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Printing car tools

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    Printing car tools

    I don't know anything about 3D printing. I don't even have a 3D printer. I ordered one recently and cancelled it within hours after reading about various problems with the materials. But I haven't quite given up my original ideas of printing some car tools. The tools I need will be subject to compression force of 500kg to 2000kg in an area of 50x50mm to 100x100mm. Can I have some views on how likely the solid filled PLA or ABS plastic will withstand the force? When these materials fail, do they shatter explosively, or do they simply get flattened incrementally? In one usage scenario, I need to apply force on a solid semi-sphere along its central axis.

    if you can picture something like a Hockey Puck 60mm dia & taller to 50mm tall as a cylinder.... this part with a 50% infill will definitely support 500kg
    I print 80% infill block to lift my Audi TT & BMW X5 on the sill seams..... I print 100 x 80 rectangular blocks with a 10mm slot to accept the sill seam....
    I also lay some 5mm rubber on the flat surfaces of the part
    to make it less likely to dent the sills.... The same concept can be used to print jack adapter lift extensions etc.
    If you printed a cylinder ala Coffee Mug size, this will support a large car for sure.
    The failure mode or gouging chunks out of it will only occur if the printed part is subject to sharp edges or shearing actions.

    For spacers for gearboxes, jacking extensions etc, the printed ABS will be best as it is stronger yet also les brittle than PLA.
    ABS will not shatter, unless under -2'C & sharp guillotining action applied to it.
    The 2000kg weight will only deface the cosmetic edges/surface with pitting or scrapes from metal edges applied.

    If a block of wood will do the job, so will ABS...... but the ABS will not have a sheering grain weakness.


      Thanks GrantB. ABS was my material of choice before I read about the warping and delamination. I absolutely do not like the latter (although both are related) because that introduces hidden weakness. For simple toys, that's not a problem. But for load bearing parts, that's too risky for me. What you said does give the impression that printed plastic is capable of bearing some load. My load requirement is 500kg to 1000kg. I mentioned 2000kg purely for safety margin only.

      I have researched further and believe water boiled printed-PLA is probably the best way forward, once the resulting shrinkage is taken into acount in the print design. Without knowing if it's possible, I suspect printing layers in different orientations (engineering fibre board style, aka plywood) will increase strength further.

      I now feel more confident of being able to print something useful. Thanks for your help. I could do with some good sources of cheap PLA. I don't suppose you know any?
      Last edited by PrintTools; 11-05-2018, 02:01 PM.


        To add some idle speculation, I believe cooking printed PLA in a pressure cooker could produce some interesting effects on the material strength. The water will reach around 125C with the steam being hotter. I don't believe the temperature will be hot enough to completely melt the PLA, but good enough to reform the bonding between the printed threads.


          I'm not sure about that. PLA will start to deform in ambient temperatures of 35C and above.

          You might want to investigate PET-G which has superior inter-layer bonding. It is more elastic than ABS or PLA but more durable.


            neildarlow, thanks for your comment. At least according to youtube, water boiled, aka annealed, PLA appears to have a heat performance of 180C. If the shrinkage from annealling is uniform, PLA should work. But, I am just shooting from the dark. I still have neither a printer nor PLA. The cost of materials is a deterrence. I expect a lot of wastage from experimentation. Making stuff from wood now appears more appealing.


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