pic: 1156 3D Printed Wheel

This is a custom 4″ wheel, 1″ wide printed by a RepRap 3D printer, using ABS. Weight (without bearings) 0.26lb.

That’s really cool! How many Cubic Inches is that?

Well, 4" wheel that’s 1" deep makes it about 12.566 cubic inches if I’m correct; minus the spaces and grooves of course.

I have been seeing alot of posts on CD lately regarding 3D printers, being that i have a reprap, im pretty interested in the specifics on this post…(sorry for all the questions!)

  1. What size filament? 3mm or the 1.5?
  2. What reprap? mendel, prusa…?
  3. did you buy a reprap kit or make it?
  4. how long did that take? did you use skeinforge?
  5. what size nozzle? .5mm?



  1. 3mm
  2. It is a Prusa Mendel I2. (Actually i`m working on the interaction 3, using sheet metal)
    3.We bought almost every parts separately and build it, if your are thinking to go this way, i suggest the Prusa Mendel I2, there is a lot of guides and users.
  3. I takes 5h20m and this time is fully connected to the next question. We use Slic3r to get the GCODE.
  4. Is a .25mm nozzle. With .5mm nozzle you are able to end your prints faster.

Other point. This wheel cost us about to $5, considering the high Brazilian taxes on the filament.

feel free to ask.

I find that impressive. On our Dimension 3D printer, our materials cost is about $5 per cubic inch.

We have a makerbot and use a Dimension as well, the Dimension is horrifically more expensive for plastic… not 100% sure why. It probably has to do with the custom cartridges they mark up…

We pay U$40.00 for 1kg of ABS . This wheel (30% infill) has a total weight of 117g. U$5,2 of ABS…

Any durability/strength testing yet?

not yet, we need to print some wheels more to put on our practice bot…

What material did you print with? ABS?
How are you attaching tread? In my recent experience, 3d printed stuff doesn’t hold fasteners well. You are putting tread on, right?

Ding ding ding.

Dimension needs to take plastic filament and load it into each cartridge and assembly the other components (PCBA, rubber drive wheel) into it as we’ll.

They’re also probably making their margin on top of the cost of doing that.


It’s for the same reasons as buying ink cartridges for your paper printer. You can find non-OEM ABS for Dimensions machines as well, but the quality just isn’t there IMO. This is also usually the case for paper printers.

Stratasys/Dimension also has quality control over the ABS. Such as color, diameter, grade, and other factors such as environmental conditions. (Moisture, dust, oils, etc.) In the commercial world this is very important. I don’t want to replace an empty cartridge to find a slightly different shade of color or grade of ABS…

As you can see they come in expensive cartridges for many reasons other than profit. By the way I should note that the cartridges are recycled back to Stratasys/Dimension.

At any given time I have a several thousand dollars worth of plastic on the shelf or in equipment. :ahh:

Personally, ive found that you can even tap/thread some printed parts rather well. As for durability, i think it will hold up well enough.

We’ve tapped a few parts well. It taps fine (as long as you can get the tap started) and it seems to hold our 10-32 screw well. But as far as common tread fastening techniques, I’ve never experimented with riveting into 3d printed material. I’ll add it to my list of things to try.

Are there any other teams that can speak to using ABS plastic to print off wheels in respect to their durability?


  • Sunny G.

207 used ABS printed wheels in 2012 and 2011. In 2012 at championships they drove off the bridge, and their wheels did not break.

We actually made a few sets for 2010 that didn’t see much use. Those were reinforced with aluminum rings as they had a much greater diameter (8" and I think 10") than the ones we used this year and last year (4" and 5", respectively). We tap 10-24 threads directly into the wheels.

But anyway, here’s a picture of the moment in question.

I can confirm that the cartridge is, in fact, one of the main reasons that Dimension’s Material is usually more expensive than other printing options.

I ran an SST1200 for a little over 3 years before we switched to a Fortus 400mc this past fall at work. In our pricing negotiations, we tried to see if there was any way that the material costs could be driven down, and we were told that it couldn’t, although ABS for the 400 is actually about 16% cheaper than it was for the Dimension. I was told that this was because that even though the 400’s Canister is ‘more expensive’ to make, it holds more material (92 Cubic Inches), effectively lessening the effect of the Canister’s increased cost… And for those of you complaining about Material Costs, we’ve got something that is ~$7.50 per cubic inch of model and support… eek.

It’s really great to see teams making some important end use parts using 3D printing. With the right machine and a little know how, a lot of lower load parts can be swapped out to printed equivalents and still work really well.