When my kids got interested in my first natural climbing thought was to build a climbing wall. Well, I like to climb as much as they do, probably more, but the kids always make a good excuse. “But my darling, I bought the cnc vertical mill for the kids. “Like a passionate 3d printer, I figured why not 3d print some climbing wedges?
At first glance the 3d impression seems ideal for the job, but on a closer survey, it presents some problems. The first is strength. Pieces printed in 3d can be weak, especially when you are stressed through the coat lines. They can be made stronger by making them denser until they are 100% solid, but this adds considerably to the cost and time of printing. A climbing climbing fist size printed at 100% filling would take between 12 and 24 hours to print. This is aggravated by the tendency of large solid prints to fail by peeling the building board as they are being printed. It usually wastes a lot of material that brings us to another problem. 3D “ink” is expensive. Most of my machines use plastic filament which costs a minimum of $ 20-30 per kilo. So we’re looking at $ 5- $ 10 a shot to try to print something that probably will not work and can not be strong enough if not. Given that a climbing wall requires hundreds of holds it began to look like a real non-starter.