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3d Printer discussion.



JustinWC
02-25-2015, 07:33 AM
I didn't want to clutter the CNC table build with this discussion nor did I want to clutter Gamble's thread. Besides this topic deserves it's own thread. No one has asked Gadget about his 3d printer attachment as far as I can tell and I am very curious about 3d printers.


I printed mine with my home made 3D printer. If you have a CNC table making the 3D attachment is cheap and easy.


I printed my cable carriers with my home built 3D printer attachment on my CNC table. About $10. worth of nylon filament did the entire job with some left over.

Interesting Gadget. I think I'm gonna start calling you Inspector Gadget since you always have something new up your sleeve!

So, I'm thinking you bought an extruder head off ebay and made a custom mount where your torch normally goes. You have to be using 3d software to run the thing, CAD/CAM, V-Carve, MasterCAM, SolidCam? I have looked at 3d printers a bit, but what seems to be overwhelming is they just aren't very good or reliable. Lots of botched parts and restarts, lots of manufacturing defects or shoddy designs, extruder head failures, etc. In short, few work well. And they are only capable of small parts with low to terrible resolution. At least all this seems to be true for the ones I have looked at up to I think $5,000. So many have terrible reviews it just turned me off of them. Nor can I think of anything to make that is so small. Your table is obviously not limited by the small size. But you must be limited to only using PLA? Or do you have a heated plate to use ABS? You stated you used Nylon though. Are you using trimmer string?

The fact you made your own cable carrier is the first practical thing I have seen come off these things. At least for fabricators. What do you make with yours? Is it reliable? Is it a toy or is it something that is so useful you couldn't imagine live without it, or somewhere in between?

Can you post a pic of your cable carrier. While I think 3d printers are an incredible way to prototype lots of things, I am highly suspicious of the consumer and light business grade machines.

I would like to hear your thoughts on what you have and how it works for you, what kinds of things you can make, etc. Thanks!

Gadget
02-25-2015, 08:41 AM
Justin,
I didn't go the pre-built route on my 3D printer. I made the extruder and hot end from my own design as an attachment that can be easily removed and installed on my CNC table (25" X 25" X 7"). It works well enough that I can turn out parts fairly reliably. I haven't used PLA or ABS simply because the filament is too expensive. Nylon 3D filament is also expensive but I've found that some of the string trimmer lines can be used. I use the Stihl .105 line with pretty good results. The only problem with nylon is it doesn't retract well when moving from one print area to another and thus you have cobwebs and an occasional small gob that needs cleaning afterwards. I've printed missing change gears for my Atlas 10" lathe in nylon as well as the cable carriers. My next project is going to be a shredder and filament extruder so I can make my own PLA and ABS filament. I have to finish the second generation windmill generator first though.
I use Google Sketchup to design the gears (I have a Youtube video on how this is done (Gadget047) along with videos of both generations of my CNC table builds. For other parts I use Alibre Design to create the STL files used to generate the machine code. It is possible to use Sketchup for all needed parts in the newer versions since it can export parts as STL files. I usually check the STL files and position them the way I want with ReplicatorG which is also a free program. The STL files are then sliced into print layers by a free program called Slic3r. In Slic3r you can set the parameters for layer height, filament size, print speed, and tip orifice size. You can really fine tune the print with that program and the whole process is fairly easy to do.
This is definitely not a toy. Could I live without it, yes but having it certainly changes my thinking when planning projects. Examples of the things I just couldn't have done easily without it are; nylon pivot bearings for my wind generator, limit switch housings for the CNC table (using hall effect transistors and magnets), gears for my lathe, cable trays, a new hinge for my trash can, and even a binding cleaner for XC ski boots. I've seen people that use printed parts as part of a lost plastic casting method, they make pretty impressive castings.
I think I built the 3D print head for around $150.00. As always I decided to improve on the first one after using it awhile so I'm on the second generation design. This one has been rock solid and quite reliable.
I would be happy to help anyone here who would like to build the attachment. I can share my extruder design files and what I've learned works and does not work. You can see some of my prints as well as the printer attachment in my gallery here at http://forum.longevity-inc.com/gallery/browseimages.php?do=browseimages&c=63 You can see the Y axis cable carrier in this video along with the printer in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lDewdt_VCk
Below you can see the limit switch housings I've printed. I was trying to use micro switches for the limits but they kept false latching so I went with the hall effect switches, I haven't had a false trip since.

