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Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Cape Hattaras part 2

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 30, 2013 at 3:24 am

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Here is a full print of the light house at a scale of 1 mm per 1 foot.  I am not happy with the way the supports for the upper observation deck turned out.  Otherwise, I am very happy with it.  Originally I printed it in three pieces; the base, the main tower, and the observation deck and light.  I’ve decided to break the tower into two pieces and flip the top piece upside down for printing.  This should improve the quality of the deck supports.  I’ve also decided to increase the size by 1.6x.   The new version is printing as I type this.  We’ll see how it goes.

-h

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Cape Hattaras model

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I mentioned earlier that I was modeling the Cape Hattaras light house and printing it out for my Mom as a birthday present.  Well… I’ve arrived at my Mom’s house and got the printer set up.  I did manage to knock the power supply off of the table and rip the connector out of the board as well as some other minor damage.  But I’ve gotten everything repaired and the printer is up and running again.  The first piece is off of the printer and the second piece (the main tower) is currently printing.   The model is a lot smaller in diameter than I thought it would be.  I knew exacly how big it was going to be because I made it to scale.  It just didn’t translate in my head how skinny it would be because it is so tall.  Considering that, I’m really impressed with how well the detail turned out on the base structure.  Without further ado, here it is:

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-h

Quick Update

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 28, 2013 at 10:10 am

While typing the last blog the hot air balloon model blew off the table and on to the ground. It broke between the the balloon and the basket.  Despite all of the damage it’s holding together.  So I decided I would go ahead and paint it even though it’s so beat up.  Here is a photo of it painted.  I didn’t spend too much time on it but wanted to work out the color scheme if I end up doing some more prints of it.

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I also did a quick print of my robot walking rook for the steampunk chess set.  This is a first print of it so it still needs a little fine tuning.  But all-in-all I’m pretty happy with it.  Here is a couple shots of it…

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I’ll probably do a 1950s style ray gun type cannon emplacement within the battlements.  I haven’t done much except make a couple of quick sketchs for the design though.  I’ll probably think about it some more over the holiday weekend and have something to print when I get back.  I finished the design for a model of the Cape Hattaras light house tonight as well.  I will be printing a model of it for my mom who loves light houses. This a belated birthday gift for her.  I’ll post a photo of it once it’s printed, but in the mean time here is a shot of the final design.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone,

-h

 

Balloon Ornament part 2

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 26, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I promised you an update on the balloon ornament and some photo’s.  When the print finished, it looked great.  Once I got it off of the print platform though I realized that the yardarm/connector/supports from the sail to the hull were both cracked.  I attempted to repair them with some scrap abs and acetone (essentially the same way I would repair fiberglass with a patch and some resin).  By the time I was able to spend more time working on it I realized that it had started to develop some pretty big cracks in the balloon and the sail.  When I tried to assemble it I also discovered that the warping was much worse than I had thought it was and there was no way that the two pieces were going to go together as they were.  I sanded down the interior in an attempt to make the two halves flat.  I couldn’t get too aggressive because the corners of the hull and the sail kept catching and I was running the risk of breaking something.  So I got it as close as I could and super glued them together.  (The Loctite superglue I used really had problems with the abs btw.  I need to get to a home improvement store and buy some abs glue.).  The warping was even more obvious now and the cracks were getting pretty bad.  I decided to try using acetone vapor in an attempt to glue the cracks together.  Using the vapor is usually used to polish and finish off an model but I was hoping that the melting that occurs from the vapor would glue those cracks closed when it dried.  I ended up using a bit much acetone and left it in the vapor for a couple more minutes than I should.  The abs started bubbling badly.  I waited for it dry again and sanded most of the bubbles down.  It looks pretty rough in spots now though.  The broken supports between the sail and hull were not fixable at this point so I cut them out and replaced them with paper clips.  I’m going to have a try at painting this model regardless of the damage just to see how it turns out.  It was meant as a prototype anyway and sometimes prototypes have problems.  That is kind of the point of building one.  🙂   I do have some ideas to stop these problems with future attempts.  I am going to use more internal fill to help combat the cracking.  I will print the balloon as one single piece so that the warping won’t affect assembling it later.  I have not decided on how to fix the sail connectors yet.  I may stick with metal supports like I used on this one.  I will have to figure out how the sale will connect to the balloon as well because printing the balloon as it’s own piece invalidates the solution I have now.  More thought is required.  I’ll let you know how it goes when I try it again.  In the meantime, here are some photos.  You can really see the cracking in the model best after I hit it with some primer.

