I have had my Sindoh 3D printer for quite a while and it is a lovely machine to use in conjunction with Fusion 360. I have printed all manner of items for the workshop, for projects and for friends and family.
For some time it has been a problem to print objects central on the bed. While they would print OK, they are reluctant to come away from the bed surface and then having removed them from the bed, the raft would be very reluctant to leave the printed object. I have got round this by offsetting the print position in X and Y on the table. If I have a large object to print that overlaps the problem area I sprinkle talcum powder on the bed surface to ease freeing the object from the bed but this does not help the raft removal.
The print bed is an aluminium sheet that slides in and out of the machine. This has a PTFE style laminated coating sheet held in place by adhesive. If I inspect the centre of the plate I can see the clear outline of bubbles under the lamination sheet. These have got worse as time has gone by. I imagine the bubbles create a finite air gap that upsets the temperature stability of the plate in the damaged area.
The situation had reached a frustrating peak today and lead to me totally removed the laminating sheet to leave bare aluminium. The printer could not cope with bare ally and the PLA would not stick. Some other laminating medium was going to be needed.
I had seen discussion regarding the use of what we in the UK call Masking Tape as a laminating medium. I use 3M Blue Multipurpose Builders Masking Tape for Super Glue mounting of stock on the milling machine. Having this to hand, I thought it worth a try. The tape is 48mm wide so I had to fix a number of strips across the plate to cover it completely and then trim the edges. As you can see below, I didn’t quite get them parallel and butted to each other I was keen to run a test print.
Maybe I was lucky but the job came off the tape easily and the raft pulled off straightaway with no damage to the print. The tape hasn’t bubbled or coming off in any way so it looks good.
I am not sure how long the tape is going to last but I have got a full reel to keep swapping it out.
I seem to have created a small demand at the local golf club for the simple golf scoring aid which I had designed and fitted to our electric trolleys. The design makes use of old thumbwheel switches which manufacturers don’t seem to use these days with the advent of electronically created equivalents.
Thumbwheels are cheap to buy on EBay and with the addition of a simple Fusion 360 designed and 3D printed block to mount them, they fit nicely on the side of the trolley scorecard holder accessory. The design uses two thumbwheels so the user can score their own and their partners score. Simple but very useful especially since I can’t remember what day it is never mind how many shots I have fluffed.
Some time ago I made a rough and ready wall mounting rack for my parallels so they would sit to hand adjacent to the Myford manual milling machine. I used double sided printed circuit board for the construction and while not elegant it worked OK …. until after I had finished it when I found two of the set lurking in a box with a half finished job. I had not allowed for them in the construction and being OCD me, it annoyed me to have two lose ones that did not fit in the grand order of things.
An idle half day lead to a Fusion design to replace the tired old PCB disaster. This lead to some thinking on how to design it. I wanted a rack that sat on the tooling board with the parallels stacked on it with a slight upward angle to keep them in place. I chose therefore to draw it slightly strangely with the ‘back’ at an angle and extruded it accordingly. See below.
All well and good you might say. Less messing with angles etc.
I squirted the job into the Sindoh 3D driver software and then tried to be clever and print it with the backside down on the printer bed …. or at least what I thought was the backside down. You will no doubt spot that that this is not a simple rotation of 90 degrees but I didn’t.
The printer began producing spaghetti that was not bonding to the printer bed. After three re-tries I took a closer look at my design and realised that the only part of the job that was in contact with the bed was the leading edge (red arrow below). The rest was airborne at an angle all due to the way I had chosen to draw the object and rotate it.
Reset brain and reset printing so it would be now vertical. All was good and my nice new rack sits on the tooling board.
A little bit more brain engagement next time perhaps ?
OK this is a silly one I know but follows on from my theme of just how valuable a 3D printer is to own and how it makes you think outside of the conventional box when solving simple problems.
French markets always have a stall selling brightly coloured table clothes in various materials. These rarely have a prepared hole in them for your sun umbrella to slot through as you sit quaffing and nibbling in the sunshine. If they already have a hole it usually doubles the price. If you make a hole yourself then it will fray and degrade.
Up steps “Fusion Man” and in five minutes you have a design for a locating boss and ring to sandwich protect the hole in the material and keep the cloth fixed on the table. Design done and its off to the Sindoh 3DWOX to print it.
Lay the table cloth on the table where it will be used and ensure it sits square all round. Crawl under the table and with a Sharpie pen or similar, draw the shape of the hole on the back of the table cloth.
Remove the cloth from the table and flip it over. Place the printed ring over the marked circle and remark the circle position to the ring ID. Cut out the marked ring circle but make the cut about 3 or 4 mm smaller all round. (Nail scissors are ideal for cutting curves). Test fit the boss. Because the hole in the cloth is slightly smaller than the boss diameter, the material will naturally turn up the vertical face of the boss. Check it is not causing wrinkles in the cloth when on the table.
Put hot glue around the boss at the horizontal/vertical interface and then push the boss through the cloth to let the glue hold it in place.
Apply glue to the locating ring and push this in place over the boss to sandwich the material between the ring and the boss. Here is a greatly exaggerated cross section.
I think I have mentioned this before …. when you have different ways to solve a problem it is often easy to get locked off into a long winded but potentially elegant solution and miss the point.
3D printing has brought this home to me on a number of occasions.
An example – I have variable speed controllers on my Myford Lathe and Myford mill. The controllers are identical and each have an ON and OFF push button. The bezel around the ON button on one of these had cracked and come away leaving the switch floating in its mounting hole.
My first reaction was to replace the switch. I contacted the controller supplier to ask for a part number and distribution source to buy a new switch. They ignored my email which was fortunate as I would probably have ordered a complete new switch assembly. I would then have had all the grief of stripping down the controller case and wiring in the new switch. This would probably have invalidated any warranty etc etc.
Instead I stepped back and looked at the problem from a different angle. The bezel while broken still had enough of the ring and thread intact and simply needed gluing back together. However it would not have been strong long term. What it needed was an outer strengthening ring.
Fusion 360 called and the Sindoh 3D printer. A ring was designed and printed (20 minutes) and the bezel strengthened and made good. I also printed three more rings and put these around the remaining three switch bezels as a preventative action should they also weaken and crack.
A simple, low cost and effective solution with the added benefit of reduced downtime in the future. But the point is that it wasn’t the first solution I was considering correct though it might have been.
3D printing is such a useful resource to have available but you need to think outside of your normal approach to a problem to realise its potential.
Sorry that wasn’t mega interesting but I thought it worth sharing …