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Big Rigs, Multi axle, & Tracked Vehicles The place for "Semi" talk!
Tamiya and Wedico Tractor trailers!
Tamiya and other brand R/C Tanks and Tracked vehicles. And any vehicle with more than 2 axles; 6x6, 8x8, 10x10, etc!


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  #1  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:32 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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Default Frankenoshkosh: M1074 PLS 10x10 HEMTT-ish mostly scratch build: Trailer and stuff

I apologize in advance that this thread will be pic-heavy, and also that I'm prone to rambling. But hey, this is an internet forum, where you expect people to tell lengthy stories that may not have a point. I promise there is actually a scale RC truck being built here, it'll just take me a while to get to all the details. Gotta set up the context or else it's just not as much fun!

As a teaser, though, here's Frank mostly complete and functional:



A bit of background and introduction: a while ago I decided I'd take one item off my bucket list, a big RC, and got a Cross RC HC-6 kit.



It was fun putting together, but the mechanics were almost too easy, just put the pieces together, and boom. I'm an tech guy by trade, so the very minimal light kit that came with it was not to my liking. I ended up with not one, but TWO Arduinos, a Pro Mini clone for motor sounds and a Nano Every for sounds effects (cranking, horn, reverse beep, turbo whistle on motor off, that sort of thing) and then the lights. Makes for a busy engine compartment, but I had fun which is the important thing.


The sound effects are fun for about a minute, and then they get annoying. Frank isn't getting them



Also decided it was lacking accessories, so I got happy with the 3D printer and did the lightbar and pioneer tool kit you see in the first pic, plus the rubber wheel chocks it's driving right over in that video. Flexible filament is a challenge to work with and I sized them wrong.

So I had so much fun building that, I though, I should do a scratch build next. I'm no stranger to building things: one year I did a 1:3 scale HMMWV, total scratch. Had to take some liberties with e.g. seats to actually fit adults, but it has a surprising number of appropriate details. My dad and I driving it with the mechanicals done, but before the electrics:



and then mostly finished:



It's driven by a 6.5hp Hondaclone and I've found that small gas motors are not my thing, and it takes up a lot of space, thus the RC idea. My thinking was that I could do something bigger than the Cross truck, and I've always dug the HEMTT's, so naturally I started thinking 10x10. I mean, how hard could it be, right?



-- A

Last edited by dremu : 02-14-2020 at 10:06 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:49 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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So I started reading up on the HEMTT, using my favorite source of nerdy military vehicle info, Tankograd. Sure you can Google things -- Steel Soldiers is great, and the Wikipedia articles on the Oshkosh trucks are good too. But herr Vollert's books are made for modelers, showing details specifically so you can reproduce them.



Turns out there's a whole bunch of Oshkosh trucks like the HEMTT, the LVS and LVSR, and the PLS. I opted to do an M1074 PLS, because it had more moving parts and stuff in general than the Cross kit. Multiple steer axles, a crane *and* a lift mechanism, just lots of stuff to build. Looked like great fun -- again with the Clarkson thing, right?

So that would be something like these (random pix off an interweb):







I call it Frank because it's a Frankenstein monster Oshkosh mishmash. The cab is the one thing I didn't scratch build, as my styrene fab skills largely consist of gluing my fingers together. I'm getting better with practice, but when it needs to look nice (or even just be square and even!), it's preferable to have it done by someone else. I found a 10:1-ish (very "ish") body kit for the HEMTT from Greensmodels, though you can also find them on Aliexpress. Not cheap, but a heck of a good starting point for a build like this.

For the nitpicky types, that cab is actually specifically an A0 HEMTT, which IIRC never came on the PLS trucks, but it's close enough that it'll work for me. Also, I've added and changed things, either as necessary (the flatrack hook is way out of proportion, but had to be for strength, and I moved the outriggers to the back for loading/unloading) or just because I felt like it, like the lights. (You'll see that I like lights. A lot.) This is the great joy of scale RC: you can make the thing as you see fit. Doesn't have to be "correct" or even perfect, it's your thing and you make it your way.

Oddly, I actually started with the "conex" cargo container on the back and then worked my way down into the truck to match. It's scaled to match the cab, which if my math right is something like 10.7:1. I guess that's why the cab says "10:1 or 12:1". Like Douglas Adams said, it's almost, but not quite, entirely unlike either scale.

