3D Printed Hydrofoil Ready To Laminate

After a lot of printer time, the Hydrofoil is finally all printed and glued together. The mast, fuselage and wings are still separated for laminating although the mast and fuselage will be laminated in carbon cloth together for strength. The wings will be bolted on so they can be changed if needed.

3D Printed Hydrofoil/Kitefoil

The total weight of all the printed parts is 952g so just under one reel of PLA filament or around £20 worth. Not bad!

I did a few test prints etc, so the total filament used will be a little more. I’ll get the resin and carbon cloth in a week or so ūüôā

Electric Surfboard hydrofoil update

The printing of the electric surfboard hydrofoil is progressing well.  I have now printed the front and rear wings, fuselage and the mast is on the printer at the moment.

Hydrofoil Fuselage Printing
Hydrofoil Fuselage Printed

 

I wanted to make some changes to the foils design so that the power cables to the motor could be run down through the mast.  I have never experimented with any CAD software but thought I would give it a try.

“Hiorth” from the Endless Sphere forum got in touch and suggested that I try an online CAD service called Onshape.

It took a few Youtube tutorials but I managed to add a nice oval hole down the centre of the mast. ¬†I didn’t go all the way down as we will be coming in either out the back or the side of the mast above the rear wing with the motor mount. ¬†I’ll just use a soldering iron to make the final hole through to the main wiring channel. ¬†You can see the outline of the hole in yellow on the image below.

Kitefoil Mast 3D Rendering

I printed a test piece to make sure it worked ok.  The part is still very strong.

Kitefoil Mast Test Piece

The mast was then cut into 6 parts for printing.  First three are still going on the printer.  1.75mm white PLA with 20% cubic infill.  The cubic infill is both very strong but its also a little like closed cell foam so if the hydrofoil does get damaged, water should not be able to ingress far.

Kitefoil Mast Printing

I’ll start assembling all the parts soon and get ready to laminate them in carbon.

3DLabPrint Spitfire – Maiden flight, rather spectacular finish

After setting everything up per the instructions there was no excuse but to get the plane in the air (or at least attempt to).

You can view the maiden flight here,

If you watch to the end you will see the rather heavy crash. ¬†It looked pretty mangled but amazingly it was just a few printed parts that needed to be replaced. ¬†The prop, motor, ESC, servo’s etc, were all fine.

I printed the replacement parts over night.  I had run out of grey filament so the replacement parts are all in white.

3DLabPrint Spitfire repaired after the crash

Next time round I will be trimming it carefully. ¬†I’m pretty new to RC planes though, this thing felt 10 times quicker than the foam AXN Floater Jet I started with.

Amazing that something like this can be printed at home.  Kudos to the team at 3DLabPrint for their amazing designs.

Can’t get fresher than this!

During the last inspection the children saw how much honey the bees were putting away in the supers so we decided to take a frame out and enjoy some fresh honey for breakfast :-).

Honey straight from the frame

Very happy children!  The frame also got taken in for a show and tell session at the local infant school.  The whole class was fascinated and asked a lot of questions (luckily staying within my very limited knowledge).

3D Printed Hydrofoil

A friend and I had been looking for a project and after deciding an electric motorbike was just going to be too expensive to build he came up with the genius idea of an electric surfboard.  There are a lot of these coming onto the market now and they seem to be either water jet pump powered or more interestingly hydrofoil boards like the eFoil

eFoil

We started researching the water jet pump versions first.  The pumps themselves seem to be similar to commercial ones you can buy from the likes of MHZ Watercraft

Jet 58 Booster
MHZ Watercraft Jet

But at over 500 Euro for one (we might need two) it was going to get very expensive. Add on top the motors, speed controllers, batteries etc and the electric motorbike may have been a cheaper project!  Boards retail at over $10,000.  They do look nice though, Onean have one coming out.

The challenge is that you need a lot of power and so the ride times can be as low as 20 minutes.

It could still be a lot of fun so I hunted around for a 3D printable jet pump of sufficient size that we could use.  Looking around I came across this design by Toto44 on Cult3D for $12.

Water Jet pump 3D model, toto44
3D Printed Water Jet Pump

It took quite a while to get the settings and supports right to print the pieces (trying to minimise the use of supports) but I now have all the main pieces printed.  It has a 65mm impeller so quite large and comparable to the MHZ Jet Pumps.  It weighs next to nothing.  No idea if it would be strong enough yet, I have ordered the shaft and need to get the bearings and shaft seal ordered before I can test.  The parts came out really well though using PLA.

