3D Printing

Completed a project on the 3D printer today. I was fed up of scratching my arm when reaching around the back of the machine to turn it on and off, so got hold of a switch on Amazon. A nice green one with illumination. Easy to cut a small hole in the side of the case and then remove the wires from the existing switch. Oddly, the wires that went from the mains IEC socket to the switch and then to the power supply were neutral, but red. The live wires are black, obviously someone was having an off day in the factory. I used proper blue wire from an old mains power lead and wired up the new switch to toggle the neutral as before and used heat shrink to cover as much of the exposed terminals as possible.


Also in this photo are the 24V to 12V dropper boards for the Noctua fans I've now installed and a relay that I will mention another time.

I didn't really pay much attention to the wiring of the LED inside the DPST switch, so just switching one side of the circuit isn't enough to bring the light on. I don't mind...

Half an hour later and the incorrect coloured wire combined with the want for illumination meant I made up two new live wires in shit-your-pants brown to match. That sweet, sweet green light is worth the extra work.


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Well this post got out of hand. I only intended to write up the project from today but I just kept seeing projects I had completed earlier in the year and wanted to add them, fortunately I've made a macro in Notepad++ to make thumbnails so this isn't as much of a clusterfuck as it could've been.

First I did the upgrades to my CNC machine, which centred around a new spindle motor and holder, printed from carbon fibre reinforced PLA.

This is the same machine I have the laser head fitted to now, milling was still a bit scary and you can't crash a laser.

Second was a holder for an SSD bay thing built into my Fredde desk. I was fed up of the SSD from my Atomos Ninja V dangling from the USB adapter so made this to use some wasted space and make it so I can just slot the SSD in. The LED from the USB SATA adapter is carried to the front with some fibre optic tube, I still have quite a bit left over from adding a bit to my keyboard to illuminate my caps key. It almost works too well, it's very bright.

Next was a set of 'hubs' for the wheel hangers I have in the garage. The centres of the Tesla 20" alloys are much larger than the hangers so when hung they slump over backwards. I knew from the start that they would be in two parts and made some prototypes to get the diameters and steps correct.

As I was writing this I remembered that I had screenshots from Fusion so this whole thing got more complicated. I started by loading the bolts I had into Fusion from the McMaster-Carr catalogue, very sadly they don't supply the UK but you can still load 3D models from their vast range. Unsurprisingly they had the simple M6 bolt I was using at the right length so I imported it and modified it to remove the threads, bring the previously threaded part down to the tapping diameter for M6 and extend the head until it stuck out. Once subtracted from the existing model this would create the void for the bolts. As you can see, the bolts only just fit inside.

Fitted onto the garage wall.

With an extra hole added and a bolt through to a drilled and tapped hole in the metal tube, this is to stop the thing moving when I tried to put the wheel on. It was easier than trying to make the fit tighter.

Finally onto todays project, I got some Edding 751 fine paint markers for Christmas and needed somewhere to put them. I already have a couple of Edding 750 fat paint markers which are great but they float around on my desk and sometimes get knocked off with other pens, adding another 10 to this would be a disaster. Time to solve all three issues at once.

I did a few test parts first to get the fit right before printing the whole thing, also added stepped holders for my thin sharpie and whiteboard marker.

Trivia time: The business card on the left in the second image is for the hotel we ate at in Portree, Isle of Skye during the 2016 roadtrip, the SSD is a crappy Kingston one, don't buy one and the memory stick you can just see in the bottom left is 64MB and from 2005 or something. So much junk on my desk and it all has a story.
Well, that was quite quick actually - picked up the box from the local delivery location back on Wednesday. It sat around teasing me since, didn't really have the time to get to it - but today's the day.



It comes with printed (and nicely so) instructions, but they are also available online, and I prefer having them on a large screen vs. a small-ish printed booklet. Also, some preparatory steps are made much more clear in the online version:

This is not the Haribo I was expecting. :(
So this went together rather nicely. About 6 hours of work in a single evening, could be done faster but I took it slow and thorough.


The kit is somewhat pricey, but you quickly see what you pay for: everything is immaculately sorted, packaged and labeled, with nothing missing and even a bag of spare nuts and bolts included. Printed parts are of good quality and mechanically very robust, which is kind of the whole point. The online assembly manual is great, with high-res pictures of every step and hints for various details and techniques, and includes user comments - some of which are very handy, it seems that the same few steps that caused me some trouble did so for many other people, and good solutions were found.

