posts tagged with the keyword ‘3dprinting’

2018.12.10

little-hands-01

I’ve been prototyping a little helping hands thing using some 3D printed parts and miscellaneous hardware, mostly #8-32 nuts and bolts, and a few springs.

little-arm-model

The 3D part is pretty simple, a cube with two holes. It’s based on my Camera Accessory Mounting System (CAMS).

little-hands-00

First version… still figuring out how to connect everything…

little-hands-02

Springs for tension were added, but I might try using small wingnuts to adjust tension as well…

little-hands-03

Tiny zip ties hold the alligator clips in place. They can still rotate freely and are somewhat tight…

little-hands-04

Hard to see in this one, but I stacked two blocks on top of each other to allow rotation in both directions. I’ll keep working on this to see where it goes.

2018.11.28

press-knob-model

You may remember that I recently printed a press. While the press works quite well, the one thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that I needed a screwdriver to adjust the tension. That was a quick fix though. You see, I am not a newbie when it comes to knobs.

I had one other issue when assembling my press. While it calls for M5 bolts, I only had M3 and M6 on hand, so I did what any Imperialist would do, and used non-Metric hardware. A #6-32 bolt is smaller than a 5mm bolt, but it’ll do.

You can see above the quick model I made in OpenSCAD. The idea was to built a knob in two parts around the head of the bolt. A nut tight against it would keep it from spinning loose. (We just need to finger tighten it anyway, not torque it down hard.)

press-knob-01

Here is out bolt, nut, and two printed parts ready for assembly.

press-knob-02

We put the bolt through the hole in the bottom. It needs to be screwed in as it’s meant to fit tight to give it a little more “bite” into the plastic.

press-knob-03

There! Screwed in all the way. (Not pictured: the power screwdriver I used to drive it in all the way.)

press-knob-04

Now we put the nut on. You can spin this all the way to the end so it’s up against the plastic.

press-knob-05

Once the nut is at the end I hold it with some pliers and gently tighten the screw by hand. (Not pictured: screwdriver I used to tighten the bolt.)

press-knob-06

Now we snap the top part in place and that’s about it. I was pleased that both the Prusa i3 MK3 at work and my Monoprice Maker Select at home did a great job of printing these parts and they fit together perfectly.

press-knob-07

That’s it! Tiny knob is assembled. That was pretty easy, and it works quite well. I am pleased.

press-knob-08

In my mind, the beauty of a 3D printer (like any tool) is that it can help you solve problems. This may not be world changing, but the fact that I can solve a problem by making a computer drawing of an object and then telling a machine to “print out” that object is still some sort of magic. But as the saying goes “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” So, yeah…

2018.11.04

printmaking-0999

I came across this DIY Printmaking Press from the Open Press Project and since I’ve always been a fan of printmaking I thought I should 3D print a printing press on my 3D printer so I could print paper on a 3D printed printing press.

printmaking-1007

The (3D) printing went well, and all the pieces turned out good. I did add support to the rollers, to ensure they’d print well without sags. The one piece that is weird is the roller pin, which seems too small. It falls out a lot and doesn’t fit tight in the roller or the roller wrench. I may design a new one that fits snug.

printmaking-1009

I also did not have any 5mm bolts of the right length, so I used 6-32″ bolts. I’ll have to glue in the nuts so they don’t fall out, but that’s pretty minor. I’d also consider using hex head bolts and 3D printing little knobs to put on the heads so you can adjust the pressure without needing a screwdriver.

press-assembly

I did not have any press blankets, so I used some foam rubber sheets I had on hand. It seems to work okay. I may ask my printmaking friends for some scrap blankets.

printmaking-lc

For my first printing plate I grabbed a vector image of Makey and laser etched it using 3mm Baltic Birch. (Sidenote: LightBurn is awesome.) I did not seal the wood as I was anxious to make some prints!

printmaking-1010

This is a small press, and my plate was 57.5mm x 65mm. This might be a good press for making business cards or maybe printing stickers. The nice thing is that since it is so small, it’s portable, and you can make a lot of tiny prints for pretty cheap.

printmaking-1011

printmaking-1012

This was a fun little project and I’m guessing the cost of making this printing press was maybe a few dollars worth of filament and hardware. The press blanket is probably the more difficult thing to get cheap, though perhaps an alternative like some thick felt (or layered up thin felt) could be used.

Happy Printing!

