Google Cardboard/VR Headset

Google Cardboard is a new, innovative way to experience a virtual reality for under $10. Your smart phone is placed in this headset, and when the phone is in an app designed for Google Cardboard, the app displays two images. With the help of lenses, the Cardboard makes the image look 3D. As you move your head around, the phone will also move the image, resulting in a virtual reality. I found this design on Thingiverse and decided to print it. The main print took around 23 hours to print.

What the headset look liked from the back before spray painting. I accidentally put weathering strip on before realized I needed to darken the inside(oops!).

What the headset look liked from the back before spray painting. I accidentally put weathering strip on before realized I needed to darken the inside(oops!).

The final headset without the phone inside. I used an old ski mask strap on the back and got the lenses from an old science kit's magnifying glass.

The final headset without the phone inside. I used an old ski mask strap on the back and got the lenses from an old science kit's magnifying glass.

The lens holder after printing. The string in between the blocks is most likely due to the printer nozzle being too hot and allowing plastic to drip while traveling between the part. Although the print turned out fine, next time I will use a lower temperature for Amphora.

The lens holder after printing. The string in between the blocks is most likely due to the printer nozzle being too hot and allowing plastic to drip while traveling between the part. Although the print turned out fine, next time I will use a lower temperature for Amphora.

The headset after spray painting the inside black.

The headset after spray painting the inside black.

Incorporating 3D Printing in My Modded RC Car

Taking apart the RC car and saving the motor, circuit board, and battery holder.

Taking apart the RC car and saving the motor, circuit board, and battery holder.

Initially attaching the Popsicle stick legs. The brass tube was loose, eventually causing the legs to jitter back and forth.

Initially attaching the Popsicle stick legs. The brass tube was loose, eventually causing the legs to jitter back and forth.

The finished robot with Popsicle stick legs. This was especially pleasing since the printed gear work rather well. Unfortunately, The galvanized wire and Popsicle sticks caused the robot to be tediously hobbling back and forth.

The finished robot with Popsicle stick legs. This was especially pleasing since the printed gear work rather well. Unfortunately, The galvanized wire and Popsicle sticks caused the robot to be tediously hobbling back and forth.

My new parts can be found here. I will test them and update on my progress. So far I have successfully printed new legs and feet. I need a body to mount the short arms to, and then I will be able to test the robots walking capabilities.

Here is the robot after the parts were attached! The movement was more reliable, and it moved in a smoother pattern.

I took an RC car apart and used the motor to create a walking robot. This video provided some useful information on getting started with this project. It showed me how to structure the legs and use the axle, which normally would have wheels, to walk. However, the dc motor I found had a different structure and axle, so I created my own. My car was also bigger and heavier. This prompted me to create my own 3D printed version of this car-robot. Once I had gotten the robot to function, I incorporated 3D printing to improve the robot's strength and reliability.

The motor. The screws will turn the legs when the controller switch is pushed forward or backwards. The top gear is 3D printed. It has 32 teeth like the other gear, however the inner hole has a diameter of 2mm. This allows the axle(which is made of a coat hanger) to be thinner and fit into the gold terminal blocks. There are also rings with the diameter of the former axle and a hole with the new axle. This prevents the gear from moving when the motor is running.

The motor. The screws will turn the legs when the controller switch is pushed forward or backwards. The top gear is 3D printed. It has 32 teeth like the other gear, however the inner hole has a diameter of 2mm. This allows the axle(which is made of a coat hanger) to be thinner and fit into the gold terminal blocks. There are also rings with the diameter of the former axle and a hole with the new axle. This prevents the gear from moving when the motor is running.

The Popsicle sticks function as the legs. The shorter one is mounted to the side of the robot and the longer one is attached to the axle. Because of former modifications(oops), I had to glue another side so the shorter Popsicle stick could mount to the robot. I also had to dremel out a hole because the new suspended axle caused the gear to pop out a bit.

