The Iris Box was chosen to show ‘print-in-place’ movable objects, such as hinges and sliding mechanisms. The Iris Box may not appear in typical workplace, but the design principles have significant value. Traditional manufacturing would need the components of this part to be designed and manufactured separately, and assembled at the end. 3D printing enables you to save time and money by designing and printing objects as one model featuring many parts by leaving a small gap between each piece.
As this was a ‘print-in-place’ movable object, the print tolerances need to be fairly accurate. A Resin print would have been ideal, however cleaning support material from inside would be a challenge. For this reason we chose to print the Iris Box on using the Ultimaker S5 Pro, an FDM printer, using settings 0.15mm. As this part is as much about form as function, we used PLA material to get a nice smooth finish, and a water soluble PVA support for ease of cleaning the hard-to-reach places.
The Iris Box is 63.5 x 64 x 37.5 mm and took approximately 7 hours to print. The Ultimaker S5 Pro uses either a breakaway or water soluble support material that would need removing after printing. As there are hard to reach parts of the print, we chose to use the PVA water soluble support material, allowing us to soak the part in warm water to remove support from within the moving parts. Any support runs the risk of leaving marks on the surface of the print, so we minimised the amount used, which reduced cost, print time, and cleaning time. Overall cleaning took around 2 hours (1 hour 45 mins to soak, and 15 mins to clean the remaining PVA and get the part moving).
The final part has a smooth surface allowing for easy operation of the moving parts. It is fully integrated, so there is no assembly, no loose parts, and a faster, easier, and cheaper production process. If you want to customise the part then PLA is suitable for sanding, bonding, priming, and painting.