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Moscow Polytech
10 May 2018

Storming of depth by means of 3D printing: how the Moscow Poly students helped to set a record

May 7 in Egypt the diver-paraathlete Dmitriy Pavlenko undertook an independent dive to the depth of 40 meters. The new world record is the result of a year-long work of the sportsman and his team. The Moscow Poly students took part in the preparation to immersion by developing the buoyancy lever, which suits the sportsman ideally.


To dive to depth the divers use special vests fitted with a two-way valve for discharging and feeding air from the balloon. Air circulation in the vest enables emerging from the depth or immersing. But the paraathlete with limbs amputated cannot control such a valve on his own, and thus the question arises how to modify the equipment. Before turning to the Moscow Poly Dmitriy was using a homemade lever which had many shortcomings.

Aiming at improving the diving equipment – that buoyancy lever – a hackathon in generation of ideas for support of the paraathlete was held. Students in teams were developing the concepts and 3D models of device referring to the peculiarities of the sportsman’s anatomy. Please read in detail about the hackathon here. According to the results, 4 prototypes were printed: made of ABS plastic on 3D printers at the Moscow Poly and an extra pair made on the 3D printer “Composer” of the Russian company “Anisoprint”.

“During the testing of the lever, made of the ABS plastic, the emergency load resulted in the breakdown of the device. The spare lever withstood the load but proved inconvenient for Dmitriy during his independent immersing to a big depth and simulating the exercise on buoyancy”, says Head of Department “Materials processing by pressure and additive technologies” of the Moscow Poly Pavel Petrov. – “Since the shape of the first lever has fitted Dmitriy’s anatomy ideally, it was repaired in the “field” conditions, and it was exactly with it that the world record has been set”.

The lever is a detail of a grid structure, printed on the 3D printer. The students Stanislav Shvydkin and Evgeniy Novikov proposed to use the additive technology as the most fast and cheap one. The team rejected assembled structures, because a monolithic manufacture is more reliable, while it is feasible to change individual parameters in the CAD settings of the model. The hackathon jury preferred other projects, but the team continued to improve the lever, aiming at proving the reliability of the chosen technology. By method of trial and error the team arrived at conclusion that the most appropriate was the technology of FDM printing with the reinforced ABS plastic. The resulting products are stronger than from the usual 3D printing, though the technology has a shortcoming: the material behaves differently depending on the direction of the load impact.

“We decided to use this property as an advantage and to change the direction of the grid structure of the lever. Since we have an opportunity to receive a product with high durability, it is possible to neglect the durability of the structure itself by reducing the cross-sectional area. Small lever has a low hydrodynamic resistance, and that is made up for by the reliability of the material”, - says Evgeniy Novikov. – “The load of 30 H was simulated in the program complex “Inventor”, and the structure proved good. Owing to the chosen technology we saved on the material, leaving a large margin of the product’s durability”.

May 8 the report of the immersion was sent to the “eHandicap World Records” – this international organization takes note of achievements by disabled athletes in non-Olympic sports. In Dmitriy’s plans there is setting of a record in immersion in Russia this summer. To reach this goal, the team will prepare a new lever, basing on the preceding experience.

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