3-D Printing the History of Mechanisms

[+] Author and Article Information
Hod Lipson

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,  Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USAhod.lipson@cornell.edu

Francis C. Moon, Jimmy Hai, Carlo Paventi

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,  Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA

J. Mech. Des 127(5), 1029-1033 (Oct 17, 2004) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1902999 History: Received June 23, 2004; Revised October 17, 2004

Physical models of machines have played an important role in the history of engineering for teaching, analyzing, and exploring mechanical concepts. Many of these models have been replaced today by computational representations, but new rapid-prototyping (RP) technologies are now allowing reintroduction of physical models as an intuitive way to demonstrate mechanical concepts. This paper reports on the use of RP to document, preserve, reproduce, and share in three dimensions, historic machines, and mechanisms. We have reproduced several preassembled, fully functional historic mechanisms from the Cornell Collection of Reuleaux Kinematic Models, and made these available as part of a new online museum of mechanism: Not only can visitors read descriptions, view pictures and videos, and interact with simulations of machines, but they can now also download and 3D-print their own physical functional replicas. We expect that this new form of “physical” preservation will become prevalent in future archives.

Copyright © 2005 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Sample printed models. (a) Original models (left) and printed reproduction (right). Top: slider crank; Middle: Scotch–Yoke mechanism; Bottom: A ratchet mechanism with three spring-loaded pawls. (b) Original models (left) and printed reproduction (right). Top: Worm gear mechanism; Middle: A double-chamber leaf pump; Bottom: A clock escapement mechanism

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Figure 2

Misalignment caused by large gap requirements: (a) A loaded shaft printed with gaps filled with support material; (b) will misalign when support material is removed; (c) shaft misalignment is precompensated so that (d) final functioning model will perform properly. More complex compensations need to be carried out for more elaborate mechanisms

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Figure 3

Closeup of components: (a) screw with thread and nut in prismatic joint; (b) three loaded ratchet springs. All parts printed preassembled in one pass.

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Figure 4

Leonardo da Vinci’s version of a slider crank and endless screw: (a) Original drawing; (b) rapid prototype model



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