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Bellowed Air Piston (100% printable)

by Ndrew, published

Bellowed Air Piston (100% printable) by Ndrew Feb 15, 2013
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1589Views 294Downloads Found in Engineering


Just an idea for a printable piston I thought I'd jot down. It is designed to be printed without infill. The render is a cutaway, to show the bellows.

I hope this little thing extends downward as it is inflated from the top. Probably not much of a stroke until it is tuned properly.

I would like to use this thing to make a "pneumatic stepper motor" like my other thing:

Any feedback is welcome.


Print with no infill.

I have not printed this for I have no printer to do so (yet!) but would be very grateful to anyone who posts feedback on this quick print.

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I was looking for a bellows and saw this. I printed it at %10 size which is 60mm in diameter and 92mm tall. I had no idea what would happen, so I just used the natural PLA in my machine at the time. Ok, it doesn't move at all, the PLA is too stiff. The model worked well, though. except at %10 size the air port at the top closed up and needs to be drilled out.

I might try ABS. I haven't got any ninjaflex which it might need..

I think for a bellows it might be better to print the cylinder and piston, but provide a rubber or silicone airchamber for the flexing part in the middle.

You might want to try this thing to make your PLA flexible: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:98268. I have no idea if it works or not but it looks interesting.

I wish I had more time to experiment with it.

Making your PLA prints FLEXIBLE V2 (and ABS smoothing!)

Yeah, I would have to try it, but from looking at his video it would not be flexible enough.

I also might have had the slicer set on 4 shells. Which is probably too many.

Other problems I see are that the bellows needs to be airtight, and any 3d print with only 1 shell is likely to not be airtight.

I went and bought a bellows type bathroom plunger ($5) and printed a plug with air ports to go in the end of it, that will work to the extent I need it too. Although it is made from some plastic and not rubber, so I will need to add something to seal it to my plug. Just a hose clamp cranked tight is not sealing tight.

In Conclusion, to print a bellows will take experimentation with slicer settings and material. I think it has possibilities, but anything that is going to last will need to be rubber or polyurethene or something.