Tag Archives: The First Layer

3D printed vortex generator

The First Layer: Concealed Layer Start Points

When you’re trying to get the best quality possible out of your 3D printed parts, there are some obvious choices for how to setup the print. Finer layer heights and lower speeds can improve finish and accuracy, but is that all there is for improving quality in your printed parts? One subtle yet very effective way of improving the uniformity of your surfaces is by controlling your layer start points.

With the sole exception of printing using the “spiral vase” method, every time your printer starts a new layer it leaves behind a tell-tale mark caused by the motion path of the nozzle. It’s possible to minimize these marks through optimization but they won’t ever go away entirely. One nice benefit of using Simplify3D is the added ability to plan your layer start points. When done effectively the small marks can be concealed within geometry that makes it impossible to notice. Can you see the layer start points in the first photo above? What about the zoomed in version below?

3D printed vortex generator

If you look carefully along the bottom edge of the part you’ll notice all of the layer start points are consolidated along the edge where it rolls over. By placing your start points along a specific geometric feature, it’s possible to create very controllable “seams” that diminish into your design. Keep reading below and I’ll show how you can use planned layer seams to improve your printed parts! Continue reading

The First Layer: Turntable Pt. 2, Advanced Print Settings

IMG_1726

In Part 1 of the Turntable post, I showed details of how I modeled the turntable feet both for printable threads and for functional steel threads. Getting really exceptional final parts like you see above, requires careful balancing of the design and print settings together. Although it may take a bit longer to setup such precise prints, when you have a project that needs a professional finish it’s worth the effort. This is even more true with projects that require multiples of the same part like this one since you can easily reproduce the part once it’s properly set. So in this followup Part 2 post I’ll go over some of the tricks involved in getting the high quality results you see here.

IMG_1713

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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:

cutawayView

Continue reading