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From Sleepy Time to School Time in a 3D Printed Motorized RC Bed
Posted by 3DP4E
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By Hannah Rose Mendoza | 3D Print

It’s the scene from everybody’s nightmare: your alarm goes off and you realize that there isn’t enough time for you to get up, go the car, and make it to school. Radio control fanatics The Lane Boys managed to 3D print their way back to sweet dreams with the creation of a motorized bed. Sure, right now it’s the right size for a doll–but even so, it’s pretty cool.

Having recently acquired a LulzBot Mini 3D printer and finding themselves more than a little amused by the creations of Edd China, the Boys set about creating their most involved 3D printed project to date: A motorized RC bed. They worked in OpenSCAD to create a model that would work with the standard RC chassis of a Tamiya TT02. Working with 3D printing as the final goal informed the way the models developed as did the constraint of their small print bed (15 x 15 x 15 cm).

The platform for the bed was created using a piece of acrylic purchased at a hobby store. After that, the duo turned to their own printer to make the parts. The size of the bed was determined by the chassis and the first problem that presented itself was the fact that the sides of their dream mobile were larger than the print bed. In order to address this, they printed the sides in sections, complete with slots and tabs, and then glued them together using Tamiya cement glue after production.

Not satisfied with the look of the printed sides, they created a faux wood look by using the painting skills honed from years of making RC cars. Not a pair to throw caution to the wind, they needed to create a license plate and lights in order to make their snoozer cruiser street legal.

They quickly realized the advantages that working in 3D modeling held for their creative process:

“To conceal the back of the light fixtures, LEDs and wiring, we printed covers. The covers for the front lights also received a pole to mount the head lamps on. The pole had a tiny hole running through it so that we could run wires, and a recess for the M2 mounting screw of the head lamp. All this would be tricky to do with scratch building, but was extremely easy to do with 3D modeling.”

– The Lane Boys

A diminutive SMD LED light was used to illuminate the license plate, printed as thin as o.5mm in some areas. Their first instinct was to create the mattress itself using cloth covered foam, but they soon realized that would create stability and mounting issues. Instead, they decided to create six 3D printed pieces that would be glued together and attached with magnets. The weight added by the mattress created its own set of problems and they confessed that if they were to take on this project anew, they would most likely print it using less in-fill and even make more holes in it to remove some of the weight.

With lights, plate, and mattress completed, they turned to the fitting out of their ride, complete with chartreuse dust ruffle and a styling blue and green sheet set. The doll, sporting his school clothes and an adorable purple night cap, was strapped into place with an elastic hair tie and ready to go from sleepy time to school time in the wink of an eye.

Well, not quite a wink, as the project took a little over a month from start to finish, but time flies when you’re having fun! All told, the finished creation took approximately 33 hours to print, with 16 of those hours dedicated to segmented printing of the mattress parts…and not counting the hours for test prints and mistakes. The Lane Boys take the 3D printing attitude to heart and have made the files available for download through Thingiverse.

“Sure, one could easily make such a simple structure from scratch using wood or other materials, but that was not the point. It was a learning experience. And most of all: tremendous fun!”

– The Lane Boys
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