Pneumatic Screwdriver by Vincent Groenhuis January 10 2020

By developing and publishing practically usable designs, we can show that 3D printing can be part of everybody's life where the production is actually met by demand. Vincent Groenhuis is a researcher at Robotics and Mechatronics, University of Twente, in the Netherlands. He developed this Pneumatic Screwdriver with the hope of making DIY pneumatics more popular in the 3D printing community.

 

"I myself enjoy developing all sorts of 3-D printable pneumatic devices," Vincent explains. As a research project at first and later also as a hobby, he first created the R-52 and R-66 pneumatic rotary engines. To make these engines usable next step had to be building a casing with a handle and controls around it, creating the Pneumatic Screwdriver. 

Working on a highly technical project like this also poses many unforeseen challenges. "On the technical side, I gained useful experience in, for example designing gearboxes and how to efficiently combine a throttle lever with a direction valve inside a small volume," Vincent explains.

He learned that starting with a simple design that does the job is more effective than jumping head-on into a very complicated design that may take way too much time to make it actually work.

Vincent's direct goal was to develop a pneumatic screwdriver that is not only sufficiently compact and powerful but can also be built using current-day 3D printers while using a minimum of external parts. This screwdriver does not drive the screw too fast and can be an easy used in practical screw-driving tasks.

"I myself call this mission a success!" Vincent says with excitement. "I made two functional pneumatic screwdrivers. The one with the bigger motor (R-52) works best. I hope it lasts for a long time before breaking down. A future improvement would be the inclusion of dual-speed gear transmission allowing drilling applications."

The whole Pneumatic Screwdriver was printed in PLA Extrafill with the minimal additional items. For a mechanical print like this, PLA is an unusual material choice. However, for Vincent, this was an ideal option."PLA is easy to print and good enough for many mechanical applications. If a specific part ever breaks down, then I usually prefer to re-design the model rather than pushing the material limits by using a different material," he explains. Using PLA Extrafill Vertigo Starlight for the bodywork, Gold Happens for the bodywork details, Rapunzel Silver for the gears and Everybody's Magenta for the throttle and direction switches. This resulted in a neat, unique look.

We asked Vincent why did choose the Fillamentum filament and a PLA for technical print such is this "Fillamentum filament look good especially the metallic (Pearl) ones. It definitely gives the model some added value. I also have a multi-material printer, and it turns out that the Fillamentum (metallic) PLA filament consistently allows for reliable automatic color changes using just stock settings in the slicer," Vincent explains.

Get the Pneumatic screwdriver model on Vincent's and the Pneumatic Rotary Engine also on his Thingiverse. You can find there all the assembly and technical information.

Models:
Pneumatic screwdriver 
R-38 Pneumatic Bourke Rotary Engine

Printed with:
PLA Extrafill Vertigo Starlight: bodywork (most layers)
PLA Extrafill Gold Happens: bodywork details (switch filament during printing: between 2.5 and 3.5 mm and between 26.5 and 27.5 mm) 
PLA Extrafill Rapunzel Silver: gears (including bit holder), spring for the throttle return
PLA Extrafill Everybody's Magenta: throttle and direction switches

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