3D printed avionics part

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by Peter Ha, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hey folks,
    When you break plane parts, do you create and 3D printed them?
    I'm new to world of aviation but see a need for 3D printing non-certified parts.
    Recently, I got C150 which need new lock cover; which I'm creating/printing. There's also scanning option available(Ipad Structure Sensor) to laser-scan an object, transfer as stl file, clean-up then print them.
    In my other hobbies, I've measured and created parts I needed using using free software like Fusion360 or Tinkercad. Then print it or order from vendors like shapeways.com.
    I've done this for Ipad mounts, RAM mounts, broken handle, etc.
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3566043

    Wonder if others who already 3D printed things?
    I'm able to 3D print materials infused with: nylon, carbon-fiber, wood, rubber, glass. There's other printers that prints edible soy-based filaments, and medical 3D printers that print organs and dental orthodontics.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  2. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The air vents on a cherokee are a common 3D part. There are other parts that make sense, such as knobs on 50 yr old avionics when the company no longer exists.
     
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  3. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    what is a lock cover?
     
  4. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    On Cessna 150M passenger side door; the plastic cover that goes over the locking mechanism.
     
  5. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FWIW: Don't know what you mean by "non-certified parts" but you may want to familiarize yourself on the types of parts one can install on a Type Certificated aircraft first, before you get carried away. While there is a path in Part 21 under "owner-produced parts" there are some specific steps that must take place to include how the part is installed.
     
  6. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Other then my RC planes... I don't plan on 3D printing trim tabs, oil-filter, air-filter, seat-belt locks, vacuum relief-valve, etc.
    Having said that... the world of 3D printing is evolving quick.
    There's now full-scale 3D printers that prints bridges in concrete and/or metal.
    In few years we might see full-scale 3D printed planes... that YOU print at home (home-built will take on whole different meaning LOL) :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  7. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Peter:

    Keep us up to date on your progress - this is important!
     
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  8. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: You wouldn't be the first owner to get caught up in a plastic cover scandal...:rolleyes:
     
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  9. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Never seen that. I've never been in a 150 though
     
  10. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I would actually like to find some of those vents that have been 3-D printed. As you know, those things are "waffer thin" and are very fragile.
     
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  11. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hence if someone already created one, we can share the 3D file (*.stl) like word or excel documents for pilots to print at home for pennies. :)
    Here's someone creation for Cessna trim-wheel:
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2806090
     
  12. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    As long as we're on the subject, I'd like someone to come up with a vent with a means to attach a flexible hose so Cherokee pilots can point it where they want it instead of the ankle and lower leg.
     
  13. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Another idea: Since we don't really use the back seat vents all that much - using the same flexible hose adaptation, design a seat with vents so the rear vents can vent the front seats. I have air conditioned seats in my truck, it isn't outside the realm of possibility.
     
  14. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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  15. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I'll keep that in mind Murphey, thanks.
     
  16. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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  17. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Keep in mind the material you use when 3D printing. If you are feeding PLA into an FDM printer, keep in mind that it has a heat deflection temperature around 50C at 0.46 MPa (66 PSI). That's not much. Plus, it tends to be susceptible to UV.
     
  18. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    PETG or ABS has higher heat tolerance
     
  19. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    ABS is frequently found in aircraft too and is generally accessible to most 3d printers. Up from there you have Polycarbonate and Nylons which start getting harder to print and then you get into the Ultems and PEEK, PEKK and some stupendously high temperature resistance and similarly challenging printing and pricing.

    Depending on your needs(especially size) some of the Resin printers may be a better solution if you have high temp needs.
    (High being relative to plastic, not aviation in general)
     
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  20. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You forgot glass.
    https://ceramics.org/ceramic-tech-today/glass-1/3d-printed-glass-where-are-we-now
    Do I see Formlab's resin printer in my future? :D
     
  21. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    3d Yoke bearing/support Yoke 2.JPG
     
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  22. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Tough PLA is a lot like ABS but still retains the ease of use of PLA.

    Printing HTPLA and then annealing it is another option for higher temps.
     