Assembly finished, double-checked all the wiring (really not much one can get wrong there, the connectors for everything are differnt and mostly foolproof... still, better to be sure), plugged in power and turned it on. USB stick included with the kit already contained the newest firmware, released only two weeks ago (v4.3.1) - seems these kits don't take long between packaging and shipping off :) Printer board came with v4.2.1, so a quick update, then about 3 minutes of various self-tests (axis movement, heaters, fans), and it's ready to print. Top notch user experience.

Tried some calibration prints first, they came out near perfect. So instead of gradually moving to more complex stuff, I decided to dive right in, and sliced up some D&D minis that I tried a long time ago on my Anet A6 and utterly failed. Several hours later (including one failed attempt due to me overlooking an unprintable slicing output, derp), results!



As scale reference - these are standard D&D minis, the base plate is 1in for the archer, slightly smaller for the bard. So the details are tiiiiny. And these are pretty much the default "0.1mm DETAIL" settings - the printer can go even lower with the layer height, and there's a lot of fine settings people who print minis a lot recommend fiddling with. All in all, I'm a very happy customer :)

Pretty sure the Anet will be going away now - the only downside of the Prusa is the smaller print volume (18x18x18cm vs 22x22x25), but in every single other metric it's way better. More precise, quieter (the motors make next to no noise, except the geared extruder when doing quick retractions, it's amazing), better usability with the color screen (it even shows sliced file previews!) and smooth menu navigation, magnetic PEI sheet bed for super-easy detaching of finished prints... basically it's in a different league.

This is not the Haribo I was expecting. :(
There was a pack of Haribo bears in the box, and the instructions portioned them carefully, allowing (instructing even) to eat some after each major step is completed. I'm actually impressed, the bear amount matched up _perfectly_ - I honestly thought these bags are just weighed up and the actual number of bears varies, but apparently it's more precise than that.
One thing of note for anyone considering the Prusa Mini+ or one of the other Prusa printers: don't use the USB stick included in the kit.

In the first few days I've used the printer, I've had several firmware crashes with a "watchdog reset", which fails the print.


Thankfully the firmware is well-designed and even in a crash the printer is immediately "safed": motors stop, heaters turn off, and fans turn on full to cool the hot parts down asap, and it stays like that until manually rebooted.

I've researched the issue, and it appears than in most cases it's caused by a faulty USB drive that the print is running off of. Indeed, the original Prusa stick gets quite damn hot during a print - it's all metal, and gets almost uncomfortable-to-touch hot after an hour or so. I've switched to an older A-Data 8GB USB3 stick I've had laying around, not a single issue over many hours of printing since then - it gets a little warm but nowhere near as hot as the OG stick, and the prints seem to run reliably.
The "power loss recovery" really thrashes flash drives/sd cards with the continual writes.. I switched over to using Octoprint with a Pi3 and a pure-sinewave UPS.
I don't think my printer even has any recovery options, it has crashed a few times in 4 years but I've never lost power while printing. A UPS makes sense though. I hope printers will one day have the ability to laser scan and it will become an additive process, would be great for continuing prints or for repairing things.
Decided it is time to throw some more upgrades on the old Ender 3; BLtouch and new build plates are on the way. It's always been a fussy printer, with most jobs going on my Sidewinder X1 over this..
My old CTC printer seems archaic compared to these new ones but it keeps plodding on.

I knocked over one of the resin bottles for the Photon the other weekend and didn't realise that it leaks, fortunately it was in a cardboard box so didn't make too much of a mess but it was bad enough. Walking around a room with a UV torch setting any drips was weird, I can't deny it and that stuff smells burnt even when it's still liquid.
I used the printer for something practical for once!

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Rocker covers broke on a light switch in my grandma's house. Scoured all local and a bunch of online hardware stores for replacements, couldn't find this exact type anywhere - seems to be some obscure system from the 80s. Fired up Fusion360 and the old chinesium digital calipers and drew up a replacement. Amazingly enough, they fit on the first print, and work perfectly fine! Saved me from having to replace the whole switch assembly.

Also used this nifty little tool to measure the corner radius: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1184315. Printed it up a while back, and it sure comes in handy for this kind of jobs.
Thanks for posting your project, @leviathan! It actually gave me an idea to go on Thingiverse and see if a new, thinner ODD bay blanking plate for my Dell Precision workstation exists.