Gadget
02-25-2015, 08:42 AM
The prints shown above were early in the learning process. I can now print much better than this.

Sling
02-25-2015, 09:38 AM
...what seems to be overwhelming is they just aren't very good or reliable.

Around Christmas the tech shows were talking about gifts for your techie, and the common theme was "only get this if your person likes to to tinker and can do their own repairs".

Justin, there's a makerspace near here (Reston) called Nova Labs that does a lot of 3-D printing. They have montly meetings where printers would be in use and on display, likely with people to talk about it in minute detail! The URL is http://www.nova-labs.org/blog/ and if you go to the calendar link on that page the next meeting is Saturday, March 7.

Gadget
02-25-2015, 10:03 AM
There is also a website dedicated to 3D print files designed by home users. All files are free and there are a ton of files already designed for many purposes. I've uploaded quite a few files there.
www.thingiverse.com (http://www.thingiverse.com)

JustinWC
02-26-2015, 08:07 AM
Gadget thanks for that! It really looks to be more useful than I suspected. It sure looks like you have used it quite a bit.
I have seen thingiverse before. Honestly, I feel a lot of it is nick nacks, or toys, but there are some interesting applications in there

There are a couple applications where I can see its usefulness. Gadget mentioned the lost plastic process and that seems to be a very useful way to quickly prototype and cast parts. Also jigs or templates. I envisioned using it to make plasma cutting templates. Print a template, transfer it to a melt resistant material :2thumbs, and use it as a template for hand cuts.

That is a very cool build Gadget.

Gadget
02-26-2015, 08:39 AM
Justin,
If you decide to make the 3D attachment I'll be happy to share what I've learned and any part files you may need or want.
Also, for the lost plastic castings be sure to factor in the shrink of the material used in the casting. Slic3r allows you to scale by percentage so a 3% shrink factor for aluminum is as easy as setting the scale and printing.

JustinWC
02-27-2015, 09:13 AM
Justin,
If you decide to make the 3D attachment I'll be happy to share what I've learned and any part files you may need or want.
Also, for the lost plastic castings be sure to factor in the shrink of the material used in the casting. Slic3r allows you to scale by percentage so a 3% shrink factor for aluminum is as easy as setting the scale and printing.


Thanks for the offer Gadget. I will think about that when I get this table up and running.

JustinWC
02-27-2015, 09:21 AM
Around Christmas the tech shows were talking about gifts for your techie, and the common theme was "only get this if your person likes to to tinker and can do their own repairs".

Justin, there's a makerspace near here (Reston) called Nova Labs that does a lot of 3-D printing. They have montly meetings where printers would be in use and on display, likely with people to talk about it in minute detail! The URL is http://www.nova-labs.org/blog/ and if you go to the calendar link on that page the next meeting is Saturday, March 7.

Yes I Knew about Nova Labs. It s a little far for me to go. (Traffic is always bad here) I also know there is a TECH Shop in Arlington. They actually have some very interesting stuff including a waterjet!! I just really don't have time to make the trek over there. I have a family, (4 kids, 7, 6, 18 mos, 2 mos.) plus I am now getting slammed with orders...

Hmmmm.... Sling, I may have some part time work coming up.... My one part time helper may be giving it up.

Sling
02-27-2015, 11:34 AM
I looked into Tech Shop some time back: for anyone that might not know, Tech Shop is basically a workshop for people that don't have any room for a workshop. They have the space and the equipment, and your membership ($175 per month or $1400 per year if you pay in advance) gets you access to a woodworking shop, metalworking shop, ceramics shop, machine shop, laser cutters, electronics labs, and CAD/CAM software. They say they've got a million dollars worth of equipment on hand at each of their locations. I'd love to see a waterjet cutter in action!

And just so no one thinks I missed that part of the post, Justin and I spoke about that part time work.