Can Has 3D Printer

Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
After nearly a decade following 3D printing technologies I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a printer for my shop.

I did not make this decision lightly, and did a lot of research before finally settling on the Ultimaker 2 Extended+.  I was going to wait for the Lulzbot Taz 6 to come out (as I'm a fan of its hackable nature and large print volume) but it's still a few months away and the Ultimaker 2+ series can print slightly higher quality.


Having my own printer will greatly increase my productivity, as I will no longer have to rely entirely on the printers at my local makerspace for all my projects.  While I'm grateful to have access to printers at my makerspace, it will be nice to setup prints at night and be able to see them in the morning, and start a new print in the morning for when I get home from work, rather than having to drive to a shop where I can only manage a couple prints a week.

If you need me I'll be waiting by the front door for the next week.

/Chris

Comments

  • Oooh nice! I'm hoping to build one at some point but the temptation to just buy one is becoming overwhelming. This is one of the models in my shortlist.
    Hope you have many hours of fun with it!
    Have you heard of NinjaFlex? I really want to have a play with some of that.




  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    NinjaFlex is great stuff.  We print with it (and another flexible filament that is slightly more rigid) at our maker space quite often.

    I thought about building a printer, but they can be so finicky and require hundreds of hours of tweaking and adjusting to get them to print well.  Many of the pre-built printers on the market now are much more reliable than kits, and print at higher quality, so that's what I went with.

    That second video is by James Burton who uses Lulzbot printers, which I've heard a lot of good things about.  If the Taz 6 were on the market now I would have likely gone that route.  Maybe that'll be my second printer. ;)

    /Chris
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    edited March 2016
    The new 3D printer arrived today!

    Here is a video of the first print, which turned out perfect:


    And here is a shot of the printer all snug in its new home:



    I'm feeling rather brave today, so since the first test print turned out great I'm diving right into a 7 hour print.  Wish me luck!

    /Chris
  • How did the 7 hour print come out?!

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Since I got this printer it's had very little time to rest.  The 7 hour print turned out perfect aside from me forgetting to check a setting in my slicing software that starts each layer in a random position.  Normally you can start all layers from where the extruder leaves off, but this means many layers will have the same start and stop points which can leave visible vertical lines on the outside of the print.  If that is randomized you get a cleaner print.

    So I redid that 7 hour print, followed by an 8 hour print, then a 4 hour print and a 11 hour print.  Just started a 5 hour print.  

    Here's everything I've printed so far:



    This is a bottle prop from the game Fallout 4, and 2 parts of the mother mold for the bottom half of the bottle.   I'm printing the 3rd mold piece now, and then I'll start printing the mold pieces for the top half of the bottle.

    You can follow progress on that project here on the forums on this thread.

    I am really impressed that out of all these prints so far I've not had any real issues.  Super glad I decided to go with the Ultimaker.

    /Chris
  • David BoccabellaDavid Boccabella Brisbane, Australia Moderator
    I'm in two minds of getting a 3D printer.  I can see the value in prototyping things easily without needed an external resource.
    However I am not sure I have time to learn a CAD package and the skills of 3D rendering.
    Just don't want it to become an expensive toy gathering dust because I don;t have the skills to use it properly.
    Dave
  • David BoccabellaDavid Boccabella Brisbane, Australia Moderator
    Although I have seen mention of some units having a swappable routing head that would be perfect of making PCB's as well. :)
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    My printer has not had any chance to gather dust yet, as it's been printing nearly 24 hours a day for 3 days running.  I've been getting up in the middle of the night to swap out prints.  Just finished a 20 hour print the other day, which is my longest to date.   I finally have all mold pieces of my NukaCola bottle printed now.   My list of things I want to print is growing faster than I'm printing!

    CAD design can be a massive can of worms to dive into (oh mixed metaphors), but there is a lot of great free software and tutorials out there to get you started.  I'm a big fan of OnShape, which is free and they have a good set of video tutorials that helped get me started.

    CAD is an extremely useful skill to hone these days.  3D printers, CNC machines, and laser cutters are all becoming more affordable and accessible, and they give the artist a massive amount of power.

    Just having access to a 3D printer and some basic CAD skills also lets you solve all kinds of other challenges.  For example, I live stream a lot of the build nights in my shop, and to do so I use a MacMini.  I recently moved it to the top shelf of my workbench to help it get better WiFI signal, cool better, and keep it away from dust.  The problem is the top shelf is basically a trough so it would sit down inside the metal walls which trap heat and block WiFi.  For now I've raised it up by propping it on some random objects, but yesterday I designed a new stand to raise it up that I will 3D print tonight.



    I also did something similar to create a wood keyboard stand for my workbench drawer using a laser cutter.  It only took me around 2-3 hours from CAD to laser cutting to finished piece, and most of that was waiting for glue to dry.  

    Basic CAD is easier than you might think, and if you ever have any questions I'm happy to answer them.  I'm fortunate enough to have mechanical engineers from places like Space-X and Hyper Loop on hand to teach me this stuff.  I'm always down to share what I can, and could even do a live stream covering basic CAD on my twitch channel.

    /Chris
  • Stuart McconnelStuart Mcconnel UK ✭✭
    edited March 2016
    CAD isn't too difficult once you grasp the basics. Take a look at David Covarrubias' lesson on making an animatronic eye mechanism. I'm not sure if you can still get Autocad 123D Design for free, but it looks pretty simple to use... Well, at least for geometric designs, anyway.
    https://www.stanwinstonschool.com/tutorials/how-to-make-an-eye-mechanism-design-3d-printing-assembly


  • David BoccabellaDavid Boccabella Brisbane, Australia Moderator
    I have been looking at TinkerCad and it's fairly simple to play around with. At least to start to get the part where visualising an idea into a 3D form.  

    I tend to be more the Organic Mechanics where I will do a lot of hands on and only then look to CAD for mass production.

    On the other hand it means that I can whip things up pretty fast is I need to just by tinkering in my workshop..

    Many thanks
    Dave
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Now I'm doing a 24+ hour print of a Wall-E gear wheel for a friend's project.

    This printer is not getting much down time!



    /Chris
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