With the dimensions set, the local plastics place set me up with cut-to-size 3mm styrene, and I made a basic box with five sides:



Then, to make it look like an actual conex, I got happy with the 3D printer.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-26-2020 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:55 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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For those not familiar with 3D printers, they are the single greatest invention for hobbyists since the x-acto knife. However, it's not like you see on TV where you just wave your hands and instantly you get exactly and precisely the thing you want. You either get really lucky, and download somebody else's design from someplace like Thingiverse, or you draw the thing yourself in a CAD program, export to another program (which in turn sits on another program but prolly hides you from it) and eventually spits out a thing which may, or more often, may NOT, print on your printer. The learning curve is hard, I'll admit: the toolchain is excessively complicated and the choice of plastics is more dark art than science. And you end up printing the thing, getting it wrong, and re-printing it slightly differently, only to find you missed some other bit. It's a very iterative process. I think for the wheels we'll see later it took me a coupla dozen tries to get right.

But when you DO get it right, and you want a second (or third, etc) part, you just click "Print Another Copy" ... priceless. For a 10x10 truck, you need 10 drive wheels plus a spare. The design took me forever but once it was finalized, it really was just a matter of pressing the button, wait, pop off the piece, lather, rinse, repeat.

Back to the conex. You can kinda see that the basic box above has its corner notched out (either my office has crappy lighting or I take crappy pictures, or maybe both.) Into those notches go these guys:



And then some hinges, and some flat pieces, and it starts to look like something:



The doors are also flat 3mm styrene, but with printed hinges, handle and latches. While you hafta be gentle with them, they do actually work.







The yellow splotches are scrap filament I used as hinge pins for the handles, stick them through a ~1.75mm hole, then tap the end with a soldering iron to mushroom them so they don't slide out.

Finally, we gotta corrugate the outside so it looks, well, corrugated The sides get an extruded polygon:



and the top ones look more like a tongue depressor:



I was definitely thankful for the printer here; if I'd had to fab them by hand I woulda gone nuts. There's 39 of one type and 16 of the other. :O

In the past when printing pieces, I'd just design the piece I needed, even if it was fitting into an existing thing. This time around I modeled the whole thing, including the sheet styrene, in the CAD program, and then fit my printed pieces up against it. This made it much easier to see what would fit and how it would interact with all the other pieces:



The moment of truth:



The blue is because I ran out of the white filament. No matter, as it's getting painted, but I always seem to run out of whatever at the most inconvenient times. That's Faith, one my helpers, doing a cat scan (my projects get a lot of cat scans). Looks like she doesn't like the smell of glue. Hard to judge scale, but the conex is almost two feet long. Faith just makes it look small because she's a Maine Coon, one of the largest domestic cats.

A coat of primer hides many, though not all, sins:



Bit hard to see, but the printed surface isn't nice and flat like you expect from styrene (even if you print with styrene, though I mostly use ABS which is a styrene offshoot.) There's also a number of bugaboos resulting from my complete and total inability to use a measure tape, which I inherited from my father. Tremendous woodworker, as you'll see, but can't measure for squat.

In any event, lots of sanding, some actual filler and filler primer, then topcoat primer, and it came out passably.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-13-2020 at 11:50 AM.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2020, 11:00 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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Then we hang it up in the paint booth and hit it with some color:



and laser print some stickers for the sides and back, as for the life of me I could NOT figure a good way to paint a logo on the corrugated sides and not have it stretched funny.



Bit hard to see but the door has tare and net weight and such in both metric and imperial.

Then clearcoat the stickers into place



which got gunk everywhere, giving the conex a nice weathered look (rolls eyes.) I suck at painting.

Next time, we'll actually start on the truck!

-- A
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:21 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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One of the worst things to happen to a project is to get part-way into it, and realize you have to start all over, or you get overwhelmed and discouraged and give up. I was determined to ensure that wouldn't happen here, that I had set the scope and knew I could finish. Sure, details would change, but overall I had A Plan from start to finish.

Starting from the ground up, the first challenge is axles. Anything more than a 4x4 means pass-through axles, which are less common than your basic front-with-steer or rear-without. I found a set for 8x8 from Integy, who actually had them in stock:



Of course, to do 10x10 required two sets, but this left spares and let me shuffle parts around -- as you see the kit came with a pile of links and drivershafts. And some truly awful cheesehead bolts whose heads stripped on ball-end hex drivers. That taught me to use real socket cap screws real quick. Not only do you get more depth engagement from your driver but they use a larger size to boot.

