3D printing a working DC motor

A Maker by the name of Pitrak recently created a fully-functional DC motor using an Atmel-powered MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer.

To develop the working brushless direct current (DLDC) motor, the Maker 3D printed each of its parts, excluding the magnets, solenoid wrapping wire and hall effect sensors, and used an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) to control the motor itself.

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According to Pitrak’s Instructables page, the design features four distinct parts: the bottom enclosure, the top enclosure, the rotor, and the solenoids. All of the parts can be printed at once on most 3D printers; however, during the print, it must be paused in order to add in certain components.

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“The magnets and hall effect sensors were inserted into assembly by designing a correctly sized internal void in the appropriate place, printing to just below the top of the void, pausing the print and inserting the device, and then continuing the print,” Pitrack explained.

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The final product was printed in clear PLA plastic at 20% infill with a 0.20 mm layer height. “It was found through trial and error that pieces meant to join together without sliding such as the top and bottom enclosures should be printed at 0.25 mm added on all sides, while pieces meant to slide freely such as the rotor should be printed at 0.4 mm space on all sides,” the Maker notes.

Once printing is complete, each of the components can be removed from the MakerBot and pieced together after removing excess plastic from the raft. The pieces should fit together smoothly without much effort.

The Maker says future improvements to the motor can be broken down into four main categories: mechanical optimization, efficiency improvements, control improvements and applications, which he explains in more detail here.

Interested in learning more about this project? You can find the steps in more detail on Instructables, and access the program written for Arduino on github.

 

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