Therefore, it was a goal of mine to 3D print something before I left the Pier. I didn't end up doing this project until my last day because I was occupied with my main project, but that didn't make it any less exciting.
This Instructable will show how I 3D printed a modular series of ball and socket joints. It has no practical use in its present form, but it is fun to play with! The concept itself could be applied to a range of awesome projects in the future.
Link to the *.123dx model: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qwp8jvsp9kni7sr/ball%20and%20socket.123dx
Link to the *.stl model: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8i03tu7jw7yay8z/ball%20and%20socket.stl
Step 1: Video!
Step 2: Design
The model is composed of all simple shapes. I began with a sphere.
A toroid was generated to have roughly the same inner diameter as the sphere's outside diameter. I left a little bit of space so that the parts could move freely.
Two smaller toroids were generated, and their diameters tweaked so that they could "cup" around the two sides of the sphere (Pic 5-7). These were set into position with a small gap in between them and the sphere.
It was at this point in the process that I realized be allowing the largest toroid to be a complete circle, I was limiting the motion of the joint without adding any meaningful stability to it. I made a large box to "cut" part of the largest toroid, and then combined the three toroids together as one solid(Pic 8-10).
The toroid structure was rotated sideways, and a cylinder was generated and placed on the face of the largest toroid. The end of the cylinder was "Chamfer"-ed to make the joint a little more smooth-looking, and combined with the toroid structure (Pic 11).
At this point an identical sphere was generated and combined with the cylinder-toroid structure. This is our completed piece, and the original sphere can be deleted.
The piece can now be copied and pasted. Each piece should be aligned with the sphere inside the toroid structure. When it is printed, the parts will be able to move freely but not be separated.
Step 3: Printing!
Mine was printed in the "VeraWhite" material, since it was the easiest at the time to get my hands on, and this part has no functional purpose that would demand something different.
I wish I had taken some pictures of the part being cleaned, but it was nothing too strenuous or complicated, and my hands were busy.
If you're wondering about using an Objet 3D printer, or the cleaning process, the best place to look is M.C. Langer's Instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Beginners-Guide-to-3D-Printing-with-the-Objet-Con/
Step 4: Conclusion
Now you have your very own 3D Printed Ball and Socket Joint(s) to play around with! The design and concepts could be used for something useful. Something I had in mind was a pose-able helping-hands sort of thing, but the posibilites are endless!
You should leave me a comment! I like those! They help keep me motivated to publish articles instead of letting the pictures I took rot on my hard drive! : )