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Thread: Got a 3D printer now, it's fun!

  1. #1
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    Got a 3D printer now, it's fun!

    For one of my projects, in partnership with a couple of mates, we decided that the best way to make the prototypes we needed was to get an affordable 3D printer. So I did a bit of searching and found that the machine from here - www.pp3dp.com would be good enough to do the job. So I sold a couple of things to pay for it and got it shortly before the recent round-Aus trip.

    So far I've mainly just been printing various things for fun and to learn how it works and its limitations.

    The attached pics show mine, the ones below are from http://www.thingiverse.com and that's where I get all my files from so far.
    In the attached pics, the first one is of the unit as I was connecting it up to the laptop. It doesn't have the print table on it yet nor the hollow tube that guides the plastic from the roll to the print head.
    The second one is the first print I did and that's a calibration run. It's used to refine the accuracy of the machine; you print it out then make some measurement, feed them into the software and it adjusts subsequent prints.
    The third one is of the Star Trek Enterprise, a good friend of mine is a ST nut so I made one for her. The shape is pretty cool so I decided to make a bigger one for myself (okay I'm a sci-fi nerd) and to make it bigger I turned the section you see in that photo 45 so it went from corner to corner. Because of size of the print I was able to find out that with large ones like that the heating/cooling effect is enough to cause stress cracking on the edges as the entire thing cools down. It's a bit of a pain but it easily fixed with some acetone & ABS plastic scraps to make a kind of plastic big to fill the cracks. It's also really slow; the big Enterprise saucer section for me took over five hours to print. Smaller stuff can take less than twenty minutes though.

    So just linking to the Thingiverse site to show some of the stuff I've made ....



    That's a three-piece rocket I made. With a little fiddling you could make it to take a model rocket engine. But there's other models on Thingiverse that already can take engines so no real need.





    That's a screw-on adaptor for a water rocket. You attach an air hose to pump pressure in and away you go.





    Rotary key rings. I've only got a roll of white plastic so that's the only colour I can print in for now. But there's a reasonable range of other colours now.






    A model rotary, to show how they work.






    A funny cube with geared corners.






    Oval gears that mesh together surprisingly well. The whole thing is pretty floppy though.


    To print stuff, it takes the plastic from the roll into the print head, melts it, then squirts it out a hole that's about 0.2mm diameter and lays down about that thickness of plastic, layer by layer to make up the object. So because there's only a very small amount being added each time, it takes a while for it all to happen.
    Here's a video of it printing the calibration piece.




    Because of the limitations of the way it extrudes the plastic, it needs to print a support for anything that would otherwise be hanging in mid-air. The angle that starts to happen at is adjustable in the printer software and I haven't played with it much yet. You can see a bit of it in the third pic. To save plastic and to help avoid the problem of thermal deformation as it cools, the software defaults to making almost all the interior of the piece to be filled with a matrix of thin plastic. It looks pretty weak but once it's completed the objects feel pretty strong. Again the amount of filling is adjustable. If you look at the fourth attached pic you can see a half-finished Enterprise and see what the internal matrix looks like. (Snr wanted to use the powerpoint the printer was plugged into, so he just pulled the plug out about two hours into that print.)
    The printer software can't edit or change the objects at all, only change the orientation of how they sit on the print table, though it can scale the object up/down as much as you like - within the 130mm x 130mm limit of the table though of course. The orientation is important as if you are printing multiple objects and the edges are too close to the sides of the table, the edges can suffer from differential cooling and start to lift up, causing a bent edge there. Everything that's printed gets a little 'raft', as they call it, to start being printed on so it has a nice, flat surface. But again if the object is too big or too close to the edges the raft starts to lift up and I've lost a few prints that way. The table is heated to 100 to minimise this but it still happens unfortunately. So it's often better to break down the bigger objects into smaller pieces. The raft thingy just peels away like it was attached with velcro once you lever the object off the table.
    Another problem is if you're just printing one small object, then it can overheat from the print nozzle sitting near the one spot too long and you end up with a bit of a melty mess. So the trick there is to print four or more small objects so the print head keeps moving around between them and so they each have time to cool.

