Printable chain was designed for easy printing and quick assembly, but also to be integrated into any project that needs a drive chain. Printable chain is surprisingly strong, withstanding 20 lbs of pull force before breaking, yet fast and easy to print. All that is needed is 3mm or 1.75mm filament to act as the pin, and a round file in case the holes turn out a little misshapen.
Printing the chain is pretty straight forward. I slowed my speeds by about 25% and first layer speeds by 50%. Printing at 200 microns, the chain may not look as good, but is mechanical sound and much faster. Printing at 100 microns required a 250% first layer height for the print to stick. Printed the chain with abs @ 245c on 100c pei.
While testing the strength of the chain, I was able to safely suspend a 15 lb weight with 1 strand of chain without any bending or cracking. Pulling 20 lbs with 1 strand after about 5 seconds resulted in failure. Safe working load is around 10~15 lbs with 1 strand of chain. Hooking the chain into a loop resulted in more strength, breaking at 40 LBS. Safe load with loop of chain being around 20~30 lbs. Surprisingly, the 1.75mm chain held up better in terms of strength, but not as smooth.
I have designed the sprockets to be a universal fit for most small motors with shafts ranging from ~3-8mm. The sprockets use M3 screws and nuts. Simply glue the nut in place and drill out center hole to fit your motor shaft. The sprockets print to fit a 3mm shaft but can be drilled larger. If drilling is required, set your slicer to 5 or more outline shells so no infill is exposed. The sprockets are 10, 15 and 20 tooth but I will be uploading more sizes.
Any suggestions are welcome. Happy printing
The tolerances on the chain are tight, but most printers should be able to print just fine. Cut filament into ~15mm pieces. The width of the chain is 14mm but a little extra does not hurt. A file may be needed to make the holes round, but the inner hole should not need much. The filament needs to fit snugly into the inner hole, but move freely in the outer holes. If the filament happens to come out, a little glue in the inner hole should do the trick.