Have any teams had much luck with 3D printing bearing blocks? I’ve seen several threads but haven’t been able to successfully locate a CAD for something like the versa blocks (other than what’s on the vex website). I’ve seen thread like this but never found a link to any sort of CAD.
To those who have tried using 3D printed bearing blocks, what were your experiences? What worked and what didn’t? Any advice when trying to pursue this? We plan to print in PetG.
This isn’t my story, but some alumni on my team advised us against using printed blocks, saying that they “exploded” during one of their matches. Thankfully, this was something being tried over the offseason, but the point stands.
Please do not do this unless you have access to a printer like a Mark-Forged that can print a very durable filament like Carbon Fiber and Nylon+ (but this will also depend on the application of the bearing block.) PLA is durable only for specific applications so be aware when using.
Also taking context from the above hyperlink you posted see below.
We have successfully used printed bearing blocks for drivetrain, intake linkages, and other mechanisms in the past. The keys are to use appropriately tough materials (nylon, polycarb, hard TPU) rather than PLA, design with printing in mind (consider layer bonding vs. planar strength), and use wall thickness instead of infill percentage to increase strength and stiffness. All my examples are lost on some dead hard drive, but you can easily design a test example and destructively test it to get a feel for strength and durability.
If you do go the route of printing them, I would probably recommend designing your own to take advantage of the non-isotropic properties of 3D prints, and to add material/thickness where necessary. You can, to a certain extent, make up the gap for even a PETG or PLA+ with more material/volume and clever design. Printing an aluminum part as-is without considering the different DFM characteristics of a printer is a recipe for pain.