    Anyway it's a handy little thing to have. If anyone wants anything from Thingiverse printed up it'll be $0.60 per gram of plastic (minimum $10), the print software tells me in advance how much plastic it'll use. You can also design your own stuff if you like, the printer uses *.STL format files and there's a few CAD programs out there that can save in it. I'm still pretty sad with 3D Autocad but am slowly getting to the crappy stage, I hope to be below average soon.
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  2. #2
    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Sweet, I will give you your first job, If I send you a DXF or DWG can you convert it?

    I need my oil pump, alternator and power steering brackets printed so that I can check it for fitment before laser cutting it from Unobtainium.
    Last edited by Greg Rust; 07-12-11 at 12:37 AM.
    xw Falcon 393 full race cam, NGK spark plugs.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rust View Post
    Sweet, I will give you your first job, If I send you a DXF or DWG can you convert it?
    Yep can do.

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    Opens HoonBoy's Avatar
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    That's pretty cool, i can think of a lot of things where it would come in handy before you start machining metal.

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    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    My drawings are only in 2D so is the thickness something you specify?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rust View Post
    My drawings are only in 2D so is the thickness something you specify?
    I can give them thickness with Autocad. Something like 6mm or 8mm enough?
    Do you reckon they'll fit in the 130mm x 130mm table though? I can cut them in half if need be though.

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    Bill this is so much awesome. Good on you mate!
    Quote Originally Posted by Bosshoggett View Post
    If your planing to drive this on the road and enjoy it, id suggest a second opinion, someone with a history in Australian Rally or Fink River . If your just playing dyno comps. Then ok

  8. #8
    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    The important one which is the oil pump is 109 x 120 x 3mm, so maybe we just go with that one first up, I will send you an electronic mail.
    xw Falcon 393 full race cam, NGK spark plugs.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rust View Post
    The important one which is the oil pump is 109 x 120 x 3mm, so maybe we just go with that one first up, I will send you an electronic mail.
    Hmmmm .... see how it goes, it's large so the edges might try to lift but I'll give it a go - I want to try some clamps to hold the outer edges down, I think it'll help.


    FWIW I just had a look at Rhino 3D and it can work with STL files ..... Uncle Torrence is getting a chrissy present for me right now in fact.

  10. #10
    Chopped BigMuz's Avatar
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    Cool Bill.

    The rocket looks a bit too much like a penis though. Better stick to non phallic objects.
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    Rob Sloth Young did i ask for your opinion? no. i only want it for a paddock bomb. go play with traffic.
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  11. #11
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    *winks*
    Secret code noted, Muz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rust View Post
    The important one which is the oil pump is 109 x 120 x 3mm, so maybe we just go with that one first up, I will send you an electronic mail.
    Not wanting to take any work away from Bill!, but surely you would be better off having all your 2d brackets blazed out of mild steel by a laser cutter, or even paper print outs stuck on cardboard, rather than have them RP'ed. ?

  13. #13
    Registered User niggerjewz's Avatar
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    Can you actually print anything useful with these yet?

    As in, could you print say a car dash or something as an example?

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    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmh265 View Post
    Not wanting to take any work away from Bill!, but surely you would be better off having all your 2d brackets blazed out of mild steel by a laser cutter, or even paper print outs stuck on cardboard, rather than have them RP'ed. ?
    Yes I generally had access to two seperate WJC, one is my previous company whom I'm now in oppostion with, and the second is my brother inlaw who is currently churning out 90 glass splashbacks a week, so it's kind of a difficult situation, I contacted two laser cutter companies this week and they haven't replied, I'm assuming that it's because it's a little pissy job? I was going to just use MDF or mild steel but I don't reckon I would get out from under $100 for a service charge from these companies.
    xw Falcon 393 full race cam, NGK spark plugs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gmh265 View Post
    Not wanting to take any work away from Bill!, but surely you would be better off having all your 2d brackets blazed out of mild steel by a laser cutter, or even paper print outs stuck on cardboard, rather than have them RP'ed. ?
    You can do, but it'd probably still be more expensive than what I can do it for, and you can see if it's right & make changes if need be.