3D Water Jet Pump

I’ll write up another post when I get the rest of the parts and can test it.

In the meantime looking at the Hydrofoil boards, there was a great thread on the Endless Sphere forums here.

Pacificmeister came up with a working board although it did require a gearbox. ¬†He used a commercial foil and a lot of 3D printed parts although he hasn’t yet shared those plans. ¬†Looks great though,

Not wanting to spend a fortune on a foil though I want to see if there were plans that could be adapted for 3D printing with a view to then laminating in carbon fibre cloth over the print.  Much easier that designing the moulds.

Luckily there were such plans available here on Grabcad.  Looks very good and better still he has made one that works.

Kiteboard Hydrofoil

So I downloaded the CAD files and exported to an STL file in OpenSCAD.  Once I had that I could split and then cut the parts in Slic3R.

That gave me parts of a workable size to start printing.

Foil Rear Wing

I have the front and rear wings now printed and the fuselage is printing at the moment. ¬†All in white PLA with 15-20% infill. ¬†I’ll work out how much filament it will have taken at the end but it will likely be around ¬£20 worth of filament.

Foil wings

Next stage will be to join the parts with CA (superglue) and think about laminating them in carbon.

The motor and propeller is still being researched so lots more to follow.

 

3DLabPrint Spitfire

I have a couple of foam RC planes but the Prusa i3 MK2S came with a set of files from 3DLabPrint for an RC Spitfire.

This seemed like a good test for the printer so I started to print a few of the files.  They came pre-configured for the printer so it was just a matter of adding them to the SD card.

I was using the reel of silver PLA that came with the printer.

Control Surfaces

The files come with multiple parts on the same print, already laid out.

Finished Control Surfaces

The quality of the prints was amazing and the designs by 3DLabPrint have an incredible amount of detail.

Nose Cone
Nose Cone Structure

The nose cone for example has a very complex airframe structure.

Wings

The wings have ribs like a traditional airframe and a very thin skin.  There is even a tube running down the centre for the servo leads.

All Spitfire Parts

All the parts were finally printed and ready to assemble.  You just join together with CA glue (Superglue).  The videos 3DLabPrint publish on Youtube take you through the whole construction process.

And finally the plane is done, electronics fitted and ready to fly.  It has just under a metre wingspan.  The tolerances on the parts are very tight.  I had some slight lifting of parts on the bed, mainly the larger wing actions but by adjusting the settings I was able to avoid this although I had to re-print the two larger wing sections.

Finished Spitfire

I added a couple of 3rd party printed parts from users on Thingiverse,

The rest of the components I just used the recommended ones from 3DLabPrint.

I’ll let you know how the first flight went on the next post!

Getting into 3D Printing

I had been keen to try out 3D printing for quite a while and finally took the plunge and ordered the Prusa i3 MK2S.

http://www.prusaprinters.org

Their printers get great reviews and I really like the ethos of their very open community.  There is a long waiting list for the kit version but it finally arrived after about 6 weeks.  The kit version is a lot cheaper but you would need to be confident you can put it together.

Prusa i3 MK2S kit

There are a lot of parts but luckily the manual is fantastic, probably one of the best I have ever seen and I do a lot of product documentation work for a living.

The hardest part is the first section building up the axis to mount the hot bed on.

Prusa i3Mk2S hot bed frame

You really need to get this square and level but once you are there the rest of the construction gets a lot easier.  Once you put together the z-axis and connect the frame to the base it all starts to take shape.

Prusa i3 MK2S Z-Axis

The hot end is a little fiddly to pout together as the little nuts kept dropping out but again the manual is excellent and guides you around the common pitfalls. ¬†The only mistakes I made were using bolts of the wrong size at times and having to swap them. ¬†There isn’t much difference between an 18mm bolt and a 20mm one so best to measure them!

Wiring it all up is a little tight, its best to check and double check everything.

Prusa i3 MK2S Wiring

Finally it was together and time to run the calibration process.

Completed Prusa i3 MK2S Kit

There is a great video to help you through the calibration process and the printer also guides you through it.  It takes quite a while but luckily I had put everything together correctly and it worked well.  I just had to live adjust the z-axis height to get the first layer height down correctly.  This is part of the tuning menu.

Nervously it was time to actually print something.  The included SD card comes with a range of objects already configured for the printer so I went for the Prusa logo as suggested in the video.

3D Printed Prusa Logo

It turned out well!

Prusa Logo

Its pretty amazing seeing it build up items on the bed.  Confident now that everything was working I decided to leap into a more complicated project and print a 3DLabPrint RC Spitfire plane!

