What can you do with a 3D Printer

I often can asked what I can do with a 3D printer. The ideas are endless for someone with imagination, but here is a short list to get you thinking:

  1. Home decor: 3D printing allows individuals to create unique and personalized home decor items, such as vases, lamp shades, and figurines.
  2. Repair and maintenance: With a 3D printer, individuals can print spare parts or replacement items for appliances or other household items.
  3. Education and hobbies: 3D printing can be used for educational purposes, such as creating models for school projects, or for hobbies such as building model airplanes or cars.
  4. Clothing and accessories: 3D printing can be used to create custom clothing and accessories, such as shoes and jewelry.
  5. Medical devices: 3D printing can be used to create custom medical devices, such as prosthetics or orthodontic braces.
  6. Personalized gifts: 3D printing allows individuals to create unique and personalized gifts for loved ones, such as custom jewelry or figurines.

New Prusa Surprise

My old Prusa got fried. The plug from the power supply melted. I replaced the plug, but I could never get it working again. Every time the header for the bed turned on, the control card re-booted. I figure that there was a surge that damaged the Rambo board.

A new board would be cheaper, but 1) it might not be the problem or the only problem and 2) if it worked, I would still have an older version of the Prusa.

So I sold some stuff and bought a new Prusa and here’s the surprise.

I paid over $100 to have it shipped, but then I got a message from DHL that the package would be held hostage unless I paid $50. That maybe a little dramatic…I owed import duties. I was a little surprised that this wasn’t communicated clearly when I purchased the printer. It might have been in the fine print somewhere, but I never saw it and was concerned it was fraud. To make sure, I went to DHL and paid over the phone.

Taming Blender 2.79 Units for 3D Printing

Here are my go to settings for Blender when I am modelling for a 3D Print

Imperial Settings

To design in inches and export an STL file at the proper scale:

  • In the Properties Panel, go to the Scene Tab.
  • In the Units section, Change the Units to “inches”, the length to “imperial” and the Unit Scale to 0.0254.
  • When you export your model as an STL file, set the scale to 25.4.

Continue reading “Taming Blender 2.79 Units for 3D Printing”

3D Printer Time Lapse Video

3dprint animated.gif

(animated gif source: https://www.reddit.com/r/mechanical_gifs/comments/87imzw/1st_print_on_prusa_i3_mk3/)

The PrusaPrinter Forum has a post on creating a time lapse video of your 3D print. It utilizes an Adafruit Feather board (32u4 Bluefruit LE). The board emulates a Bluetooth keyboard and works like a selfie-stick. That’s what the article says. The only thing I would use a selfie stick for is to whack people who take selfies.

So this project is a combination of electronics, 3D printing and photography. It uses products from Adafruit and Prusa3D. I have had good experiences with both of these companies.

Continue reading “3D Printer Time Lapse Video”

3D Printing for industrial strength parts

Maybe you are under the impression that affordable 3D printers can only be used to produce cheap little plastic parts. Maybe you should think again. 3D printers can easily create shapes for investment castings. The plastic is coated with a ceramic material. After multiple layers are applied, the plastic is burned out in an oven leaving a void that can be filled with metal. The ceramic makes a good finish and the technique can be used with steel, aluminum, stainless steel and many more materials.

investment-casting-from-3d-printsInvestment casting at PPCP

There is even a special filament called PolyCast. It’s easy to print with the same settings as PLA. What makes it special is the limited ash left behind when it is burned out of the ceramic shell. YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4–fiBGMIpc

In my own experience: Several years ago, I reversed engineered a brass impeller that provided lube oil to a large generator-turbine unit in a power plant. The pump was printed and sent to Pennsylvania Precision Cast Parts. They added the venting and gating to the part, and the cast the part in stainless steel. It was a complicated shaped that can be done lost wax, but 3D printing made the job easier and much cheaper. After casting, the outside diameter and boring were machined ,and a keyway was added. The impeller was balanced and there were a few other trade secrets added.

The process saved time and money and the impeller has been running without issues for over a decade.

Remember this then next time someone asks, so what can you make with your 3D printer.

Polycast is available at Amazon

For more information:

3D Printing and Investment Casting Make a Perfect Fabrication Team; 3DPrint.com