Javelin’s 3D Printing Team Helps Accelerate the Waterloop Team

Article by Rod Mackay updated July 5, 2017


I am extremely excited to announce that Javelin has extended its support to the University of Waterloo’s Hyperloop team, Waterloop. In this first installment of the Waterloop blog series I will outline how I am working with their design and management teams to leverage Javelin’s Stratasys 3D printers to prototype and build end use parts faster than ever.

Waterloop and the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Challenge

The Waterloop project is the response by a group of dedicated University of Waterloo students to the SpaceX Hyperloop pod challenge to independently design and build a prototype Hyperloop pod to be tested on a one-mile test track in Hawthorne, California in January 2017. Javelin has sponsored the Waterloop team throughout 2016/2017 and has doubled down on the commitment by throwing 3D Printing industry leading expertise at the team from both the private and public sectors. The team is in a critical stage of the final prototypes and final design implementation phases. During this part of their project they will need as many design changes Javelin can throw their way in order to validate and solidify final design concepts. The team has high aspirations for this competition and Javelin is devoted to ensuring their targets are hit by Aiming High.

My role with the team will be to bring industry and field knowledge gained while working hand in hand with some of Canada’s top product development and manufacturing companies. The 3D Printing team at Javelin has carved out a few specialty verticals that will aid in the development of Goose X (Waterloop’s newest competition-ready pod). Experience from the automotive industry with their advanced jigs and fixtures will allow Goose X to have the lightest and most effective mounting brackets in their competition. Along with automotive, Javelin specializes in the aerospace industry and has extensive knowledge on high-temperature materials such as ULTEM 9085 and Nylon Carbon Fiber. The team has two components that are on the critical path to finalizing their designs and Javelin is currently printing these components.

3D Printed ULTEM 9085 Lateral Wheel

The first component Javelin is building with our Fortus 450mc is a retaining ring for Goose X’s Lateral Control wheels. The control wheels work by inducing a magnetic field to keep Goose X an exact distance away from the guiding track. Imagine roller coaster wheels but instead of the wheels mounting on the track directly there would be a gap between the Lateral Control wheels and the track. As the wheels ramp up in rotational speed (spin faster) the magnetic field gains strength. Once the magnetic field is at a critical strength, the speed of the wheels is varied depending on how fast Goose X is traveling down the tunnel. The faster the pod moves, the slower the wheels will spin to induce the exact same amount of force on the track to stabilize Goose X’s trajectory through the tunnel.

The orientation of the magnets in the wheel are essential to the wheels success as a critical component, however, mounting the magnets and securing them in the wheel has proved to be more complicated than the team had hoped. Insert the endless benefits of 3D Printing. Javelin printed each ring in 4 hours total with Stratasys’ Ultem 9085. This material has an extremely strong strength-to-weight ratio and has a very high heat deflection temperature. While the wheel spins, the vibrations of the magnets cause them to become very hot. The Ultem 9085 material is ideal to keep these magnets in place while retaining it’s critical dimensions.

waterloop CAD rendering of the front Lateral Wheels. The final design can be seen in the picture below.

waterloop CNC Machined Lateral Wheel. Ultem 3D printed ring will wrap around exterior of the wheel to hold magnets in the slots between the top and bottom plates.

The power of 3D Printing for the Waterloop team is priceless. The team is able to test and verify designs weeks in advance of the final ring arriving from a fiberglass fabrication shop. This will allow the team to knock off the design segment of this individual project. In this competition, it all comes down to the rate at which a team can design and iterate components. The more design changes and adaptations, the higher likelihood the team will win their competition. Javelin’s goal is to place as many components in the hands of their design and test team as soon as possible.

waterloop ULTEM 9085 Lateral Wheel Ring designed in SOLIDWORKS 2017.

I used specific techniques taught in Javelin’s Advanced Insight User training course to yield stronger Lateral Wheels. I aligned the tool paths with the curvature of the wheel which ultimately holds tighter tolerances and makes the part stronger. This ring needs to be as strong and light as possible. Unleashing the power of Stratasys’ Insight software allowed us to maximize the full potential of the Fortus 450mc.



Close up of tool paths for the ULTEM 9085 Lateral Wheel Ring. By using custom tool paths aligning with the curvature we can yield stronger parts while holding tighter tolerances.

Fully Customized O2 Tank Mounting Bracket

The second component we are redesigning are the O2 tank mounting brackets. These brackets are proving to be very difficult to machine and are costly to the team. The team wants to consolidate components for these brackets to integrate the brackets and spacers associated with the assembly. Javelin will print the brackets and spacers while sinking locking nuts into the spacers so the spacers can be secured by bolting directly into metal nuts. We try to avoid printing threads and instead we sink metallic nuts or locking devices into the parts to leverage the strength of the metallic component while lightening the spacer by replacing a solid aluminum spacer with a light-weight honeycombed ABS-M30 (ABS) plastic version. The original brackets were milled out of aluminum on a CNC and the replacements will be significantly lighter thanks to our weight reduction with 3D Printing.

Original solid O2 tank mounting brackets

Original solid O2 tank mounting brackets

Original solid O2 tank mounting brackets. These will be replaced with light-weight, honeycombed 3D Printed versions.

Javelin is dedicated to working with the Waterloop team, and we will continue to help push the team towards their goals. Working with such an energized group of talented students is contagious if not infectious. I am completely stoked on the idea of getting this team the parts they need as soon as possible so they can go on to win their district of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design competition later this summer. Stay tuned! There are more blogs to come as both sides of the table help push this project past all expectations.

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.