3D printed Heel cup breaking

aupatkingaupatking Posts: 684 Crazy Baller
edited June 8 in Skis Fins Bindings
Not to pick on Reflex, because my original Edge/Syndicate heel piece fell apart too, but,I don't know of anyone who uses the Reflex Super Shell who hasn't had their heel cup, basically, disintegrate. I don't know how much more epoxy it can take to hold it together.
I wish these guys (all of them using the 3D printed base plates) would 3D print the prototype, and get that molded for a final product (injection molded?), so they don't break down.
Has anyone tried molding theirs and making a Bondo replacement? Reflex website contact page has been down for as long as I've been looking, a month or so, and they don't sell them on the site. It's held up long enough that I wouldn't be against buying a replacement.


  • ntxntx Posts: 718 Crazy Baller
    @aupatking The cost of molds for injection molded parts are VERY expensive for low volume parts. In this case, they might have several sizes. (S. M. L.) Each size would require a mold. There are several new materials that can be 3D printed. They might need to look at another material option. It also looks like the layers are pretty thick. That is a sign of a inexpensive machine used to print it. The design with the thru hole in the middle is also a problem. They might want to look at the part design. In my mind a combination of poor material selection, poor part design, and poor choice of printer selection, results in poor performance. 3D printer range in price from a few thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. This looks like it was printed on a very inexpensive printer. I have experience with 3D printed parts for more than 18 years and injection molds for more than 40 years
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 2,823 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    That is a non trivial part to make. Or at least to do it right. A big glob of Bondo would be performance affecting heavy. Superfil might be somewhat lighter but still is a big chunk. Carved foam would be light but not durable.

    Here's how I'd do it. Make a plaster of paris or Bondo mold of your part. Use lots of wax so it releases (and maybe some saran wrap - it might take a couple tries to get a decent mold). Wax the mold really well and lay up epoxy and glass (carbon fiber is better but you need a very pliable fabric to make the bends in the contour). Rough in a foam block that fits in the mold and Superfil around the block so it oozes out and fills all the voids. Put some visqueen or plastic sheet over the top and put a couple bricks on top to pressure it while it cures. You will probably need to clean up the base of the part with a belt sander or grinder and repair some voids and defects with Superfil on the top side. Sand and paint and you should have a part that is lighter, stronger and more durable than the printed part.

    PM me if you need foam or cloth. Epoxy, mold release wax and Superfil are available from Aircraft Spruce.

    As I think about this, cloning the part is overkill. I'd approach it the easy way from scratch. This is just something to keep your boot heel from sliding around on the plate, right? Thoroughly clean and rough up the plate with some sandpaper around the heel. Cover any screws with candle wax and wax and saran wrap your boot. Slop some Superfil down and clip your boot in. Push what oozes out into a 1cm (1/2inch) wide horseshoe shape against the boot heel. You shouldn't need too much Superfil to stabilize the boot so it shouldn't weigh too much. It might not look fancy but it should be pretty quick, cheap, easy and redoable.

    Good luck,
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,374 Mega Baller
    edited June 8
    Seems like if you had the file to 3d print it that you could use the same drawing to load up a CNC mill and make it out of HDPE. If you havn't got local access there are tons of companies that do that kind of work. These guys are local to me
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • DaveDDaveD Posts: 462 Solid Baller
    Molded or 3D printed, the thin areas of that part are always going to be an issue. The design needs to be modified to eliminate the thin sections if it's going to be made out of an plastic.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,374 Mega Baller
    @DaveD - any reason not to make from aluminum? Milling process/machine is exactly the same, the material is just a little more expensive
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • gregygregy Posts: 2,201 Crazy Baller
    edited June 8
    Its more the material than the design. Its a light brittle material that is honeycombed inside. Mine are cracking 1st or 2nd set. My ski partner just got a new one from Reflex sent straight from France and its wrapped in what looks like carbon fiber and is black. He hasn't tried it yet.

    I've bought a few of them but they've sent several for free. @aupatking that's an older design you have there. They have a new design but I haven't found it much better.
  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,681 Moderator
    @oldjeep you live near ProtoLabs? Jealous. They do great work. I have had them do some prototyping for me before.

    If Reflex does not do it someone should look at doing an aftermarket piece in Alum. or HDPE. I will put it on my growing to-do list...
  • bigskieridahobigskieridaho Posts: 409 Solid Baller
    @aupatking So they use flox aka micro balloons for fiberglass aircraft assembly. Super strong, super lightweight and you can buy it. If you would like help finding it I would be more than happy to help. I am in the aircraft industry.
  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,374 Mega Baller
    @MattP - yeah they are about 30 minutes away.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 2,823 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    @bigskieridaho That's exactly what Superfil is. Packaged for civilian use, it's straight forward to use, strong and reasonably light. Aircraft Spruce (Google search for this quality online supplier) carries it.

