In addition to 3D printing sculptures – the main reason I have my 3 3D printers – I’ve made some crazy things.

I’ve 3D printed a half-dozen Farkle boards (that’s a game), some brass dice, pen holders, candleholder trays, tops for some of our glass kitchen containers, new fan parts for my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer and knobs for my metal slip roll, among other things. As you can tell, some things are practical, some just for fun.

Recently, I 3D printed something that is both practical and fun. OK, it’s more just fun ….

I’ve really been getting into radio-controlled construction equipment lately. My “stable” includes an excavator, a dump truck, a bulldozer and a wheeled loader.

Last weekend I had fun cleaning out a drain using the wheeled loader and the dump truck, and I noticed that the loader didn’t have the range of motion I needed to fully dump the dirt into the truck.

Que the 3D printer!

Old & new link mechanisms for radio controlled wheeled loader - Kevin CaronI designed and printed a new link for the loader’s lift mechanism. It took three tries. Each time I adjusted the extrusion width slightly. You can see how it went from an ugly print, to better, to “that’s pretty darn good!”

The 3D-printed link actually worked just fine, but I decided, since I have the equipment, I’d go ahead and use the 3D-printed part as a model for an aluminum version. I made it using my horizontal bandsaw, drill press and grinder.

I must be getting good at this stuff, because the metal link worked the first time.

Finally my wheeled loader can lift all the way up without spilling dirt onto the cab of the loader and dump farther so the bucket dumps everything the first time.

Now I just need to find another drain to clean ….