* Brandon Liu, Development Engineer (left) & Saxon Swart, Porcupine Sales Engineer (right)
It’s rare that anyone can defeat Cameron, our R&D Engineer, at a game, especially air hockey. Let the record show, I have broken his streak and now reign as air hockey champion of Purple Platypus. While this is an amazing accomplishment for anyone at Purple, Cameron still deserves an MVP award for taking the idea of 3D printed air hockey and turning it into reality, which is something I could never do.
The idea arose when we were brainstorming for what to put in our Stratafest booth. The event was quickly approaching, and we wanted to come up with something fun, yet educational, for the attendees. Our R&D Engineer, CEO, and Marketing Manager came up with the idea of air hockey, a game that sparks childhood memories (or more recent memories if you frequent arcades). It is an engaging game with multiple parts that are capable of being replaced with 3D printed versions. That is why we decided to improve an off-the-shelf air hockey table with 3D printed components.
Here's What We Printed:
When brainstorming what material would work best for the pucks, we knew that they needed to be durable and tough since we would be hitting them around the table. We also wanted them to look identical to real air hockey pucks. Printing them with Dura56 on the Origin One was the right solution. We could print multiple pucks at the same time, as well as get the strength and appearance we were looking for. Cameron designed them to be the perfect weight for all of the action involved in an air hockey game, like gliding and getting hit.
The handles were the most fun to design and print. We wanted the handle to be really fun and creative, yet still comfortable to hold while playing. Since Puddles is our mascot, we thought why not put him on the top of the handle?! The J850 Prime could deliver an accurate and full-color model of Puddles, inside of a clear material. Cameron just needed to remove support and sand it down to get the handle to be shiny and fully transparent so you could see Puddles.
We of course used Dura56 again for the base of the handle so that it could easily hit the pucks without breaking or chipping. To me, and to a lot of the attendees at Stratafest, you couldn’t even tell they were 3D printed, the air hockey parts came out so well!
On a technical level our job was done, but it needed some more pizzazz. We thought it would be cool to make it look like an arena which is why we made the Purple Platypus branded signs round. (Also, the two signs together make up the build tray of the J55.) These signs were then held together with a few different parts.
The long black bar was printed to form a bridge between the two sides and hold up the signs. It was printed on the F770 in ASA, as well as printed hollow to place the electronics of the scoreboard inside. Cameron was able to hook that up to the table so whenever someone made a goal (usually me), the arena on top would make cheering noises and update the score. The black FDM bar and the signs were also held together by engineered parts cut on the ProtoMAX. The metal parts allowed for the 3D printed parts to fit exactly in place and to elevate the “arena.”
Meet Katie Elhardt
Meet our Marketing Coordinator, Katie Elhardt. Katie is responsible for helping maintain the company website, social media, and events. Her favorite part about Purple is the innovative technology and the company culture.
Outside of work, Katie enjoys attending 80’s concerts, going to Disneyland, and taking long walks near the beach. If you haven’t had the chance to meet her yet, stop by our office or connect on LinkedIn!