    @oldjeep The 3d file is probably proprietary. You shouldn't use it without permission. You could probably write a cad drawing for a part to lock in the boot and get it printed - but that's a lot of work.

    We do have a cad file for a test part. Our prototyper isn't the best. And they are not easy to find. Maybe we'll try protolabs. Thanks.

    If you have going to machine a part, use plastic. Acetal machines well and is lighter and more corrosion resistant.

  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,374 Mega Baller
    @eleeski assumed this was someone's hobby project based on the part being 3d printed, not familiar with the part.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • skialexskialex Posts: 518 Solid Baller
    After few hell cup replacements a friend of mine adopted my solution for stabilizing his supershell, this is a picture he send me.

  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 684 Crazy Baller
    edited June 9
    @skialex I'm trying to work out the physics, but that appears to be a great idea, at least at first glance
  • parkerc2112parkerc2112 Posts: 65 Baller
    The older white, honeycomb cup is just too brittle. It's cracks as soon as it's stressed in any direction, first ride. I've had two of these and both worked better after I filled cracks with gorilla glue. I emailed France and they sent me the newest rev.
    I won't mount it till my current, repaired, cup disintegrates. Photos attached

  • jedgelljedgell Posts: 293 Baller
    Just ordered the HO Syndicate, hope it doesn't have this problem.
    Justin Edgell - Bozeman, MT
  • skosneyskosney Posts: 57 Baller
    Moldable plastic work well for this as well.
    ... just ski.
  • skialexskialex Posts: 518 Solid Baller
    @aupatking I came up with this idea 5 years ago after seeing Andy Mapple's heel cup made out of bondo. I wanted something simple and with better looks. It works fine ever since. I knew there was movement because before that I was using anti slip tape (like sandpaper with adhesive) between the plate and the boot heel and it only lasted for a couple a few sets.
    This is my boot, black cuff not supershell.
  • skialexskialex Posts: 518 Solid Baller

  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 2,823 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    @skialex Elegant solution!

  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 1,394 Crazy Baller
    edited June 11
    Polymorph ! I will post pictures, very durable, easy to work with.

    "In my mind there is more potential to be released.”

  • thagerthager Posts: 3,637 Mega Baller
    Looks like it would be pretty easy to sandcast the part out of aluminum. Most high schools with a metal shop would have a kiln. I've had students pour me Hydrodyne emblem casts for my boat in the past. If it needs to be lightened drill holes up from the bottom
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • HortonHorton Posts: 22,584 Administrator
    I contacted Reflex and was told the following

    Actually we are at the 3d generation of our 3D printed heel cups. From what I can see on the forum the complains and pictures are mainly talking about the first generation, which was white and delivered with the Supershell 1.0. There is no problem for our customers to get a new part right away when they claim for a warranty. However, there isn’t a lot of this 1st generation on the market anymore.

    The second generation delivered with the supershell 2.0 is black with improvements in the design to prevent breakages. We recently improved again the printing by using a better material and also thicker walls (From 1 to 3mm) to improve again the durability. These last generation heel cups have 2 or 3 lines under the size number.

    We are using machines from an US leader brand to print our parts. 3D printing material and processes improves every days and Reflex stays at the forefront of these subjects.

    Reflex tries to offer the best balance for the ski bindings between too stiff and too flex. The 3d printing allows to optimize the way our 10 different Supershells (5 sizes right and left) sit on the plate and work with the release mechanism. The bondo stiff too much the set up. The 3D printed parts are super lights and there is no corrosion as with metal. In spite of some breakage we had at the beginning we are very satisfied by this technology and new great evolutions are coming for 2018.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Babe's / Centurion Boats / Connelly / DBSkisGoode / HO Syndicate / Mapple / Masterline / O'Brien /
    Perfomance Ski and Surf / PTM Edge / Stokes / Reflex / Radar / Wakeye


  • oldjeepoldjeep Posts: 2,374 Mega Baller
    Interesting that it makes sense to 3d print this stuff for even low volume production stuff. The kids highschool had some pretty high end stratasys 3d equipment that the robotics league used but most stuff made more sense financially and structurally to run through the cnc mill station once it was prototyped.
    Chuck P
    Not a mechanic but I play one at home
  • BeastmodeBeastmode Posts: 81 Baller
    Im on my 5 heel cup in 13 months
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