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Chess Set

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I’ve mentioned the chess set a bunch but I don’t think I’ve really shown any pics of how it is coming along.  These are some shots of the King, the Queen, and the Knight.  The Knight is still two separate pieces.  I still need to get it assembled and do some more clean up.  The King also needs a little bit more work.  The Queen is essentially done.  You can not see it very well in the photo, but the left side lobe of the heart has a gear embedded in it.   The gear actually turns.  This photo also shows how I will be printing and assembling the board.  The gears that hold the pieces together will alternate between black and white and obviously each set of pieces will printed in the opposing colors.

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Balloon Ornament

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I’ve been slowly working on designing and printing a steam punk themed chess set for my little sisters birthday.  While doing some research I ran across an French lithograph from 1785 that I really liked.  It depicts a hot air balloon with a canoe style basket/hull and a some sails.

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I really liked it, but couldn’t find a use for it in the chess set.  Regardless of that I still decided to design a model based on this litho and see about printing it.  Last night it finally dawned on me (yes i said something dawned on me in the middle of the night) what I could use this model for… a Christmas ornament!  I sat down and cleaned up the model for printing.  I decided that I would print one off before adding an attachment for the hook.  The slicing program predicted a print time of 12 hours and I wanted to have it finished before going to work today.  Adding the attachment would put that print time just out of reach before I had to leave.  It looks like one side of the balloon has lifted off the print platform and warped a little bit but otherwise the print looks pretty good.  I’ve got about an hour left on it.  I plan on painting this model so it shouldn’t hurt things too much if I have to fill in a small gap between the two sides where the print lifted.  I should be able to patch it up such that you won’t notice once it’s been painted.  This is just the prototype of the model anyway.  I will probably printing it with a brim to combat this problem on future prints.  Here is the model:

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I’ll get a photo of the model posted tomorrow morning so you can see how it turned out.  I am thinking I will paint it similar to the original French lithograph except that I will paint 2013 some where on the ornament.  Possible on the sail or the balloon.  Maybe I’ll make it small and put it on the pennant flying from the back.  I’ll get it painted and then decide where to add the year.  I am going to send these out as Christmas gifts to my family this year.  Money is a bit tight so expensive gifts are out but I want them to know that I am thinking of them.   Hopefully I can do a new ornament every year and make a bit of a tradition out of it.  We shall see.

-h

3D printing frustration

In 3D Printing, Crafts, software on November 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I am in the middle of trying to design and print a steam punk styled chess set for my little sister.  I ran my printer for 12 hours yesterday and did not get a single usable print. My problems were myriad.  The prints where breaking loose from the platform.  The print was not adhering to itself when the print was angling over empty space as it went up,  The edges of the print were curling so that they were unusable for my purposes.  The modeling software I was using stopped generating the .stl file i needed for one of my models.  I was getting weird artifacts in the prints that I couldn’t explain.  One 4 hour print came out squished down a bit.  By the end of the day I was ready to throw the printer in the garbage and forget I ever bought it.

Luckily I woke up today with some of my patience restored and settled down to try and break down the problems into manageable chunks.  Part of the problem was my print platform.  It was not level.  There are little springs set at three of the corners so that you can level the platform but the two on the left were fully compacted and that side was still too high.  I realized that I could raise that side of the x-axis assembly separately from the platform and the right side of the assembly.  I spent two hours fiddling with the adjustments until I was happy with the leveling calibration.

