Evolution of a Blog

This blog has evolved as I have as a maker. It starts at the beginning of my journey where I began to re-tread my tires in the useful lore of micro electronics and the open-source software that can drive them. While building solutions around micro-electronics are still an occasional topic my more recent focus has been on the 3D Printing side of making.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Overnight 3D Printing - A Facebook Poll

I posted the following poll on Facebook and thought the responses interesting enough to summarize here.

Here is a summary of the results:

A strong majority of folks print overnight without concern. Another pretty large group prints overnight but with some concern. There are a fair number of folks that do not print overnight but the survey questions are flawed in that these folks could have reasons other than fire concern.

Some other observations. There are a number of people that have added fire detection and suppression with a variety of solutions mentioned from off the shelf, to external service provided, to self crafted. Finally there were even folks that admitted to having their spouse or boss tell them to pound sand on the printing all night thing. My other survey question asked if people had experienced a fire. A very large majority had not though a handful did. The fires described were all minor. Probably a bad survey question as someone that had a bad fire may not be doing the whole 3D Printing any longer! Finally, from comments on both polls, it seems like the concern is the highest with the cheap home built printers and diminishes as you go up market.

Cost and Appearance of Different 3D Print Resolutions

I had done a post some time ago comparing resolutions but thought that I would do another one using a model from a customer order.

600 micron nozzle with 300 micron layer height.  Time to print (each): 00:49.  Cost (for ten): 31.74
400 micron nozzle with 200 micron layer height.  Time to print (each): 01:10.  Cost (for ten): 41.17
400 micron nozzle with 150 micron layer height.  Time to print (each): 01:32.  Cost (for ten): 49.86
400 micron nozzle with 100 micron layer height.  Time to print (each): 03:07.  Cost (for ten): 62.90 

Looking at the costs by time it would appear that my costing for the 100 micron layer print might need some adjustment (up)!

Time (Minutes)CostCost per Minute

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Printing Metal!

Well not exactly.  Printing metal infused plastic is more accurate.  There are a number of filaments out there that contain tiny particles of real metal.  I have a spool of Colorfabb Copperfill but the workflow to make it look like metal is either to have a rock tumbler to polish the stuff or to do it by hand.  The latter is not a lot of fun so I focused on the former.

You can buy a rock polisher on Amazon but they run 40-50 quid and have a pretty small drum for parts.  I have all kinds of motors and electronics, and a 3D Printer, so I decided to design and build one.

Above is the assembled and operating tumbler polisher.
I printed the files you see with an 800 micron nozzle and a layer height of 400 microns. Any resolution will likely work.   Note that inside the drum there are five printed pieces that assemble to form a mixer.  It should be inserted into the drum such that it scoops up the little brass bits as the drum rotates. I glued mine into the drum.

The above image shows a close up of the base with the electronics and stepper motor.

The above video from adafruit walks you through the polishing process.

Above are the before and after pictures of some parts done in Colorfabb Copperfill and then polished for seven or so hours.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Terraforming Mars and 3D Hubs - Part 4 - Finished

 I'm declaring this project to be done.  Bit of a diversion started by a customer order that intrigues me.  He gets his set of 3D Printed Tiles for the board game Terraforming Mars and I decide that I want a set as well.  No, I have never played the game though I do now have one on order, but I sure am ready!

The first image shows the custom hex fitting case that I designed for this project with more details shown by the next two images.
The case has room for 25 greenery tiles, 15 city tiles, 9 ocean tiles, and 11 special tiles though I have only printed and painted 24 greenery tiles and 12 city tiles.

I'm not going to say anything more about painting as the last of the models above were pretty straightforward in terms of the painting of them.

In hindsight I am not sure that my specialty filaments were REALLY necessary!  I really like the look, and feel, of the desert tiles but the difference is not as profound as I would have expected!

Now, in a month or so, I hope to actually have the game!