What should I think about if I want to design something modular?

Jake Millington
  • What should I think about if I want to design something modular? Jake Millington

    For a while now, I have been thinking about designing things such as small bedside tables, game/dvd/bluray racks for 3d printing. I've always thought that making them modular would be a good way to go about doing this as well.

    Modular design would help to create an end result that is vastly larger than the print volume of my 3d printer. I might even be able to recycle models for use in other projects. However, I'm not sure of what I need to think about if I decide to go ahead with these ideas I have floating around in my head.

    I'm assuming that certain joints (dovetail, etc), tolerances for different types of plastic due to shrinkage, and print settings (% infill, in particular) would be important to have thought about and evaluated to some extent, but I'm not sure about what else I might be missing.

    So my question is to anyone who has designed anything to be modularly printed. Have you really had to think carefully about the engineering side of the print? Or am I simply overthinking this? Should I just design what I want and give it reasonable infill, walls and whatnot, and just go for a trial and error approach? I'm sure there is a method to this madness, but is a concrete understanding of this type of engineering absolutely paramount when it comes to this sort of stuff?

    EDIT: Although I've marked darth pixel's answer as accepted, I'm still going to follow JKEngineer's advise and check out that book as well since I feel as though proper engineering techniques alongside a good mentality towards how I would tackle the problem (as outlined in darth pixel's answer) would prove to yield better results in the long run.

  • All printers are designed with an idea of WYSIWYG for sure. Depending on:

    • printer - type/quality/settings/configuration/assembly precission
    • filament - type/quality/shrinkage
    • user skills - manual/using app proficiency
    • model complexity
    • environment conditions and so on

    you can get different results.

    I venture to say users know their printers (after some time and by trials and errors) so they know how to manage dimensions to compensate all above so you will get this knowledge too.

    Mathematical formula can describe shrinkage of the material, all other elements are very hard to describe (mathematically) in a general way.

    Of course someone can simplify it and say: more money you spend better effects you'll get. It's sometimes true ;)

    So all your modular things will be better and better if you will increase (what is to be increased) in above points especially "user skills".

    Is engineering paramount? It depends of whay you gonna create. If your modular things have to lock itself, have to have threads, screws and such stuff then this is engineering. Is it the most important part of the design? Not necessarily.

    I would say 3D printing moved engineering to next level. I'm talking about this or this. Is it still art or engineering? :)

    This is my receipt:

    think > imagine > design > rethink > redesign > give it a try > get back to thinking

    good luck

  • A book you would benefit from reading is "Functional Design for 3D Printing...Designing 3D Printed things for everyday use - 2nd Edition" by Clifford Smyth.

    It deals with FDM printing only. It deals with considerations of orientation of the parts being printed to address required strength in the 3 directions (x, y, z), tolerances, and designing parts in such a way that they can be assembled, have the strength needed, have flexibility, etc. In some instances he shows how to split a single functional part into multiple parts so that, when assembled, it actually performs as required.

    It's available from Amazon at Book on Amazon. I received it as a present and have no commercial interest in it.

    Here's a review: Book Review on 3D Printing for Beginners

3d-models quality print-preparation print-strength
Related questions and answers
  • ) - there's just one small hole at the base of each structure. (I stopped the print a few layers after the problem layers do ignore the tops.) Going to 99% (Simplify3D's max) would probably get rid of those last holes but I have to think that maxing out S3D's outline overlap setting to just barely make the print work means I haven't found or addressed the true root cause... .../stringing issue that I didn't think was but perhaps could be related). The screw hole mounts seem well-designed to me: No 90 degree transitions - I would think this would be the least of my

  • programmable ROM like what must be on the Arduino board storing the firmware degrades a little, each time you write to it. Right now I'm trying to calibrate away another print problem, and I think I need to modify the firmware yet again, which I've already done several times. So I'm starting to worry about how many times I can do that. Well, once I remembered the acronym "EEPROM", and after a little googling, I came across this, Arduino - EEPROM, which says that it can handle 100k cycles, so I think I'm onto the answer, but the problem is I'm not sure if a cycle is an entire file being uploaded

  • being at 60 C. As far as I can tell if I use the AWG 10 (TW?) to connect everything it won't matter, but I just thought I'd check here to be sure first since my power supply is rated at 30 AMPs...I'm still looking at wires for my Prusa i3, to go between the power supply and RAMPS 1.4, and the power supply and the MK2a Heatbed. I also recently found a 400 ft. Wire Storehouse that I bought... with it as there is probably lead in the insulation as well as the wire. The largest copper wire I have found in the table that I have (AWG 10) says that it is rated at 30 AMP regardless of which type of insulation it has

  • supply's screw leads. I bought some electrical connectors just for this purpose, but I'm not entirely certain they will be good for this purpose, so I thought I'd check here first.../a ╬ ╬──────────────────╬──────────────────────╬─────────────╬───────────╬ Not sure if I should use ring or spade terminals, and I don't know what wire size to use; and I don't know what wire grade...From what I understand, when you hook up the Switching Power Supply 12v Dc 30a 360w to the wall outlet, you have to be very careful; careful not to get the wires mixed up; careful not to have anyone

  • For my Frankenstein's printer I am at a loss with the hotend mount. I cannot drill holes of 16 (upper diameter) and 12 mm (clamping diameter, 6mm high) which i would need to mount the E3D V6 clone I have. What I am looking for: a hotend mount plate that tightly fixes the hotend while having some holes for screws to mount it to the horizontally moving x-y drives. As I cannot print yet, it needs... the hotend directly to the DVD drive but a) there is almost no space for that, and b) I'm pretty sure I will burn the DVD drive's motor somewhere along the way, so I don't want to put too much work

  • by pushing a knife under the piece, but that has put a few scratches on the bed. Obviously I don't want to continue doing that. What can I do? How to prevent warping, while also making sure the piece does not stick too hard to whatever is underneath? EDIT: The accepted answer was very good and I don't want to mess with it by adding my own "answer". So here it is: I ended up adding a glass plate...I'm a beginner. I've a Printrbot Play with a heated bed add-on. I'm using it exclusively with PLA. It worked great initially, but then I took the nozzle out and put it back in, and the Z calibration

  • Background: I just successfully installed a RepRapDiscount Full Graphic Display on my Prusa i3; and in doing so, I've upgraded all of the firmware to the latest version of Marlin, 1.1.0-RC7. With my... from space; they are not accurate by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just trying to paint as clear of a picture as possible. Troubleshooting: At first I checked to make sure everything... point me in the right direction, I would really appreciate it. I'm getting desperate with this new firmware version. It has all these conditional tabs that didn't exist in my other one, and I can't quite

  • I've built the mechanics of my 3d printer myself, because I need to print parts that are really huge, (and for budget reasons). So, I already have the 3d movement functionality. But what I need now, is the printing mechanism itself. I've been reading a lot, but it became clear to me that things are more complicated than I thought. Let's skip mechanics and software, I'm just interested in how... intension that things are way more complicated. For example, these RepRap printers have some kind of air tube attached to the print head. Not sure what that's all about, is it cooling ? Perhaps I'm

  • issue. I'm fairly new to this; I rather not brick my printer, and I haven't found any good guides to installing firmware on the device either. I'm not convinced this is the right option. Should I..., I'm only reading 102-104°C. I've checked these values with the bare aluminum build plate, and I've allowed the temps to stabilize for at least 10 minutes to ensure that I have consistent readings... a custom voltage->temp lookup table, and talks about building a custom table in "configuration.h". I've tried to follow this line of research but I feel like I'm going around in circles. It sounds like I

Data information