The next part of the problem with models not adhering was software and design.  I had designed the models standing up and then sliced them vertically in half and laid the halves down for printing purposes.  The didn’t end up exactly flat.  This is partly due to not getting it rotated down exactly when I did it initially and partly because I have made adjustments after the split.  These adjustments occasionally extended below the plane of the model or didn’t quite make it all the way down to that plane.  This was causing the slicing program to not anchor the print down where it should and occasionally it tried printing too far above the platform for anything to stick.  I didn’t have support materials turned on because none should have been needed.  Except that because it wasn’t even there was an large portion of the model hanging out over open space.  It wasn’t a lot of space but it was enough.  So I had to go back into the modeling software and make sure that each individual point was at the level it should be at.

The third part of the problem was the slicing program itself.  I had already given up on Slic3r and was using Cura.  Cura was much better than Slic3r but they both have the same Achilles heal.  They don’t show you what problems there are in model.  They attempt to fix things themselves without actually telling you what needed fixing.  Slic3r is much more aggressive about this and can completely alter a model in it’s attempts to fix the problem.  I was using Cura because it wasn’t screwing up as much.  But the same underlying problem remained.  There were problems with my model that I wasn’t being told about.  So now I’m using my third slicing program: Kisslicer.  I’ve had problems getting this one working at all since I first heard about it.  I tried Kisslicer initially because a friend told me that it had won a number of comparisons he had seen online.  I couldn’t get it to work at all when I first tried it.  The way it was laid out was fairly different from the other programs and it used language I didn’t understand.  I might know what I needed to set up but not know what it was called in Kisslicer.  I finally got it to a mostly usable point but was running into problems with it slamming into the print stops over and over again.  I still haven’t figured out why it did that or how to stop it,  I have figured out how to minimize the problem though I think.  I start by making sure the print head is back at it’s “home” point before every print.  I also make sure that the model I will be printing is safely in the middle of the platform.  So far that seems to be working.  The thing that I do like about Kisslicer is that it tells you what the problems with your model are.  What I don’t like is that it doesn’t explain withing the program (either through a help menu, a manual, or tool tips) what those problems mean or what causes them.  What is a “degenerate tri?”  What does it mean if the windings are reversed and how do you fix it?  I did not know.  I started searching online but the first problem I ran into is that this type of thing is apparently common knowledge amongst people who do 3d modeling and so while they might mention it they almost never explain it.  Eventually I found my answers and was able to start fixing my models.  i would import the .stl file into Kisslicer and see where it threw up problems.  Then I would open up Blender (the modeling software I am using) and try to fix each problem.  I needed to watch some tutorials to discover how to fix all of the problems I was having but I’ve gotten to the point where I can generate an error free .stl file for the slicer.

While trying to fix the problems with the models that were generating working .stl files I discovered the problem with my models that were not generating them.  Despite being in edit mode on the object I wanted to print the software somehow had lost focus of that model and was generating an .stl file of nothing.  By backing out of edit mode into object mode I could reselect that object and get a working .stl file again.  Having to start over on some models got me thinking about other ways to take them and now I have a few extra ideas on what might work.  I’ve decided that the models I had already finished will stay finished.  I might use some of the new ideas on models I am still working on though.  After all of this I have a better understanding of what will work and what won’t.  The new ideas are predicated on this new understand so I think it is worth pursuing them with some of the unfinished models.

I managed to get one usefull print done this afternoon (a base for the one of the pieces) and have a second model printing right now.  It looks good so far.  The big issue now is that I probably have 100 hours worth of printing to do.  The design stuff is on schedule.  I have the King and Queen completed.  The models for the bases and for the board itself are also completed.  I have two ideas I am working on for the rook and two I am exploring for the knight.  The bishop I built once already and somehow managed to delete it.  It is the easiest of the pieces on the back row to build and it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so to rebuild.  The pawns will be very basic and shouldn’t take me more than 45 minutes to build.  I already have 70+ hours of printing with the models that are already completed (the board is taking the majority of that) so I shouldn’t have any problems completing the models for my other pieces in time.  Of course it could all go wrong again at any minute but for the moment I have overcome all of the obstacles that have been thrown my way.  If I can find some extra time, I want to experiment with all three slicing programs using models that I have fixed.  I am interested in seeing what the quality of the prints is once the program is no longer trying to fix the model on it’s own.  There may be a final slicer comparison blog in the near future.

