3D Printing a Culvert Entrance


I've been working with Desiree D. Tullos to create a 3D printed culvert entrance. The designs are done and are about to be printed. These will help illustrate the flow of water in a real system. The designs were created to simulate an efficient and inefficient culvert. 


To simulate the inefficiency and efficiency of water flow in a real culvert using 3D printed culvert entrances and acrylic tubing for the pathway of the water. 

Materials and Methods: 

Desiree's team sketched the design in 2D and then passed the specifications to me. I then designed the 3D model, in Fusion360, from the 2d design. We will print these on the Fusion3-f400. Here are the designs: 



I still need to print them, but I did test print the entrance of the piece and it fits well with the acrylic tubing. Here are some pictures of the print:


Acrylic Tubing with o-ring 

Acrylic Tubing with o-ring 

3D printed entrance on acrylic 

3D printed entrance on acrylic 

Designing Base for Camera System

Most of the design for the rotating system is complete, but there are still some minor things to straighten out. One of the next things to design is the actual attachment to the pole that will be holding the whole system. This attachment has to be really strong because it will be holding the whole weight of the camera and rotating system. Here is the initial design of the base:

My initial idea is to have the attachment slide over the top of the pole and use some bolts as set screws to make sure that it will not move or fall off. The attachment has to also be connect to the motor housing. As of right now, I have four bolts coming from the motor housing into the base attach. I am trying to think about a way to get the nuts into the piece itselft, this way they are secure and will not fall out. I might just end up making a bigger holes on the bottom and use a socket to tighten them. Here is the the pole that we are using for this project.

Hyperspectral Camera Tripod

Hyperspectral Camera Tripod

This week I will finish the design and print it. I will then proceed to mount the rotating system on it, and start testing the whole thing. 

Integrating Electronics With 3D Printed Parts

Here is a video for this week's update. We now have the Arduino driving the motor. There are some things to work out with the 3D printed parts, but we are seeing the project come together.

3D Printed Hyperspectral Camera Mount

I have 3D printed the pieces from the initial design. Here are pictures of the pieces: 

Shaft Coupler

Shaft Coupler

Assembled Shaft Coupler

Assembled Shaft Coupler

This is one of the most important pieces of the whole assembly. This made from two pieces that screw together. The top piece holds the 360 swivel in place and the bottom piece is the shaft coupler. The next iteration needs some improvements, but this design works great. 

Shaft Base

Shaft Base

This base is the rest for the shaft coupler; the base plate of the shaft coupler rests on the bearings. The shaft base connects to the motor housing making a solid base for the camera. 

Disassembled base

Disassembled base

Assembled Base 

Assembled Base 

Here is the assembled piece. The motor electronics have been tested and soon will be integrated. Some more things have to be edited in the desing before printing a working version. 

The post before this one outlines the CAD for these pieces, for a more detailed description of the design look below. 

Hyperspectral Camera Pole Mount

This project is intended to be a mount for a hyperspectral camera. The interesting thing about this project is that the mount has to be able rotate and tilt up and down. The spinning and tilting will be determined by the user of the camera. Here I will post pictures of the CAD renderings and explain how they all go together. 

CAD model of pole mount

CAD model of pole mount

This first image is the model of the first design. This mount is composed of four printed pieces: motor mount, shaft rest, and the shaft( motor coupler). the shaft is made out of two printed pieces that are then screwed together.

This 3D model is the shaft base/rest. The base has four ball bearings on which the shaft will be resting on. Theses ball bearings will allow for a smooth rotation of the camera. If these were not to be there, the shaft would be resting on plastic and the would potentially have a rough rotation. The hexagons that extrude from the sides are the locations of the ball bearings. This base will be the connecting piece between the shaft and motor mount. 

This 3D model is the motor housing. It is a pretty straightforward design. This model will house the motor and connect to the base that will be connected to the pole. It has slots that will allow airflow through the piece and keep the motor from overheating. 

These two models are the shaft/ motor coupler. The top model is the piece that attaches to the 360 swivel and the bottom model screws on. This is the piece that rests on the four ball bearings and will be spinning.

I will now be printing the pieces and verifying that they all fit how they should be. Most of this design will be used for the other project. This other project will also be for the hyperspectral camera, but this design will have rails instead of a pole. 

Em50G Data Loss Solution

Losing data while performing field test is very inconvenient. The sensor cables connected to this data logger come out very easily and this causes data loss. I made a small clip that locks on the cable and rests on the sensor socket. This will prevent the wire from coming out. Here is the 3D model of the piece: 

Gripv13 By Manuel Lopez Modelo »

This grip will fit on most sensor tips. It is strong enough to keep clamp on the sensors but flexible to accommodate bigger sensor tips. Here is the actual piece on the Em50G. 

