3D Printing Liteflow Panels

Over the last year I have been impressed with my $100 3D printer. As many of you stated, the quality could be much better, but for me it's perfect and to be honest the only one I could get hold of here in Brunei. But its a proof of concept for me and can always be upgraded in the future if I ever come across one.

Many of you have asked if you can 3d Print my designs and mainly all the liteflow panels. I have thought about this for months, but never actually felt the desire to try. Then Paul Moss got in touch today and he had built my warning packs with a 3d printer. But was missing the etched wording lens/covers. Then I thought, well lets try this and see how I can help him out.

The first thing I did, was switch from engraving to raising the text from the panel design. This means it can be painted easily with a spray can. The test piece (6 Pack) was created from translucent PLA. At this point, you cant even see the raised text.

737DIYSIM prints a translucent PLA to highlight the printed text
Trying to 3d print a Boeing 737 Liteflow panel

Time to get the can of black spray paint out.

737DIYSIM raises the text of the Boeing 737 warning panel in order to be able to remove it with sandpaper
Boeing 737 3D Printed 6 pack warning Panel

Layered the paint thick! Forgive the poor print quality, my printer actually broke good and proper after this print. Luckily I have a CNC to create new parts. Chuckle, it's now turned into a Frankenstein model Tronxy. But it actually needed correcting from the start. Hopefully, if you slow down the print and correct the under extrusion you can see here. it will be much better.

Once dry! Turn it upside down and place it on a flat surface with 600 grit sand paper. Slowly rub away the black paint from the surface of the text. Because its raised, you won't remove the paint from the panel.

Removing the paint from the raised text with sandpaper
With the Boeing 737 6 pack 3d printed, its time to remove the text from the panel

Let's get some led lighting behind the panel to see how it looks!

Not a perefect print, but i think the idea could work. Printing a Boeing 737 panel
A fast 3d printed 6 Boeing 737, 6 pack

It's not perfect! But you must realise, this was version 1 at 0.4mm and the first prototype. I think with a decent 3D printer and correct settings, this could actually be a winner for cheap easy working panels. Of course it's never going to match laser or cnc engraved machines. But this really could be, a very cost effective way for DIY Simmers to add to there cockpits. What do reckon? worth adding raised text panels to thingiverse for others to print?

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