Interesting gift to family!

For Christmas this year, “Santa Claus” brought the family an interesting gift/project.  It’s a 3D Printer Kit!  Made by a company in Czech Republic, Prusa Printers, the kit is a fairly complex collection of parts made simple through excellent assembly instructions, extremely well organized kitted parts (each chapter has its own bag/box of parts), and very high quality components.

About a week after Christmas, the four of us gathered in my Workshop and began to assemble it.  With Kate reading instructions, Clare and I assembling parts and providing more than two hands to support sub-assemblies as they were joined, and Kerry queuing up the next batch of parts/tools, the assembly progressed without any major glitches until…

Voila!

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Surprisingly, the printer looked the same as the manufacturer’s when we were all done!

Of course, having a ‘thing’ look like a printer is different than one that works like a printer, we tried our first print:

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First try at printing! Note that ‘Self test was OK’! That was a relief!

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Equivalent of “Hello World” on a Prusa printer!

OK!  Great stuff!  But now, we had to know how to do our own stuff.  So pulling up a chair to my ‘CAD Workstation’, I designed a challenging first test for the printer.

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First custom print! Very ‘sophisticated’ 1 cubic centimeter!

Well, ok, maybe this wasn’t all that ‘challenging’, but it did allow me to learn the ‘process’ of going from ‘concept’ to actual ‘thing’ we could hold!

Ok, how about something useful?

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Second custom printing, this time a little more complex and significantly more useful!

Ah, this is more like it!  Gears that fit together and fit on a motor that I could use to drive the gear!

But, it was quite clear that I couldn’t keep this thing on my desk and if it was going to ‘live’ in the workshop, it had to be protected from dust and provide a means to vent the fumes out of the building if I was printing with something like ABS plastic.  So, here is the progression to add an enclosure (based on a design found on Thingiverse!).

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Realizing I needed an enclosure in the dusty workshop (and something to redirect fumes if necessary), I went with inexpensive Ikea end tables as an easy enclosure.

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Enclosure all built using 2 tables stacked with various 3D printed hardware holding it together and plexiglas panels to keep the dust out and fumes in (panels still have protective coatings).

 

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Getting ready to permanently mount the printer in the enclosure.

Finally, having a more ‘established’ location, with some help from a friend, I learned of a 3D Print server that runs on a low cost Raspberry Pi computer AND it also supports a webcam so that you can not only remotely control the printer, but also observe the progress!

 

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Running for a long time unattended, I added a camera so I could check on progress remotely. Base is 3D printed on this printer, of course!

Finally, able to run long jobs unattended, I could make something big and useful (What it is will be disclosed in a later posting)

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In the enclosure, after a 30 hour print job!

I think this tool is going to be VERY useful!

 

 

 

 

 

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