Posts Tagged ‘research and development’

3D Printer Key Duplication with nrp

Posted by on Monday, June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized
Duplicating Disc Detainer Keys by nrp

Duplicating Disc Detainer Keys by nrp

Thingiverse user nrp has been working on using his 3D RepRap printer in some pretty amazing ways.  He’s already put his 3D printer to use along with a Kinect to print by use of hand gestures.  Since then he’s been working on duplicating house keys and the more secure disc detainer keys pictured above.  Nrp’s website, and the comments that go along with his detailed posts, provide a wealth of information about his project along with lots of interesting links about computer enhanced key generation.

This project and the way nrp uses his printer remind me of the very cool Nickel for Scale project by Amy Hurst and MakerBot’s own Marty McGuire.  How cool would it be to never have to go get keys made again?  I don’t think it’s too much to dream that one day you might be able to put a key down next to a nickel, take a picture or short video, and have your MakerBot crunch out a few duplicates.

Error - could not find Thing 8925.
Error - could not find Thing 9463.
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How to get better results from your 3D printer – Coating

Posted by on Friday, May 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
Improving prints through coating

Improving prints through coating

This is the seventh in a series of posts about ways to get even better print results from your 3D printer.  The prior posts provided information on calibrating hardware, upgrading hardware, calibrating software, maintenance, finishing by abrasion, and finishing with heat.   Your hints, tips, hacks, and suggestions have been really great!  Please keep sending them in!  Today’s post is about a surprisingly little-used technique – coating:

  1. Coat.You could choose to coat your object in another material that would obscure any imperfections in the printed object.  These will inevitably lead to a loss of detail, but improve the look of the final object.
    1. Covering a printed object with successive coats of paint1
    2. Dipping your object in liquid plastic grip material.  This is typically used to put a very “grippy” layer on tool handles.
    3. I’ve heard of others who have used ABS glue or other material to essentially paint a coat of plastic onto the surface of a printed object.

Have you used some kind of coating to improve your 3D printed results?  Please share your ideas and tips in the comments section below!

  1. Unfortunately, it appears that the user or Flickr removed the pictures from that post.  🙁  []
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Getting more out of Dave’s Profilinator

Posted by on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
Profileinator - By David Durant

Profileinator - By David Durant

Recently I posted about the basic usage of Dave Durant’s Profilinator, a program that will calculate the best print settings for your 3D printer.   In order to get you started with how to use the program I left out two amazing features of this program.  Today I’d like to cover the first of these sweet features.

As some of you already know or might have guessed, his program can provide a range of reasonable print settings, not just a single recommended setting.  If you want to see a range of print settings all you need to do is specify different values for the minimum and maximum for Feed rate, Thread height, and Thread width.  Dave’s program will then solve for the appropriate flow rate given those settings.

How is this helpful to you?

Well, perhaps you may not yet know what settings you want – so one particular set of setting values isn’t that useful.  Perhaps you really like thin layers?1  Perhaps you’re not sure about how thin or thick you want each extruded thread to be?  By specifying a lower minimum and a higher maximum for the Feed rate, Thread height, and Thread width you’ll get a list of every permutation of these variables2 with the appropriate Flow Rate.  Now you can experiment freely printing using any of those settings and find out first hand which layer height and which thread width you really appreciate.

Based upon your particular hardware and configuration, you may discover your robot’s limitations. 3  After printing for a while, you’ll get a good feel for how fast you can run your robot’s XY platform. 4  Once you know an optimal feed rate for your robot5 then it’s a matter of picking other settings.

Rather than spending your time filling up your home with calibration cubes, trying to discover your optimal settings – using the ranges of settings from Dave’s program you can choose which of a range of good settings you most appreciate.

Bonus Info:

Dave mentioned during our conversation that he was able to reduce either the layer height or thread width without a big change to printing speed – but that reducing both at the same time would increase print time. 6

  1. Low layer heights. []
  2. At the specified increments []
  3. For instance, my Cupcake’s Unicorn drawings get a little shakey when I run the platform speed much above 2500. []
  4. This is the feed rate. []
  5. My Thing-O-Matic’s optimal feed rate is probably between 30 and 35. []
  6. I’m going to apologize to Dave, in this cowardly footnote, in case what I’m mis-describing his wisdom. []
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Lessons Learned from Resolution at 0.20mm

Dave Durant - DIY 3D Printer Vertical Resolution World Record Holder

Dave Durant - DIY 3D Printer Vertical Resolution World Record Holder

With Dave Durant’s magic printer calibration program I was able to just specify what layer height (vertical resolution) I wanted – and it just worked.  This is a totally new experience for me.  Before playing with this program I spent time dialing in each version of ReplicatorG to my specific 3D printer’s settings – with different settings for my Cupcake than for my Thing-O-Matic.  Now I can just choose my desired vertical resolution and FIRE THE MAKERBOT!  If you’re planning on playing limbo with your computer too, there are a few practical concerns:1

  1. Careful measurement of the filament is important. Printing by laying down 0.2mm thick layers of plastic means your printer has to have a very good idea of how much plastic is coming in and going out.  Dave’s magic program will figure how much is going out, so all you have to do is carefully measure your filament.  I suggested my method the other day.  You don’t have to use my method, but I would suggest that you can’t take too many samples in getting this right.  Printing at 0.2mm layers means that over or under measuring will have a pretty big impact on the amount of plastic deposited at each layer.
  2. Attention to the build height is important. Printing at 0.2mm thick layers of plastic means that if your starting build height is off by as much as 0.1mm, you’re basically compromising half a layer of plastic.  Being off by 0.1mm in starting build height just isn’t that much of a problem when you are printing at 0.4mm per layer – there’s plenty of room for the plastic to squish around and find a place to go.  Make sure your Z maximum endstop doesn’t have a lot of wiggle, your platform is hitting the Z maximum endstop in the same area reliably, and that there’s not much wobble or wiggle2 in your Z stage that could cause a big variance in your starting build height.  Also, be sure to check your printer’s auto-homing features several times before printing at this level. 3  If you’re not sure about how to calibrate the proper print height, follow these calibration directions.
  3. Having a perfectly flat build surface is important. Since you’re printing at such thin layers, inconsistencies in your build surface will be magnified through the layers as you print.  You’ll want to make sure your build surface is totally flat – or flat to within about 0.1mm.  If you’re very close to having a level surface a good way to test it is to print a large flat object.  When that first layer goes down you’ll see the filament fuse together where the platform is at the proper height and either become individual strands where the platform is too low or it will start pushing plastic around where the build platform is too high.  I would suggest calibrating your starting build height for the highest point on your build surface and, if you’re using an automated build platform, you can just slightly adjust the lower points by adding a piece of Kapton tape.  Putting it under the belt in the lowest spots will raise your build surface very very slightly.

Next time – more about Dave Durant’s magic printer calibration program!

  1. How low can YOU go!?! []
  2. Or wibbly wobbly []
  3. A printer head crash isn’t catastrophic, but it is a pain. []
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ScribbleJ’s Dual Extruder!

Posted by on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dual Extruder / Dual Material Makerbot by ScribbleJ

Dual Extruder / Dual Material Makerbot by ScribbleJ

ScribbleJ has done it again!  Not wanting to waste his MK5 extruder he built a mount for it to sit next to his MK6 and wrote some custom code and put together another mind-bending Thingiverse entry. While he says it’s not ready for prime time yet, it’s a huge step forward to printing with dissolvable support material. Don’t forget to check out the video of the dual extruder in action:

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