General Introduction To 3D Printing

To readers, This is my attempt of showing you what 3D printing is all about. While the general public can only awe at the thought of what a 3D printer can make and drool over technology that they believe that they have to pay $1K+ just to have one, what they do not know is that such 3D printers can be built by the typical at home user with basic tools for a budget of around $400 USD. [UPDATE: Prices have dropped dramatically since my build. The price of components have now dropped…Read more …

Calibration – Motors and Pulleys

Initially I thought that because there were two grub screws on the motors that I would not need to flatten the motor shafts due to the fact that there supposedly was 2x the grip. However what I didn't know what that the metal used in motor shafts is purposely softer to prevent damage to the motor when under high torque, which I soon found out when my prints kept coming out shifted in either the x or y axis. The drawings above show in general why motor shafts need to be flat. The problem…Read more …

Calibration – Acetone/ABS Slurry

When printing with ABS, a common problem is warping. Warping is especially prevalent when printing big objects because by the time the extruder nozzle comes around to add a new layer on top, the bottom layer would've already cooled and thus the uneven heating causes the piece to warp like a bimetallic strip. The reason ABS requires a heated bed is to counter the warping effect so that the bottom layers are kept hot and thus around the same temp as the layer currently being extruded. The problem lays when you start building…Read more …

Calibration – Filament Sources

Initially, I bought a reel of transparent ABS filament from a distributor based in New York solely because it was transparent. Natural ABS is milky white and very much opaque but can be colored while PLA is naturally transparent and can be tinted. When printing with the transparent ABS, I found myself wondering why my prints looked more like PLA than ABS and why the filament was so weak. Although I have no evidence of my suspicions, but I suspect that in order to make the naturally opaque ABS clear, manufacturers chemically alter…Read more …

Calibration – Heating Issues

Heating issue in this post refers to both the lost and gain of thermal energy. Over Heating issues When heating up and during long prints, I noticed that my Polulu stepper controllers were getting quite hot even with the heat sinks. I figured that it was probably because of their proximity to the MOSFETs but I couldn't be sure. The MOSFETs sometime ran hot and at other times ran cool enough during heating so that they could be touched directly without pain. Although I am not completely sure what a MOSFET does, I…Read more …

Calibration – Complex Object 1

Having already printed numerous cubes, I wanted to just go ahead and see how well my printer would do with a more complicated print. I searched Thingiverse and then found the most popular object being printed. The Twisted Gear Vase. And it actually printed! As mentioned before, I am noticing that the transparent ABS that I bought is very "un-ABS-like-y". I will investigate this further later.    Read more …

Calibration Problems Brainstorm 1

A list of problems that I should address in the near future: When I got the nema 17 motors from ebay, the shafts were not flattened. Because the GT2 pulleys use grub screws to hold them in place on the motor shaft, without the flats, the pulleys are liable to lose their grip and cause shifting in the prints. I've put it off for now because I think there shouldn't be enough torque on the motors to actually make that a problem. My glass bed was cut to 7.5" x 7.5" because this…Read more …

Calibration – X axis shift

My first calibration print of the pyramid, although great, was not perfect. Although you cannot tell from the angle of the picture The object was slanted in the X axis. Stressing out that the shifting would be on of those problems that you just couldn't fix, I started inspecting all the hardware again during another test run. What I noticed was that my GT2 timing pulley was slipping whenever there was the slightest bit of load on the x axis. Realizing that the grub screws had come loose, I immediately tightened the grub…Read more …

Calibration

So even though software may have been fully calibrated so that all the steps/mm are correct, the hard part is the hardware calibration. From over heating issues that cause the Polulu Stepper Controllers to automatically shut off to loose grub screws, I felt like I've seen it all but in reality I should consider myself lucky that I was even able to get my printer to print! The next few posts will be a series of random problems that I encountered and their fixes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGF_Kw6ZOfU&feature=youtu.be  Read more …