  23. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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  24. Ryan Klems

    Ryan Klems Pre-takeoff checklist

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  25. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wasn't selling my stall-tester; it was there for people to download for free. :)
     
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  26. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Not sure I have flown any 3d printed parts yet. But this year is looking promising. Have a connector cover printed for my backup battery cable adapter. But will only fly that if I ever need to use my backup battery. Have cover printed for the bottom of my rudder hinge bracket to prevent moisture from getting into it. Might fly that this year.

    On the other hand I have printed a number of prototype parts to check fit and functionality prior to fabricating the airworthy metal parts.
    But then my aircraft is certified experimental.

    I have also printed some tablet holders and RAM look style ball mounts but I have not used one in an airplane yet. Although did print a custom Ball mount for one of my students that he has been using.

    Brian
     
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  27. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I've been working with a friend on some recognition light mounts for the Mooney. Pretty cool stuff... As long as the FAA will sign off on the 337. ;)
     
  28. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, that's not exactly that hard... This one is still the melty-plastic prototype. And hasn't been cut to shape.

    D83A441A-C69C-4A08-A8F0-6FBD1B8D75BF.jpeg
     
  29. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We're taking a different approach. We're not trying to mimic the reflector that's on the existing light. We're trying to get one of Whelen's 71325 light units:

    [​IMG]

    ... to fit inside the lens. That involves removing the existing bracket/cover that holds the light in and shortening it by about 3/4" at the fore end. Here's a test fit - 3D printed part is bright red so very easy to see! We didn't want to clip wires, so the old cover/bracket/light (in black) is hanging below:

    IMG_4524.jpg
     
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  30. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Kent - that there looks like some good planning. Keep us posted!
     
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  31. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yea, I'm taking the significantly lazier approach. It does mean qualifying the bulb for voltage, RFI and temperature. And after temp testing I see the bulbs generally self limit to 100C, which means I'm looking at materials that will tolerate 150C. Which means the light project is now on hold while side-project #28: Upgrade a printer to handle high temp materials. is being worked on.
     
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  32. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Proto Pasta heat treated composite brass-PLA. Good to 150C.

    https://www.proto-pasta.com/products/brass-metal-composite-htpla
     
  33. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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  34. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

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    I actually made (from Delrin) a yoke bearing for my 172. The originals are crap, and I couldn't get one at the time, so I just made one, and our mechanic installed it. Better than new. I can't recall if I made two, but given my propensity for symmetry, I likely did.
     
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  35. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    Plastic covers and cabin air vents is one thing, but trim wheels seem to be getting into an area that one needs to approach very cautiously. Just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean it can be safely reproduced with the same characteristics as the original. The foray into producing aircraft parts has its limitations and producing primary and secondary flight controls with 3D printers without proper engineering evaluation (and FAA approval) can lead to dangerous and legal consequences.
     
  36. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    For those of you who know more than I about 3D printing (pretty much all of you, I suspect), is there a way to 3D print an interior light lens for a car or an airplane? They always get brittle as the get old, and replacements are so often either (1) impossible to find, (2) incredibly expensive, or (3) so old they're almost as bad as the dissolved one they replace.

    Ideas?
     
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  37. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Short answer... yes.
    I’ve already done this for coworkers and friends who broke or lost pieces of appliance or car parts.
    Usually they give me the broken part and I measure it, then create a close match using Fusion360
     
  38. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    FYI: even those types of parts can be in a gray area especially when it comes to annual time and aircraft conformity. Even with the Part 21 owner-produced path there's guidance out there that puts some 3D printing outside the "elementary operations" portion of the major repair/alteration definition.
     
  39. Peter Ha

    Peter Ha Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Which 3D printers are you folks using? Any delta or coreX users?
    Do you use large platforms (12in or bigger) mostly FDM or resin?
     
  40. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have an original MakerSelect v2(200mm x 200mm x 180mm) with minimal changes which I use primarily to print 3d printer parts and random prototypes.
    I have a beastly Ender 5 plus which can print huge(350 x 350 x 400), but I haven't yet printed anything huge. It will eventually get dual extrusion and a 4 way splitter for 5 different filaments but right now it's doing the polycarbonate parts for printer #3.
    And I have a middle child Ender 3(220 x 220 x 250) which is the one being stripped down and rebuilt as my high temp printer. It's getting a liquid cooled dual extrusion hotend, liquid cooled steppers, remote mount parts cooling, high temp belts, maybe high temp microswitches, new motherboard and power supply.
     
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