The sizing of the axles then decided the width of the frame. I opted for a straight frame, your basic Tamiya-ish aluminum C-channel from Semijoe's Truck Shop. Instead of using aluminum for crossmembers, however, the 3D printer proved its worth once again. You can start with a basic design



You can see where the C channel fits around it, and then you drill through the aluminum for the two holes on each side. The vertical holes allow you to mount suspension links, or bolt down any number of other items as we'll see.
The same basic design can be reused for other bits; this one needed a bit more strength/leverage as it's a hinge point for the giant bloody lift arms:



Back to the original design, starting with the axle, four links (two long, pink, and two short, green), and then shocks up front to locate the thing.



This one is a way early design with excessively long shocks. In the end they're much shorter, one of the great advantages of modelling on the computer first. There's no plastic or metal or money wasted, just time =))

As a reality check, I printed some mockups of the frame rails before cutting the spendy aluminum. At this point you can also check fitment of everything: shocks and links and servos and steering arms, and make sure nothing interferes. Remember, this is my first scratch builds, so all of my skills are improving (gulp, I hope!) The CAD model I made of the axles was early on and didn't have all the pieces. Knowing what I know now, I could actually do the steering points and model where the tierod and draglink would be located. Early on I was doing static models, so this temporary plastic print had to suffice for clearance verification/



Then we can check against the body and ensure the wheelbase spacing is right and that the tires clear the body, etc.



The one-axle design can then be multiplied, with the five axles (front of truck to the upper right, note steering links, and then rear of truck to the bottom left, again, noting the steering link on the final axle.)



There's a big empty space between axles #2 and # as I hadn't sorted the motor or transmission yet, so I had no model. I wanted to keep the axle spacing (wheelbases) as close as possible to the 1:1, so I figured I'd start there and make the motor/transmission work within that. In the event, it came out, but was a very tight fit.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-26-2020 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:10 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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The motor in question is an 80T 540, chosen because for a truck this heavy, torque will be king. In this instance Clarkson's wrong:



Found a transmission with fairly high gearing and hoped for the best. Later on we'll see that it still needed more twist, or in Clarkson-ese, "more torques." Here's the plastic-frame mockup with the motor and transmission in place:



The transmission is both gear-reduction and what I want to call a transfer case, ie has front and rear outputs:



Also had to check fitment with the cat, err, cab



More cat scans. This is His Royal Highness Duke Leto Atreides II checking in. He's a Ragdoll, so he's a bit smaller than the girls, but has the stereotypical fatal-to-feline curiosity. Little bugger gets into everything.

Axle location decided, the framerails can be drilled. They're left long for now until the rear end (upper left) is sorted. With this project I am continually surprised by just how bloody big it is. I don't know how folks can do anything bigger than 10:1.



Lower right is the front and has mounts for the cab (and Duke being sneaky under the table.)

Side note: My dad made the table and chair seen in many of these pix; he taught me lots about using your hands to build things. Including the inability to measure. None of the six chairs are exactly alike, but they are majestic. They're inch and a half solid oak; the chairs are like 70 pounds each and the table's like 300. :O

Finally, the cab gets test mounted to the frame with some drive train:



The tape on the ends is to prevent the aluminum from scratching whatever I put it up against. Aluminum is sharper than you'd think! Oh, and there's a teaser in there of the wheels and tires, which weren't finished which is why there's some missing.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 02-06-2020 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:05 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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For the tires, I vacillated between 1.9" and 2.2" wheel size and looked at a bazillion tire options, to find something that matched the 1:1 as closely as possible. Eventually I decided on 1.9" wheels, and found a tire that was dang close:



They're RC4WD's "mil-spec", so the tread pattern should look "right" when done. However, I was completely unable to find an appropriately military looking wheel. It annoys the crap out of me when I see these military trucks with shiny black (or god forbid chrome!) show truck rims. Once again the 3D printer came to the rescue.

As with the trucks themselves, there's variations in design, but I opted for this style:



The outer cover is for the CTIS, there's an inner hub, and then I can do whatever I want inside. Due to the weight of the truck, I opted for an inner beadlock ring. I think I'll have to add stiffer foams too down the line (NB: I was right ... keep reading!)

The rim proper is a two piece, which clamp onto that inner ring, and then the decorative stuff:



Clockwise from upper left: inner beadlock ring, outer rim, inner rim, CTIS cover, and center is the hub cab cover.

