Adventures in CAD Design

Some call it an art. Some call it cheating. I just think it’s fun!

A couple weeks ago, the teacher in my school’s science department bought a 3D printer. Pretty soon there was a long list of requests from other teachers. After designing these items quickly, I wondered if this could be applied to my PRT model.

First I designed the ‘watch house’ and the vents on the bow. These were my first priority because all of my previous attempts at building this failed. I just built the structure itself with holes for the mast and ‘stilts’.

Once this was done I had confidence to move onto bigger projects. Spurred by a lack of desire to mess with small parts and even smaller angles, I decided to tackle the self-unloader ‘house.’ This was more of an adventure but only took me about 2 hours to complete. Here is a photo of the real thing vs. the CAD drawing.

Finally, I designed the bridge and smokestack assembly. I designed this for the same reason as the self-unloader. My oversized hands make it difficult to produce accurate angles. I just made the top part of the pilot house, so I can just drop it on a styrene ‘cube’ with the lower details already placed. Surprisingly to me, this only took about 2 hours to design. It is complete with insets for window glazings and viewing platforms on either side. (Platforms placed in front in the CAD drawing, in order to fit on the print surface.)

Overall, all of these models (with a couple flights of stairs found on Thingverse) will take 45-50 hours to print. It will use just under a kilogram of filament, which is valued at $20. But this price is nothing compared to the hours and the wasted material to build them from scratch.

My next project will be to join the two sections of the model. That should be completed by Christmas break.If you would like something designed, or if you are just curious about CAD design or 3D printing in general, feel free to post a comment and I should get right back to you.