posts tagged with the keyword ‘3dprinting’

2017.04.01

Adjustable Rectangular Mount v1

I finally got around to creating a parametric version of the 3D printed mount I’ve been using for the past few years. Typically I’d just open a previously designed thing in OpenSCAD, make some adjustments, and export an STL to print. Eventually I realized that I should just create a bunch of variables so I can easily just make minor adjustments each time and not have to do a bunch of find & replace operations.

The result is Adjustable Rectangular Mount v1 which you can find on Thingiverse and Youmagine.

It’s a work in progress, and it still needs some tweaking, but I figured it was worth releasing to the world. (Hey, make it better if you can!) It doesn’t work for all sizes and configurations, but for most of my needs, it’s good enough.

Adjustable Rectangular Mount v1

I should probably do more research on how to improve things by reading through other OpenSCAD code, but as mentioned, you’ve gotta start somewhere. I’ll probably be using this one quite a bit in the future, and I’ll update it as I can.

This mount specifically expects that you can use screws (or bolts) to mount it to a surface you can screw into or drill through. I also often add some double-sided foam tape to the inside of the mount and stick it directly to the object being mounted.

2017.03.09

clicky-machine-01

I started this project with a goal in mind: test microswitches. Specifically, test the brand of microswitch that I chose for an exhibit I worked on last year. When I was younger, my dad used to have a subscription to Consumer Reports and I remember years ago reading about how they tested things, like using a machine that opened and closed laptops repeatedly to see how many times it could be done before it broke or wore out. One of my goals is to do that sort of thing, but with things we build for exhibits. This is a start. (And yes, I’ve considered just buying/building a robot arm to do these things… I may still do that!)

Meanwhile, since I’m 3D printing again (a lot!) I figured I’d design and print the parts for this machine. Not all the parts… some parts are scrap wood, and (in a recent version) home-made recycled HDPE. The first iteration was a total hack job, and it worked. Sort of. I get in this habit of trying to do press-fit parts, but then I remember that’s a bad idea, so… upgrades happen.

clicky-machine-02

The first version used a PLA plastic arm. Eventually it started to scrape and wear away, and squeak a lot. It was annoying. (Bearings got added to a later version, along with a proper set screw.)

clicky-machine-03

One thing I found out about the cheap microswitches is that the metal arm would bend, and then stop pressing the switch. That’s no good (but good to know.) Then I found times when the switch just wouldn’t trigger the Arduino to advance. Switch failure after just a few tens of thousands of presses? Maybe.

clicky-machine-04

I also had Arduino problems! At some point the cheap eBay Arduino UNO clone from China gave up the ghost and just stopped working reliably. Then I could no longer upload code to it or connect to it at all. Replaced that too!

clicky-machine-05

I also played around with the switch angle… as demonstrated in the above and below photos. I also considered a spring-arm sort of thing the switch could ride on to allow some flex, which would be interesting, but probably less of a real-world test. Maybe.

clicky-machine-06

Here’s a video compilation of some of the testing from early on. This is when I actually thought I could just slap something together and it would work reliably. I’ve since been proven very wrong. I’ll be writing more posts about the changes this machine has gone through and where it stands today. In the meanwhile, if you check out my Instagram or Facebook account, I often post in-progress/sneak-peek photos and short videos.

Stay Tuned!

2017.03.02

3D Part

I love it when a plan comes together! I also love it when you design things and then create them and they work. I like when you can design things to work with the hardware you have, or design things for specific hardware, and then order that hardware and it fits perfectly because you planned for it, and designed for it.

Spinny!

So often when building (without planning and designing) you end up grabbing whatever hardware is around and use it, and you might also grab whatever sheet material is around and use it, and you hope that the length of the hardware and the depth of the material work together, or maybe you make some deep countersink holes or make other weird decisions… When I can 3D print a part I get to choose the depth of the material, the size of the holes, etc. It’s wonderful.

Bolts!