-h

SLIC3R vs Cura vs KISSlicer

In 3D Printing, Crafts, reviews, software on November 13, 2013 at 7:14 pm

SLIC3R, Cura, and KISSlicer are all slicing programs.  Their job is to take a three dimensional computer model and slice it into layers to provide a 3D printer the instructions it needs to print the model.  So far I haven’t been able to get KISSlicer to actually work.  It either locks up while performing whatever calculations it needs to do or it gives my printer worthless instructions that don’t accomplish anything other than my print head slamming into the end stops over and over again.  This is probably a set up issue and is something that I will figure out sooner or later, but with the basic settings enabled KISSlicer is worthless to me.  Cura and SLIC3R both provide usable prints.  I started out using SLIC3R as that was what was recommended by the company I bought my printer from.  I was pretty happy with it until recently.  The first photo will be a model sliced with SLIC3R and the second will be done with Cura.

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Ya… see the difference.  The Cura print actually looks like the 3D model.  SLIC3R simplified things rather a lot and even adjusted the attitude of the head.  There are some things that I like better about SLIC3R.  The support material it prints (so that you can print overhangs) is much easier to remove than the support material printed by Cura.  This is probably also something that I will be able to adjust.  I just haven’t figured out how yet.  For the moment I will probably use SLIC3R for easy stuff and Cura for more complicated or curvy objects.  I was really discouraged when I discovered how bad a job SLIC3R was doing as I had really liked it up to this point.  But adapt and overcome I guess.  The KISSlicer won a number of comparison tests and is a current favorite as best I can determine.  I will have to devote some brain cells towards figuring out how to finagle it into working.  One of the things that I do really like about Cura and KISSlicer are that they show the 3D model in full within their program whereas SLIC3R just shows the footprint of the model.  It makes it much easier to rescale or orientate models on the print bed for easier printing.

Veteran’s Day

In politics, ramblings, social commentary on November 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Wars are a political move made by the government.  In our case that government is there by the will of the people.  Those who hold political office are placed there by your votes.  The soldiers that fight those wars do so not because they want to kill people, but because they have faith that the government you selected has the best interests of this country at heart.  It is fine to protest a war. In fact if you disagree with a war it is your duty to protest.  But don’t ever confuse the politician who chose the war with the soldier who is fighting it.  The soldier is there for you.  His life is on the line and he is far from his home and family.  He makes these sacrifices willingly because you have sent him there.  Veterans deserve our respect and our thanks.

Back up and 3D printing

In 3D Printing, Crafts on November 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

So…  I ordered a spool of PLA after giving up on figuring out why the ABS wouldn’t print with the new hotend.  It finally showed up and I tried to get it fed into the hotend.  It just wouldn’t feed all the way through to the nozzle.  I took everything apart and it looked like there was some ABS still jammed in there.  I ended up cooking the hotend in the oven to try and get it all out.  When I did get it out I realized there was a liner in the main feed tube that was sized incorrectly.  It was supposed to be a hotend for 3mm and instead it was apparently for 1.75mm.  I checked my order form and for once this one isn’t my fault.  They just sent the wrong thing.  But I was impatient so after trying and failing to remove the liner I used the drill and cleaned the tube out that way.  I tried again with the PLA.  It fed fine but wouldn’t adhere to my print bed.  My belief is because I don’t have a fan that can blow on the PLA as it leaves the nozzle.  ABS needs a fan that blows on the hotend, PLA needs one that blows on the freshly extruded PLA.  I gave up for the night but I had hopes that maybe I could get the ABS to work.

Next morning after watching the Raiders lose a game they could have won, I was back at it.  I got the PLA pulled out of the hotend and fed the ABS back in.  And… SUCCESS!  Something is actually printing.  I will have to find a fan mount and nozzle for PLA but first I’ll print a couple things for fun.  🙂  I’ll add some photos after this print job is finished.

lucky elephant