That will be another post ūüôā

Overall the printer has exceeded expectations and was running almost constantly in the first week after I got it. ¬†There are cheaper (and much more expensive) models out there but I have no experience with those so can’t only comment on the Prusa.

If you are confident with a few basic tools and can follow instructions then you can definitely out together the kit version yourself.

Garage Roof Apiary – Almost A Disaster

We have wanted bees for a while now and after taking an evening theory course with Meon Valley Bee Keepers (click here for their website) and then starting a practical course it was time.  The big question though was where to put the hive?

Something that was appealing was the garage roof.  We have a large double garage and it has a very gentle slope on it.  The roof was strong enough and after discussing it with my father in-law (who kindly supplied my bees) we decided to go for it.

Bees seemingly enjoy being higher up (20ft is where they can be found building up their colonies in trees) and a big advantage is that they will fly off at the height they start at until they need to avoid an obstruction (fences, trees etc.) or come down to forage.  So, it seemed a great spot and would have sun most of the day.

The big issue was that the only access at the time was via a step ladder.  Not ideal in a bee suit while trying to carry a bee hive or tools etc.  The first step was to get access to the roof and to make sure it was sturdy enough to carry hives up and down as required plus access for fellow bee keepers and the family.  So, with permission from my wife Louise to build across the herb bed, the steps were constructed.  First the platform to cross the path,

Platform across the herb bed

And then the steps themselves under construction,

Apiary steps under construction

And the finished steps.  Have to thank my father Peter here, he helped put them together.  Thanks dad!

 

The finished apiary steps

The next stage was to build a safety barrier around the end of the roof.  The children and others would be up there so I wanted to make sure there was at least a visual barrier to stop people stepping off the roof.  I did not want to risk putting any holes into the roof so it would have to be free standing.  I was also very tempted to add a fireman pole should a quick escape be required but that would have to wait.

The solution was to use some trellis.  This would also give the bees a little protection from the wind and make the hives a little less obvious.  Not an issue but they would really have stood out just sat on the roof without anything around them.

A delivery later and a few hours work resulted in a nice barrier to the front and side of the hives.

Apiary Trellis

It all looked rather nice and you could barely see the bees coming and going from the front of the house.

However, disaster struck a week or two later.  It was forecast to be very windy (40mph gusts) so I got organised and strapped down the hives to the stands and ensured there were a lot of weights on the L-shaped supporting brackets for the trellis.  It was also attached to the house at one end.  It all felt very sturdy.

Well half way through the day when the wind really picked up my wife and I heard a huge crash.  My first thought was that the hives had toppled over.  We rushed up the steps and what had happened was that the trellis had been pushed back by the wind, one panel coming loose (the crash) and then the whole connected wall of trellis had pushed up against the hive stands and pushed everything back around 6 feet.

The garage roof is quite smooth so even weighted down everything just slid.  The trellis although full of holes was just catching too much wind.

It could have been a lot worse, the hives and bees were fine.  We quickly dismantled the trellis barrier and a few days later after a rethink version 2 was being installed.  I have to thank my dad again for his help!

The new version is much simpler with just horizontal bars made from 3″x”2 pressure treated timber. ¬†It provides less of a visual barrier but that is a minor compromise as most importantly it does not catch the wind.

It goes all the way around the edge so its much stronger and I have sand bags on order to both weigh it down and stop anything sliding.  It should even be strong enough to stop someone falling onto it should that happen.

New apiary barrier almost finished

So I think I got away lucky but its amazing just how much windier it is only 2 metres up.  The apiary is now easily accessible and feels safe to use.  Yay!

 

 

Full family hive inspection

With their new bee suits the children were keen to get involved in the next hive inspection.  We had added a super to the stronger colony and it was good to see how the bees were quickly drawing it out with around half the frames already mostly drawn.

The gauntlet gloves are just too big though. ¬†I will get them wearing the nitrile gloves next time, I’ll have to order some smaller ones. ¬†Very calm bees (and children).

Drawing out the frames in the super

The brood box on the stronger colony was very full of bees and 8 of the frames had brood.

Opening the super

There is quite a lot of stores and pollen on the frames so some of the capped honey was raked to encourage them to free up brood space and lay down their stores int he new super.

Hive inspection

Louise brought the camera up so we were able to get some nice close-up shots.  Difficult to see the eggs but nice shot of the bees and brood at all stages.

Brood

Lovely brood pattern so far.

Brood and honey

The children were amazed to see the different colour of pollen. ¬†We don’t know enough to tell what the different types are but it looks very nice ūüôā

Honey pollen and brood