One concern with this solution is that the pieces might get lost since they are individual grips. The other concern is that while placing or removing the piece, the board might get damaged. Here is another solution that was proposed:


squeezev1 By Manuel Lopez Modelo »

This solution provides a more compact design because it's only one piece. This design has a strong grip on the cable by pressing it against the foam. Here is are images of the actual piece. This design takes a little more effort to put in because you have to press the top really hard to get the sidelocks to get in place. 

New Laser Cutter Lens

The laser cutter came with another lens that we were totally unaware of its existence. Why would such expensive machine be missing one of its main parts? Looking through an accessories box of the laser cutter, I came across a little box that contained something wrapped in white paper- it was the other lens! The lens that we were using would only cut when it was in the metal-cutting position, even though we were not cutting metals. This new lens can cut in the non-metal and metal positions. 

New lens 

The very first thing that I tested  was if it could cut in the non-metal-cutting position. After that, I proceeded to test cardboard, plexiglass, and foam.When cutting foam we were getting beveled cuts. This was the main reason we considered buying to new lens to get better cuts. 

 Circle and rectangle test cuts with new lens. Of each set, the left pieces were cut with the old lens and right pieces with new     lens.

We can observe that the new lens can cut straight down the foam without creating a bevel. This is exactly the type of quality we need and expected from such a laser cutter. With our old lens it was really hard trying to get a straight cut; we got pretty close but nothing compared to this new lens.

Rube Goldberg Project Box

Making this box is not as simple as I initially thought. One of the most time-consuming parts of this box is making the finger joints. After making the finger joints the rest of the process was very smooth. 

CAD rendering of the box in acrylic

CAD rendering of the box in acrylic

Finger joint design

Finger joint design

The CAD was the first thing that was done and then DXF files were exported to the laser cutter. The first prototype of the box was made out of cardboard to make sure all of the sides would fit perfectly- not too wiggly and not too tight. 

The DXF files are the surfaces sketches of each of the faces of the box. These files are the ones that are processed into the commands that the laser cutter uses to position the laser. Having the CAD finished makes it easy to produce these files because we just pull them off the faces of our designs. 


Cardboard prototype 

We also did our first tests etching on cardboard. The OPEnS logo was the design that we used for our testing and it came out very well. 

First cardboard etching test 

V84 of Soil Vapor Sampler

A few changes have been done to the Soil Vapor Sampler. The design has been flip upside down. This was done to accommodate the new cap. The angle at which the tubing came into the sampler was also modified. The hole is now directly extruded towards the center, this facilitates the insertion of the tubing. 

 New Vapor Sampler Cap  

 New Vapor Sampler Cap


This new cap goes on the bottom soil sampler. This is the piece that gets inserted into the ground first. 

Cross section of vapor sampler

Cross section of vapor sampler

The gray long tubes are the pathways where the tubing goes through. With the direct path, the tubes have no troubles going in. 

This is the model of a vapor sampler with all the pieces put together. The white piece is the microporous tubing that would go between every sampler and between the last sampler and the cap. 

Making Photo Booth for OPEnS Lab Projects

At the OPEnS lab we prototype many projects and need to document them. Pictures are essential to our reports and publications. In order to have the best quality pictures we decided to make a photo booth. Here is the CAD of our booth. 

First version of CAD

This photo booth is a light box, a tool to take professional looking photos. Our is a  DIY version of the ones we could buy. The idea is to have all of the openings covered with tissue paper and a light source on each side of the box. The paper will serve as a filter, giving the object inside an even lighting. Here is an example:

To take the CAD into the laser cutter I converted separate sides of the box into DXF files. These files are then processed by the laser cutter software and then loaded to the laser cutter. Here is what our photo booth looks like so far:

Some materials are still needed but it is almost done. 

Testing foam on Laser Cutter & Making Foam Inserts for Tools

The foam finally arrived and we have started to experiment with it. I cut various small 10 x 10 mm squares at different power levels, speeds and heights to determine our best settings. The settings that I observed were cutting the best: Power 17, Speed 23 and Height 3315.9mm. 


Sample cuts on foam 

After doing some testing I intended to  cut the foam inserts for the drawers. When loading the DXF file from Fusion360 on to MetalCut, the file appeared to be changed. There were some extra lines that were not supposed to be there. After analyzing the MetalCut file, I noticed that the program was making some discontinuities in the design outlines and created lines towards the center to compensate for it. I believe it was doing this because the file had some sharp edges and I think it doesn't precess these edges very well. 

The Fusion360 design is being fixed. Only some pieces seemed to be affected by these sharp edges. After all the changes have been made, the cutting process should go smoothly. 

Using the Laser Cutter to Make a 3D Model

We took a 3D model of an Icosahedron and used 123D Make to create a 3D-laser cutter version. 

CAD Model

3D Model

We can now show demonstrate one of the uses for the laser cutter. This could be useful when someone needs to make a 3D model of a topographic map. This is also considerably faster than 3D printing this piece.