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Aaron Hamby from CM3D – MAKEiT Printers for Professional Services

Aaron Hamby is the founder of Creative Manufacturing, a California based manufacturing services firm. Aaron made 3D printing a part of his business model a few years ago, in addition to other more traditional manufacturing services. Today it has grown into a core money-earner for CM3D, and that’s due in part to utilizing MAKEiT’s 3D printers excellently suited for manufacturing. Hear what Aaron has to say in his honest opinion about how MAKEiT works for his business and why our printers are so effective for his needs.

 

High resolution 3D printed replacement parts

The First Layer: Turntable Pt. 1, Modeling for Threads

An old record turntable in need of some loveRecently a friend sent this lovely turntable across my desk looking for a bit of TLC. Yes, it is a little worse for wear, but except a couple missing parts it all still works. One of those missing parts is an adjustable foot for leveling the table, while the three remaining feet had all been damaged and were beginning to fall apart; look closely at the foot that’s removed in the above photo and you can find an epoxy seam where it was repaired once before. Below you can see my final part with steel bolt for threading next to the fully 3D printed prototype:

High resolution 3D printed replacement parts

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24 3D printed parts together on one bed

The First Layer: Batch Printing Basics

 

One of the absolute best features of MAKEiT printers is the ability to produce volumes of parts quickly through batch duplication. When combined with a proper batch setup, duplication printing is a powerful way to significantly reduce your production time. Like many other things in life it’s best to start simple and build to complexity, so I’ll first go over how to get started with simple duplication and move into more advanced setup for large batches after. The example part I’m using is a cable guide intended to work with the wall mount standards we use to hang the printers.

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Makeit Pro-L 3D printer

MAKEiT Pro-L: The Printed Parts

 

The all-new MAKEiT Pro-L is here. The Pro-L incorporates multitudes of improvements beyond the original MAKEiT Pro, and represents what we believe to be the first desktop-format 3D printer purely focused and suited to the demands of manufacturing and professional services. On the surface the stunning new finish and design theme are immediately apparent, but the changes continue beneath with a completely new control board, more expansion capability, dual-phase bed heater, redesigned print head with dual-fan cooling system, and many other component and material improvements.

Behind our claim of manufacturing-ready capability is the truth of our own manufacturing. While many printer companies make components for their own machines, most wouldn’t dare to post photos so close up as these. The unique capability of a MAKEiT printer is made apparent when you examine the function and quality behind the printed parts on the new Pro-L.

Makeit Pro L 3D printer print head

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3D printed shift knob

The First Layer: 3D Printed Shift Knob Wood Finishing Technique

 

In part 2 of 2 from the 3D printed shift knob project, I’ll go over the basics of how to achieve this kind of beautiful wood-like finish effect and a simple way to get inlaid lettering. I have tried this process with a few brands of wood type filaments, and so far I have found Hatchbox’s variation to be quite reliable and to accept the stain very evenly. I’ve found that with most fill-type materials, changing the nozzle out from the standard 0.4mm up to a 0.5 or 0.6mm diameter helps reliability considerably. You can see below how rough the part is coming straight off the printer, but this was done intentionally to serve part of the finishing process.

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3D Printed Shift Knob for Mini Cooper

The First Layer: 3D Printed Shift Knob with Encapsulated Hardware

Hello readers and MAKEiT owners,  and welcome to to the first installment of The First Layer, MAKEiT’s blog section devoted to advanced printing and design-for-print techniques. From the desk of our design director Russell Singer, The First Layer will be your new source for tips and techniques to take your 3D printing ability further.

In today’s post I’m revisiting a project I completed a few weeks back: creating a realistic wood finish for the manual transmission shift knob of my Mini Cooper. Because the shift knob is a regular point of tactile interaction it was important to achieve not only a high quality finish that would appear as wood, but also a comfortable form with enjoyable tactile feedback and functional usability. In this first post I’ll focus on the CAD considerations and the printing process, follow along on the second post for the full finishing technique to achieve the beautiful effect shown below.

