Sunday, January 4, 2015

THE FUTURE IS CHANGING: South African Man 3D Prints a Working Lawn Mower

Using his “Cheetah” 3D printer, which is capable of these extraordinary high speeds, Hans Fouche 3D printed a working lawn mower, reports Most impressive, however, is the fact that it only took about 9 print hours to complete on Fouche’s Cheetah printer. The only parts of the mower which were not 3D printed were the motor, which was taken from an old lawn mower, the blade, the handle (including the switch), and the shafts for the wheels. Print times for the individual pieces can be seen below.
4 wheels 45 min / wheel (blue) – 180 min
Thin top fan cover wheel (blue) – 10 min
Frame incorporating the stone guard (red) – 190 min
Top cover (yellow) – 70 min
Motor cover (gold) – 90 min
Total print time – 9 Hours

We are in the early "Wright brothers stage" of all this and you can be a part of it. Robotics and #D printing is going to be big.


  1. Could this 3D technology be the precursor to an actual replicator?


  2. We better get our pols to pass some laws real quick to protect us from this. lol

  3. Trying to figure out what machine size this was made on led me here: and given the very fast build times I further question the strength of the finished parts. He's using a huge 3mm nozzle and using pelts of ABS which means very large tolerances. Odds are the drives on the machine also have large tolerances. Sacrificing accuracy for speed.

    While FDM and other rapid prototyping processes are good for the intended task of functional prototyping it is not up to the task of making production parts that have to withstand significant stress or provide safety. The durability not sufficient either. The processes are far away from rivaling injection molding and other production processes. Maybe someday they'll get there, a new process, new special materials, what have you but it's a long way down the road even for machines costing six figures.

    1. The solution is stronger material that withstands high performance 3D machining and the high stresses of use.
      Melding the processes together only requires simple physics and the appropriate materials.


  4. B, On what ground do you question the strength of the finished parts?
    Hans Fouche

    1. Looks like my reply went into abyss. Short version, I've had functional prototypes made from SLA, SLS, and FDM processes for nearly every injection molded plastic part I've designed for almost 20 years now. I have to understand the differences in the processes for the results of prototyping to be useful. I've found this paper from 2001, basics are still applicable, that compared ABS parts made from FDM with various parameters and build directions (important for strength with regards to how the part is loaded) with injection molded samples.

    2. Hans,

      I'm not "B"(obviously), I own a tool & die shop with some experience in custom machine manufacturing.

      Could you please send me an e-mail when you get a moment? toolexnick at gmail (0r you can call me during 8am-5:30 EST)

      I'd like to talk business with you when time allows.

      Best Regards,