3D Printing A Wheel

1678 is doing a test run of a full-size 3D-printed wheel; you can see it at http://www.twitch.tv/frc1678. We’re using the MakerBot Replicator 2 we got through Donors Choose.

We tried this last night, but the filament snapped, and somehow part of it had gotten wrapped around the drive gear. In addition, more filament was clogged up in the nozzle head. Took me about 2 hours to fix. I hope this one goes better.

PLA wheel? Interesting. Also, how large is the wheel? Looks like a 4"

What % infill are you using?

2429 just got a replicator 2 as well make sure to have your filament cable loose and unconstrained. also have you changed any of the heating settings?

I saw the head move for about five seconds and then an ad popped up… turned it off at that point.


Yes, yes it is, and yes.


That may have been the problem. We’d printed stuff before, but I switched colors for this piece. I tried a few heat settings, but the default 230C seems to stick best.

Sorry, blame twitch. Try using Adblock?

I’m interested that you decided to 3d print wheels at all. Is this just a test, to see what kind of quality you get? If you’re seriously considering using 3d printed wheels next year, could you talk a bit about the thought that went into the decision?

Yes, it’s a test. We think it’s quite possible (based off the advice of one of our mentors, who has built many 3D printers) that an extruded PLA wheel will be strong enough to endure the rigors of FRC. Our hope is to be able to cut down on manpower and machining time. We use 2-inch wide wheels with 971’s tread attachment style, which take our sponsors several weeks to machine out of aluminum. In the build season, this is unacceptable, so we’re trying to print them instead (using a modified design, obviously). A 1/4 scale model held my weight without cracking. If you want, I can post renders of both designs.

what resolution did you use fine,low,standard ? also have you tried putting down the big blue piece of tape that comes with it?

High resolution, using tape.

When will this model (likely) be done? Will you be making more to test an actual drive train, or just the one wheel? Either way, I am interested in seeing results.

What is your problem with Vex traction wheels, other than the attatchment method?

are you printing the wheel solid ?

Tomorrow evening, and we’ll test this one before deciding if we want to make more.

The attachment method.


o.o why not polyurethane casting and using hollowed version out of wheel to use as a negative because printing four or six of those wheels (at least) is going to be expensive

my math has it at 5 cents per gram if your using makerbot pla and 1.5 cents using an amazon competitor

That comes out to be about $40-$50 dollars for two robots’ worth of wheels. Not that bad, I think.

Interesting. I am curious to know how long it takes to print this wheel. Did you use one of the OpenSCAD parametric wheel programs available or is this your design? Any chance of sharing the STL?

Here are some renders.

Very good job with those ribs! Looks like a very efficient and strong use of material.

I know what I’m doing all night.