One of the things that held me back from 3D printing for so long was learning what tools I needed and how to use them. It’s relatively easy to print things once you have a design: Cults3D, Hubs, and many others (including your friends who have printers) can print your designs, your local library may have printers for you to use, or you can buy a printer for a few hundred dollars.Continue reading Getting Started With 3D Printing
I recently made two FreeCAD tutorial videos. In the making, I learned several handy tips for improving the quality of my screen capture videos.Continue reading Tips for Making Screen Capture Videos
I’ve occasionally seen posts and videos about how to dry 3D printing filament using a food dehydrator, but never felt the need for one… until recently. I had a failed print that looked like wet filament was to blame, so I decided it was time to make my filament dryer. This post is about my experience – mostly good – with that dryer.Continue reading Making A Filament Dryer from A Food Dehydrator
If you’re interested in Gothic architecture, you may have seen my post on Designing a Gothic Trefoil. In this post I walk you though the design in FreeCAD of a simpler ornament, the Gothic Duefoil: a circle divided into two arches, which are themselves each divided into three lobes.Continue reading Designing a Gothic Duefoil in FreeCAD
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that I have a Prusa I3 MK3 3D printer, I’ve found many Prusa owners have added a little dial they magnetically stick onto their extruder motor’s shaft, to be able to see when that motor is extruding vs. retracting filament. It’s also a cool way to personalize your printer.