We wonder if the mechanics are as annoyed when we say “engine” as we get when someone talks on a “computer” or a “radio”. Sure, you know what all three words mean, but there are many different types of radios, computers, and motors. in the [3DprintedLife’s] In this case, he made a Wankel-style air motor.
The Wankel – a rotary engine – is best known for its use in some Mazda cars. If you’ve done a lot of 3D printing, you know that creating an airtight piston on a 3D printer is not an easy task. Of course, he didn’t do it right away. It took a number of iterations to get it going, and he’s sharing some of the lessons he’s learned on this project.
The motor isn’t particularly efficient and you can see it spin and stop for a while, but it’s a great demo, especially when it replaces the 3D printed cover with a clear plastic cover. Getting the tight tolerances you need can be a real challenge. One thing that helped was printing on a raft so that the bottom of the parts was flat instead of matching the slight slopes in the print bed.
We were impressed with the two-piece design and the 3D printed springs and valves. Even if you don’t want to build a Wankel, you can check out some tips for creating mechanical parts with filament 3D printers.
This isn’t the first 3D printed Wankel we’ve seen. The technology has its fans and critics if you can check out the Hackaday comment history.