A new nozzle, and the evolution of a mini

One of the things I would like to do with the printer is to make gaming miniatures. It turns out that making small detailed objects is a fairly difficult task for a 3d printer to do. It takes very good heat control to avoid making a blob. To get enough control I had to change the nozzle to a different design, as well as add an additional cooling fan. This had the negative side effect of making the printer fairly loud. On the plus side, it made the printer much more accurate for smaller objects.

The first attempts. The feet slowly went from puddles to the beginnings of legs.

Some fine tuning and I eventually came up with this blob like figure. The first that was able to complete to the end.

The new nozzle and fan ducts printing the figure.

The result, something that looks much nicer!

More parts being made

Making some of the final parts before moving the printer off the table. My girlfriend was very tolerant of the huge mess that I made on the table for the several weeks that it took waiting for parts and getting it running.


Printing useful objects

Once I calibrated the printer properly and verified I was making pieces in the proper dimension, the next step was to start improving the printer. Many things I had simply stuck together with hot glue and things I had lying around. The endstop supports and endstop flags were one of these things, made out of a cut up credit card and glue. Another issue I was facing was the ability to feed the plastic into the machine. I had the roll sitting next to it and would have to untangle it by hand every few minutes. To fix this, I printed a support for the roll that I still use today.

Endstop mount.

Endstop flags.

Spool mount in progress.

Spool mounted above the printer.

Getting it running

The first thing was to take inventory of what was there. I made a list of everything I had, and compared it to the list of parts that the printer should have. Once I figured out what I needed to make the printer minimally functional, I order a few things and put it together. These pictures here show the printer from getting it set up to printing test cubes.

This picture shows the printer after I have installed the heated bed on the Y axis. Other than that, this is how I received it.

This picture was taken after I debugged the control board, compiled a new firmware image for it and had it communicating with my laptop.

The first ever object to come out of the printer. Pretty messy, but close to what I was trying to print.

These are the first three cubes to come out of the printer. From left to right it was three days of learning and fine tuning. By the third cube, it was pretty close to the size and shape it was supposed to be.

The start of my 3d printer

My 3d printer was given to me by a friend. It was a partially assembled setup, and it included a bag full of parts. I’ve gone from having zero experience with a 3d printer, to having assembled and improved this one, and now I am building a larger one by adapting existing designs into something I like. Throughout the process I have taken several pictures and videos. In the next several days I will be writing a series of posts on my experience with 3d printing.