Vision of a fully 3d printable construction system
With the rise of 3d printers I got the impression that the time is right for a (toy) construction system that is specifically designed for 3d printing and that addresses some of the challenges I always had with commercial construction systems. Many of you probably remember such situations: you are building some cool new model but in the end some important bricks are missing so you cannot finish your work. And even if you can, it is still just a model and it tends to fall into pieces when you play with it.
Models that don't fall into pieces
Today, I proudly present the first version of kbricks (pronounced "kay-bricks"), a fully 3d-printable, open source construction system. With kbricks you will never run out of parts because you can simply print missing parts yourself. And thanks to stable connections your models won't fall into pieces even if you give them to a (not too young) child. I have already constructed a tractor, a forklift, a racing car, and other models which I am going to publish here on Thingiverse once I have completed the documentation. All required parts are already available here and new parts will be added as needed. This video shows how to get started with kbricks.
Stable connections thanks to orthogonal connectors
The fundamental kbricks part is a 24 mm cube that has two orthogonal notches on each surface. Using slide connectors these notches can be connected to plates or other cubes resulting in a stable connection of the two parts. There are also beams and pegs similar to the ones used in other construction systems. Furthermore, there are wheels, axles, steerings, and icing parts which make your models look nice. Thanks to Joerg Janssen's amazing Gears Library for OpenSCAD there are finally different types of gears. This video demonstrates the strength of kbricks connectors printed in PLA at 0.15mm layer height.
Assembling kbricks models
Models are assembled by connecting its parts with slide connectors and pegs. A hex key may be helpful for inserting the slide connectors.
Disassembling kbricks models
To disassemble a kbricks model, simply pull out the slide connectors using a needle-nosed pliers or push them out using a hex key. Pegs can be pushed out using an axle.
Parts needed for the quad shown in the video
All files and OpenSCAD sources are tracked on GitHub.
Follow kbricks on YouTube and Instagram.
Prusa PLA, PETG
For some parts, specific print settings are required:
- Parts with cube in there name must be printed with option Detect thin walls enabled because they contain a thin embedded support structure that will not be printed otherwise.
- Connectors and pegs should be printed with brim to increase the adhesion on the print plate.
- Beams with peg (needed for steerings) should be printed with Support on build plate only.
Some parts are printed with a thin embedded support structure that needs to be removed after printing. This video shows how.
kbricks was designed using the fantastic OpenSCAD CAD modeller.
All parts of the kbricks construction system are 3d-printed. For some models you may want to use rubber tires which you can simply cut from an old bicycle tube.
2019-04-19 Initial upload
2019-04-26 Slightly updated parts beam*.stl and beam*_alternating.stl (some 0.2mm bigger now)
Added parts beam*_flat.stl and beam*_rounded_flat.stl
2019-04-29 Updated part seat.stl: Added missing slots for slide connectors
2019-05-02 Updated part cube_1hole_open.stl: Added missing embedded support
2019-05-19 Renamed files: kardan_shaft.stl to cardan_joint.stl and kardan_cube.stl to cardan_cube.stl
2019-06-09 Added plate_2hole_rounded.stl for rubber gun
2019-06-22 Added new parts for upcoming truck model: cube_corner, cube_s, two-sided plates, locked beams, disk, etc., updated cardan_joint and bevel_gear_90deg.