Exams are over so it is back to blogging and….
…. today the MakerBot finally arrived!
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.
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
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
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.
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
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:
As you can see above the shark is slightly rough due to it being dislodged in the printing stage.
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!