The Popsicle sticks function as the legs. The shorter one is mounted to the side of the robot and the longer one is attached to the axle. Because of former modifications(oops), I had to glue another side so the shorter Popsicle stick could mount to the robot. I also had to dremel out a hole because the new suspended axle caused the gear to pop out a bit.

Shown below is a video displaying how the robot ran at first. It was floppy and couldn't move in a straight line. However, the gear, axle, and bearings were functioning flawlessly. With the recently acquired knowledge I now have, I am currently designing a 3D printed version of this robot. Using a strong plastic, Amphora, I can incorporate a more precise model, and hopefully use less hot glue!

Because of the Popsicle sticks and brass tube for legs, this was extremely... floppy. I worked on 3D printed parts to make this more precise.

These are the new legs and feet. They are more relatively proportional and smoother. I have held up an old leg to compare the roughness of the old leg. The feet snap in to the legs, so if I encounter a problem with them I won't have to keep reprinting legs.

These are the new legs and feet. They are more relatively proportional and smoother. I have held up an old leg to compare the roughness of the old leg. The feet snap in to the legs, so if I encounter a problem with them I won't have to keep reprinting legs.

My Own Designs and Prints

By tugging the loose end of the string, the light goes on or off.

By tugging the loose end of the string, the light goes on or off.

A modded RC car motor. I designed the gear, legs, and feet. The printed legs replace the Popsicle stick with brass tube.

A modded RC car motor. I designed the gear, legs, and feet. The printed legs replace the Popsicle stick with brass tube.

I have just recently started designing very basic models to print on a free program called TinkerCad. The very first thing I designed was a block that screwed into a light-switch panel. On the block was a loop in which a sting would go through. The string was mounted at the top of the panel and ran through the loop over the light switch button. The string was then routed through my room to my bed, where I could pull on a handle I designed to turn off my lights whilst in bed.

The downloads for my designs can be found here.

The handle for the light switch. The top loop broke off and had to be glued on.

The handle for the light switch. The top loop broke off and had to be glued on.

New Prints and Modifications

The more successful prints.

The more successful prints.

The latest problem I have encountered is the streaks of burned plastic sometimes found on my finished prints. I believe this is due to an aluminum heating block and a brass nozzle and pipe. The aluminum expands more than the brass when heating up, and the melted plastic runs down on the top of the aluminum block. This is not only annoying to clean every print, but the print can also contain some of this unwanted plastic if the print takes long enough for more melted plastic to form. A possible solution is getting a brass heating block.

A lot of new things have been printed, and even more prints have failed. Some key points I have learned so far:

  • Always double check the orientation before printing (oops!)
  • Use supports when overhangs are present
  • If the print is stringy, increase retraction and decrease acceleration
  • Use a thin layer of glue on the heated bed if the print comes off during printing

Some of the more successful prints include a Superb Owl, a sheep, and some buildings in Paris(left).

An example of melted plastic appearing on a print of a Model T.

An example of melted plastic appearing on a print of a Model T.

The First Prints

The first print on the Ultimaker!

The first print on the Ultimaker!

Printing an iPhone 5 case.

Printing an iPhone 5 case.

The first few prints were printed by USB with the printed hooked up to the computer. Our very first print was an Ultimaker Robot. It printed, but the layers were uneven and the hands lacked support in the file we found, but overall this print was successful in the sense that it made the shape of a robot. We played with the settings, but we still lacked the desired qualities of the robot.

The results of the first print. There were uneven layers, and the hands barely took shape.

The results of the first print. There were uneven layers, and the hands barely took shape.

The next thing I wanted to print was a phone case. About halfway the plastic stopped coming out but the printer still went through the motions of printing the layers. This puzzled me, and I tried other prints, only to find the same pattern of stopping halfway. The problem was soon found to be with the extrude mechanism. The plastic went through, but the lever was put on loosely and not popped in place, so there was no pressure on the plastic once it reached a certain point in the print. Once this was fixed, the prints went much smoother, and I could now work with the options involving nozzle and bed temperature, retraction, and acceleration.

