Build | Fix | Re-use

3D Printed Plastic Car Jack

South African inventor and engineer Hans Focuhe has done it again. This time, to promote and communicate the launch of his new, more powerful Cheetah 2 3D printer, he has designed and built a fully functional, plastic car jack, marking several “firsts”, even in an industry where just about everything that happens is a “first time ever”.

Fouche’s is the first completely plastic car jack and also the first 3D printed one that has been used to actually life up a car. The South African inventor – with a lengthy past experience in Formula 1 – is not new to these exploits: in the past he has 3D printed a fully functional vacuum cleaner, full size shoes, and even a lawnmower. All the items are not chosen randomly, but, rather, they are large-sized, commonly used objects, that Fouche uses to display the efficiency, speed, and size capabilities of his Cheetah line of 3D printers.

The Cheetah uses standard ABS granules and a 3 mm wide extruder to print solid objects fast. These objects do not have to look nice or have high resolutions but they have to be functional and really fast to produce. Any finishing, as demonstrated by the 3D printed shoes, can be applied in a post-processing phase, when necessary.

The new Cheetah 2 is available with a standard working volume of one cubic meter (1x1x1 m), but it can be upgraded to 2 two (2x1x1 m) or more cubic meters, with the largest one measuring 3 x 1 x 1.5 meters. With prices starting at $10,000, it is also probably the most affordable large-format 3D printer on the market.


Plastic will not be normally considered for a material to make a Car Jack from, but with the Cheetah 3D Printer, it is possible,” says Fouche. “It lays down layer after layer of ABS plastic, under controlled conditions, to make very thick and strong ABS Plastic parts. [What is best] it does this using granules, which are a fraction of the cost of filament, and with Master batch mixing, it is very easy to do colored parts.

The whole jack – which is available as a free download on Thingiverse – was printed in 3 hours. It consists of the main beam, which was printed in 2 parts, in order to make room for some big hollow pockets on the inside.  The arm was made in the same way and the 2 hinge pins were printed solid. Some M6 bolts and nuts hold the parts together, and an M12 threaded bar was used to apply the force.

Fouche also reported that the hinge, which was drilled to screw in the M12 bar, stood up to a full day of testing, before striping. “This will be modified,” Fouche said, “like the the knee joint, which also suffered from alignment problems, and will have to be re-engineered. As a first prototype, though, it performed remarkably well.” It probably would not even have to be that strong to lift up one of Local Motors BAAM 3D printed cars; this may be the beginning of an interesting collaboration.



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