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3D Printing

12 Posts authored by: DAB Top Member

While I was waiting for a migraine to dissipate I got an idea about how to fix some of my early prints where the layers threaded instead of melting together.


So after my head cleared, I took one of my early prints and put it into the microwave on a glass plate.

I started slowing heating the print a few minutes at a time.

After about ten minutes, the printed part became pliable.

A few more minutes I took the part out and let it cool.

To my delight, the threaded layers actually melted a little together, making the print more solid.


I do not know if this technique will work for other filament types.  I am using PLA, but it looks like a little microwave heating can have some beneficial effects for some print issues.


More later,




DAB PrintBot Jr. Update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Dec 29, 2014

Hi All,


I finally got a good print yesterday.

It turns out that Slicer will over ride you printer settings unless you explicitly tell it not to.

I also reduced the verticle slice size and increased the extruder temperature.


I also set up the printer for 80% fill for the open areas and this gave the final print the solidity I was looking for.


Now I can start the process of looking at designs to try for the neck brace.


More later.




DAB Printerbot Jr. Update

Posted by DAB Top Member Dec 19, 2014

I took this picture to show everyone what I mean when I talk about threading.



The black object came with the printer to show what the printer made before it was shipped.

The white object is my test print.  While they look similar,  I can separate the layers with my thumb nail, so they are not solidly fused as they are with the black print.


So my next print I will adjust the vertical print size so that the layers are more compressed.  From the picture, you can see that I am  very close to having it fully printing solid objects.





DAB 3D Printer update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Dec 16, 2014

Hi All,


I managed to make some time to rerun the 3D printed object with the higher temperature and the default feed rate.


The final print still had a threading texture, but when I looked closely, I could see the separation between each layer.


So at this point, I need to go back and look at the settings for each layer.  Clearly the steps are larger than they should be.


I will post another update after I have some time to look over the settings and double check the printer requirements.


More later,




Another DAB 3D Printer Update

Posted by DAB Top Member Dec 12, 2014

Hi All,


I finally had some time to make some adjustments to the Printerbot Jr.

Unfortunately I changed two things at once, so I will need to run another test.


To recap, the last part print test I ran resulted in a product where the bottom layers did not fuse together, causing the layers to separate.

Following the suggestions from some of the members, I adjusted the injector temperature to 206 degrees.

That change will keep the filament at a higher temperature as it flows out of the nozzle and onto the printed part.

I also changed the federate to 50 instead of 100.  The federate controls the amount of filament that is pushed into the injector.  I now realize that I made a dumb mistake, I should have increased it, not decreased it.


The result was still a little stringy at the bottom, but the upper print looked to be more solid, so I am going to set the federate back to its default value to see if I get a better print.


So I am making progress towards getting a printed part with the correct level of fusion.


Like any tool, the 3D printer takes time to understand and use properly.

From my experience, you need to play with the settings to get things to the point were you like the print.


I was disappointed that there was not a note from the factory identifying the settings used for the test print the shipped.

Those settings would give me a data point for where the printer needed to be set up.

So do not expect an assembled and ready to run printer to be 100% ready.   Yes it does print, but it is not quite ready yet.


More later,



Another DAB update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Nov 11, 2014

I finally leveled my printer bed and verified that my tape covering had the proper clearance.


So I made a test print of a 3D mars map.  At this scale, it was less than impressive, but I wanted to see how well it could be printed.



Now I noticed that the layers did not melt together.  Does anyone have an idea as to why?  I am using PLA that came with the printer, so I wonder if it is just too old or possibly absorbed too much moisture.


So now I can move on to designing my neck brace and see if it can be printed by the printerbot Jr.


More to follow.




Quick Update.

Posted by DAB Top Member Nov 5, 2014

Hi all,


I adjusted the bottom stop and things looked good, but then I found that the bed was not level.


I did try the plastic postal tape and it worked ok, but the ejector caught on it and ripped it up.  That problem should go away.

I also noticed that the heated bed started making bubbles under the plastic tape.  I am not sure if it was due to the heat interacting with the glue, residual moisture, or just the tape itself.


I will retry the plastic tape after get the bed leveled.


More later.




DAB Printbot Update

Posted by DAB Top Member Oct 28, 2014

Hi all,


I have assessing the current neck brace I use and taking measurements on my neck.


I am considering doing a full 3D model of my neck so that I can play around with different designs.


The key issues I need to address are keeping the head in place during fast movement events like whiplash.


