We have this #littleBits DC motor and it doesn’t come with a wheel… so I’ve wanted to make one using our 3D printer.
I read recently an article that makes a good point: in the short term future when 3D printers will be on everyone’s desk — much like the PC became a household item —there will be a new kind of literacy: design literacy i.e. can you get those machines to do something useful?
So I though I’d give it a try. It’s just a wheel… aka mostly a circle. How hard can it be? Right?
The shaft of the DC motor is D shaped. After googling I found the dimensions: it’s 3 mm wide. There is a cut, straight surfact — which makes it a D rather than an O. It’s 2mm wide.
My first try was using Tinkercad. It’s great, easy to use, online, simple CAD software. I was able to make the D shape. Set to 3mm.
I couldn’t get the whole to be exactly in the middle.
Printed it. It’s too tight. The shaft doesn’t fit. IT’s also a bit de-centered.
I thought it must be due to the thickness of the perimeter wall when printed.
…so I tried making it wider. 4mm.
It falls off.
It’s time to go nuclear on it.
As I recently found out Printrbot owner can now download this for free.
This is more hardcore CAD. I watched training videos for a full day before I was able to use it.
It also comes with it’s own slicer program, PrintStudio.
The results are terrific!
The moral of the story is not that I could make a wheel after trying 4 times.
It’s that there is a new kind of literacy: design literacy.
Remember how our parents’ generation struggled to learn to use Word and Excel, send an email or use Skype?
When there will be a sub 500$ manufacturing device in every home and office, and it will be multi-color, multi-material… some people will struggle.
Don’t let your kid be one of them!
Let your kid be the one who knows how to use these as it’s a great enabler.