    Quote Originally Posted by niggerjewz View Post
    Can you actually print anything useful with these yet?

    As in, could you print say a car dash or something as an example?
    They'll only print little objects for now, it's still far cheaper to make big things the usual way. But it's still early days for them, I'm sure give it another decade or so and they'll be doing amazing things.

  16. #16
    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Yea Bill I just phoned these laser blokes and they said $85 for me to test cut 4 brackets from MDF, so not sure if you still want to stuff around with my crappy bracket?
    xw Falcon 393 full race cam, NGK spark plugs.

  17. #17
    Printer cunt Spoonfed's Avatar
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    $85 bucks for 4 test brackets in MDF!!!!!! sheesh How big are they?


    New toy is super cool Bill.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Rust View Post
    Yea Bill I just phoned these laser blokes and they said $85 for me to test cut 4 brackets from MDF, so not sure if you still want to stuff around with my crappy bracket?
    Am printing it out right now.

  19. #19
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    On the way ....
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  20. #20
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    Well fk it, that didn't work the edges curled up and I don't have enough tiny clamps to hold it down.
    So Plan B, print it in its edge so that there's only a relatively thin part on the table so I can hold it down better.

  21. #21
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    Yep that's better.
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  22. #22
    Boldy going nowhere rolin7's Avatar
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    That is some seriously cool shit, how much did you pay for the actual printer if you don't mind me asking? (lacking time to read thoroughly).
    Pain is temporary, quitting is forever - Lance Armstrong (drug cheat)

  23. #23
    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Spoony, it is a minimum charge for machine services.

    Awesome stuff Bill

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    It ended up being a bit over $3,000.
    If you buy one from the Aussie agent it's a grand more so with the help of one of Coffin's mates in the US I got it for the overseas fee.

    Had another hiccup printing the plate sorry, I just got back from the hairdresser with something that will help.

  25. #25
    Banned Coffin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billzilla View Post
    It ended up being a bit over $3,000.
    If you buy one from the Aussie agent it's a grand more so with the help of one of Coffin's mates in the US I got it for the overseas fee.

    Had another hiccup printing the plate sorry, I just got back from the hairdresser with something that will help.
    Glad he could help .... I've got another Supercharger coming in a week too from him.

    RP printer is awesomes

  26. #26
    Down with ma homies Greg Rust's Avatar
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    Hey don't waste bulk time and materials on my pissy little bracket, if it doesn't work for you, then I will go with the MDF option.

    Can you print MDF
    xw Falcon 393 full race cam, NGK spark plugs.

  27. #27
    [DIRTY31] lysdexia's Avatar
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    your bracket's probably good practice for him really

    this thing is cool as shit Bill!
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    Nay sayer Mr Ed's Avatar
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    Fuck yeah, will try to think of something I "need" printed out. Im also pretty crappy with 3D autocad so I'll have a bit of a play around with it next time I get bored.

    Does complexity matter? What sorta minimum thickness do you reckon?
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Ed View Post
    Fuck yeah, will try to think of something I "need" printed out. Im also pretty crappy with 3D autocad so I'll have a bit of a play around with it next time I get bored.

    Does complexity matter? What sorta minimum thickness do you reckon?
    It'll do pretty thin stuff but it depends on the orientation of the object on the table. And yeah complexity does matter a bit, thin stuff hanging in mid-air isn't so good as the support scaffolding (as they call it) ends up bring difficult to get out without breaking the main structure.

    (nearly finished the bracket now)

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