Search This Blog

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mechanical Engineer 3D Prints a Working 5-Speed Transmission

transmission1As reported by 3DPrintWho says that you can’t make anything useful on a desktop 3D printer? Sure, there are plenty of designs that you can find on 3D printing repository websites which make you question the motive of the designers — but at the same time, there are engineers and designers creating things that make you just stop and say, “WOW!”

One of these latter instances comes in the form of a 3D printed 
5-speed transmission for a Toyota 22RE engine, created by a mechanical engineer named Eric Harrell of Santa Cruz, California. Not only does it look legitimate, but it also is completely functional.

You may recall a story that we did back in January about a 
3D printed Toyota Engine. It was also designed by Harrell, after he completely reverse engineered a real Toyota 22RE engine. It received such a great reception from both Thingiverse users and the national media, that Harrell decided to take his creation one step further, providing this latest 3D printed transmission to complement the engine.

The two actually can be combined to create the ultimate piece of 3D printed machinery.

“I made the transmission due to the the success of my first upload, the 4 cylinder Toyota engine,” Harrell tells  “The overall number of people that were interested was overwhelming.  I never thought that many people would be interested in it, yet actually print and build it, due to the shear complexity and print time involved. So far 8 people have made the engine and many more are in the process.”
In all, it will take about 48 hours of print time to print out all of the individual pieces needed to assemble the transmission. Once the pieces have all been printed, they will need to be assembled using the diagrams that Harrell provides. He admits that it’s not an easy task to put the transmission together once the parts have been printed, but welcomes questions from anyone who has difficulty doing so.
Transmission and engine mated together.
Transmission and engine mated together.
“If one was to build either my transmission or engine, they would have a pretty good idea of how to put an actual engine together since these are modeled after real parts,” Harrell tells us. “Which is great, because most people that are interested in 3D printing would never get the opportunity to actually rebuild an engine or transmission.”
While the majority of the transmission is 3D printed, there are some smaller parts which can not be printed on a desktop 3D printer, such as the 3mm rod, (18) 623zz bearings, (20) 3mm washers, and a few other small odds and ends like screws and bolts. At the same time, Harrell doesn’t ensure that all the parts will be ready to go off of the printer. Depending on the 3D printer used, some of them may need to be scaled up or down in order to fit together properly. Rather than scaling the parts, he also suggests that you could simply file them down where needed.
“The transmission works exactly like most manual transmissions found in any car or truck,” explained Harrell.  “However, I can barely explain how it works. It’s fairly hard to grasp unless you assemble one or see an animation of one opened up.”
Regardless of the time required for printing and assembly, this has to be one of the most incredible designs that we have come across yet on Thingiverse.  Most incredibly, Harrell tells us that it could absolutely be used in a real vehicle, since it is a scaled down version of the real thing.
What do you think about this incredible 3D printed Toyota transmission? Have you, or will you be 3D printing your own? Discuss in the 3D Printed Toyota Transmission forum thread on Check out the video below of the 3D printed transmission in action.