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What's On My Bench: A new 3D printer.


 

This post is a recap of my foray into the 3D printing world.

The Machine: After about 6 months of researching, I ordered a Prusa Mini (~$400).  It was back-ordered for 2 months.  This machine will print up to 7" X 7" X 7".  I received it a week ago.
PXL_20201017_162702282-1000.jpg
The Filament: As an initial choice I ordered Matter Hackers Tough PLA (~$52). So far, so good.  And it accepts spray primer very well.
The Software:  Because Fusion 360 was free for personal use I had been doing tutorials.  Then they changed their terms of service making things a bit more restrictive.  So more research into the software.  I finally settled on FreeCAD...an open source bit of software.  Many tutorials later...many failures later...I'm finally getting the hang of it.  I am computer literate but I certainly had trouble with this software.  However, at this time I've created some files that I've been able to 3D print and that have turned out well and are useful.  
The Slicer: For now I am using the Prusa Slicer (and it seems just fine).

Here are several finished prints:
This first one is a nameplate that is about 115mm long.  I had been paying ~$15 plus shipping for brass nameplates.  This cost less than $.50 and took about 4 hours to print.  I'm printing at very high detail settings (.05 mm layer height with a .25mm nozzle).  I'm learning so am refining the design still (the logo in particular), but I'm moving down the path toward perfection.  I'm pleased.
PXL_20201020_204703632-1000.jpg


I play a street organ in public a couple of times a month.  Mounted on the top of the street organ is a monkey (my first automata).  This face mask is being created for him to wear.  Since capturing this image I've painted it.  After I get it mounted on him (and if I remember) I'll share an image with you.  I found the face mask file online in one of the 3D file repositories and scaled it down (shrunk it).
This mask is just a couple of inches across (oops, 50mm).  It's been tough for me...the conversion to metric thinking for this 3D printed stuff.
PXL_20201022_223848914-1000.jpg
Here is a sprocket and a hub assembly that is being printed.  My cost on this assembly in metal would be ~$13.00.  It is true that the plastic is not as tough as metal.  It is also true that I minimally load these things...so the plastic should be fine most of the time.  I've got this sprocket assembly in a test machine right now...running under load.  After several hours no sign of a problem.  Note that even the #6 threads are printed.
PXL_20201018_231602085-1000.jpg
And here is the one that I'm excited to show you.  When I create my bipeds (the little men) I struggle with the bodies and the heads.  Here is a skull that I will be layering a Sculpey skin onto.  By using this skeleton head my proportions should be better than I've been doing.  And coming up...I'm going to be experimenting with 3D printing ears.  Ears are really tough for me.  This skull file also came from a 3D file online repository.  This particular head is too large...so I'll be scaling this down further and reprinting.  I'm also considering glass eyes.
PXL_20201023_211542030-1000.jpg
And in the future who knows what all this will be like.  I will say that I've been toying with purchasing a small lathe and a small mill.  Now that I've been working with this 3D printer those two purchases are less likely.  The skull, for example, could not have been created with a lathe/mill.
I'm very impressed with how strong the plastic components are...they are very tough.  And I'm not working with the tough filaments.  I would like to experiment with bronze filament.  I think the nameplates would be excellent in bronze.  And nylon and wood and carbon fiber filaments are available (and lots of others)...perhaps one day.  

The most difficult part of all of this for me has been the software.  I'm over the hump, however, so things are getting easier.  Keep in mind that virtually anything can be created...so the software needs to be complicated.

Enough for now.  I hope this post helps someone.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata near San Diego, California.



 

Here is the finished mask on the monkey.
Cheers
-Jim-
PXL_20201024_211235245-1000.jpg

On Fri, 23 Oct 2020 at 15:42, Jim Coffee <jim@...> wrote:
This post is a recap of my foray into the 3D printing world.

