3D Printing an RC truck body for a high profile rugby promotion
The Currie Cup is a series of high profile rugby games held throughout the summer in South Africa. As part of a promotion, AFGRI wanted to sponsor the Blue Bulls rugby team with a not-so-miniature radio controlled (RC) truck. The truck would carry out the kicking tee at the beginning of each game. AFGRI approached Rapid 3D to find a solution utilizing their 3D Platform large format 3D printer.
Initially, AFGRI provided Rapid 3D with the chassis for the radio-controlled truck. Rapid 3D determined that the scale of the truck body was too large to fit on a desktop printer, and would require printing the truck in too many pieces (Final size measures 1100 mm x 400 mm x 350 mm and weighs 25kg).
All of these extra parts would result in not only more print time, but also excess hours designated for assembly and finishing. With a build area of 1000 mm x 1000 mm x 700 mm, Rapid 3D was able to print the main body in only two sections.
Why Use the 3D Platform 3D Printer?
Rapid 3D uses a WorkSeries 300 printer from 3D Platform for many of its large scale applications. Aside from printing out the parts for the AFGRI radio controlled truck, they also use a printer for other applications like sand casting patterns, jigs, and prototyping.
The value of using a 3D printer from 3DP is in its speed, relatively low cost, and the variety of material options available.
Initially, Rapid 3D was provided with photos of AFGRI’s real service trucks and asked to replicate the style for the RC vehicle. After analyzing the photos, they designed the bin at the correct scale.
A mesh model of a Toyota Hilux cab was shelled and split to reduce material consumption and build time.
All of the necessary brackets were designed to attach the body to the chassis. The pieces were printed and assembled, and then prepared for painting.
The customer was extremely pleased with the end result. Now completed, the RC truck is branded with the AFGRI logo, and often featured carrying the kicking tee onto the field during televised rugby games.
Tips for 3D Printing Large Parts
Based on their experiences with this project, Rapid 3D had some helpful insights.
One was their decision to split the truck into two separate printed parts. They chose to split the print in order to limit the amount of support material used. Depending on the geometry of the printed part, support materials must be incorporated to keep the newly extruded materials from sagging or breaking before they harden.
It’s not always easy to get the parts perfect the first time, so it took some extra CAD work to optimize the model and reduce its mass and print time.
The great thing about 3D printing is the ease to which slight changes can be made and then reprocessed.
The world of RC vehicles is getting bigger
Radio controlled vehicles have been around for decades, but the advent of new technologies in 3D printing have jump-started innovation beyond the hobbyist and into more sophisticated and practical applications.
For instance, it is now common to see an industrial size 3D printer at the centre of university engineering departments, aiding in prototypes for unmanned vehicle technologies. We also see universities partnering with the automotive industry to create full-size concept cars, their bodies 3D printed with light-weight polymers.
It may not be too long before we are all driving 3D printed vehicles!
AFGRI is a leading agricultural services company that focuses on grain commodities and agricultural services and equipment, while incorporating a long-term vision of food security across Africa. As part of their sponsorship program, AFGRI gives support to the Vodacom Bulls, which are a professional rugby union team based in Pretoria, South Africa.
As part of a promotion, AFGRI wanted to create a miniature RC truck body to be used to carry on the kicking tee at Currie Cup Rugby games. They approached Rapid 3D to find a solution utilizing a large format 3D printer from 3D Platform. Now completed, the RC truck is branded with the AFGRI logo, and often featured during televised rugby games.