Getting the sizing just right was, ugh, a coupla weeks on and off. I was reasonably sure I could do it, but there were times I was sooo frustrated I just had to put it aside for a while and calm down.



That's a cutaway of all the pieces; got VERY tired of looking at that =)) The inner rim looks like this:



The six beadlock bolts around the outside, and the center bore, big enough to fit a 7mm nut driver (which I discovered is slightly larger in diameter than the four-way tool commonly used, which wasn't long enough to reach, grr.)

This is the outer rim. Six holes equally space for the beadlock bolts, four stubs not equally spaced for the CTIS cover, and then the center hub with a bore down it, again sized for the 7mm nut driver.



And finally the CTIS cover



with the rectangularly spaced mounts. They're as close as I could get measuring from pictures, and then scaling.

Here's what the countersunk hexes look like outside of the computer:



Using an actual metal nut on the back allows the bolts from the outer rim to properly tighten. Threading into plastic is tricky, and on the rim there just wasn't enough material.

On the truck proper it mostly works. For instance, the crossmembers are deep enough that the through holes can be tapped and bolts mostly thread properly. The challenge was to determine the exact size of the hole, as the printer software doesn't always make a 3.0mm hole when so directed. The hole has to be fairly exact for tapping, or else you end up removing excess material and lose strength, or the hole is too big and don't get proper engagement.

That wheel is the spare, so the center hole is round, but the actual drive wheels have another larger hex inside to go onto the axle. Inside an M4 nylock inside holds them on.



So this is what they look like fully assembled:



A ridiculous amount of work, but I think it paid off in the end. The color is a decent match for olive drab, the design matches the 1:1, and the beadlock holds the tires in place without having to glue them to the rim.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 02-06-2020 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:50 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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So after much agonizing over the wheels and getting them all done up, the chassis looked like this



Truck front to the left, count the two blue servos, and rear to the right, count the one. The cardboard box in the middle is holding the battery and ESC, the radio rx, and most importantly, an Arduino and servo controller board.

Eh? Arduino? They're a funny little microcontroller, really just a cheap/simple computer, aimed squarely at the hobbyist market.

One of the problems of the multiple steer axles is correctly controlling them. The forward-most one has slightly greater range than the others as there's no suspension in front interfering. #2 has less range because of #1's links. #5 has to turn backwards, i.e. it turns left when the fronts turn right and vice versa. You can do this with dedicated electronics and/or mechanical bits, but as I mentioned, I'm a tech guy. With this solution it's all done in software, no additional hardware required.

I love me my Arduinos: they're cheap (both those boards together are <US$10) and surprisingly simple. Kinda like the 3D printer, they have a learning curve, but are definitely up there on the list of greatest inventions for the hobbyist. Plus most anything you want to has already been done, so you can find example code to mix and match, do anything you want. I'm not a terribly good C programmer, but I've been able to make all kinds of stuff happen.

In this case, rather than using the radio rx steering servo output directly, the Arduino reads the rx's iBus signal. This way it can trap all eleven channels from the tx (modified, more on that later), and even do connection health monitoring and, though I didn't set up for it, also send info back to the tx as iBus can be bidirectional.

Given the steering signal from the tx, we then just scale each axle's movement (and reverse #5), the Arduino sends that to the servo controller board, and boom, all three steer without binding. Changing the steering limits is just a matter of changing the code, all done in software, only takes a few minutes. Arduino nerds will now point out that I could use the Servo library, but I used the external controller boards for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to run the digital steering servos at 300Hz, which is hard on a slow board like the Pro Mini, and two, I wanted to do other stuff with the board and the Servo library tends to hog resources. When your processor only runs at 16MHz (yes, megahertz) you need all the help you can get!


Et voila, it moves. Turning radius is just like the 1:1's ("ohmigod it's hooge") but it works. And yes, I know it's a bit screechy. The gearbox got more grease and the gear depth was redone. It's also faster than I'd wanted, but that changed later when I added a reduction unit. Also, Frank gains weight from the body and mechanicals -- heck, the conex alone adds another seven pounds!

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-26-2020 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:21 PM
Trini2DBone Trini2DBone is offline
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Wow... I like this!! Awesome work!
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:29 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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Thanks! I gotta say there's lots of other folks who put me to shame in in terms of attention to detail or just sheer modelling skill. I figure at least Frank demonstrates that, with suitable planning, you don't have to be hyper-skilled turn out a pretty fair approximation of the 1:1.

-- A
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:38 PM
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Very impressive already!