So I need to look at the rotation points of the brace and assess the force distribution through the different parts.



On a side, note, I noticed that the printer head was leaving indentations on the plastic bed cover as it moves.

I am looking at adjusting the zero point for the z axis so that it stops a little above its current setting.


More later.




It's A L I V E!!!

Posted by DAB Top Member Oct 15, 2014

Great progress yesterday.


I sat down with the printer an looked over the nozzle area and I found the part I was looking for.



There is a bearing wheel that puts tension on the filament against the drive wheel.

This detail was NOT included in the directions.  Luckily I was able to see how it should go together and adjusted the mechanism and viola, it printed just fine.



Sorry for the fuzzy image, but I was hand holding the camera while the printer was moving.



Here is the final print, using a tripod, and you can see the print.


I do have one question thought, how do I get the PLA residue off the bed?

I tried soap, water, alcohol, and its still there.  Anyone have a solution?


So now that the printer works, I can begin to think about designing the neck brace.


More later,



The 3D printer doesn't print!

Posted by DAB Top Member Oct 14, 2014

I have begun to dig into the problem after the first print failed.


It appears that the factory did not clear the nozzle after they did the test print.  I also had problems pushing the new filament down into the nozzle.

When I tried to feed the ejector, the drive wheel turned, but did not appear to be pushing filament like it should.


Plan for today is to clean the nozzle and see if I can get the drive wheel to push the filament so that it can print.


From what I have read, this appears to be a common problem so I will spend some time looking at the design to see if I can see anyway to improve the design.

Right now I am thinking of a reverse mechanism like Ben Heck used on his glue gun, but I need to get it working first.




After opening the box, I went to the website to get the unboxing instructions.


When I got to the directions, I quickly found that they were not for the printer I received.

I spent a lot of  time searching the site until I found the right instructions for my printer, so I give the Website a C-, difficult to use.


Trying to follow the instructions, I had a bit of difficulty.  As some of you know, I am currently suffering from a medication issue and even though I have a Masters degree and 40 years of engineering experience, I struggled to follow the terse directions.  So the instructions also get a C-.


So I finally got the printer ready and downloaded the software.

Following the instructions, I discovered that all of the screen shots are from a different model of the software.  User instructions also get a C-.


I did finally get everything set up to the point were I could use the manual controls and started a print, which I quickly aborted.  I had forgotten to prepare the print surface.

Well the software did not like being told to stop, so it blew up, while the printer continued on its merry way.  After a couple of attempts, I finally managed to get the printer stopped.


So while the printer comes assembled and ready to use, there should be a slight caveat.  Some assembly still required.


If you are just a user wanting to get into a 3D printer, I would have a tech friend come over and set this printer up.

If you are really good a deciphering cryptic instructions, then you can probably put this one together, just be warned.  I found it challenging with my current fuzzy head.


So now, here are the pictures:



Sorry about the fuzzy image, but I was not using a tripod.



Yes, this is with a tripod.  Now, there are four well hidden zip ties that you have to cut and two wooden boards that come out.



After cutting the zip ties and removing the two shipping supports, you can put the bed down and begin to set the printer up for use.



Almost ready for hook up.



Ok, now it is ready for hook up.


Over all, I found the printer well made.  The laser cut wood looks flimsy, but all of the mechanical parts are very well engineered and when I reset the printer, everything went to the right locations.




That is all for today.

Tomorrow, I will see if I can get the printer to do its first print.


Until then, sweet dreams of objects made in the future.




My PrintBot Arrived.

Posted by DAB Top Member Oct 9, 2014

On a dark raining and glooming day, my world became much brighter when the UPS truck pulled up in front of the house.

What could it be, I said to myself.  Then I saw the driver run up the driveway and place this big box on my doorstep.


Sure enough, it was from Element 14, my new PrintBot 2.0.  Again, I want to thank Element 14 and the makers of PrintBot for this wonderful gift.


I will link in pictures later, but first I had to open the box and behold my new tool.

One slight snag, the final assembly instructions are on line.  It makes sense, you only need them once, but it is an extra step.

So I took inventory and took pictures and then logged into Element 14 to let them know my printer arrived safe and sound.


Next stop, the PrintBot website for the assembly instructions.


By coincidence, the printer came from MCM electronics, where I had just visited a couple of weeks ago for their Tent Sale.

I got to see the PrintBot in action in the show room and picked up some nice tools inexpensively.


So this is all I have now, but rest assured, more will follow.



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