Introduction: Oil Level
This instructable is a fun little project. The level serves no purpose but to be a little toy or gadget to play with at your desk. The level does not function as a normal level does (because of the oil solution, and the nature of gravity). This level can function and show which way the surface is higher. The level is not able to actually tell you if the surface is level or not. During the making, the CAD steps are clearly listed making this instructable a great CAD guide! It is also possible to make this project by woodworking, and other alternatives to 3d printing. The design allows for flexibility to really make your level personal.
3D Printer Filament
3D Printer (Many local libraries, schools, and other services have public 3D printers)
Link to a Random Rapid Prototyping Company: http://www.rpquote.com/index.php?gclid=Cj0KCQjwjN7...
Test Tube Cap
Light Olive Oil
Here is a link to my research for this project. It is very useful, and I encourage you to check it out (it's not too long).
Link to Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2950037
Warning the next slides are CAD intensive :)
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Select a Work Plane
Make sure you select the correct work plane. This can help you with slicing and maneuvering through the CAD process. I used the YZ plane because it allowed me to set my model up in the right spot/orientation for slicing.
Step 2: Make a Sketch.
Make your body of your level. Make sure you have the correct dimensions because your printer might not be able to print a large object out in one piece. Another thing to take into consideration is the length of your test tube. My test tube was 150mm in length, so I made my level 170mm long to allow for 10 mm clearance on each side.
Total dimensions of the first sketch:
150mm by 50mm
Step 3: Make Another Sketch.
The inside rectangle is an important sketch. This will allow the user to read the level. The opening in the model will also save material cost. This level will be easy to read thanks to the big opening. The dimensions you choose for your level must allow enough space for the test tube inside the level to be read.
Step 4: Extrude the Sketch Using the Additive Method.
When extruding it is important to extrude the shape so that it is proportional. By proportional I mean 2 square bases surrounded by rectangles ( square based rectangular prism). My dimensions of the Cad model are 50mm by 50mm by 170mm.
Step 5: Fillet Edges.
Once you finish the first extrusion make the Cad model smoother. To do this you can either fillet (smooth edges), of chamfer (corners cut straight). Both allow the shape of the level to look nice. I used a fillet of 10mm, and it turns out nice.
Step 6: Sketch a Hole for Test Tube.
This step can vary. The test tube that I used was 150mm long with a diameter of 20mm. I needed to make the hole in my design 20mm in diameter. If you choose a different test tube size you may need to sketch a circle with a smaller diameter than 20mm.
Step 7: Use the Subtraction Method to Carve the Hole.
Once the sketch is done cut out the hole. This allows for a spot inside your Cad model for the test tube to fit snugly into. The depth of this hole also depends on the size/length of your test tube. I cut the hole 162.5mm deep. This allows me to have enough space for my testube to rest in.
Step 8: Make Another Sketch.
This next sketch should be made at the same opening of the hole you just made. This sketch allows the lip of the test tube to be able to fit. Remember that some test tubes also have caps, and depending on the size of the test tube you may need a bigger or smaller cap to fit onto it. The holes diameter should be the same diameter of the lip of your test tube. I used a diameter of 30mm.
Step 9: Use the Subtraction Method to Carve a Bigger Hole at the Opening.
Once finished with the sketch cut the hole for the test tube's lip to fit into out.
Step 10: Check Out Your Model.
Make sure the model looks correct before continuing on. Autodesk Inventor Professional has a measuring feature. This is extremely useful for checking your CAD model's dimensions. One more trick is to change the material. If you change the material to a clear material (like in the picture) you can see where some of your internal features are. The material changing menu is between the two colored circles.
Step 11: Find Another Work Plane Tangent to the Longer Edge.
Next, choose the work plane to sketch the words on. This is so you can make your model aesthetically pleasing and cool! I chose the YZ plane because it allows the test to be facing you while you work on CAD.
PS: to find a specific work plane of Inventor selects the Origin folder on the left "History toolbelt". I labeled it on the picture.
Step 12: Add Your Text.
Now comes the tedious part. THE TEXT! this part can be considered the hardest part of this design. The text must fit on the surface of your model. Depending on what you want to say you may need to change the size of your text. Also, remember sketch #2, the text MUST NOT interfere with the center rectangle that we drew earlier. This is because the rectangle allows you to actually use the level. One more thing is to make sure the text does not make your design in two pieces or too brittle. Too much text may look cool, but your part might be hard to print, and weak.
Please check out the image I labeled some key parts to help :)
Step 13: Move Your Text Into Position.
To continue, there are more tools available to help you properly orientate your text. I prefer the move tool. The move tool allows you to move your sketches around the plane that you selected. If you made your text somewhere off into space I recommend the move tool to move it back onto your cad model.
