It seems like when you get a fancy new tool you end up spending a lot of time building stuff for the tool. Ideally it can build most of its own upgrades. Most of my first projects on the CNC mill involved making better parts for it, and the 3D printer is no exception. Printing for the printer. Bootstrapping at its finest!
3D printers end up needing a few extra tools to succeed. You can’t do everything with a printer, a computer, and your bare hands. Printing a few small tools can make life a lot easier.
Holes often come out under-sized and may have a little overhang issue, especially if printed horizontally. A small set of drill bits is a good thing to keep around. The red handle attaches to bits with a 1/4″ hex base and makes opening up holes a breeze.
You want prints to stick well to the bed during printing. If they shift, the jig is up and the part is ruined. The issue comes at the end when you want to pry the thing off a delicate print bed. Careful work with a razor blade can coax them from the only home they have ever known. The razor holder is not my design, but a popular choice on thingiverse. The blade guard houses magnets and pops on easily to keep unwanted cuts to a minimum. There are other designs available, but they needed magnets I didn’t have, so I made my own. Thingiverse link.
Sneaker-netting a SD card between the computer and printer gets old, and all control of my printer has to come from the front knob. Instead I grabbed a raspberry pi and installed the latest version of Octoprint. It is amazing! I can see what is going on and control things from any computer in my house, and even have it sending me updates via a messaging service. I liked it so much I printed a little Octoprint statue in honor of the new service.
It was one of my first prints with support, and everything went really well. The other fun thing it allows is a webcam to monitor the print visually. You can even use it to take time lapse video of your prints.
Combine the fancy statue with a really nice pi cover and the print server has a proper home.
Last but not least, there has to be some decoration involved. I saw that the extruder sits on top of my printer and spins slowly as the printer prints. The extruder grabs the filament and slowly pushes it down into the hot end. I figured it could use a little medallion.
As you print the shaft spins and the rebel starbird goes round and round. Enter another time lapse video. Thingiverse Link to the medallion.