Heres the Bi-Cube I recently printed.
After a long haitus due to work, family, etc... I've gotten back into tweaking my Thing-O-Matic.
I've done a couple of major upgrades to my TOM.
First is a Mk7 extruder with a Mk8 nozzle. This new setup is designed for PLA printing. I've given up on ABS due to the drastic measures I had to take to prevent warping and cracking. I have a bunch of new colors too.
The second big change is Sailfish. This is a 3rd party firmware for the bot developed by Jetty, Dan, et al.
It speeds up printing and allows for very precise dimensional printing.
I've got my Skeinforge settings tuned to the point where there are no more strings anywhere!!
With a heated aluminum platform covered in kapton tape, every part sticks perfectly without dealing with hairspray, blue tape, rafts, etc...
I decided to take the Makerbot for a spin and see how well it can print the Tornado model that Ultimakers love to print.
Obviously I had to scale it down to fit on a Makerbot, roughly 50% of the original size.
Getting a print like this sort of alleviates some of the anxiety I get when I see newer 3D printers like the UP! or Ultimaker. I suppose in the field of new technology, it's inevitable that any machine will quickly be "outdated" or obsolete in very short time. I still get a slight tinge of buyer's remorse, but looking at this, I can tell myself, "Hey, my Makerbot can do that too!"
I think this is a really nice print. Again, I'm still using a stock MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. I'm also just using the standard Print-O-Matic settings at .35mm per layer. It also prints out really quickly. This may be my go-to item to print when I need to demo the Makerbot to friends.
Here's a time lapse video of the print.
MakerBot Thing-O-Matic #3890
45mm/s feed rate
Cool: 6 seconds
I've finally got the video of the Sphinx build uploaded. I need to find (or build) a better system for taking time lapse video.
I'm starting to get a little ambitious with my 3D printing now that the new Print-O-Matic settings make the printer do beautiful things.
One thing I've kept wanting to try is create large objects by printing it in parts. I haven't really used my printer yet for large prints since in the past I had not been confident in it enough to waste the time and effort if the print was going to fail. But like I've said, I'm starting to get ambitious.
Anyway, off to Google 3D Warehouse again, and I found the perfect item, the Chrysler Building.
Loaded into Google SketchUp, and exported into STL. Then I loaded that into Pleasant3D to scale it down so the base would fit on my platform, as least in terms of the X and Y. Hit save, and the STL is reset with the correct dimensions.
By the way, I can't fully express much I use Pleasant3D. It's an amazing tool for visualizing an STL or GCODE file. Unfortunately it's only available for Intel Macs.
After that was done, I loaded it up into Netfabb to use it's slicing feature. I probably should learn how to do this in Blender 3D properly, but Netfabb makes it so easy. Literally drag a scroll bar, hit Cut, then Export. The size of my model ended being about 320mm tall, and knowing my MakerBot can print about 105mm max, I decided to go safe and cut it into 4 pieces, each one about 80mm tall.
After that was done, I had to import into Blender 3D to fix the object. It's always good to clean up meshes by deleting duplicates. In this case, I also had to close non-manifold edges. What this means is that the original model was made hollow with a Zero width shell. Once I sliced it, I ended up with hollow "tubes" also with Zero width shells. After closing the tops and bottoms of the model, it is now considered solid, and will print properly.
Next step is to use ReplicatorG to slice and generate the GCODE files. Again, I love using Pleasant3D to give myself a sanity check to make sure the bot will move in an expected manner.
Anyway, here are the results:
Here's the bottom two parts stacked together:
And the top two halfs:
All stacked together:
At the end, there are many things I could have tweaked to make it even better. I had some raft trouble on the first part, and the corner is a bit smudged. Also, I had some shrinkage problems on the 3 part.
However, I am extremely impressed with the way the spire printed. I had set my Skeinforge settings to 9 secs Cool per layer by slowing down. I didn't know the Makerbot was able to do this, but kudos to the stepper motors. It was creaking along at a snail's pace with the spire at the top (image 9 seconds for about 4mm of travel per layer). Here's a closeup of the top spire.
In the end, I think it was definitely worth it to dream large, and just do it, and see what happens.
These STL files are freely available for download at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10042
I've been going through Google's 3D Warehouse to find cool models that people have designed, but not necessary had 3D printing in mind.
The first object that really peaked my interest was of the Great Sphinx. Always with my 3D printing hat on, I quickly realized it's a great candidate for 3D printing since it basically solid, has a large flat base, and doesn't have wild hanging or cantilevered parts.
I used combination of Google Sketchup, and some plugins to export to an STL file. Then brought this into Blender 3D to clean up the model, smooth out the polygons, and remove extraneous ones.
Loaded that up into ReplicatorG, sliced, and printed. Here are the results:
Got myself a MakerBot 3-D printer back in April 2011. This is an amazing device, and can make things that we've never dreamed of.
The idea behind MakerBot was to have a cheap, open source, tweakable, home 3-d printer. To this end, they've borrowed from other 3-d printing basics, and many have borrowed MakerBot's.
The cool thing is that everyone shares their tweaks and enhancements, and we end up with better products that anyone can adapt to their current machine, or build from scratch.
While you can source all the parts yourself, Makerbot has been nice enough to package all the parts together for you to build. The framework of the machine is all lasercut wood or acrylic. The electronics uses an Arudiono Mega as the main controller. There are hundreds of bolts and nuts. In all, it took me a full weekend to put this machine together, and I work very fast.
The main part of the machine is the extruder head, which has a precision 0.5mm nozzle for ABS plastic filament to get pushed through. Newer nozzle heads with even smaller sizes have come out, but I have not had a chance to upgrade yet. The other big accomplishment of the current model of the Makerbot are the 4 stepper moters. 3 control the X, Y, and Z axis, while the 4th controls the extruder (pulling filament in).
The machine is controlled through a USB cable from a computer using standard GCODE, or can run untethered off an SD card.
3D models can be downloaded from a variety of sources, most prominently from a site called Thingiverse. Users upload their own creations or alter current ones and re-upload them for mish-mash fun.
The main software to use is called ReplicatorG, which contains programming to slice the model into layers, and generate the proper GCODE for the Makerbot to understand and print.
Almost everything little setting is customizable. It's almost mind-numbing how many variables you may end up tweaking to get the type of print you want.
In the end, I'm very excited to be on the cutting edge of home 3-d printing technology. Everyday, we gain new knowledge from tinkering and experimenting, and this knowledge is shared and open sourced to everyone who wants it.