Check the picture. (more labeled parts).
Step 14: Rotate the Text.
Now the text may be facing the wrong way, or upside down. Don't worry, there is a tool for you, the rotate tool. This tool allows the selected sketch to be turned any angle within 360 degrees. I rotated my text 90 degrees clockwise to fix the sideways problem. Often times you may find yourself switching between the rotate tool, and the move tool.
Check the picture for more labeled parts.
Step 15: Use the Subtraction Method to Engrave Text Through the Body of the Level.
After all the mayhem of the text, you can use the subtraction method to extrude away your text. This will leave holes where your text was. It will also leave the floating insides of the O's, A's, R's, D's B's, and Q's. The floating parts must be removed, or worked around.
Step 16: Examine Your Extrusion.
After the extrusion, once more use the measuring tool to check your original dimensions of the holes for the test tubes.
Step 17: Repeat on the Other Side If Needed.
Now you can choose to do the same to the other part of the level, it just depends on your feel.
Step 18: Remove Middles of Letters.
Now make another sketch on the same plane you used to create the text. Use the shape tools available like square, line, circle to draw around the floating parts of the letters.
Step 19: Use the Subtraction Method Again to Remove the Middles of the Letters.
Select all sketches that you wish to cut away from the main model, and use the subtraction method to remove all insides of the letters. Make sure that the sketches fully surround the floating insides of the letters, because if not you will have to make another sketch.
Step 20: Export Part As an STL File.
Now export the file as an STL. This can be different for many CAD programs. For inventor users, click on the I in the upper left corner and click export-->Cad Format, then change the file type to STL (or whatever file your slicer uses).
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Step 21: Slice (Use the Right Slicer for Your Printer).
Make sure to slice carefully and add the correct supports. Also use the correct settings as well.
My Print settings:
Material: Hatchbox PLA (Black)
Extruder Temp: 210 degrees Celcius
Heated Bed Temp: 60 degrees Celcius
Supports: Yes, Linear (1.5 mm pillar size), overhang threshold 45 degrees
Infill Type: Linear/Line 15%, but greater % better looking
Layer height: .31
Shells: 2 all around (Top, Bottom, and Sides)
Travel Speed: 70mm/s
Print Speed: 50mm/s
Step 22: Print!
Heres the really fun part!
Not much to say here but level your bed!
I have a Flash Forge Creator Pro, and it is an exceptional 3D printer. (Just sayin')
Step 23: STEP1 Gather All Needed Parts
To begin the assembly it is important to grab the following:
Test tube Cap
Light Olive Oil
Step 24: STEP2 Check Fit for the Assembly
Assemble the level (without oil). Insert the test tube into the 3d Printed level, and insert the cap into the test tube. Make sure that all components fit properly. If not, problem solve. If your test tube is too small add rubber bands, tape or something to increase the diameter of the outside of the test tube (so that it will fit in the center hole in the 3d Printed level). In my case, a 20mm diameter test tube would not fit (because of tolerance), so I used some plastic tubing to bridge the gap. This was perfect because the plastic tubing was also used for the cap keeping the dimensions of the test tube the same on each side of the level.
Step 25: STEP3 Clean All Parts
Make sure that all the parts are clean before the assembly. Use a soft cloth to clean the test tube. Avoid scratches.
Step 26: STEP4 Now Assemble the Level by the Following Steps
First: grab the test tube and fill with oil I used a cup with a circle cut out in the bottom to support the tube in an upright position. (Please leave some space between the meniscus and the rim of the test tube.
Second: Place the cap of your choice on the test tube.
Third: Insert the test tube with the cap on into the 3d printed part.
Forth: Secure the test tube inside the 3d part with some hot glue.
Step 27: STEP5 Calibration
Now, the level won't is perfect now, so... we need to calibrate it a little. With a sharpie mark the center of the level.
Now you have made a level using oil!
Reference the picture if you do not know where the sharpie goes.
Step 28: How to Use the Level
This level is alternative to a real level. The sharpie in the center indicates the center of the level. The bubble naturally moves to the side of the level that is higher than the other. This has many purposes. You are able to tell which side of the surface is higher by placing the level onto it and watching which side the bubble floats too. The side that the bubble floats to is the side that is raised more than the other.
1) Tilt the level until the bubble is roughly in the center of the sharpie line.
2) Place level carefully on the surface you want to test.
3) Watch for which direction the bubble moves to.
4) Finally whichever side of the level the bubble moved to is the side that is raised.
Step 29: Thats It!
I hope you guys enjoyed my instructable! The oil level is a fun little project that incorporates oil in the design and function.
Participated in the