June 2017 3D Prints

Lots of good prints this month.  I have got the new printer pretty well figured out and have ventured out into new materials and longer prints.  First up is a cool blade guard I made.  I picked up this nice boning knife for bbq goodness.  It is crazy sharp but came with no guard.  I printed a two piece guard with magnets set into the one half.  The two bits glue together.  It keeps the edge and my fingers safe and fits snuggly.

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Porch Cup Holder

I have some Adirondack chairs on the back porch.  They are reasonably comfortable, but have a distinct lack of cup holders.  I fashioned some a while back out of wood, but the sizing was all wrong.  These are perfect.  They hold coffee cups, large tumblers and small glasses alike.  The RTIC’s blue handle was printed back in September and is still alive after daily use.  Thingiverse Link


Thermocouple Kickstand

I got a cheap thermocouple reader for reasons beyond my obsession with measurements… I swear.  It works well, but didn’t come with a kickstand.  I am used to all my multimeters having some way to sit themselves upright.  This one clips together, then slides on snugly.  It doesn’t add too much bulk and stands steady.


PETG

I have a few high temperature projects, so it is time to venture beyond the safety of PLA.  It is a great material to print with, but loses strength quickly when things get hot.  Enter PETG.  It is higher temp and strength like ABS, but less toxic, and lower warping.  One of my firsts was the Franken-Cooler.  Not without issue, but largely a success.

Next I made a small clip to keep the USB cables in my car in order.  They always get pinched in the lid when I close my center console.  This will keep them in the pass through.  Simple but effective.  I needed the higher temp material because cars get hot in Florida.

I made some mods to the camera setup on my prusa.  Someone made a decent set of parts to attach a common webcam to the Y stage.  The only problem is their main bracket was a bit loose.  I started with PLA because that was all I had.  It sits up against the underside of the heated bed.  If I need higher bed temps the part could fail.  I designed a lighter tighter fitting version with speed holes to help cord wrangling.  The PETG part will not fail due to excessive bed heating.

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While I was at it I found a lens adapter that could replace the original webcam lens with a very wide angle one.

The new lens give a much better view of the print bed.  I can see the whole thing instead of just the middle third.

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Finally I can take time lapse videos that don’t look terrible.  Behold the birth of a baby groot.

Prusa I3 MK2s Build

I finally got my new printer.  Nearly 2 months after purchasing it shows up the day after my birthday!  That is one serious adventure in a cardboard box.

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I rolled out some paper onto the dinner table and got rocking.  I couldn’t help but setup my gopro and get a time-lapse of the assembly.

The total build time was between 5 and 6 hours plus some tweak and tune time.  The first print had to be the prusa logo in honor of the great maker.

Print baby print

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With it up and running I got to bootstrapping.  The kit comes very complete, and really is a wonderful printer.  That having been said, the little knob they included to run the interface isn’t great.  It rubs and is awkward to use.  Print a new one!

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A lot of my filament is from when I first bought the monoprice back last summer.  It spent a lot of time sitting out collecting dust.  Someone made a nice clip in dust filter that goes right on top of the extruder.

Next came a replacement for the spool holder.  The one included works, but you have to sort of bend it out of the way to get a new spool on.  Plus something with bearings would DSC_0832roll a lot smoother.  Any catches or resistance in the spool rolling could cause Z banding as the extruder fights to pull in filament.  Thingiverse had a great assembly that sits on top.  It included a printable threaded nut and bolt that turned out gorgeous!  Skate bearings pressed into the rollers so the spool rolls with little resistance.  A filament guide keeps it running true.

Speaking of spool holders, my one major disaster so far has been this print job.  Sometime over night the extruder actually pulled the spool off the holder.  Nothing broke except the filament guide (just print another).  It turns out the spool was wrapped poorly and kind of synched itself off.  Poor spool wrapping perhaps.

I monitor all my prints with a webcam and octoprint.  This works out well while on the other side of the house, or on the go.  The only trick is that I have to leave a light on after dark.  Instead of leaving the room lights on constantly I designed and printed some brackets for holding thin under-cabinet LED lights.  Serendipitously one light will fit in a slot the spool holder had.  Only a small printed wedge was needed to keep it secure.  The other two went on my bracket.  It clears the extruder at full height.

It is turning into a proper looking monster!  Let the print games begin.

 

Printing For The Printer

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!


Tools

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.

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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.

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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.


Octoprint

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.

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Extruder Medallion

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.

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As you print the shaft spins and the rebel starbird goes round and round.  Enter another time lapse video.  Thingiverse Link to the medallion.

 

New 3D Printing

I broke down and finally bought a 3D printer.  The monoprice mini at only 200 dollars is basically the best value buy there is.  And here it is sitting on a messy desk full of printed parts and printer tools.  This thing is going to need a custom table soon.DSC_0489

I was so excited when I first fired it up that I shot a little video of its first print.

OMG OMG OMG it's alive!

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It worked really well out of the box, though I have been doing my best to monkey with settings and make everything go faster and smoother.  The major learning point has been that buildtak is a great surface to print on, and turning the bed heat down from 60°C to 45 really helped the prints come off without a jackhammer.


Printing for the Printer

The front knob on the tool is really annoying.  It is flush with the surface, and yet you have to spin it a lot.  It gives you bonus moves sometimes, which only makes things more frustrating.  Luckily, there is a print for that!  Some kind soul figured out how to pull the knob off and print an extension.

Getting a spool cracked open is fun, but dealing with an unwinding spool isn’t.  Luckily there are a number of great choices on Thingiverse for filament holding clips.  Why not print a few?  The loose filament goes through the small hole.

The downside to this printer is that it isn’t exactly open source, and they don’t sell replacement parts.  Luckily the 3D printing community is amazing, and they have a bracket you can use to put a COTS replacement on this puppy for the day when the hot end dies.  Better to print that now than be sorry later!

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Once I got the basics down it was time to tackle some of the settings.  I printed a 1 inch cube to check dimensional accuracy, and some benchy models that stress overhang, bridging and other fun 3D printing features.  The course setting did really well, but is kind of rough in places.  No surprise there.  The high quality setting looks awesome on most surfaces, but had some fuzzies on thin surfaces and didn’t handle the bridging as well.  So many settings, so little time.

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Lots more wacky prints to come in the very near future!