3D Printed Parametric Motor

Custom electromechanical motor that can be printed using any 3D printer, some coil, maybe magnets and a controller.

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Mechanical solutions usually need some sort of motor to actuate stuff, with the ever more democratized world of 3D printers custom motors fitting a specific needs could be made on a whim, but no such calculator exists to relieve the engineer from the laborious task of calculating all the properties of such a motor.

This project aims to offer not only web-based calculator for a 3D printed parametric motor, but also generate the required files so that it could be printed immediately.

Imagine if you will

  • You want to motorise your old telescope, you have a 3D printer so form factor is not an issue, ideally the motors could be integrated to the parts attaching themselves to the telescope, you know the power and steps/resolution you need, but not how to make the motors. This calculator will evaluate the required parameters based on available data and also show how to make the motor without having to think about the air permittivity, coil capacitance, motor inductance...
  • You want to build a personal wind turbine as a project to power some electronics in the middle of nowhere where solar energy is not an option, you can either integrate the first motor you find or you can print an outrunner motor having the blades on the rotor, you enter the power and size requirements and get printable files that come close to what you expect and need.

All parameters shall be left free or have a default realistic value, the different default parts shall be commercially available, for example: motor coil diameter, magnet parameters...

Since brushed motors are kind of annoying to make the calculator will first focus on brushless types, synchronous (with magnets on the rotor) and asynchronous (without any magnets).

  • 1 × Any 3D printer To print the motor chassis
  • 1 × Insulated coil Interconnect Products, Wire and Cable / Misc. Interconnect, Wire and Cable Products
  • 1 × Magnets Small enough to fit inside the rotor placeholder
  • 4 × M3 countersunk screw About 20mm long
  • 1 × Double H-bridge To control the motor

View all 7 components

  • 3D printed prototype

    Solenoid09/07/2015 at 11:27 0 comments

    Finally, I got around printing the first motor prototype. The frame is here, I still need to find the coil, a 5mm shaft, screws and possibly bearings. I have some small magnets that should do it for the proof of concept.

    The stator coil holders were printed in black, that gives the assembled motor a nice 2-color finish.

  • NEMA-17 standard

    Solenoid07/04/2015 at 10:46 0 comments

    I think the project was a bit too ambitious at first. Allowing all the aspects of the motor to be modified gives a huge amount of freedom, but then building a tool that evaluates performance and generates 3D files for that becomes really complicated...

    An intermediate step is to restrict the motor form and allow only some parameters such as motor length, coil diameter and magnet strength to be set by the user. Since the motor form is fixed I decided to adopt a standard: NEMA-17 stepper motor.

    NEMA-17 is a very popular motor used on lots of 3D printers, maybe it can be used to actuate an actual 3D printer... probably not, but who knows.

    The fixation holes are exactly at the same place than the NEMA-17, all parts should be 3D printable (except for magnets, coil, axis, M3 screws and bearings).

    I don't know how it will perform though, or if it will melt... No math has been done yet or anything printed at this point.

  • Rethinking the mechanical part

    Solenoid06/21/2015 at 04:06 2 comments

    I spent some time thinking how to make the building process as easy as possible, after all the motor needs to be printed, colied, assembled, mounted and controlled. The first concept wasn't very user friendly in that sense.

    Fig. 1: New concept. Looks like a standard stepper motor.

    Fig. 2: Exploded view of all the parts.Fig. 3: Rotor.

    This second concept is all about using off-the-shelf parts. It's controlled like a 2-phase stepper motor when the rotor has magnets on it (synchronous) and when coils are put on the rotor it works as an asynchronous motor.

    This makes it easier to control, stepper controllers are really cheap these days and I happen to have some at hand so I won't have to build custom electronics.

    For the rotor it's probably better to use something sturdier than a printed axle, a metal rod will do. I decided to use the tiny 635 type ball bearings on either side of the rotor as well. The motor can still be made with only printed parts though.

    This is still a concept, I haven't printed anything yet because I don't have access to my printer currently.

  • Motor controller thoughts

    Solenoid05/09/2015 at 00:56 0 comments

    Having a motor is nice and all, but for brushless type motors a controller is needed to make them turn. It doesn't have to be something very fancy, an Teensy and some MOSFETs could easily do the work and then some.

    Ideally no sensors would be needed as they can break, are noisy and a hassle to mount and use (compared to doing nothing).

    In the case of a synchronous motor back-EMF black magic would be possible to turn on the right couple of transistors on the H-bridge (like it's done with hard-drives). The asynchronous motor doesn't need sensors (another advantage for this motor type) as the stator magnetic field has to be non-synchronous relative to the rotor anyway, but the H-bridge transistor commutation still needs to happen...

  • Stator coil winding

    Solenoid03/24/2015 at 14:31 0 comments

    Winding the stator and rotor coils will be an annoying part in building such a motor, so this should be made easy. One possible approach is to make the poles insertable, as shown on the picture down below.

    Read more »

View all 5 project logs

Enjoy this project?



sjd.aliyan wrote 05/05/2016 at 18:24 point

Hey man 
as you must know there is a reason why manufacturers use steel sheets in they stator.
it's some kind of steel mixed with silicon and it's name is electrical steel
if you don't use electrical steel your motor would not be strong enough.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Albert Latham wrote 11/25/2015 at 19:40 point

I ran across a video of BMW's i3 manufacturing plant. There's some footage in there of the electric motors being put together that I think you might be ableto pull some useful design hints from.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Albert Latham wrote 08/18/2015 at 17:14 point << An interesting project I stumbled across this morning. I thought it might be of interest.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Solenoid wrote 08/19/2015 at 01:47 point

I've seen them yeah, really cool stuff. That's what inspired me to make more than proofs of concept.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Albert Latham wrote 08/13/2015 at 12:55 point

I just now had a thought: when a motor reaches a given RPM balance will definitely become an issue for discrete cores that are then assembled. A solution would be to add a set-screw into each core that could be driven in flush with the outer surface of the core (or some other known datum-data point?) and then adjusted and epoxied as needed during balancing.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Thomas Shaddack wrote 06/07/2015 at 12:03 point

What about replacing the lamination with e.g. 3d-printable mixture of iron powder in a suitable binder? Similar to how iron powder cores are made?

Another tentative possibility is printing from a "green" ferrite ceramic precursor, the baking the part in a kiln.

See e.g. these:

  Are you sure? yes | no

Solenoid wrote 06/08/2015 at 04:03 point

The idea of this project is that one should be able to print the motor without much else than some coil and a controller. Of course there are lots of ways to optimise a motor, but I'm going for a minimalistic approach.

That being said nothing can keep you from changing the magnetic permeability of the used material to something else than plastic.

  Are you sure? yes | no

dnc40085 wrote 07/01/2015 at 03:24 point

This might come in use for increasing magnetic permeability:

  Are you sure? yes | no

Blufires wrote 04/26/2015 at 13:29 point

Love the idea of this and can't wait to try it out. Have you planned a way to make the laminated iron stator cores DIY, or will they have to be ordered from a manufacturer?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Solenoid wrote 04/26/2015 at 13:51 point

I want it to be as 3D printable as possible, so no iron core planned. This will probably impact efficiency, but you will get a custom motor in hours instead of weeks or months for the price of some plastic and coil (and a controller).

  Are you sure? yes | no

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