Monday, September 14, 2015

Current state of affairs, 3D printing

Since 3D printing is my most current phase and the one I'm in deepest right now, this blog will probably focus on 3D printing for the next few months. For the time being, I'll probably just be repeating what's already been done, maybe with a few of my thoughts, tips, and tricks added in.

This is my rather standard acrylic Prusa i3 (currently printing parts for my new 3D scanner. Upcoming post?)
It sits about 6 feet away from my desk, which is a bit annoying but very convenient. It has a standard Mega+RAMPS 1.4 board with A4988 drivers, and runs Marlin and is controlled by Repetier Host on the host computer. The extruder is a Chinese MK7.

I'm fairly happy with print quality and resolution. 0.1mm-0.25mm layers are a breeze, and it can manage 0.3mm layers with some slight gaps between layers sometimes. [insert 0.1mm image here]

It can go fairly fast, up to 80mm/s while extruding, but at that point I get some vibration and start getting wavy lines.

The bane of this printer is any overhang. For some reason the overhang performance, with PLA at least, is horrible, no matter what kind of fan duct I attempt to use on it. And I mean actually horrible, where 45 degree overhangs start to curl and deform.

Sometimes it makes me wish I had an Ultimaker. I might do something about that soon...

My second printer is a 90% finished P3Steel that for some reason I can't get the motivation to put the finishing touches on. (For reference, even though P3Steel is a fork of the Prusa i3, I'm going to call the old one the Prusa i3 and this one the P3Steel.)
It uses a RUMBA controller instead of RAMPS, but also runs Marlin. It's going to be set up with dual Bowden extruders and Chinese E3D hotends. Motion on this machine is beautiful: the XY axes are nearly silent and completely vibration-free, and the TR8*8 leadscrew driven Z axis, as opposed to the standard M5 threaded rod, achieves speeds of up to 12mm/s. Compared to my M5 Prusa i3 that manages 1.5mm/s max and so takes 2 full minutes to home from Z=180, this feels like a bullet.

No idea about the print quality, obviously, but I hope it will be a bit better than my Prusa i3.

Filament wise, I use both Hatchbox filament from Amazon and Inland filament from Microcenter. Both perform quite well in extrusion: I've never had a filament-related jam, in the 150 hours or so I've printed with each brand. The Hatchbox filament is wound a bit better, and for whatever reason performs a tiny bit better on organic shapes whereas the Inland filament performs better on geometrical shapes.

One thing to note about these filaments: their price. Hatchbox filament comes in at $23/kg + shipping (USD), and the Inland filament astonishingly comes in at just $15/kg, bought directly in-store (or on if you don't live near one.) I don't see anyone being able to obtain filament for cheaper unless they extruded it themselves.

That's all I can think of for now. If anything comes up I'll update this blog.

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