printed in PLA (3 color changes) on a Replicator, 10% infill, 1 shell, 0.27mm layers with skin enabled. Came out great! See the patriotic picture to the left.

whpthomas on Jan 8, 2013 said:

Like the print Darrell, the colour change is really cool!

alexbaucom17 on Dec 30, 2012 said:

These pins still aren't working for me. They will hardly fit into the holes, even after scaling down and once they are in they certainly won't turn. Is this a sign that the other pieces are printed poorly or that my printer isn't calibrated as well as it should be?

I really like this model and it seems pretty straightforward, but nothing is fitting together for me. Any help would be appreciated.

whpthomas on Jan 8, 2013 said:

Sorry Alex, I am away from my computer and trying to post form my iPad, and somehow I ended up mixing up my posts.

In response to your problems, I have found that you really need to print with at least a 0.2 layer height. If this is no good, try slowing down your print speed to 40/80. Particularly for the pins. They really need to look like the black ones I printed in the picture. If they do, then just work them in. You may find that the holes are slightly oval, so the pins may only go in with the flat sides facing the narrow. then if you can get the pins in, turning the gears will burr the oval holes round, but only if there is enough play to get them to turn. Sorry you are having problems, my first cube pictured was just the default medium settings in makerware with a 0.2 layer height.

Anonymous on Jan 8, 2013 said:

Love the print Alex, the colour change is great!

cassetti on Dec 23, 2012 said:

Thanks! Printing the pins from this thing to use with the gears I printed from the original screwless cube. Everything has been scaled up by 125%, but the pins don't seem long enough. My cube keeps popping apart because the pins barely protrude from the gears themselves.

Note my printer is a home made prusa mendel i2 with no HBP so I'm using PLA exclusively. At least these pins fit nicer than the original pins, shame they aren't long enough, i'll try reprinting and stretching in the X axis to see if that helps

whpthomas on Dec 23, 2012 said:

I have made two of these, both without scaling and the pins worked fine for me. I used a 1:1 copy of the original pins dimensions, so I have no idea why they didn't work for you - other than maybe the scale you used was different to what you remember.

PropellerScience on Dec 21, 2012 said:

I've never tried the gear cubes in PLA, but now that you have these pins I think it would be great to have a translucent green one in PLA. Thanks!

Austin on Dec 21, 2012 said:

Interesting idea on the pin structure!

Just recently I had experimented with making a belt-clip that would not damage pajamas (long story). After a few iterations, the golden recipe for both strength and flexibility was to make sure the entire clip was two nozzle-widths wide so that no fill was needed (a wide test print without fill proved to still be rigid, but terribly brittle).

Hopefully I'll upload the design soon along with the whole goldilocks-lineup.

whpthomas on Dec 21, 2012 said:

As you point out the earlier pin experiment used a 2 skin wide flexible tab. They needed to be 0.5mm wide and have a 0.5mm gap between them and other surfaces to work. Much less than that and the gap would bridge and it wouldn't work well. It actually amazed me that I could print a flexible mechanical clip that small. Very interesting experiment nonetheless - an approach that may come in handy in the future.

whpthomas on Dec 21, 2012 said:

Its basically a parabola cutout on the inside, and an oval cutout on the outside with constant curves to smooth the edges. Seems to provide just enough flex while still maintaining the strength.

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