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The Falling Brick at Airwolf 3D

How Does a Ladder and a Falling Brick Have Anything to do With 3D Printing You Ask? Let Us Explain…

Here at Airwolf 3D, we are constantly pushing the envelope in various scopes, most importantly tolerances and accuracy. This project in particular was assigned to our Airwolf 3D intern, Will Schwartz. The idea of the project was inspired by Will’s physics teacher at St. Margaret’s High School in San Juan Capistrano. Will’s teacher had an original wood model (see below) that he asked Will to 3D print for him as a demonstration for his physics class in this upcoming year. Falling BrickFalling Brick The base was designed in SolidWorks but the ladder and falling brick were designed in OpenSCAD, an open source 3D CAD program. These files are commonly used in the RepRap community. The reason for the three piece design was to make it an easy print job without using support material. The three parts consist of the ladder, the base and the falling brick. What Will found most interesting about the designs were the precision of the bars thickness on the ladder and the diameter of the circle on the falling brick. In order for this ladder and falling brick combo (see below) to properly travel down the ladder without stalling or falling, every detail must be accurate. Falling BrickFalling Brick Will was able to find the best settings for both the ladder and brick through the good ol’ trial and error. Will’s first design had holes that were too small so it would not climb down the bars freely. The second design created holes that were too tight causing the gaps between the bars again to not fall freely. The third attempt was too “boxy” making the first layer hard to print. Will discovered that it had to be exactly 1/10 of a millimeter in calibration for the duo to work properly. In the final design, the falling brick and the ladder are both beveled in order to smooth the decent of the brick. After Will was finished, he just had one thing to say, “Without 3D printing, this highly accurate functional model would not have been created for my teacher!” Now click here to go check out the Falling Brick on YouTube and let us know what you think!  Or watch it below:

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