I needed 3D printing capability to develop my Propeller Shroud Project

So, I conceived and print another kind of propeller shroud, and I 3D printed it. It is a kit made in ABS, consisting of 9 parts, to be glued around the hub, and screwed for the outer parts.

This shroud can be used as a blade protection, and could interact slightly with the airflow. Curious about the aerodynamics effect of it, the propeller blade tip can be very close to the inner wall.

This was my first 3D printed project, and result can be amazing.

So, I ordered a 3d printer to go on developing my initial shroud project, looking for quite large printing size.

With this capability, all parts (stator/duct, rotor, hub/vanes) can be conceived and printed in an easier way than manual prototyping and hand molding.

The model here is for a 13" propeller, but any size, any kind of arm are possible.

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Comment by Ellison Chan on April 7, 2012 at 8:08am

Wow, looks like printed in one piece.  What printer are you using?

Comment by JP on April 7, 2012 at 8:32am

awesome, i need this. i just chopped a chunk outta my hand with the prop! 20 stitches :D

Comment by Coptaire on April 7, 2012 at 8:48am


After my CAD learning, I submitted the files set to Shapeways. Since 1st Jan. 2012, they stopped ABS printing, but they offer offer materials.

This helped me understand the process, and I detailed the parts up to the limits.

When you 3dprint frequently, it is more convenient, and cost effective, to invest into a 3dprinter.


Actually, the trend in 3d printing is bigger printable volume, and I could be able to 3dprint the curvy shroud (for this project) in just one piece.

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 7, 2012 at 8:58am

Ah, I just noticed the shroud above is in two pieces joined by the nylon screw on the bottom. :-)

I use Shapeways to print my entire frame. 

Comment by Coptaire on April 7, 2012 at 9:03am

I would bet that you 3dprint in SLS Alumide material, for these, don't you?

Okay, the CAD view is nice, did you already print it? How much does Shapeways quote the whole set?

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 7, 2012 at 9:07am

Nope, I use the Strong White and Flexible, which is a type of nylon plastric.

The whole frame is printed for $109.02.

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on April 7, 2012 at 10:11am

here is a construction principle that lets you build bigger 3D printer using inexpensive linear slides called "Makerslide"


the slides can be purchased here 


Comment by Mark Abrams on April 7, 2012 at 12:02pm

I have been thinking about this idea and I'm wondering how it affects the aerodynamics of the system overall. It would seem that the shroud, while it might improve upward lift response, would also limit maneuverability in any other direction than up. Anyone know the flight implications of a shroud like this? 

Comment by Coptaire on April 7, 2012 at 1:01pm


Great price! But does frame rigidity is enough? when full equipped and flying?

Beyond protective aspect, this shrouding could reduce the blade tip vortex (with minimized gap), the vanes are equivalent to a propeller with a null speed. The whole could reduce the tangential thrust.

Soon, real life testing with different 13" propellers (APC, Xoar Beechwood & CF) to see structure stability and thrust effect (Comparing with/without shroud).

Comment by Ellison Chan on April 7, 2012 at 1:32pm

Coptare, yes more than rigid enough.  I'm still getting the AC software tuned for flying this micro sized frame, but here's a video of it flying with TREX 450 tail booms for arms with the same hub and Shapeways printed motor mounts:


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