3D Printing

Wow, it’s been almost a year since I’ve updated this. I really need to dedicate more time to documenting my various hacks. I have a few written up in drafts, but never published because I didn’t have the time to finish them. Well this is an attempt to start that. I will also be integrating Facebook comments, hopefully so as to curb the amount of spam comments that I have to weed out (100 or so a day) to get any real comments (3 a year? if that?).


So anyway, I’ve gotten to add a new tag, 3d printing!

I’ve been looking at 3d printers for a bit over a year now, kind of skirting the edge of the hobby. I’ve wanted to jump into it but never really had motivation to actually spend the money on it. My father, who is an engraver/cncer/metalworker, also happens to be into steampunk. He’s decided that he wants to build a paper towel holder, which would be an absolute nightmare to to machine… enter 3d printing!. His paper towel holder is modeled after two DC motor end-pieces on either side, with the paper towel holder in the middle. This is primarily because the end pieces look cool. You can purchase the motor ends rather than trying to machine them, but they cost several hundred dollars. Somehow I’ve managed to convince him to spend MORE than a couple hundred of dollars on a 3d printer which would be capable of printing the pieces he needs.


So a couple of months ago I purchased a half completed 3d printer along with my father. We spend a couple of weeks (well, a couple of sundays) fiddling with it and getting it assembled. Finally got it running, and was getting kind of crappy prints out of it.


I did some searching, and found out that the hotend that we were using was kind of a home-made deal, so I went and purchased a J-Head (hotends.com). The owner lives about an hour north of me, so I stopped by his shop and bought one. Got a chance to hang out with him for an hour or so, really cool guy, awesome little machine shop he has. Got the j-head installed on the machine and it was printing WAY better. Printed a PCB holder for the control board, added a couple fans to the machine to help cool the part, and it just kept getting better. I brought the printer to my house, got it all set up,and started printing more improvements. Printed a power supply mounting bracket, printed different Y axis rail holders, Y axis plate mounts, and installed the heated bed. Before the heated bed, I was using blue painters tape wiped down with acetone before every print, to make the part stick.


Below is a gallery with some pictures of my adventures. As I take more, I’ll continue to make updates. There are a couple test prints, some tool holders for my father (He’s doing the majority of the 3d work), and a Jaguar ECU enclosure that I designed myself (Woohoo! first real design!)