Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Slic3r 0.8.1/0.8.2 is out!

Slic3r is one of several applications that takes a 3D model and converts it to a set of instruction for a 3D printer.

Slic3r 0.8.1 has been released at http://slic3r.org/

Looks like some interesting new features
  • randomize starting points across layers -- preventing a bump when the starting/ending point is the same.
  • automatically adding perimeters as needed -- I've had problems with printing the tops of spheres.
  • improved surface quality

Looking forward to giving it a try!

Update: make that Slic3r 0.8.2

Saturday, May 19, 2012

3D Printer Trading Cards (From the Future!)

Mike's ORD-ish Bot

Shawn Wallace of Make Magazine put together these great 3D Printer Trading Cards!

Maker Faire 2012

Great first day at Maker Faire -- the ORDish bot is in a great location by one of the doors in the Expo hall. Lot's of people stopped by, and with luck I'll get my voice back by tomorrow ;)

Both MakerSlide and ORD Bot kits are availabile through Inventables:

Quick view of the ORDish Bot at Maker Faire 2012 before opening.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Most home Fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers are using Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) or Polylactic acid(PLA).

ABS prints at around 225-250C, and requires a heated build platform for larger prints to avoid warping.

PLA prints at around 170-180C. Originally I thought I was going to be able to print straight onto an unheated glass bed, but found the prints coming off after a few mm had printed. Turns out that PLA sticks well to a layer blue painters tape over glass.

 One downside to PLA is that due to the lower melting point, for best results the prints have to be cooled between layers, otherwise the top surfaces of small objects can overheat and distort. With that in mind, I added a modified Ducted cooling fan that blows air over the printed surface. I tried a duct that surrounded the extruder, but wasn't happy with loosing visibility.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Broken Glass Bed...

I've had good luck printing PLA onto painters tape on a glass bed -- some time in the future I'd like to upgrade to a heated bed.

I was printing a large rectangular piece (the base for a Las Vegas sign, scaled 150%), and it just didn't want to come off the glass.

Picked up two replacement beds from the local hardware store -- wanted to make sure to have a spare for Maker Faire!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Z axis problems

Bad news - I upgraded the Z axis hoping to get rid of some periodic distortion, but my calibration prints look worse than before ;-(

After printing out a 20mm calibration cube that was only 16mm high, I realized that I'm loosing Z steps -- the  Pololu motor drivers have an adjustable current setting, and I'm guessing that while things worked before, it must have been right on the border. Moving the additional mass of the bigger ACME screws caused the drivers to overheat and miss steps.

Adding a fan blowing over the RAMPS board seems to work for now.