3D Printed Rope Maker

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Introduction: 3D Printed Rope Maker

About: I'm a Qualified Electrician, with a love for designing and making things whenever I can.

Hi Makers!

Heres a very cool project. Inspired by one of my favorite YouTube creators, Grant Thompson! I dedicate this project to you, as thats where I got the idea from. RIP Grant... Loved and Respected by so many!! 1980-2019.

I haven't seen anyone create this project for a 3D Printer yet, so here is my version. It'll make Rope, any size/any length as long as you have the space!! So lets crack on...

Materials Needed:

- 2x 370mm Lengths Aluminum "L" Angle 20mm x 1.5mm

- 15x M6 Nuts

- 6x M6 Washers

- 2x M6 Bolts 30mm

- 1x Wood screw (10-20mm)

- 10x 606zz Bearings

- 8x M10 Nuts

- 4x M6 Eye Bolts 60mm

7x M6 Hex Bolts 50mm

Step 1: 3D Printing Your Parts

Here are all the STL Files I created in TinkerCad. Youll need 1x of each file to complete this project.

Step 2: Assembly of Main Mechanism (Part A)

Okay, So 1st we'll start assembling this main mechanism. The actual part that will spin and coil the rope.

1a.) Grab your 3D Printed Front plate, and place 3x of your Eye Bolts through the frame as shown.

1b.) Also place 5x M6 50mm Bolts through the frame.

2.) Slide 1x 606zz Bearing over each Eye Bolt and push into the frame.

3.) Slide 1x M10 Nut over each Eye Bolt (Will work as a spacer).

4.) Slide your 3D Printed Cogs over each Eye Bolt.

5.) Now in Reverse, Place another M10 Nut, followed by another 606zz Bearing, followed by another M6 Nut and tighten well. Make sure the bearings spin smoothly.

Step 3: Assembly of Main Mechanism (Part B)

Now we need to make the centre gear, as show in the first photo.

1.) Slide an M6 Nut along an M6 50mm Bolt and do up tightly. (This will be the main operational gear and will be where you put your drill or socket, to turn the gears).

2.) Slide on a 606zz Bearing, followed by an M10 Nut.

3.) Slide on your other 3D Printed Gear, followed by another M10 Nut, 606zz Bearing and do up tighly with an M6 Nut.

4.) You can now place this gear into the frame, making sure the head of the bolt is on the opposite side to the Eye Bolts.

5.) Now... Place the other side of the frame on top.

6.) Put 1x washer on each of the 5x M6 50mm bolts followed by an M6 Nut and do up tightly.

The Main Mechanism is now complete. Check everything turns freely and all bolts are tight enough not to unscrew themselves while in operation...

Step 4: Assembly of Rope Tower

So here is the Rope Tower. This will serve the purpose of 2x jobs. It will keep tension on the strings whilst they're spinning, causing them to coil evenly, and it'll also slide forward along the rails. This will happen because the more you twist the string, the more tension it'll have, causing the rope to contract and become shorter.

1.) Grab your 3D Printed parts, and bolt them together as shown in the photos using 1x M6 30mm bolt and 1x M6 50mm Bolt.

2.) Make sure to thread the String Hook in place too. You will then screw your "1x wood screw" into the other hole of the String Hook to secure it.

2.) Tie a length of string around the hook securely as shown.

3.) Now, thread some string or small chain around/through the holes in the Weight Trough, and tie to the other end of the string. (The length of the string will depend on how high your working platform will be). Keep reading to the end to find this out. (PICTURE HEAVY!!)

Step 5: Assembly of Slide Rails

And now, for the slide rails. This is pretty self explanatory from the photos, so have a quick look at them. It'll serve the purpose of locking onto the edge of the table and allow the Rope tower to slide forward keeping that much needed tension on the strings.

1.) Grab your 3D Printed rail ends, and Pressure fit them into Aluminum Angle. (A clamp or a few gentle taps with a hammer were enough to lock these innto place for me).

2.) Grab your pulley, and screw into place using 1x 30mm M6 Bolt and secure with an M6 Nut.

That's it! Now we can set all this up and start making some rope :-)

Step 6: Set Up Your Rig!

You'll need to add some weight to your "Weight Trough". Coins, Nuts & Bolts are all good for this, and the more you use, the better really.

Place the Slide mechanism at one end of the table.

Place the Main Mechanism at the other end and using the space provided at the bottom of the "Main Mech", Clamp down to your table.

Grab a drill with a 10mm Socket and test your Mech works nicely.

We can now thread our boring thin String through the eye bolts. You can have either 1,2,3,4,5etc strings on each eye bolt on the Mech, and they all go back to the "Rope Tower Eye Hook"...

Make sure your Trough is weighted and is keeping the Tower at the back of the slide rail before twisting any rope.

Place the Rope Seperator infront of the Rope Tower.