3D Printed Shift Knob for Mini Cooper

Aside from preferences on shift knob weight and profile, the only real functional consideration is getting a snug secure fit on the shifter shaft. After one attempt with a simpler friction-fit design, I found the hot daytime temperatures in Southern California would cause enough size distortion to loosen the knob even though it might be very stuck in place in cooler temperatures. I revised the design to work with set screws and some hex nuts that are enclosed into the print, as shown below:

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Announcing the Makeit PRO-L

Introducing the MAKEiT PRO-L

For over two years Makeit has been building machines and testing them in the hardest environments we can find, proving that durable industrial build quality and reliable ease-of-use can exist together in the desktop printing market. Now, after many, many upgrades and revisions we are ultimately proud to announce the all-new PRO-L.

The PRO-L represents our most complete vision yet of what a true industrial desktop 3D printer is. Continuing with the same great features offered in the original PRO like dual-extrusion, removable build plates, and on-the-fly tuning, the PRO-L introduces multitudes of functional and material enhancements. On top of faster printing, higher precision, enhanced durability, and a generous 10″ x 12″ x 13″ build volume, the PRO-L displays a beautiful aluminum finish and updated graphic scheme, making it equally at home in a design studio or a manufacturing plant.

PRO-L test units are out across the country in the hands of trusted associates and product testers, and the first production units will be rolling out the door to their customers in less than two weeks. Stay tuned here for more information and full spec list for the PRO-L, or contact us here for preorder information.

Click here for full specifications and photo gallery for the PRO-L 3D printer

Two Material Prints with Simplify3D

Before you can setup a two-material print in Simplify3D you will need CAD files properly setup for two-material printing. For information on properly exporting files, please see the video Preparing an Assembly for 3D Printing In Two Materials on our YouTube channel.

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First, import the two files that comprise both parts of our two-material print. In this case, I have chosen a custom variation of the MAKEiT extruder head fan cover.

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With our two files imported and selected, choose Align Selected Model Origins from the Edit drop-down menu. Now we see the two parts aligned and centered.

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With our two parts aligned properly, it’s now time to setup the print processes to switch between the two extruders. Below I have chosen a profile I call “Basic Prints”. Below you can see where Extruder 1 is selected in the process settings for Layer tab:

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Additions tab:

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And Infill tab:

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Leave this first profile set to utilize Extruder 1, but before closing the Profile Settings click on Select Models from the bottom of the window. From this dialog, make sure only the part that is meant to print from Extruder 1 is highlighted.

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Next we need to setup a second process for printing with the second extruder. Create a second copy of your process by selecting it from your Processes tree, then pressing Ctrl+C to copy and Ctrl+V to paste, (Command+C and Command+V on Mac). Below I have copied my Basic Prints process, and renamed the resulting copy Basic Prints N2 to indicate Nozzle 2.

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Now we need to go through the settings for this new process and switch the chosen extruder to Extruder 2 for all relevant options in Layer, Additions, and Infill tabs:

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With our new process ready to print from Extruder 2, once again click Select Models and highlight the part that is meant for material 2.

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Before we finally send our file to print, it’s important to make note of the Tool Change Retraction options from the Advanced tab. These values will change depending on what material we use and how often the tool changes are. For example, a flexible material might require a much longer retraction at lower speeds to keep from leaking, compared with ABS which might only need a very short retraction and can withstand higher speeds. This setting is very specific to our specific material choice, so some testing might be necessary.

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With our processes set up, click Prepare to Print. From the selection dialog, make sure only our desired two processes are selected and Continuous Printing is checked.

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With the S3D display window color coded by Active Toolhead we can see how the two materials will print together. You can see for this print I have chosen only to print the Prime Tower with Extruder 2. This is because the first layers of the part Extruder 2 would otherwise not print anything and would cause the material to burn in the nozzle. As I have set this print, the second extruder will print some extra filament each layer to prevent burn-in.

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This tutorial is just a guideline for how to setup two different materials to print together. There are many other tricks and settings that can be adjusted to improve results based on your specific part design and material choice, so testing is important.

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