A great student project

Let there be light: 3D Printed Dynamos Are Amazing

3d printed dynamo

It’s astonishing how quickly 3D printing has been adopted by universities and institutions as a technology of major importance. At the Technical University of Denmark, assistant professor Ali Gürcan Özkil assigned a project to his Mechanical Engineering students that required a combination of 3D printing, electronics, and product design. Their task was to design a portable, hand-cranked dynamo which – apart from the electronic components – could only be 3D printed.

Assistant Professor Ali Gürcan Özkil (source DTU)
Assistant Professor Ali Gürcan Özkil (source DTU)

”We chose the dynamo theme because it possessed some nice challenges. It has moving and meshing parts, uses mechanical fasteners, and needs to be coupled with some electronics,” explained Özkil.

“This is the second year of this setup in the course. Starting from the last year, I asked students to upload their designs to Thingiverse and specify which designs they have derived their dynamos from. I told them that I naturally expect the results to be better than the best of class from the previous year. This is particularly interesting to me, because I do research in engineering design and product develoment, and I can see a clear pattern shifting towards ‘collective design’ and dynamos from this year are a good example to this – they are all pretty good and some of them are very impressive.”

From a more or less regular dynamo to a light-gun or a ergonomic ErgoNamo, many different designs resulted from one single definition of task. All of the Danish 3D printable dynamos are a good little project to learn some electronics basics and make something useful with the help of a 3D printer. I can see children having tons of fun with them, or maybe someone makes a useful alteration so 3D printed dynamos could bring electric light into rural third world areas?

The 3D printed dynamo

The 3D printed dynamo looks like many dynamos do, which isn´t a bad thing. Reduced to the essential, it is a practical piece of engineering. Apart from the 3d printable parts, the 3D printed dynamo uses three roller bearings and a small DC motor.

The Ergonamo

What a nice shape. (source: thingiverse)
What a great shape. (source: Thingiverse)

The Ergonamo gets its name from the ergonomic design of the whole thing. It resembles a fishing reel, where you spin the crank to get some light instead of reeling in fish.

The dynamo gun

PEW PEW! (source: thingiverse)
Pew! Pew! (source: Thingiverse)

Probably the coolest of them all: The dynamo gun. Because, you know, it looks like a gun. You can point it at people and shoot light rays at them! The trigger acts as a tooth rack, which spins the gears and generates light that will hurt other people´s eyes! (Okay, probably not.)

The LUDU (Lefthanded Urolig Dynamo Ultra)

Urolig. What a nice word. (source: Thingiverse)
Urolig. What a strange word. (source: Thingiverse)

“Urolig” means “restless” in Danish. The team claims it has nothing to do with the specifications of the devices. Maybe it is a recommended specification for the user? Anyway, the main part of the LUDU dynamo is ergonomically shaped, so it would rest pretty well in your hands.

The Bicycle Dynamo Torch

A typical usecase for a dynamo: Bike lights. (source: Thingiverse)
A typical use case for a dynamo: Bike lights. (source: Thingiverse)

This dynamo design is also an IKEA hack. The bicycle dynamo torch utilises one IKEA LJUSA for the light and is also waterproofed.

The hand powered Dynamo

I wonder if this design could also function as a camera. (source: Team Secret Six)
I wonder if this design could also function as a camera. (source: Team Secret Six)

The hand powered dynamo looks a bit like a vintage Super 8 camera. This means one handle to crank and one handle to hold the dynamo and point the light in the wanted direction. Nice extra: The handle is foldable!