Connect your drill and start spinning "some soon to be" Rope. After you've spun your rope and it's under quite a bit of tension, you can pull your "Rope Slide" towards the Main Mech, and watch as your string turns into some hefty rope! It's as simple as that. Have Fun!!

Rope & String Speed Challenge

First Prize in the
Rope & String Speed Challenge

1 Person Made This Project!

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29 Comments

0
Lorddrake
Lorddrake

3 months ago

it looks like you managed to make a length of rope about 2-3 feet long using your machine on that table. If you wanted to make a longer rope using this device in the same amount of space is that possible, or would your ends of the machine simply need to be farther apart?

0
markk9119
markk9119

1 year ago

I thought your design was very elegant and looks amazing. Obvious clear headed planning, patience, and care went into the details to make sure everything would work as intended, without surprises, but you didn't go crazy and Dremmel polish the gears for example! Anyway, appreciate the artistic and engineering touches (for me the two are very related).

It looks like you used some polymer core material in the white support structure, like airplane panels of laminated hexcel, or are the geometric lines just printing artifact? This is a nice visual element regardless, suggesting strength. The gears look a little unreliable though, only because of the plastic -- it looks like the printing temperature was a little high for the gears, they look like the plastic was pushed too far into the liquid regime and settled into their final form with a bit too much freedom. The Pirate's treasure counterweight looks right though... it is the same material in both, right?

As a final comment, I also make machines and automation components with my 3D printer, and wanted to make sure you knew about the performance polymers available for printing things like gears. PEEK is on the extreme end of things, pricey and not user friendly, but tough enough for a Mars mission. There's also glass filled nylon (glass microshpheres or silica fume, I think), carbon fiber dust filled nylon (better properties than the carbon filled PLA), also either POM or polycarbonate make excellent gears even down to 0.5 modulus with reliable results, these have teeth about 1/5 the size of your black ones.

Really great work, thank you!!

Mark

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 1 year ago

Hi Mark, Thanks for your comment. It's very nice to hear all the work put into this has been appreciated by many!
I have actually had a comment before about the black PLA I was using, and they too said it looked like it may have been printed a bit hot. This was a slightly rushed attempt as it was a "Speed" competition I was entering. Had I had a little extra time, I probably would've re printed and changed up a few things. But yes, the "Weight Trough" was also printed in the same material at the same temperature, so I'm not quite sure what happend there.
Also, I definately will be looking at the other printing Materials! I've seen a few I maybe interested in trying, but literally i've only really picked up this printer in the last 3months or so, so everything has been a huge learning curve for me :-) but i'm still learning! (Everyday is a school day right)
Thanks again for your comment, Really appreciate it!
Graham

0
markk9119
markk9119

Reply 6 months ago

After more printing experience, I look back on the comment I made to you with a little shame, it looks perfect on second and more competent analysis. I also want to offer you a HUGE thanks! Your machine is amazing for a niche application of audiophile wires, patch cables, anything carrying a signal from here to there... What do I mean? Well, if you open your Ethernet cable, you will see 4 twisted pairs. Why do this? Electricity and magnetism are inseparable, and a straight line carrying an electrical signal, generates a magnetic field on the normal (90º) to the vector of electrical signal travel. OK, so? this magnetism also can pair up with other random fields floating about, beamed from radio towers, your microwave, wifi router, speakers, etc. basically, if we could see all of it, it would be a Timothy Leary lolapalloza of kaleidoscopic chaos, moving at crazy speeds. OK, we can call all that a source of noise. Twisting the pairs of wires sort of balances it out. sending the signal down multiple wires, and twisting them in a more complex manner, like 5 lines interbraided to carry 1 signal on 2 and ground on 3 or vice versa, on silver filament wire, in thin teflon tubes, each shielded with braided copper mesh, then sleeved stylishly in braided wire wrap, and, wait for it.... fed into your machine! I know how to sell this, in other words. I would like to invite you to join me on this, since you are the source of tech, I can either offer you some royalties or a partnership. Don't get too excited, I can see this as a good easy sideline, but not a trophy real estate buyer. If this is interesting, please contact me directly at mark at consultchem dot info. This isn't a polite shakedown for venture capital, I plan to ask for that together with you from any number of third parties that do this for a living.

Mark

0
jdmilne54
jdmilne54

10 months ago

I am in the process of printing the parts to this. I am up to printing the gears; the filename of which indicates there are 4 of them. However there are only three in the STL file. I'm using Cura 4.6.1 to slice the file to print on an Ender 3. If one opens two copies of the STL file in Cura, there is enough room, with a bit of "juggling", to fit both files on the base plate. You will end up with six gears, but then you've got a couple spare. Because I want good quality and strength I print them in PLA at 0.12mm and 25% infill. Thanks for posting this instructable.

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 10 months ago

Hi Pal, Good luck with the project... I will change the file now. Sorry for the inconvenience

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Tip 11 months ago

If you make this, BEFORE ASSEMBLY, read my note in the "I Made This" section!

