Recently I started printing 3d topographies as an educational tool. They are relatively flat for the majority of the print, but when it comes to the surface, having thicker layer heights left much to be desired. Due to the large volume being printed, setting a smaller layer heights sent printing times through the roof. I needed a better solution. Enter adaptive layer heights.
About a year ago I set out to create a functional smartphone from a Raspberry Pi. Its been a fun adventure. I began this project with only a moderate amount of experience in working with electronics, and I’ve come a long way since that time. I am by no means the first person to create a raspberry pi phone there are one or two people who I am certain have come before me. In order to claim some sort of title for the work that I would be doing, I decided that I would attempt to create the smallest form factor phone possible given my knowledge and experience. This alone became quite the challege, but in the process I learned a great deal about product design, CAD, and 3D printing.
The Monoprice Select Mini has become the workhorse of my 3D printing and making projects since I acquired it in the fall. I haven’t had many complaints while using it, but one issue that I felt needed to be addressed was the dark build plate. Obstructed by the gantry and the print head, it is very difficult to see what is happening on the print surface and make adjustments to bed height or monitor any issues that may be occurring within the print itself. In order to fix this issue I decided to wire up an LED strip to the gantry assembly. Since I don’t always require an LED strip running on the printer, I wanted to include a switch to control the light in an easy to reach location.
Within the sphere of 3D printing there are a plethora of examples of how to print topographic maps. Much of this interest comes from the reproduction of topographies from popular video games or modeling significant landscape features such as mountains or canyons. The standard format has been to display these models using arbitrary or aesthetically pleasing boundaries, often a square or a circle (or even puzzle pieces)
One of the primary motivators for my acquisition of a 3D printer was the ability to reproduce landscapes with the natural watershed boundaries that already exist. This turned out to be a much more daunting task than I had initially anticipated, however I think the results were well worth it! Now that I have started to refine my techniques, I hope to be able to reproduce interesting watershed topographies for all of Peterborough and beyond!
Watershed models have a long history in the management of water resources. The US Army Corps of Engineers produced a gigantic scale model of the Mississippi basin to assist in flood prediction and management long before computers were able to complete the task. Even today, physical models are able to produce results that computers are unable reliably recreate. Perhaps with the refinement of 3D printing technologies we will once again see the models that assisted our resource planning in the past reemerge as a common element of our watershed planning future.
After printing out a couple of benchmarks with the upgraded carriage and cooling fan modification I’d noticed that overhangs facing away from the printer were not what I was hoping they would be. I suspected a first candidate for fixing the problem would be to pull the small circuit board out of the fan shroud. I had initially hoped that the board would be tucked away and small enough to not impact print quality; I was wrong. The problem became where to put the board. I was not interested in a complete rewire of the project so I needed a better solution.
Half of an hour in CAD and this is what I came up with. I’d always planned on putting a small fan shroud on each of the cooling fans, why not integrate a small space for the circuit board to tuck it all away? Perhaps I’ll add space for a small button to control the fan without unplugging it. You can download it here free of charge!
Over the past several months I’ve been working with the Monoprice Select Mini V2 it is a solid printer right out of the box especially for the price. Despite all of the amazing things about this printer, it does come with a couple of small flaws, many of which can be fixed for pennies with a simple print and some cheap hardware. Today I’m looking at the E3Dv6 carriage upgrade by US Water Rockets. As a bonus I’ve included a short guide on how to effectively wire the LED and part cooling fan that is meant to be attached to this modification.
I’d had my eye on this upgrade soon after picking up this printer. I’d noticed that the stock carriage for the E3Dv6 style extruder that comes with the printer causes the gantry to tilt ever so slightly forwards as the center of gravity is quite far away from the linear rails. Additionally, printing calibration cubes demonstrated that the printer had a fair amount of play in the x axis. Initially in order to fix this I had printed some belt tensioners also designed by US Water Rockets. However, this carriage design improves the belt tensioning system dramatically by integrating it directly into the carriage.
This upgrade was also an opportunity to upgrade the stock plastic GT2 pulleys with full metal ones (Shout out to spool3d.ca). The part cooling fan is the only part of this print where I could see there being room for improvement, the rest of this upgrade is rock solid and really made a measurable improvement in the printer’s accuracy.
Over the past several months I’ve been working with the Monoprice Select Mini V2 it is a solid printer right out of the box especially for the price. Despite all of the amazing things about this printer, it does come with a couple of small flaws, many of which can be fixed for pennies with a simple print and some cheap hardware. Today we’ll look at the glass bed upgrade.
There are a plethora of upgrades that can be found on thingiverse.com for this printer, which is a testament to the incredible community around it. Not all mods are created equal, and I’ll be going over a couple of the ones that I’ve settled on to fix some of the common issues.
First up is a glass bed upgrade. The stock build plate on the mini has great bed adhesion, however the aluminum bed has a tendency to warp and deform in funny ways, especially at higher bed temperatures. It very quickly got so bad on my printer that it became apparent that it needed to be fixed. Using alligator clips and a glass bed was a quick and easy temporary solution to the problem, however the clearance of the z axis gantry was not enough to make this a long term fix as they severely reduced the size of the Y axis and had a tendency to come loose as the build surface moved back and forth.
About 2 months ago I picked up a 3D printer to fiddle around with and work on some projects. After some initial fiddling and troubleshooting I’ve finally got it to the point of being able to produce quality and functional prints consistently. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of 3D printing, it seems like an excellent opportunity to bring manufacturing back to communities and reduce the significant carbon footprint of many of the everyday implements we use. Instead of injection molded items being shipped from the far east by the millions, we can manufacture as many as we need right in our home towns. It is also an opportunity to recycle products that we use locally instead of shipping our recycling abroad. Currently on the market there is a plethora of filament that is created from recycled bottles, wood, pulp or other manufacturing byproducts.
Filament is the feedstock for most 3D printing
applications. It comes in an variety of colours
and can have many different properties.
As the technology progresses, I could see how this could be a significant game changer in manufacturing, traditional supply chains, and sustainability. Below is a sample of some of the products that I have designed and printed for my own household. All of the designs required less than 20 minutes to draft and printed for 2¢ – 20¢
If you would like the designs to print for yourself I would be happy to share. Just drop me a line!