Practical Print: Chair Armrest - Build Edition

If you joined us last time for our Design edition of this chair armrest Design-Build-Test, you saw how we analyzed our current office chair armrest and identified its design weaknesses. We then modeled the object ourselves and made customizations and adjustments so that could improve the integrity and strength of the model as we attempt to create our own longer-lasting model.


As we started the build portion of this print, we needed to keep a couple things in mind: the print orientation would largely dictate the strength of our build. Since most of the stress will be endured along the length of the piece, we would need to ensure that the grain of the print follows that stress direction.


Additionally, here were some of the key issues we had to consider and overcome in our print:


Internal Support

Since an internal support would interfere with our installation of the armrest onto the chair arm, we wouldn’t be able to print this piece with internal support everywhere there was overhangs. As a result, we ended up using support enforcers within the slicing software, allowing us to pick and choose where we put support.



Layer adhesion

The thin tongue section of the armrest could easily have layer adhesion issues because of its lack of thickness, so we would need to make a heat shield during the printing process. The heat shield can be seen printing with the object in the short clip shown below.



Thin interface

The thin interface between the edge of the armrest and the build plate of the printer created a delicate situation that could easily topple mid-print. We countered this by using a brim and extra supports along the thinnest points of that interface to provide more stability.


With these considerations in mind, it’s time for us to embark on our build phase and get printing! In our next phase, the test phase, we’ll show you how we test out our print and make the necessary tweaks and adjustments to get the fit and design just right!


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