Connecting the Electronics

All of the motors and limit switches on the inside of the printer ran through sleeves in the corner and eventually into holes leading to the bottom of the printer. The circuit board was mounted onto the underside of the printer, and all of the wires were plugged in and neatly wrapped up in Velcro loops. The Ultimaker control panel was assembled and placed on the front of the printer, and the wire from the controller was connected to the circuit board. This completed the building portion of the printer.

The front of the printer after the build was complete!

The front of the printer after the build was complete!

 

 

The wires and circuit board on the underside of the printer.

The wires and circuit board on the underside of the printer.

Z Axis and Material Feeder

The Z motor was mounted on the bottom of the printer and stuck through close to the back panel. Two other bars guided the heated bed to prevent the bed from moving when the motor turns. After the bed had been mounted, the material feeder was the last thing that needed to be built. Once put together, it was mounted on the outside of the back panel, right next to where the plastic would hang.

The Z motor in between the Z axis bars. The heated bed will move down as the printer prints.

The Z motor in between the Z axis bars. The heated bed will move down as the printer prints.

The material feeder has a screw on the left side that controls the pressure on the plastic as it travels through and the motor connected to the feeder controls how fast the material is pushed through into the extrusion head. A white tube was put around all the wires to keep them together.

The heated bed has knobs to adjust the height of the bed and distance from the nozzle.

The heated bed has knobs to adjust the height of the bed and distance from the nozzle.

The material feeder mounted to the back of the printer with blue PLA plastic feeding through.

The material feeder mounted to the back of the printer with blue PLA plastic feeding through.

The Extrusion Head

The frame of the extrusion head with the linear bearings.

The frame of the extrusion head with the linear bearings.

The layered parts of the extrusion head.

The layered parts of the extrusion head.

The extrusion head was then placed on the rest of the printer and the axes ran through the linear bearings and fit into the slider blocks. I was then able to move the extrusion head around easily and smoothly.

Building the extrusion head started with attaching the brass nozzle to the aluminum heating block. The frame of the extrusion head was made with wood and screwed together. Two linear bearings were placed through the middle of the frame. This is where the axes will run through. The cartridge heater and PT100 were then placed in the aluminum heater block. The fan was then attached along with the fan duct, and everything was secured with self tapping bolts. All the cords ran through the top of the extrusion head. 

The extrusion head without the fan duct.

The extrusion head without the fan duct.

The extrusion head placed on the rest of the frame

The extrusion head placed on the rest of the frame

Assembling the X/Y Axes

The slider blocks with their corresponding panel labelled.

The slider blocks with their corresponding panel labelled.

The last step to building the axes was to actually place the rods in and connect the motors and axes using belts as pictured on the right. This was challenging in the next step because the slider blocks were upside down and couldn't hold the printer head effectively.

Building the axes started out with assembling the slider blocks pictured to the left. These are placed on the axes and slide back and forth to hold and guide the printer head. The claw on the slider is pressed on a belt that moves with the motors. The axes bar goes through the hole in the middle of each slider block.

The back right corner after putting the axes in and attaching the belts.

The back right corner after putting the axes in and attaching the belts.

Unboxing and Frame

Unboxing the 3D printer!

Unboxing the 3D printer!

These are the panels for the frame and some parts for the heated bed. We were given one screwdriver and one Allen wrench.

These are the panels for the frame and some parts for the heated bed. We were given one screwdriver and one Allen wrench.

The printer arrived in hundreds of parts. The first thing I built was the frame which was made of laser cut wood. We were given one screwdriver and one Allen wrench. Making the frame was relatively simple. We then put in the ball bearings, limit switches, X and Y motor, and lastly attached the bottom panel to the frame. This completed the frame section of the instructions.

The front of the printer once the ball bearings, X and Y motors, limit switches, and panels were attached.

The front of the printer once the ball bearings, X and Y motors, limit switches, and panels were attached.