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Old 10th April 2018, 06:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How to 3D print annoying parts (ac mode actuator rod clip)

this is my first attempt at an online guide, i figured theres probably alot of people out there that are having similar issues sourcing little bits and "bobs" (my attempt at old-world english there, feel free to correct me haha).

so quick back story, ac vent actuator crapped itself, sourced a new part, but as i was removing the old actuator i noticed the AC shop had broken the actuator rod retaining clip:



so after some internet searching through the MFG parts diagrams i could not find this little piece, and to make matters worse they apparently threw the other half away so i have to do a bit of reverse engineering (and hopefully make it better in the process)

Required materials:
1. Calipers (i prefer digital type for speedy measurements)
2. 3D printer ( i use the FlashForge Finder, its cheap and easy to use for small parts not exceeding 5.5x5.5x5.5 inch dimensions, prints PLA type plastic only)
3. CAD software (for something simple like this, i use the web browser based Free to use TinkerCAD. you can even model on your smartphone, its amazing!)

STEP 1: source a picture of the original actuator clip, a quick googling yielded this:

STEP 2: Measure the dimensions of the object from your computer screen/TV using calipers, and similarly measure the original for as many of the dimensions as you can in order to find the dimensions of the original using math (NOTE that this method is acceptable in this scenario because the actuating rod is adjustable and thus you do not need to be ultra precise)

STEP 3: Take your measurement paper(s):top.jpg side.jpg and do some quick math to find the missing dimensions. in this scenario, i calculated 35/13.5=2.59, then divided 29/2.59=11.20 (rounded), which means the missing part should be approximately 11.2mm in diameter, add that to the approximate .3mm gap between the clip and you have a total estimated length of 25mm for the original part. now we can get to the good stuff

STEP 4: using your 3D CAD software, create a new part using your measurements. i changed the original design to add a bit of bulk and also added two screws instead of the factory clip. the link for my design is here: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/2HrgjgU8k4d

STEP 5: PRINT! will return with the finished product and new pictures
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Old 10th April 2018, 08:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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the finished product!

from CAD:

[ATTACH]238610[/ATTACH

to functional:

20180410_184931 (1).jpg

also for those interested this cost me about $0.08 USD to make, at $28 USD per kilo of filament and the part used 4.9 grams of material
Attached Images
File Type: png model.png (279.8 KB, 4 views)
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Old 10th April 2018, 09:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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impressive. How "strong" is the material?
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Old 10th April 2018, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Brilliant stuff! Let us know how this comes out.

Just note that PLA can be biodegradable and some desktop printers have a print accuracy around 0.5mm - ok for most stuff but sometimes not so intricate functional pieces like this.

I design a lot of custom 3D printed tools at McLaren and we spec parts to be made from a resin which makes it really durable and the finish makes it look injection moulded - print accuracy is about 0.1mm.

Let me know if want the details of the company as I don't think this piece would be very expensive to print.

PS - Is that actuator rod threaded? If so you may have the option to put a Tappex threaded insert put into the piece as well.

EDIT - my post came in a little late lol. The piece came out quite sweet
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Old 10th April 2018, 10:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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the strength of PLA i find to be pretty excellent, its usually stronger than your average plastic, as far as exact strengths i recommend looking on youtube for a comparison of all the different printable plastics

PLA in particular is very tough and slighty flexible and also very dense from what i can see. its downside is it becomes malleable at a low temp, for something like a hood NACA duct (which tinkercad has several resizeable models for free might i add) you ould need to print in ABS with a heated print bed OR print it in PLA and cast it into aluminum using the "lost PLA" casting method

here is the part installed, i have a video of it in operation i will have to upload to youtube or something later:

20180410_194258.jpg
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Old 10th April 2018, 11:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Doesn't look out of place at all.

Will have to have a look at mine now... and perhaps order one from you
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Old 10th April 2018, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jnoor View Post
Doesn't look out of place at all.

Will have to have a look at mine now... and perhaps order one from you
That wouldn't be necessary, in fact if you have any little parts that you would be interested in me trying to model that aren't too difficult to pull out of my car I would be happy to try and create one for you if you just cover shipping. Has to be within a 5.5inch cube though, my printer is tiny.

I'm going to tweak this design slightly to make the actuator rod sit a bit more flush, I also forgot to show a picture of the post finishing I did to make it ultra smooth on the inside

EDIT: The actuating rod actually isnt threaded so i redid the clip. Heres the updated model link https://www.tinkercad.com/things/2HrgjgU8k4d and a couple of pictures. the first pic is to show the process a little bit, tinkercad is pretty easy to use:
Attached Images
File Type: png model 2.png (1.54 MB, 3 views)
File Type: png model 3.png (356.0 KB, 3 views)
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