3d printed props

Has anyone had success 3d printing propellers?  I am about to start designing a propeller I can print on my reprap printer and wondered if I am re-inventing the wheel...  I haven't found anything suitable for the Iris on Thingiverse  or other similar sites.


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  • Hobbyking sells a thrust stand.  I bought one, and it is quite handy, and inexpensive.  With a thrust stand you could baseline test the readily available props (unless mfg data is available), and then test your 3D printed props against that data.  The nylon-loaded plastic has a good chance of working at typical max quad speeds <<10,000rpm).

    Modeling the props in a drawing program can be project unto itself.  What is your plan for that?


    • I will look into the thrust stand... sounds like a good investment for this project.


    • Clay,

      What do you mean when you say the plastic needs a different build platform? Are you saying that it is not sticking to the build surface?

      What 3D printer are you using?


    • Jim,

      My printer is one I built myself... basically a Prusa I3.  I have a heated build platform and use either a glass plate with hairspray, or blue painters tape over the glass.  I have a spool of Taulman 618 nylon that I plan to use for this project, but it doesn't stick well to the hairspay or blue tape.  Someone at Matterhackers suggested the particle board.

      I will use either OpenSCAD or AutoCAD for the design.  It seems to me that at the RPMs typical, supersonic tips on a 10 inch prop isn't a problem (as it can be on general aviation propellers).  I have been doing the analysis to equalize the thrust along the length of the prop using a profile common on light turboprop aircraft... similar to the Cessna 208 Caravan propeller... a McCauley design.  Still working on the "printing without support" thing.


    • Clay,

      I have been using a QIDI Tech printer that has a heated platform.  The platform has thick layer of blue color polymer material.  Everything seems to stick to it.  As a matter of fact, most often we have to put some real craftiness and elbow into getting the work off the platform.  The material is not blue tape.  I will try to find out what it is. 

    • Jim,

      Thanks!  I would appreciate that.  With most other materials I use either the hair spray on glass or the tape works well... but not that 618 nylon.


  • Chris,

    I have some experience with 3-D printing propellers (for ducted fans).   I have not been successful yet, but I have not been very active with it lately.  Right off the bat, you are going to need to find a suitable plastic material.  The standard ABS and PLA plastics are not strong enough.  I have some plastic that is nylon-loaded and should be stronger that has good reviews for 3-D printing but I have not used it yet. 

    • I have some of that high temp nylon.  I haven't tried props with it, but what I have tried seems quite strong and rigid.  It needs a different build platform to stick... masonite or similar I think should work with it.  I was thinking of a softer material.  I have a soft PLA that has good adhesion qualities, but I don't know about a prop of this material coning if it holds together at all.  It will be interesting to see how some of these hold up (if at all) when I get a prop designed to be printable.  I will probably build a test jig with a single motor to see if it holds up before risking a quad...


  • I wouldn't recommend using a 3d printed prop. 3d printed parts are not very strong and have layers that can separate. It would be like russian roulette, waiting for it to throw the prop and see what it will hit or crash into.

    • Yeah, I have thought of that, but it seems there ought to be a design/material/method to make it reliable.  A lot of the strength depends on orientation of the layers to the primary stress axis, and the material used.

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