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May 15, 2014 AT 2:00 pm

3D Designer Spotlight – Michael Curry: 3D Printed Vehicle #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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Michael Curry, aka “Skimbal,” is one of Thingiverse’s / desktop 3D printing’s iconic designers. He swirls together humor/pop culture and his deep passion to learn (and then teach) how machines work — and out of this collision has emerged a wide range of influential and often-cited printable projects such as the Gothic Cathedral Playset and the Turtle Shell Racers.

He has also created a number of 3D printed robot projects to date that we have been unable to resist sharing on the Adafruit blog, from his cute, teenager Minion robots from Maker Faire Kansas City a few years ago to his Dangerball! maker-friendly printable spherical robot last year at World Maker Faire in New York. As long as he keeps creating fantastic project after fantastic project, we don’t see any reason to stop sharing this incredible work.

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3D Printed Vehicle, by Michael Curry

Over the course of the last few months, after heading back to Kansas City and diving into his self-imposed maker-residency at Hammerspace, he has been hard at work creating one of his dream projects, a project practically no one thought he could pull off — an entirely 3D printed vehicle. This weekend at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 he will debut the results of this project so far!

To prepare you for this exciting DIY project launch, we wanted to bring together a number of the videos he has been posting about his project in progress, from first system test to a trial drive in the parking lot of Hammerspace!

The project’s tag line: “They said ‘You Wouldn’t Download a Car’! Well now you can!” 😉

Creating the Rear Differential

Dec 14, 2013: Bench Test of my 3D printed rear differential. Printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2 at Medium settings: 2 shells, 0.2mm layer height, and 10% infill density. The buckets have a combined weight of 70 pounds (30 kilos). At the end the chain slips off sprocket and got twisted, which ended testing for the day. The Differential still works fine.

First Attempt at Rear Suspension

Dec 31, 2013: A test version of the rear suspension of my in-progress 3d printed vehicle. Printed in PLA on two Makerbot Replicators. The parts are all printed at the default medium settings (2 shells, 10% density, .2mm layer height) except for the blue pins, which are printed at 20% density with 4 shells.

2nd Prototype of Suspension

Feb 15, 2014: The second prototype of the Rear Suspension for my 3D Printable Vehicle and the start of the Wheel structures

Further Development of Suspension and Drivetrain


Mar 25, 2014: An update on the development of the suspension and drivetrain, also get a look at what is hopefully the final version of the rear axle.

Test drive!

May 9, 2014: Getting ready for Bay Area Maker Faire 2014 with my 3D Printed giant RC vehicle. Its weighs about 70 pounds and was printed over 5 months on two MakerBot Replicators.

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Check out the launch of this exciting 3D printed vehicle project at Maker Faire Bay Area this weekend!


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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the MakerBot Digitizer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!


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