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3D Printer – RC Projects

3D Printer Radio control airplane wheels.

This 3D Printer RC project originated due to the size of the stock wheel on a fairly small plane. The plane is a multiplex minimag. When trying to take off or land in grass the plane had a tendency to nose over caused by the smaller stock wheels.

New wheels were needed to enhance the landing performance over the performance provided by the stock wheels. This mainly had been accomplished by designing a new wheel that is larger in diameter.

The old wheel was 52mm in diameter and the new wheel is 70mm in diameter. This provides an increase of 35 percent. There were a few minor design challenges in this 3D printing project. The first design challenge was to keep the weight of the wheel low in order to not disturb the current flying characteristics. This was accomplished by selecting a 8 percent infill where infill represents how much material exists in the printed part. For example the wheel is printed with an outer shell and then 8 percent is solid or 92 percent hollow. This provides a light structure. The infill is made up of a structure that consists of triangles to ensure a strong part.

The second design challenge is keeping the wheel structurally strong. The print material PLA is not a hard material which would suffer slightly with wear when landing or taking off from a hard surface. However PLA is very stiff and provides excellent strength.

The wheel was printed and installed on to the Multiplex as intended. Testing proved grass takeoffs and landing were much easier to perform. Shorter grass no longer forces the plane to nose over. The 3D Printed wheel also shows no sign of wear when taking off and landing on a hard surface a handful of times. Pictures can be seen below.

3D print in progress - 95% of a Multiplex Wheel upgrade

3D print in progress – 95% of a Multiplex Wheel upgrade

Completed 3D printed wheels on Multiplex Minimag

3D printed wheels on Multiplex Minimag










3D Printed Radio Control Car Spur Gear Prototype

This 3D Printer RC project originated by trying something that is under a high amount of stress and requires a high wear resistance. The vehicle of choice is an old Duratrax Maximum BX Stadium Truck. Design of the gear was done such that it could fit in to the vehicles stock one speed transmission as there is a two speed option available for this oldie.

The Stadium truck has an O.S. 0.18 engine in it, which is more power then the stock 0.12 Duratrax engine it came with

The choice of gear was based on one that is not currently produced (I don’t think anything is produced for this) and would allow for a higher top speed. This turned out to be a 48 Tooth spur gear.

48T Spur Gear Design Model

48T Spur Gear Design Model


The final design that is not pictured on the vehicle looks like what you see on the left. The only difference is the size of the cutouts on the final design. The size increased and this will be explained shortly.

Before printing the gear, the printer settings have to be set to fully optimize the final print. This includes making certain to print at 0.1mm layer heights with a 100% inlay and using one shell. The layer height is of course the height that the printer will print for each level. The inlay is how solid the part will be, in this case it will be 100% solid. Number of shells refer to how many perimeters are used.




The photo on the left shows what the gear looked like coming off the printer prior to any finishing. And to be honest there wasnt much finishing to do on the gear so very little was done. There was a minor amount of support material in order to create the center section of the gear so it may mate with the hub.

The photo on the right shows the installation of the gear in the buggy. The gear performed very well just like any other stock gear. would. However, due to the printing material being PLA and not a type of nylon, it was noticeable that the gear was wearing rather quickly. The strength of the gear was there however wear resistance was not. This was after about 6 tanks of fuel. There was not enough time to further run the RC, but if I were to predict how many tank one could expect out of this, I would say approximately 15 where the buggy was run on road only. Further testing would have to be done to determine how much further the gear could go.


48T 3D Printed Spur Gear Installed

48T 3D Printed Spur Gear Installed

48T 3D Printed Spur Gear Installed off the printer before finishing

48T 3D Printed Spur Gear Installed off the printer before finishing










3D Printed Radio Control Radio Box Cover

This 3D Printer RC Project was a simple design for a simple fix. The stock lid on the above RC vehicle, Duratrax Maximum does not contain a spot to stick  an RC antenna tube in well. Sending a design to the printer solved this in a few hours. This piece was printed at 20% inlay and 0.2mm layer height. It looks great and serves its function very well.

3D Printed RC Radio Box Lid

3D Printed RC Radio Box Lid

3D Printed RC Radio Box Lid 2

3D Printed RC Radio Box Lid 2

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