This week’s selection is the Print-in-Place Armored Vehicle by Matthew of Whopper Printing.
This 3D model is pretty straightforward, at first glance: it seems to be a simple toy armored vehicle. It has wheels that turn, a turret that rotates and a barrel that elevates. But there’s an important difference.
It’s a “print in place” 3D model.
This means that it can be 3D printed on a desktop FFF 3D printer in one single piece. There is no assembly: all the moving pieces are separate, but in fact within the same print job.
This was achievable by designing the model in such a way as to isolate the moving parts from each other. The wheels, for example, are attached to axles that serve as supports for the wheel structure. The vehicle body surrounds, but doesn’t touch the axles.
Matthew used Autodesk Fusion 360 to design the model, which has the ability to handle multiple separate parts within the .STL file.
This is an outstanding example of how 3D printing is best used: print an item that works right off the printer. No assembly, just go from print to use immediately. All the moving parts move!
Matthew has made this ingenious 3D model available on his Etsy store for sale at the low price of US$4, which is a pretty good deal if you want to print a bunch of these vehicles for a game or gift.
Matthew’s Etsy store, Whopper Printing, offers a number of similar print in place 3D models, including a tank, concrete mixer truck, forklift, firetruck, stagecoach and more.
I believe there should be a lot more print in place 3D models available; they make printing complex items so much easier.