Introduction: 3D Printed Fractal Antenna With a Parabolic Reflector
We first heard about fractal geometry from our geometry teacher. Both of us thought of it as a very cool and unique discovery.
After watching a few videos and learning more and more about fractals, we learned that fractals are used to pick up radio frequencies.
In our geometry room, it is impossible to get any sort of signal. We wanted to change that.
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Step 1: Brainstorm
First, we looked for ideas that can be useful to daily life. Doing some research, we concluded that making our own 3D printed fractal antenna can really make an impact in the many daily lives. It will allow people without access to a television station, to finally enjoy the feeling of a good cooking network.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Behind 3D printing, there really isn't a lot of materials. Just a 3D printer.
But here are some other materials
- 3D printer with a designing software
- Aluminum roof coating (It's like a very thick paint)
- Brushes for painting
- A TV, old or new
- Old speaker wire
- And a converter box for old TVs (Newer TVs don't need the box, just speaker wire)
- A paper plate and tin foil (DIY Parabolic Reflector)
Step 3: Begin the Fun!
The first step into making your antenna is to 3D print the fractal. In our project, we 3D printed a fractal called the Sierpinski's Triangle.
You can either create your own fractal using a design software or you can work smarter, not harder and choose a design from the endless supply online.
Now this is where we test your patience! It took about 17 hours to 3D print ours. After the printing is done, the piece needs to be run through a cleanser to dissolve any support material. That took about another 10 hours.
After all this waiting you're are then able to start your fractal antenna.
Step 4: Apply Aluminum Roof Coating
With the help of our friend, we then proceeded to apply the aluminum roof paint to our 3D printed fractal.
Make sure you stir the paint thoroughly! It is very heavy and thick.
Also, make sure you use appropriate sized brushes for your fractal.
Please watch and enjoy the video we made on our fractal.
Step 5: Test and Make Adjustments
After waiting for the paint to dry, you are now ready to test your own fractal antenna! Depending on what type of TV you are using, old or new, will determine if you need a converter box or not. Big, old TVs do need converter boxes. Just simply hook up your old speaker wire to the box and the other two ends to the fractal antenna.
Here is where you can test out where the best place to put the ends of the speaker wire on the antenna and the best positioning of the antenna is.
Once you get a good, strong, and reliable signal, then you're good to go!
Step 6: Make an Easy DIY Parabolic Reflector
If you have a good signal but want an even better signal, there's a way to solve that.
Make a quick and easy parabolic reflector. Now, you may be wondering what that is right? Well, a parabolic reflector is a reflective surface that is used to collect or project energy such as radio waves. Its the dish on the side of a house.
Of course your fractal antenna may pull in a bunch of stations, but we want strong and more stations.
Just wrap a paper plate in some tin foil and adjust it to find where it gives the best signal.
Make sure the tin foil is tight to the plate!
Step 7: Enjoy Watching a Nice Cooking Channel
Now you have completed making your very own 3D printed fractal antenna!
You're now able to enjoy watching Sesame Street in a basement with no reception!
Please watch our video on our fractal antenna working!
Step 8: The Future of Fractal Antennas
We want to expand using fractal antennas in a new way.
One way on expanding our knowledge of fractals is experimenting with different kind of fractals. We have already 3D printed a Sierpinski's Carpet design. We are going to use the same process with this fractal and see if the results are any different.
Thank you! We had a fun time and we hope you do to!