Hacklet 109 – Complex 3D Printed Projects

If you can’t tell, we’re on a roll with 3D printers and printed projects this month. So far, we’ve covered printers, and simple functional 3D prints. This week we’re taking a look at some of the awesome complex 3D printed projects on Hackaday.io.

Complex 3D printed projects are things like robots, quadcopters, satellite tracking systems, and more. So let’s jump in and look at some of the best complex 3D printed projects on Hackaday.io!

dtto2We start with [Alberto] and Dtto v1.0 Modular Robot. Dtto is [Alberto’s] entry in the 2016 Hackaday Prize. Inspired by Bruce Lee’s famous water quote, Dtto is a modular snake-like robot. Each section of Dtto is a double hinged joint. When two sections come together, magnets help them align. A servo controlled latch solidly docks the sections, which then work in unison. Dtto can connect and separate segments autonomously – no human required. [Alberto] sees applications for a robot like [Dtto] in search and rescue and space operations.


Next up is [Szabolcs Lőrincz] with Broke Hackers’ Model Railway. Anyone who’s read Steven Levy’s classic book ‘Hackers’ knows that model trains and hardware hacking go hand in hand. Unfortunately, model trains have gotten prohibitively expensive. Broke hackers’ model railway is the perfect solution. Nearly every part is 3D printed. The tracks are 3D printed sections with copper tape conductors. The locomotive has a 3D printed frame. Automated track switches use hand wound coils on 3D printed bobbins. This isn’t a dumb railway either – a Raspberry Pi controls the action, making sure the trains stay on time.

quadpodNext we have [Rob] with Quadrup3D, his 3D printed quadruped robot. Quadrup3D uses 12 beefy R/C style servos to move its four legs. An Arduino with a Bluetooth handles on-board processing. This robot is built from 25 individual 3D printed parts. From the center frame to the legs, just about every major structural piece has been spit out by an FDM desktop printer. [Rob] uses his  SpaceMouse Pro as a remote control unit. A laptop processes commands from the mouse and sends them to the robot. Using a control scheme like this allows [Rob] to quickly and easily experiment with different gaits and stances for his four legged friend.

lokiFinally we have [tlankford01] with LOKI 4G (Locate Observe Krack Isolate) 4th Gen. Who says you can’t 3D print your own drone? LOKI uses 3D printed parts for most of its major components. Carbon fiber rods act as the quad’s spine. Riding on these rods are 3D printed propeller guards, battery holder, and electronic enclosures. One of the most interesting parts is the 3D printed gimbal, used to stabilize aerial video. LOKI was used as a test mule for Project ICARUS, [tlankford01’s] poacher hunting 3D printed fixed wing drone.

If you want to see more awesome complex 3D printed projects, check out our new complex 3D printed projects list! If I missed your project, don’t be shy, just drop me a message on Hackaday.io. That’s it for this week’s Hacklet. As always, see you next week. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of Hackaday.io!

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