2018.08.12

3d-printed-mold

I bought a water bottle about two years ago after my old one was stolen (I know, who steals a water bottle!?) While the new bottle was much better, since it was insulated and could keep water cold for more than a day (with ice added in) one of the things I didn’t like about it was a small rubber ring used to seal the cap. The rubber ring had a split in it (maybe to assist with the seal?) and it was difficult to clean, and eventually it broke from attempts to vigorously clean it.

smooth-on

I replaced the sealing ring by 3D printing a small mold and then casting a replacement using Smooth-Sil™ 940 silicone. The silicone is a two part mold, with a volume of 100:1 for part B to part A, which is why you get a giant tub of silicone along with a small bottle of whatever the red stuff is.

ring-and-mold

This was my first silicone casting at home for a personal project. I’ve done casting at work for prop making, but this time I didn’t have a vacuum chamber, and I was doing a tiny part all by myself.

silicone-ring

So how did it turn out? Pretty good! I used a digital scale and filled a cup with 10 grams of part B, then added 1 gram of part A and mixed it all up with a popsicle stick and smeared it into the cavity of the 3D printed PLA mold. I let it sit overnight then used a sharp knife tip to pry it out. There was a thin skin around the piece but it peeled right off.

cap-with-ring

So how does it fit? It’s good but not perfect. If I make another one I may decrease both the inside diameter and outside diameter. It could fit a bit more snug, and it could have just a wee bit more clearance when inserting into the bottle. (I’m guessing between 0.1mm and 0.2mm, maybe)

I’ve got plenty more silicone, and it is food-safe, so I want to experiment with making some food molds, and yeah, I’ll probably 3D print the objects to create the molds from, taking a page from Anna Kaziunas France.

2018.08.11

sifter-3d-printed

I needed a sifter to remove some small pebbles from concrete mix, so I designed and 3D printed one. Now, like many things that get 3D printed, you don’t always get it right the first time. After testing the sifter I decided it needed larger holes, so. I started on version 2.

inkscape-drawing

For version 1 I used Inkscape to quickly create a grid of circles (using the clone feature) and then differenced them from a circle. Once I had this done I exported as a DXF file and used that within OpenSCAD to create the bottom of the sifter. I added a ring and Bob’s your uncle. I use this Inkscape/DXF/OpenSCAD/extrude method sometimes, because it seems like the right way to do things, or because it’s pretty fast. But it’s not always the best.

The problem with the Inkscape/DXF/OpenSCAD/extrude method is that you have to go back to Inkscape and redo your DXF file if you want to make changes or tweak the design. This may not be an issue for many designs, but for some, I want the flexibility to easily change things.

openscad-holes

So for the next version I redid the holes portion of the design in OpenSCAD. The great advantage here is that you can very easily tweak things like the size of the holes, and the hole spacing, and automagically see how it looks. (Note: in the image above you’re seeing the positive “solids” of the holes. In the final file I differenced them from another solid object to make them “holes” in the design.)

While the method of doing it all within OpenSCAD has advantages, the one way it suffers is when it comes to render time. I should note that in OpenSCAD you can choose how “smooth” circles are by applying a number between 1 and 200. It basically sets how many “sides” a circle has. You can typically use 100 and circles will look pretty circular, but you can also drop the number down to 6 for hexagons, 8 for octagons, etc. That said, at a setting of 100 rendering the sifter took nearly 15 minutes on my 6 year old MacBook Pro. Changing the circles to hexagons with just 6 sides took about one minute to render.

This is where The Cloud™ should save us, right? But while there are various versions of OpenSCAD running on public servers, no one is running a version that worked properly. And since OpenSCAD is a niche piece of open source software, I don’t know if this will change. But since there is a command line interface to OpenSCAD, maybe I can do complex renders on one of my more powerful computers. (Anyway, I’m getting off-topic, so let’s continue.)

openscad-sifter

Hey, it’s a sifter! Yes, I designed and 3D printed a sifter. I often design things and then print them overnight so I have them the next day. 3D printing is awesome, but it’s often not fast. I did consider trying to make a sifter plate with a drill press, and then I remembered I had a laser cutter, and considered using that, but ultimately I was not in a hurry and 3D printing one seemed like a good idea.

tinkercad

Speaking of good ideas, I’ve been looking at Tinkercad recently, and while I wanted to be convinced it wouldn’t be easy to do what I wanted, it actually was pretty easy to do what I wanted, so I redesigned my sifter using Tinkercad. The smart duplication feature made it fairly simple.

While I’m a bit more impressed with Tinkercad than I thought I would be, I still have the problem I had with Inkscape, that if I want to tweak some values, I need to redo work. In fact, I have to pretty much create a whole new model. For simple designs, this isn’t a huge deal, but it is a bit of a pain.

What’s a bigger pain is the fact that while I will always have copies of Inkscape and OpenSCAD to use, Tinkercad (and the files I create with it) may disappear. Tinkercad is own/run by Autodesk, and while it’s a great tool for beginners to get started with 3D modeling (without having to install any software) ultimately I’m concerned for its long-term existence (like any hosted/cloud service.)

I can easily edit the OpenSCAD files I created seven years ago, which is something that is important to me. That said, I do want to explore other software, because reasons, you know?

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