The Machine: After about 6 months of researching, I ordered a Prusa Mini (~$400).  It was back-ordered for 2 months.  This machine will print up to 7" X 7" X 7".  I received it a week ago.
PXL_20201017_162702282-1000.jpg
The Filament: As an initial choice I ordered Matter Hackers Tough PLA (~$52). So far, so good.  And it accepts spray primer very well.
The Software:  Because Fusion 360 was free for personal use I had been doing tutorials.  Then they changed their terms of service making things a bit more restrictive.  So more research into the software.  I finally settled on FreeCAD...an open source bit of software.  Many tutorials later...many failures later...I'm finally getting the hang of it.  I am computer literate but I certainly had trouble with this software.  However, at this time I've created some files that I've been able to 3D print and that have turned out well and are useful.  
The Slicer: For now I am using the Prusa Slicer (and it seems just fine).

Here are several finished prints:
This first one is a nameplate that is about 115mm long.  I had been paying ~$15 plus shipping for brass nameplates.  This cost less than $.50 and took about 4 hours to print.  I'm printing at very high detail settings (.05 mm layer height with a .25mm nozzle).  I'm learning so am refining the design still (the logo in particular), but I'm moving down the path toward perfection.  I'm pleased.
PXL_20201020_204703632-1000.jpg


I play a street organ in public a couple of times a month.  Mounted on the top of the street organ is a monkey (my first automata).  This face mask is being created for him to wear.  Since capturing this image I've painted it.  After I get it mounted on him (and if I remember) I'll share an image with you.  I found the face mask file online in one of the 3D file repositories and scaled it down (shrunk it).
This mask is just a couple of inches across (oops, 50mm).  It's been tough for me...the conversion to metric thinking for this 3D printed stuff.
PXL_20201022_223848914-1000.jpg
Here is a sprocket and a hub assembly that is being printed.  My cost on this assembly in metal would be ~$13.00.  It is true that the plastic is not as tough as metal.  It is also true that I minimally load these things...so the plastic should be fine most of the time.  I've got this sprocket assembly in a test machine right now...running under load.  After several hours no sign of a problem.  Note that even the #6 threads are printed.
PXL_20201018_231602085-1000.jpg
And here is the one that I'm excited to show you.  When I create my bipeds (the little men) I struggle with the bodies and the heads.  Here is a skull that I will be layering a Sculpey skin onto.  By using this skeleton head my proportions should be better than I've been doing.  And coming up...I'm going to be experimenting with 3D printing ears.  Ears are really tough for me.  This skull file also came from a 3D file online repository.  This particular head is too large...so I'll be scaling this down further and reprinting.  I'm also considering glass eyes.
PXL_20201023_211542030-1000.jpg
And in the future who knows what all this will be like.  I will say that I've been toying with purchasing a small lathe and a small mill.  Now that I've been working with this 3D printer those two purchases are less likely.  The skull, for example, could not have been created with a lathe/mill.
I'm very impressed with how strong the plastic components are...they are very tough.  And I'm not working with the tough filaments.  I would like to experiment with bronze filament.  I think the nameplates would be excellent in bronze.  And nylon and wood and carbon fiber filaments are available (and lots of others)...perhaps one day.  

The most difficult part of all of this for me has been the software.  I'm over the hump, however, so things are getting easier.  Keep in mind that virtually anything can be created...so the software needs to be complicated.

Enough for now.  I hope this post helps someone.
Cheers
-Jim Coffee-
creating automata near San Diego, California.



federico
 

I love to see your experiments Jim! I also got a Prusa Mini not to long ago and I'm really liking it, it feels more like a tool and 
less like a hobby compared to other 3D printers I had used in the past. 

I'm a Fusion360 convert and even with the recent added restrictions it still works fine for me, although I'm happy that
FreeCAD is getting the use and attention a good open source solution deserves, that feels better in the long run. 

Though I have to say that layering Sculpey on a 3D printed skeleton is the most brilliant tip I've heard in a while. It's
one of those "why didn't I think of it" ones, thank you for that!

Federico


Randy
 

I didn't find that the Fusion360 limitations affected me either. I've been using Cura as a slicer for several years and recently had a print that it wasn't slicing correctly. I tried Prusa Slic3r and it worked. I haven't got Slic3r's rafts to work very well but if I increase the first layer line width and slow down the first layer travel speed, I've found I don't need a raft anyway. I think I'll drop using Cura completely now.

-Randy