You may remember that back in March I designed and 3D printed some Wheels and Tyres for my Kyosho Mini-Z 4DW Buggy.
For the design I used Tinkercad and for the 3D printing I used PLA plastic for the wheels and NinjaFlex for the tyres.
They worked really well as you can see from this YouTube Video, but the tyres were very basic and more of a proof of concept than a serious design.
Well, after discovering the OpenSCAD 3D Design Tool recently I figured that it would make a great experiment if I were to design some high quality, fully customizable off road tyres.
This design is still a work in progress but you can see from the pictures and video that they are indeed customizable, 3D printable and are looking pretty good so far.
As well as 3D printing a small set to fit my Mini-Z RC car I also downloaded a 1/10 Scale Hex Drive Wheel from Thingiverse so I could modify the OpenSCAD tyre parameters and make what is so far the largest thing I’ve created using NinjaFlex, an off road tyre for a 1/10 scale buggy.
I went though a few iterations of designing, testing and tweaking the Mini-Z tyres before finalising them. Altering the wall thickness, infill and printing temperature all played an important part in creating an optimal tyre.
A shell (wall) thickness of 3, an infill of 0% (hollow), a layer height of 0.2mm and quite a hot temperature of 235 degrees ensured the tyres were flexible but strong. Anything less than 235 degrees meant that the NinjaFlex didn’t fuse as well as it should and the tyres looked like they could disintegrate during heavy use.
The much larger 1/10 scale tyre also printed really well, but the parameters I had to use so it fitted the wheel meant it needed supports. Supports break off quite easily in PLA plastic, but not in NinjaFlex rubber, so I really need to redesign the wheel rim and the tyre so supports are not required.
I know how to do this and plan to do it soon, but a little bug in OpenSCAD is preventing me from designing what I really want. It’s frustrating but like any problem I’ve faced, I will solve it somehow.
During the testing of the Mini-Z tyres I was removing and refitting the wheels quite a lot and noticed that the standard plastic wheel nuts were becoming looser, with one of them threading completely.
With only three wheel nuts left there was only one thing for it, to design and 3D print some new ones.
Here’s the design for the new wheel nuts and again after a few iterations of tweaking and testing they worked really well. If you look at the car picture you can just see them printed in blue and holding on the cool looking florescent PLA wheels.
Well, today it’s fine outside so I created myself a little ramp from a door mat and a football (as you do) and filmed a video of the RC car in action with the new tires fitted.
It’s filmed in high definition and turned out ok so feel free to have a look at this little beast in action. Yes I know I really need to mow the lawn in the background, but 3D printing is much more fun so the lawn can wait a little longer 🙂
I uploaded my first ever OpenSCAD Design to Thingiverse a few weeks ago and I have every intention of uploading this tyre too, but I don’t feel it’s quite ready yet.
Incidentally this design I uploaded (Roller Blind Beaded Cord Connector) was the smallest thing I’d ever designed and 3D printed, until today that is. The Mini-Z wheel nut is even smaller, about 6mm across and takes less than a minute to print, even when set to a slow (30mm/s) print speed.
Anyway, I’ll be sure to post it on Twitter as soon as the tyre design is finished and uploaded to Thingiverse.
Thanks for reading and feel free to Like, Share and Comment if you found this article interesting.
Happy 3D printing.