But yeah, I really like when I can plan ahead of time for the hardware I need and then get that hardware. Also, I think I love Bolt Depot now. Prices seem good, shipping seems reasonable, and their web site is easy to use. And they package your hardware in little bags that are properly labeled and nice and clean. It’s sort of beautiful.

Spinnerator!

Oh yeah, I’ve also made good progress on my spinny button pressing thingy. And thanks to Bolt Depot I now know that I had some #8-36 bolts mixed in with my #8-32 bolts. And what!? I didn’t even know I had #8-36 bolts! Weird… Anyway, I look forward to a great hardware future.

2017.02.27

Cabinet Lock

Our new(-ish) kitten is still getting into trouble on a daily basis, and he occasionally opens up the kitchen cabinet doors, and either crawls inside, or worse, gets into the trash can and has a good ‘ole time. Not cool, kitten! The solution was simple, those child-proof cabinet door locks. I took a quick look on Amazon and found some, but they typically come in a 12 pack or 20 pack or some other number that makes sense to put on all of your cabinets. Of course, when you’ve got a 3D printer, why bother ordering things you can just print out?

Cabinet Lock

I found Child safety lock for cabinet/cupboard on Thingiverse, printed one, and put it on the cabinet that has the trash can. Problem solved! I printed two more, one for the cabinet with the pots and pans, because who wants cat fur in their frying pan? And the third was for the cabinet where we keep the cat food. It’s probably a good idea to keep him out of that one.

Cabinet Lock

Here’s Mr. Kitten inspecting my handiwork. Or maybe he’s just trying to figure out how to get around this terrible device. This is one of those things where I probably would have enjoyed 3D modeling this part, but I was able to find one someone already created, and best of all, it was created in OpenSCAD, which was nice because I could easily alter it, and I could learn from looking at code someone else wrote. Win all around.

Cabinet Lock

2017.01.30

3D Print

Back in 2012 I completed the build of a 3D printer, and then I printed a lot of things… The printer wasn’t amazing or great, but it worked, and I printed and printed. Around 2015 the hot end failed, and I got a cheap hot end to replace it, which never worked right, and then other things failed, and I fixed some of them, but the old RepRap still wasn’t quite working right. I ended up getting an E3D hot end and even with that, there were some weird issues with the printer getting up to temperature properly.

I didn’t care too much about getting the old RepRap working again because I had access to printers at work or school (I even worked on building some printers) so I could still print things, but…

Maker Select Plus

I finally got to the point that I wanted a modern, working 3D printer. I solved that problem recently by picking up a Maker Select Plus from Monoprice. What? Monoprice? Yeah, the company I’ve been buying cables from for the past 5+ years sells 3D printers. And they don’t suck. The “Maker Select Plus” is (pretty much) a rebranded Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, which is based on the Prusa i3 MK2. Confused yet?

If you get emails from Monoprice (which come more frequently than Harbor Freight emails) you’ll get some discount code or coupon or sale alert. Take advantage of those and you can save a bit on a 3D printer. And if you want cheap, look at the MP Select Mini 3D Printer, or wait until April 2017 when (supposedly) they’ll release a Mini Delta printer for $150!

The printer is nice, but not amazing. There’s a number of upgrades suggested, and besides a wiki there’s a Facebook group, Google group, and Thingiverse group filled with users making improvements and troubleshooting when needed. (Just remember that the Wanhao Duplicator i3 and Maker Select are basically the same, with a few small differences.)

Maker Select Plus

I’m excited to have more desk space! I no longer need a computer or monitor, since I can just pop an SD card in and hit “print”, so yeah, that’s a nice improvement. I’ve only printed with PLA so far, but I’ll get around to testing with ABS and see what happens. (It should be fine, but, you know…)

RepRap Prusa i2

Meanwhile the old RepRap lost its place on the desk, and currently sits on the floor awaiting its fate. I’ll do… something with it, I’m sure. 3D printers have come a long way in just five years. (At least in my shop!)

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