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.
While there are many useful slicing softwares out there, each with their own benefits to usability and capability, I have not found any that equal Simplify3D when it comes to the highest level features. S3D provides many useful tweaks and tricks that can take your prints from great to exceptional if you know how to implement them properly. One of my favorite abilities from S3D is setting multiple print processes for the same part. In the screenshot below you can see my S3D interface with the foot part loaded in and two separate processes created in the process tree.
If you look carefully in the above image you can see a small parting line just above the textured side of the foot; I modeled this in place to give a clean transition point that’s easy to measure in my CAD software and easy to spot in the slicer as well. This line is exactly where I will set the process change. On to the specifics of the processes:
Settings vary only slightly between the Main and Upper processes. The basic extrusion settings between the two processes are identical but changes begin in the layer settings as shown below:
The Layer tab settings above are for the Main Body process. While I wanted a fine quality finished part I also did not want to wait forever for it to finish. Printing at 0.15mm layers provides a good balance between high finish quality and not taking all day. For the Upper process I dropped layer heights down to 0.075mm to keep the high quality finish as the surface tapered to a shallow slope. When you’re doing this kind of process change you also need to be mindful of your first layer settings; again the settings shown above are for the Main Body process, but for the Upper Taper process the First Layer settings were all set at 100%. Other changes include the Upper process having zero solid bottom layers, but double the number of top solid layers. Jumping to the Advanced tab now I’ll show how you actually set the transition point:
You’ll notice above in the Layer Modifications section I have a “Stop printing at height” chosen at 19.7mm. This is the height at the bottom edge of the parting line referred to earlier, as measured from SolidWorks. Below you see the corresponding setting for the second process, indicating the Upper Taper process will start at the same point the Main Body process stops:
Once you are happy with the settings for both of your processes click the Prepare to Print button. When presented with the Select Processes dialogue, shown below, select both of your processes and choose Continuous Printing radio button.
Once the slice completes you can zoom in on your transition point and see the jump in layer resolution:
The video below shows printing just after the transition point between processes:
And the beautiful end results:
Compared with a more basic print setup done in MatterControl or Cura, it may have taken 2-3 times longer to setup. However the need for multiple parts makes the setup time more worthwhile, since I can just run the same exact file again. On top of that, being able to vary the layer heights means I can achieve a higher visual quality at a reasonable time (printing the entire part at 0.075 put the print at about 10 hours per foot compared with under 4 hours).
Is this attention to detail overkill for a part that goes on the bottom of a record player that most people will never notice? Maybe. But for the owner of the table it represents a gift from an old friend, and an object to be shown off in the living room. And now, with the addition of these custom-made 3D printed adjustable feet, there’s a new story for him to tell about its history at parties.