0
blibr
blibr

1 year ago

Hi, Mark. Nice project. I'm printing but the file Cogsx4 have just 3 parts insteady of 4.

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 1 year ago

Hi Pal,
Thanks for letting me know... I will change the files so it'll have 4 cogs...
All the best,
Graham

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Reply 1 year ago

I'm doing this too. Is the 4-cog .stl coming soon?
(Awesome! I hope to use this to make bell ropes for my model bells - complete with fluffy sallies... But I don't want 6 cogs!!)

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Reply 12 months ago

Glad the 4-cog one wasn't there!! On two of the six I printed, they lifted from the print bed - so I have two slightly substandard spares!

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

12 months ago

Impressive! I've printed this and am beginning to use it to make miniature bell ropes, complete with woolly sallies. A bit rough at the moment - but I'm learning!

Some comments about the ropewalk...
1: The holes behind the bearing housings aren't big enough. They are a bare 10mm across. It needs 11.5mm or thereabouts to allow a nut to spin freely as they need to do.
2: The hex sockets for the bolts are, likewise, a bit too small. The bolt will draw down into them, so less of an issue!
3: A number of your bolt lengths are unnecessarily long. There's a variety of lengths but few need to be 50mm long. I have a horror of over-length bolts whirring in empty space!
4: A really important one, this. If you want to use this for any serious work, the eyebolts must be made into hooks. Better than what I have done, the tips should be tapered too so it is easier to slip the fibres over.
5: When buying aluminium angle, they came in 1m lengths. I decided to get two, rather than cut one. Just as well I did. The traveller ("rope tower") needs a great deal further to move than the 370mm length quoted. Laying up a rope from fibres (not simply cable-laying as in the example), you get at leat 20% shrink. So a 3m. finished cord is going to need to start at 4m and the traveller will move at least a metre.
In order to get that travel from your counterweight, then this needs to be set on a simple pulley. Double the mass of the weight and bring your cord back up to tie to the bottom of the end rig. (sorry - no photo of that. In my present set-up, it's all hidden behind a lot of stuff.)

Having said all of that, it's a great bit of kit. I suspect I'll need to make a new top (what you call a "Rope Seperator" qv) to accommodate the thicker woven sally bits - and I think that, though I have more than doubled the counterweight to account for the pulley system, I think it could go heavier.
As you use it, if you don't know, do some research on rope making. Find out the history of it all and, above all, try to source materials to really make a rope, rather than just re-lay string! In particular, look at the difference between left- and right-hand lay. At the components of a rope and see how a filament becomes a yarn and a yarn becomes a strand - and how "S" twist alternates with "Z" twist. All fascinating stuff!

Bolt Length.jpgHead assembly.jpgHook from eye.jpgTail assembly.jpgTail assembly2.jpgRopes One.jpgSally.jpg
0
Morganator
Morganator

1 year ago

Impressive!
Could this be used to safely hide small electrical cables in rope.
eg 'old rope' supported rustic, pendant light fixtures

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 1 year ago

Hi,
Good Idea! I think this would work if you used a flexible enough insulated cable.

0
woodchipwilbur
woodchipwilbur

Reply 1 year ago

Hmmm... I'd be careful with that. If you use the cable as one of the strands, I think you'd be stressing it too much. With uneven strands, it'll look a rather odd rope anyway.

If you were to drill a suitable size hole in the cord slider (called a "top", I believe), you could probably wrap three rope strands around a central electric wire. That will still put quite a twist into the wire. It would be worth experimenting with a light electric cable that is, itself, twisted and then to arrange your rope maker to give a left-handed (anticlockwise) twist by running your drill in reverse. That will then UNtwist the cable, which will stress it a little less. All you can do is to experiment - but be gentle with the electrics!

0
world of woodcraft
world of woodcraft

1 year ago

Top stuff.
I have seen some rope making in different places but having a how to along with files all in one instructable is a game changer for someone like me, who is interested, but the barriers of making, finding etc would mean a proper investigation wouldn't happen. .
I have a pretty good idea that these files will be being printed by me soonish.

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 1 year ago

Hey Pal,
Thanks for your comments, they're reall great. I'm very happy to here this will be a project you would like to follow. If you need any help along the way, Just Ask :-)

0
mrstan
mrstan

1 year ago

Very interesting indestructible! What is your 3d printer? I do not have a 3d printer, but am looking at getting one some day as I see more and more uses for it. Good job building this instuction and the video.. seeing helps a lot I think.

0
b33ma247
b33ma247

Reply 1 year ago

Oh, Thanks MrStan,
I have a Tronxy XY-2. It's a pretty good printer for the price and a lot of very good reviews online and youtube. Amazon were pumping them pretty cheap (about £120 at the time), because I think they were bringing out the next gen "Tronxy", so bargain had there! Ever since I had mine, honestly I haven't stopped using it :-)