CBU Theater Port Hole
A 3D Printer/Vacuum molding project
Note: All photographs appearing on this page are freely usable for any purpose. Links to high-resolution versions of the pictures appear below each picture.
High-resolution image shot on Canon EOS 5D MkII
Port Hole Project
The theater department at California Baptist University (CBU) needed 24 ship "port holes" made for one of their productions. They purchased a novelty mirror that had the shape they wanted and they converted the frame for the mirror (the port hole) into a "buck" (basically the opposite of a "mold") we could use to create vacuum-formed copies. The vacuum forming project was done on the vacuum-forming machine at Vocademy, that could handle 2'x3' sheets of 0.030" thick high-impact styrene.
3D Printing Component
There were two "latches" on the port hole that could not be formed during the vacuum-forming process. I created a 3D model using Fusion 360 to provide a similar-looking device.
Here's the original:
Here's the 3D-printed part:
Here they are side-by-side to show their relative sizes. Note that the threaded hole is not present on the 3D printed part; the "latch" is glued onto the port hole rather than bolted.
Hi-resolution image shot on Canon EOS 5D MII
I created this part as two pieces that were glued together after printing:
There were two reasons for printing this in two pieces rather than as a single piece :
First, by printing it in two pieces I avoided the extra cost and time that would have been needed to print support structures (a significant amount of time when you consider I had to print 56 pieces).
Second, had I printed the part upright (as in the first picture above) the "loop" portion of the object would have been much weaker because the part would have been printed in small horizontal slices going up. By printing the object in two pieces on its side, the loop component was made much stronger. (Granted, as a prop, this device doesn't need a whole lot of strength, but making the piece stronger avoids having to reprint some when a student inevitably breaks one.)
Note that the pictures above are enlarged quite a bit. The base of the latch has a 30mm (about 1.2") diameter.
The Fusion 360 file can be found here: Port Hole Latch v3.f3d.zip
STL files for both halves of the latch can be found here: PortHoleLatch.stl.zip
I was able to fit nine copies of the port hole latch (18 halves) onto a Lulbot Taz 6 build platform.
As the parts were relatively small (and not very high) I got away with using ABS as the print medium.
Two processes. Important values listed below.
All other parameters are the same as for Process 1. Process 2 basically undoes the high flow rate and width values from Process 1.
Note that the print time for nine pieces on a Luzbot Taz 3D printer with this parameter set is around seven hours. It took six prints to produce the the 54 pieces needed for this project.