3D Design

ben gabel

Fusion 360 modelling

During the first lockdown I used the time to study 3D modelling in Fusion 360.
After a very steep learning curve, I found that 3D printing was a surprisingly useful tool for making funtional bits of mechanisms. It is a similar to working with wood in that  the  parts  are laminar and stronger in one axis than another. But if you carefully design round the limitations of the material, printed parts can be remarkably robust .

compliant puppetry joint

An experimental design for a leg joint mechanism , using 3mm bungie cord, avoiding the guillotining action that a smiple joint would have.  The stress on the bungie cord is spread out over a larger length, and the parts can be printed at very low cost in a couple of hours. The one in the video is only 45mm in diamter.

The design is parametric so can easily be printed at different sizes with channels for a specified bungee diameter, just by plugging in the desired variables.

art-nouveau parts box

An Art-Noveau style parts or jewelry box inspired by the works of Guimard, with a secure lid.
This was an exercise to make something that was beautiful yet would be hard if not impossible to manufacture any other way than on a 3D printer. It was done in Fusion 360, which is not really in any way ideal for this sort of organic modelling, but it is the tool I have, and just added to the challenge.

"PRATTS" - styled functional beer pump

A multi-part printed design to add a PRATTS light-up logo to a functional beer pump , to match a “Pratts Motor Oil” themed bar.

Machine Parts

Another experiment turned into a large and ongoing project;  some examples here of parts designed for the 120-year old Ballard Brown Bag filling machines. These machines were designed in the 1880s and are still extremely useful and valuable to small companies worldwide. However the measuring scoops are worn out after countless millions of cycles and the original tooling to make more was lost when the company closed down in the 1970s. My improved design of modern replacement parts are now being printed on our printer & sold to  companies throughout USA, Canada and Europe.

More details of this project are at on the realseeds website where they are for sale.

Packaging artwork

I felt that the project was not complete without some matching artwork for the packaging, and that this really needed to fit with the period when the machines were made.
This logo was based on the language and design styles of contemporary adverts for the machines found in 1890’s catalogues in the USDA National Agricultural Library, after reference to the original patents.

The photo shows the first new No.5 Scoop to be manufactured for 80 years, prior to shipping to TagTomat in Denmark.

replacement carrier arm for 1890's bag-filling machine

Some of these machines were made without the second adjustment hole that allows a longer throw (red in picture). The machines themselves are incredibly rare and valuable antiques , so modifying the original part is not an ideal solution.
The mechanism was carefully measured and modelled, then replacement parts were designed in Fusion 360, printed in PETG & are now in use.


Kalff Philips Speaker

A work in progress to recreate the iconic 1920s Kalff Speaker

These speakers are very rare and sell for £500-£900, even broken, and it seems an interesting challenge to make a modern version with a bluetooth speaker in it. A limitation with 3D printers is that they cannot make a shiny smooth surface more than 40 degrees from the vertical. But lots of smaller segments  can be printed on edge, so they remain close to vertical and thus keep a beautiful finish on both the inside and outside.