Printing replacement parts for your Prusa 3D printer

I recently bought and assembled a Prusa i3 MK3 kit, and decided to prepare for printing emergencies by printing a full set of replacement parts as soon as the printer was working well.

I’d found, in using my other printer, that even high-quality printed parts do eventually delaminate under stress: after two years, that printer’s X and Y idler supports developed fractures. Because I couldn’t print the replacement parts (and because doing the replacement seemed daunting at the time), I wound up sending that printer to the factory for repairs.

I’ve also seen notes and videos from people recommending a set of replacement parts as a backup, in case you break a part while adjusting or doing maintenance on your printer. Having replacement parts on hand is also a good preparation for helping a 3D printing friend when their printer breaks.

Continue reading Printing replacement parts for your Prusa 3D printer

Extruder gear tension: the overlooked adjustment

I used to think that 3D Printer extruder tension – how much pressure the extruder hobbed gear exerts on the filament to move it forward – was a pretty forgiving thing. At one extreme, there’s “so loose the filament doesn’t feed” and on the other, there’s “so tight the extruder motor binds”. I thought everything in between was ok.

My assumption was confirmed each time I read advice on how to tune a misbehaving printer: people rarely mentioned extruder tension.

My recent fight to fix a bad print taught me that incorrect extruder tension can make a huge difference in your print quality after all.

Continue reading Extruder gear tension: the overlooked adjustment

Testing Your 3D Printer’s First Layer Height Calibration

One of the last steps of assembling a Prusa i3 MK3 3d printer is to manually adjust the Z height. As I adjusted my printer’s Z height, I began to wonder what the Z height calibration looked like on my older printer, a Lulzbot Mini. At the same time, I became curious about what size that Lulzbot Mini can print. A simple test print answered both questions.

Continue reading Testing Your 3D Printer’s First Layer Height Calibration

Designing a Gothic Trefoil

I’ve been interested in the Tracery in Gothic Cathedrals –¬† the delicate patterns in stone walls and windows – for years. In this post, I show you how to design of one type of Gothic ornament, using FreeCAD. You can follow along with the FreeCAD file on Thingiverse, or you can use your favorite CAD application, such as Autodesk Fusion 360.

Continue reading Designing a Gothic Trefoil

My 3D Printer is showing its age

I bought my Lulzbot Mini 3D printer almost 2 years ago, and I’ve loved it. While I’ve read others’ troubles trying to get their kit 3D printers working, or calibrated, or repaired, or trying to get their prints to stick, or not stick… my little Lulzbot Mini has been chugging reliably along, printing accurate objects every time.

Now, inevitably, I have to admit my printer is showing its age, and that it’s time to get my hands dirty with a little maintenance.

Continue reading My 3D Printer is showing its age

Estimating Remaining 3D Printer Filament

An idea’s been forming in the back of my head for a while: that it should be possible to estimate the amount of 3D filament left on a reel by simply weighing the reel with its filament, and subtracting the reel weight. Sounds simple, no?

Today I realized that it may be possible to modify a printer to give a live estimate of filament left on the currently-mounted reel, by “live weighing” the reel, and knowing the reel weight and filament density.

Continue reading Estimating Remaining 3D Printer Filament

Avoiding CreateSpace book cover size issues

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of publishing¬†Linda Needham’s most recent book through Kindle Direct Pubishing (eBook) and CreateSpace (paperback). Her book is the 20th century historical romance, “The Legend of Nimway Hall: 1940-Josie“.

In the process, I learned a lot about indie publishing (see this site’s Creating eBooks menu for my notes so far) and experimented with how to make a CreateSpace book cover (a professional created Linda’s book cover).

Continue reading Avoiding CreateSpace book cover size issues