I have multiple 3d printers, but have not done anything quite like this! LOL
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:51 PM
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Thats a heck of an introduction here!

Truck looks great, is that an m35 or a 5ton?
Heh, you made an adult PowerWheels
I love the container, that looks great

Can't wait to see more, i can tell it'll be impressive
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:23 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frizzen View Post
Thats a heck of an introduction here!

Truck looks great, is that an m35 or a 5ton?
Heh, you made an adult PowerWheels
I love the container, that looks great

Can't wait to see more, i can tell it'll be impressive
Thanks!

The Cross truck is a 5 ton, closest I could figure an M809. IIRC, the M809 uses the same cab as the M35/etc deuce, but the details on the model make it the fiver as far as I can tell.

Yeah, the HMMWV was a hoot. Somewhere I have a video of my parents riding around in it, just coasting 'cuz Dad's feet weren't even on the pedals. Thankfully it's so grossly under-powered that you can't go really fast. Think I clocked it at 10MPH flat out with just one person, and 10MPH with no suspension is as fast as you wanna be going in that thing!

Also, my work is like five-foot good. Five feet away it looks decent, but as you get up close you can see the flubs, limitations of the 3D printer resolution or my arthritic fingers. Still, it's fun, which is the key thing.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-26-2020 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:48 PM
dremu dremu is offline
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The next piece is what's called the "flatrack", that goes under the conex. The 1:1 trucks can use either the flatracks or a CHU (Container Handling Unit) that grips the container just at the end. I was pretty sure that the conex would provide so much leverage against any attempt I made at such a grip that it would just snap, so I opted not to mess with it. Also, as we'll see later, the flatracks are handy for other cargo besides the conex. This is true for the 1:1's as well as Frank: you'll see all kinds of stuff lashed to flatracks.

Here too I took some slight liberties from the 1:1's to strengthen the thing or to simplify the design. Still, I'm pretty sure that anybody from the motor pool would recognize this.



As with the conex, the main flat piece is just sheet styrene, no sense in trying to print that. I did flub the dimensions a bit (re: my inability to measure) so there's some printed additions which still require some sanding/filling/primer to hide. The sides, rails, front arch and rear rollers are all printed pieces.



The rollers sit on straightened out paperclips as axles, as I was again suspicious that plastic would snap from the weight. I keep thinking I should get some steel rod or something, but I have a coupla boxes of various size paper clips and they are handy as all getout for craft projects like this, and like Altoids, curiously strong.



Hard to see, but the corners have twist locks to fit into the corners of the conex:



I couldn't figure a way to have them actually twist and lock and have any strength, they're just too small, so they're one piece. In theory I should put some sort of latch pin through, but so far friction and weight have held the conex down just fine.

The rails down the bottom are made to align with the frame on the truck, and then the lift mechanism (which was the bane of my existence for a coupla months, as we'll see.)



For the arch I did a little bracket in black and then glued on one of the toolboxes that came in the cab kit. No idea where it's actually supposed to go -- there were no instructions and some of the accessories looked more like radios than toolboxes -- but the 1:1 flatracks can have toolboxes, so I can kitbash if I dang well please, right?



Finally, I splurged and bought some metal scale shackles for tie downs, only to discover they were too long to fit on the flatrack. Grrr. Never mind, they'll come in handy on the truck itself, so I printed up some high-density shorter shackles, and mounted them to the metal plates:



For those not familiar with 3D printing, I say "high-density" because your plastic part isn't actually solid plastic, like it would be if you were casting from a mold, say. The printer software does up a skin around the outside, and then fills the inside with a repeating pattern like a hexagon, so the inside is mostly air but is supported by the pattern. You can set the density ("infill") of that inside pattern, maybe between 10-30%, when you print the part. For these I went to the upper end of the scale as they're small enough that it didn't take much more time, nor did it warp them the way that crazy high density can with larger parts. (Did I mention that working with plastic is more dark art than science?)

Here's a teaser pic I'll reuse later that shows the fill pattern:



You can see where I hacksawed and Dremeled out chunks to determine proper fitment.

-- A

Last edited by dremu : 01-26-2020 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:52 AM
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Quote:
You can set the density ("infill") of that inside pattern, maybe between 10-30%, when you print the part.
not sure what you are using for printer and/or software, but I can set fill density from 0% all the way to 100%. Granted, i rarely use 100%, as I have found that around 75% is usually plenty, but the option is there if I want it.
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