FlexMesh 1.0 -- Flexible Chainmail Mesh
by neobobkrause, published
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Update: Now check out FlexMesh 2.0 which takes FlexMesh to the next level.
FlexMesh suggests a few interesting ways to think outside the box when designing for today's 3D printers.
- Plastic is fairly rigid, but with the proper geometry some objects printed with plastic can be flexible, durable and strong.
- Flat shapes can be folded to form tall objects, and tall shapes can be flattened to great lengths.
- The build area of your printer is 2D, but the build volume is 3D.
- Your printer's build volume only confines the size of your print jobs, not the full size of your project.
Suggest other ways we can overcome the limits of 3D printing today.
Makerbot slicers are now supported for single-layer meshes.
- TriSphere is another flexible mesh pattern worth exploring.
Makerbot and Simplify3D slicers has been successfully used to print these shapes. All prints have only been done using ABS on FlashForge printers with a layer height of 0.2mm, 2 shells and a 10% infill. The longest length mesh printed so far is about 8.5 feet. (This 147mm tall print consumed almost 2kg of filament and took a FlashForge Creator X 200 hours to complete.) Filaments used to produce flexible and durable joints include Octave and Zen Toolworks.
Simple dimensional drawings have been uploaded that show the individual shapes of the mesh as well as the dimensions of various useful shape combinations. The mesh was intentionally designed for easy manipulation. All the flat shapes are 6.75mm tall. Both the large and small shapes (which are called 'main' and 'sub', respectively) repeat every 25mm in both the X and Y dimensions. Successive vertical layers of fabric are always 7mm above the layer below. The 'short sub' shape (which is 14mm tall) is used to connect Main objects of adjacent layers.
Single layer meshes are printed without a raft or supports. However multi-layer jobs require that big supports be manually added below every Short Sub part using Simplify3D's super-handy manual-supports feature of Simplify3D. Support for multi-layer prints using Makerbot slicers is still being worked on.
Joints should rotate immediately after printing, though unusually stiff joints should be allowed to cool in order to reduce the chance of a peg shearing. A small tool head wiggled and wedged in between the corners of a main should all that's necessary to separate vertical layers of mesh.
Larger meshes are constructed by using pegs to join a Main to a Sub. Note that the last few millimeters of one end of a peg has a slightly larger diameter in order to keep the peg seated in the Main. Snips can be used to trim the length of a peg if it sticks out further than desired.
Have fun and please take the time to submit remixes for the benefit of all.
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FlexMesh 1.0 -- Flexible Chainmail Mesh by neobobkrause is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike license.
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- You must attribute (give credit) to the creator of this Thing.
- You must distribute Remixes under the same license as the original.
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