New Year, New Cool Parts printed at PADT

By: Pam Waterman
– January 29, 2022

Industrial 3D printing doesn’t have to be all about super practical jigs, fixtures and end-use parts, as impressive as those can be. Sometimes it helps to expand our vision of what’s possible either by printing cool parts we’ve found online (often at the Stratasys resource page) or by creating our own here in the 3D Printing support department at PADT. We thought it would be a good start to the new year to show them off, so here are our current favorites to inspire you, along with notes about their production.

Lens Cap Mechanical Iris

A few years ago, a clever Stratasys product-development customer designed and printed a camera-lens cover with an integrated, movable iris – a mechanical design that was only possible with FDM soluble support material. The customer even paused the print to insert a glass lens, then resumed the build (printed in black ASA) for the final layers. This is one of our favorite F370 printer files due to the “wow” response of people seeing the iris vanes open and close with a twist of the frame. (Part size: approximately 3 inches diameter, build time 2.5 hours.)

Stratasys FDM 3D printed camera lens-cover with integrated shutter-vanes. Printed in black ASA material. (Image courtesy Stratasys)
Stratasys FDM 3D printed camera lens-cover with integrated shutter-vanes. Printed in black ASA material. (Image courtesy Stratasys)

A Bolt … with an Easter Egg

It’s always fun when an interesting part displays a hidden surprise. That was the case with a little give-away model designed by PADT 3D Printing Application Engineer, Chase Wallace, to highlight the fine detail possible with prints on the Stratasys Origin One DLP resin printer. Chase designed what at first appears to be a nicely threaded polymer bolt with the PADT logo on its head and P3 (for Programmable PhotoPolymerization) on its base.

Bolt model printed on a Stratasys Origin One P3 printer in BASF ST45 resin. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Bolt model printed on a Stratasys Origin One P3 printer in BASF ST45 resin. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

But, with a little left-handed screw action, you find the threaded section is actually a sleeve, itself threaded, internally…

The bolt is actually a two-piece assembly: there is a reverse-threaded sleeve. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
The bolt is actually a two-piece assembly: there is a reverse-threaded sleeve. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

…revealing an inner tab embossed with the Origin One label and PADT logo.

Inside the Origin One bolt sample is a tab with crisply printed logos.    (Images courtesy PADT Inc.)
Inside the Origin One bolt sample is a tab with crisply printed logos. (Images courtesy PADT Inc.)

We printed several hundred of these in BASF ST45 resin on our Origin printer. Each build produced either 32 or 24 parts, needing no support structures, in a little over two hours.

Mini-Arizona Panorama PolyJet Part

Coming up with a sample part that shows off multiple capabilities of a single printer can be a challenge, but AE Chase was also up to this task highlighting our J55 PolyJet printer, with another giveaway part.

This printer deposits millions of droplets of liquid resin (CMYK, white, clear, elastomer and more), producing parts in full color with texture and internal details. This little part is like a folding picture-frame, showing the company logo and printer model number on the front/back “covers” plus an Arizona sunset and a textured pattern on the hinged inside. (Printed open/flat, the part is about 3.7 by 0.8 by 0.5 inches; 28 parts fit on a single J55 build and print in 6.75 hours.)

Color plus clear plus texture plus an Arizona sunset - print them all on a Stratasys J55 PolyJet 3D printer, and make the part a hinged assembly, too. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Color plus clear plus texture plus an Arizona sunset – print them all on a Stratasys J55 PolyJet 3D printer, and make the part a hinged assembly, too. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Bento Box Personalized Gift

Lastly, we brought together the versatility of two different Stratasys technologies in a design we created to celebrate the recent retirement of a PADT co-worker. Wanting a gift that would be both fun and functional, we chose a Bento box concept with three layers of trays that nest snugly onto each other. The lid and front panels (produced on the J55 PolyJet printer) offered space for colorful artistic customization, then we printed the trays in a matching ABS on an F370 FDM system.

Custom Bento-style jewelry box, 3D printed using two different Stratasys technologies: FDM (three trays) and PolyJet (lid and front facades). (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Custom Bento-style jewelry box, 3D printed using two different Stratasys technologies: FDM (three trays) and PolyJet (lid and front facades). (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Each layer included a recessed area on the front, where we inserted J55-printed facades with text, years of service and the PADT logo, using custom colors to match the ivory filament. Since the fine 0.007-inch FDM layers made it easy to also print a visible texture, we incorporated a scrollwork-and-strawberry motif on the sides.

Side view of layered box, printed with embossed strawberry swirl pattern on a Stratasys F370 FDM printer (ABS). (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Side view of layered box, printed with embossed strawberry swirl pattern on a Stratasys F370 FDM printer (ABS). (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

Inside each layer, it was easy to create removable, FDM dividers.

Removable 3D printed dividers make this jewelry box extra versatile.      (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
Removable 3D printed dividers make this jewelry box extra versatile. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

And for the box lid, we found a freeware DXF scroll pattern, imported it as an editable sketch file in SolidWorks and extruded it as a cut-out overlay. We then assigned a rich aqua color to the background layer (HEX #40e0d0) and a light ivory (HEX #f7f0d2) to the overlay and frame. The final touch was a customized oval nameplate that incorporated a discrete red strawberry as the dot of the “i.” Of course, the entire lid was printed as a single piece. (Part size 7.5 by 4.5 inches; print time 6.8 hours.)

The personalized PolyJet jewelry-box lid features a recessed floral cut-out pattern in ivory, with a background layer of deep aqua, all printed as a single part. Forming the dot of the "i" with a red strawberry added a final touch of color. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)
The personalized PolyJet jewelry-box lid features a recessed floral cut-out pattern in ivory, with a background layer of deep aqua, all printed as a single part. Forming the dot of the “i” with a red strawberry added a final touch of color. (Image courtesy PADT Inc.)

If you have a clever CAD model that just begs to be 3D printed, we’re here to help.

PADT Inc. is a globally recognized provider of Numerical Simulation, Product Development and 3D Printing/3D Scanning products and services. For more information on Stratasys printers and materials, contact us at info@padtinc.com.

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