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Piezoelectric Pneumatic Valve

by Ndrew, published

Piezoelectric Pneumatic Valve by Ndrew Feb 13, 2013
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Piezoelectric Pneumatic Valve by Ndrew is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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A prototype electric valve designed for printability. After it has been tested and tuned I'll probably redesign it for better airflow and faster printing.

Each time the piezo transducer is supplied current it should flex, idealy upward. This should allow a .1 mm gap between the bottom of the transducer and the top of the outlet 'cone', allowing the air to escape through the hole in the middle of the bottom half and out the side.

If all goes well I would like to use this to power my other thing:
Wobble Ring Stepping Motor.

Imagine: a steam powered reprap :P

I designed it around the 20mm wide piezo element sold by sparkfun:

For better printability, I borrowed whosawhatsis' teardrop hole code.

I am really wondering what kind of throughput I will get out of this, as the piezo flexes so little. Perhaps I will need a second larger valve that is opened by this one.

Any ideas on how to better seal the whole thing up so that it doesn't leak out the sides/top would be great.

This is my second thing, I hope it is at least interesting to look at. All advice welcome.


I have not done this yet but this is what I'd try first :P
I still don't have my printer yet, so I can't test it yet.

Print each half of the valve; piezoBase.stl and piezoTop.stl

Fill the "gasket groove" with hot glue to seal the outer edge. //plan to upgrade this later to a standard size gasket.

Insert a 20mm piezo transducer into its slot, feeding the wires up through the top air hole.

Seal the top hole were the wires exit, at the top of the valve with something like hot glue.

Screw together the 2 halves with 3 screws, clamping it shut.

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As far as a seal you could create a channel and raised flange to sit in the channel around the perimeter.

You're probably right, and I have finally a printer to test it. Here soon I'll try printing and updating the design.

I really don't think a piezo's going to flex enough.

I think you're right, but I'm holding onto the hope that when I do get to make one, I can try it out for myself and see. It's been while since I messed with this design but I think I was predicting about half a mm or stroke or so. Can't remember honestly. If it valves even just a little bit of air though, that air could open another, higher volume valve.

How about a normally-closed valve, with the piezo under tension by a screw? It might relax enough to let something through when activated. And adjustable tension would let you find just the right spot.

You know now that we're taking about adjustment screws, one could totally go in the bottom and up through the outlet hole. Activating the piezo would flex its middle down ward, hitting the screw, pushing the "rim" of the peizo up, opening up the edges! You're a friggen genius!

Pulsing it is a nugget of an idea too. The first activation may not have much stroke but the hundredth will, especially at resonating frequencies.