MakerBot – Second print run

On Thursday evening one of the members of the 3D printing co-op did some work on calibrating the extruders. He was then able to print one of the shark models without a problem.
So on Friday lunch-time we tried printing the spiral cup model, you can see a picture of it below:

Cup model

Cup model

After this we visited the MakerBot site and downloaded a 3D Ball in a Box wireframe from Thingiverse, as well as the software required to export it to SD card format.
Once the file was exported and ready to go, we started printing it.
Unfortunately we had problems once again with the half-finished model being dislodged and the print messing up.
So it looks like we will have to do a little more work on calibrating the parts! It appears that when the plastic cools it is lifting up from the heated plate, which is contributing to the problem.
If anyone reading the blog has had a similar problem and was able to fix it, please let me know

MakerBot arrives

Introduction

Exams are over so it is back to blogging and….

…. today the MakerBot finally arrived!

MakerBot Box

MakerBot Box

So just to re-cap. My co-workers and I have formed a co-operative at our company which we used to buy a 3D printer (as seen above). The co-op owns the printer and everyone has contributed approx. $180 dollars. In return for their share they get to use the printer for their own projects. Since a MakerBot can cost you around $2000 for a model that allows you to print in two colors, this seemed like a great way for those interested in 3D printing to have the opportunity to use one for a tenth of the cost.

Getting setup

The MakerBot was fairly simple to set up, the instruction manual that was provided was easy to follow and in about half an hour we were ready to go.

MakerBot set-up in progress

MakerBot set-up in progress

Once setup and plugged in we then ran through the instructions that are displayed on the MakerBots LCD screen. These involves adjusting some of the screws that hold the plate where your object is printed on.

MakerBot running through setup mode

MakerBot running through setup mode

Once complete the extruder that heat and print the material should be a few millimeters above the plate. We also attached the two spools of plastic to the printer that we will be using.

Print material

Print material

With the printer setup it was now time to try our first print run.

Our trial print

The MakerBot comes with an SD card that contains some 3D images you can use to test the printer. We started with the shark models. Since we have the dual extruder, two sharks will be printed at once, one in black and one in white.

Printing under way

Printing under way

Once printing began we soon realised that extruder may have slightly too close to the plate as the they started to catch on the model as it gained some height.

After printing about 10% of the sharks one of them got knocked out-of-place. At this point we canceled the print and removed the models to take a look at them:

Printed Shark

Printed Shark

As you can see above the shark is slightly rough due to it being dislodged in the printing stage.

Conclusion

Tomorrow lunch-time we will be re-adjusting the plate and trying another test print. I would expect a couple of attempts until we get the setup 100% correct, but this has been an interesting first try.

Once I am comfortable using the printer and confident of not wasting material with mis-prints I’ll be able to print the thermostat cases. However first I will need to design them and that will involve learning how to use Blender.

Anyway it is great to now have access to a 3D printer!

MakerBot

MakerBot

Raspberry PI update

I’ve just had confirmation from Newark/element 14 that my Raspberry PI will be delivered in the batch being shipped out June 29th.

The email also contained the following information:

As you may have heard, all the Raspberry Pi units require a CE (compliance tested) mark prior to distribution. We are pleased to report that this testing has been successful, following an accelerated application, jointly conducted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation and Newark element14. So once again, we thank you for your patience as you’ve waited for the delivery of your Raspberry Pi. We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as more news becomes available.

So that is great news, and means July will be spent working on the controller for the heating system. This leaves me with May and June to build the thermostats out.