The thing is, I put an extra HDD in there, and ever since, I couldn't fit the original blanking plate, because it has some sort of screws, and it's too thick anyway. Here's what the original looks like:


I was able to find something, a HDD bracket for it, but it fits two HDDs whereas I only need one, and it fills in the slim DVD burner bay as well, which I'd like to keep. There is a modified design uploaded to Thingiverse as well, so I'll try to meet my uncle who has a 3D printer during the winter break, because there's currently black duct tape covering the hole. Also, it'll be a nice project, as I'll try to modify it so it takes only one HDD, but keeps the DVD burner.
Finally got my hands on a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, and installed it on the Prusa to run Octoprint. Primary goal is to have the Telegram bot plugin for remote monitoring and control, to run longer prints while I'm not home and still be able to see what it's doing and shut it down if anything is going wrong. Secondary goal is, I guess, something like this:

Very much a test, running a quick Benchy in .25mm and "draft" quality, just to see how the timelapses come out. Quite happy with the results. Focus on the Pi Camera needs fine-tuning (pain in the ass, the lens is tiny and quite tight), and I need some better lighting around the printer for this, but it works pretty much out of the box.
Just remembered this thread and that I was going to reply earlier in the week.

Print timelapses are always interesting, I have an unused Pi Zero W sitting here right now (bought for - and was - my Roadie device) but I don't think I print anything interesting enough to warrant it, nor do I print when I'm not at home. My printer is probably way too old to work with Octoprint anyway and the hot end fan is still manual! I'll probably make a digital photo frame with the Pi. Hmm.

My recent 3D printing has been parts for the Miata arm rest, great to be able to experiment with different sized spacers without much cost or time. That radius gauge is superb, if I didn't already have a big set of metal radius gauges I would print one.
A normal Zero or Zero W won't run Octoprint, forget it - way too little power. I run a new Zero 2 W (which is basically a 3B+/512 in a smaller form-factor), Octoprint themselves officially support one of the 3B+, 4B or Zero 2 W.

Printer being "too old" is not a thing though - Octoprint should work with anything that runs Marlin, and that's ages and ages old.
That makes sense, the Pi W wasn't powerful enough to show webcams refreshing on a small screen either. I'm sure it'll handle being a photo frame just fine.

My printer is based on the first Replicator Dual so I'm not sure, I don't intend to mess with it though.
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After a recent move I got the 3D printers on a cabinet that I wanted to use as storage for related stuff, and wanted to store my filament in a way so I can quickly sort through and access rolls, as I change them rather often. Came up with this simple design made of two aluminum tubes, mounted on very simple printed pieces, screwed inside the cabinet above a shelf. Seems to work out rather nicely!

One obvious downside is that this solution doesn't keep the filament dry. I don't have much issue with humidity though, and for the occasional TPU roll that does absorb enough over time to become problematic, I have a drier that lives on the bottom shelf of the very same cabinet that I very occasionally use.

Printables link: https://www.printables.com/model/249790-filament-storage-rack-support-for-15mm-tubes
Great storage cabinet, makes me think that it would be great if you hooked up a bunch of those to a Palette 3 for multi-filament prints. That machine is tempting, it's at the price where it's expensive but I would just about throw the money at it without too much consideration.

I never bothered drying my filaments, it hasn't really been an issue. I have reels of yellow and orange PLA from when I first got the printer in 2016 and they still print fine, the filament just breaks if I leave it loaded in the printer.

I haven't posted anything I've made for a while so here's a quick catch-up. I actually tried multi-filament myself earlier in the year as I was running out of certain filaments, so I did some hot swapping while the printer was running. My machine has no tubes so it's not easy trying to hold the filament in while it runs but it's possible. I made a drill guide that started off as black, went to yellow (the 6 year-old yellow PLA) and then finished in white. No adhesion issues a all.

The mounting brackets for the solar panel on the bobtail.

Brackets for mounting my rackmount mixer on (and through) my desk. Kind of hard to see clearly here but I'll be making a video about the whole thing. There are captive nuts that push in from the ends.

A holesaw guide so I could enlarge a hole in this desk, while offsetting it. Also ancient PLA like the drilling guide.

Finally a little adapter for charging my Airpods Pro (Airpod Pros?) on my wireless phone charging stand, it positions the coil right in the centre of the lower coil in the charger. I've had it open and marked the positions on the side. I didn't take into account that the bottom isn't a 90 degree angle so made some foam wedges to correct it.