Articles about 3D Printing

My experiments in 3D printing begain in February 2015 and this page pulls together some of my experiences building, configuring and using a 3D printer. You can see all my 3D related articles here.


Building a RichRap 3dr - Part 1 (My first journey into 3D printers)

I've recently got my hands on a 3DR 3D printer kit so I wanted to use a couple of posts documenting its build. I plumped for the 3DR as I had been after a 3D printer for a while but was concerned about having space to use it. When I saw the design of the 3DR, which is within a tall cylinder as opposed to the more traditional cube shape of the MakerBot I knew that this was the one that I had room for in the man cave.

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Building a RichRap 3dr - Part 2 - Swirling metal and sore fingers (And much more fiddly than I first thought)

As I write this I have spent around 5 hours I think building the printer - and I have completed the frame and the actuator - and my fingers don't want to see another hex key again for a few weeks. If I ever make another one of these I think I need to invest in a set of ball hex wrenches instead - as tightening the screws with the supplied keys and spanners was really fiddly.

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Building a RichRap 3dr - Part 3 - Assembling the frame (Now its beginning to look like it should)

The next job was getting the extrusion into the printed part - what I hadn't realised was that the parts tend to have a slight lip on the first layer - this made fitting the extrusion into the part problematic. In the end I used a emery board to give the hole a slight outward chamfer, then the extrusion fitted in perfectly. I'll learn to do this in my clean up from now on.

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Building a RichRap 3dr - Part 4 - Tying spectra line to the carriages (A really really fiddly bit!)

In this part I have to tie the spectra line to each of the linear bearing assemblies. I'm making a big thing about this being a fiddly bit as up until now, the only thing that has not been a fiddly bit has been assembling the idler bearings. I was concerned that RichRap described this as a fiddly bit. This probably meant it was going to be really difficult. I wasnt going to attempt this late at night or when I was tired.

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Building a RichRap 3dr - Part 5 - Wiring it all up and completing the build

The brains of my 3DR kit is an Arduino system, which has a piggyback board called RAMPS which has the motor controllers.

Each Servo on the RAMPS board has a ‘stepper stick’ which contains probably the components most likely to blow if something is configured wrong.

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Building a RichRap 3DR- Part 6 - Preparing to print (Thought you were nearly there?)

It was an exciting event when I powered up my new RichRap 3DR which I had built with myself. The fans started humming and the LCD screen lit up and started telling me things. The control knob on the screen seems to work OK - although there is a slight delay on the interface updating. Pressing in the control knob gives a select action and an annoyingly loud beep.

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Extending my RichRap 3DR (Heated beds, diagonal arms and power supplies)

I built my 3DR earlier in the year, and after using it for a while decided that I wanted to different filaments other than PLA.  I’d ordered several test filaments and a lot of these needed a heated bed to allow the first layer to stick.  So I decided that it would be an idea to add a bed to my printer which led to a series of upgrades that I hadn’t expected.  I'll document some of these steps in this post.

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Why does my Zhuhai CTC Prusa I3 make mirrored prints? (Maybe I set it up wrong)

Recently, I was able to buy one of these Prusa style 3D printers (Zhuhai CTC Prusa I3) at a really good price - around a third of the cost of my 3DR kit. It was advertised as a DIY kit, but some of the reviews mentioned that most of the assemblies and the hard construction were ready-assembled, so mostly you were putting together these. Once assembled, I had a issue with the prints it generated being mirror images of the 3D models I put into it. Read on to find out why this was, the mistakes I made, and what I needed to do to fix it. And how a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing...

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It's all about me...

I'm a 55 year old married father who works with websites for a living. Doing that for work means I dont often update this site, unless I can think of something useful to say. I mostly like taking photos - and most of my internet presence now will be related to that.

Something else?

Dont you find it ironic that people invest so much in bringing you to a website only to give you a list of links to take you elsewhere? So I'm not going to give you a list of my favourite haunts to send you away from this site.

(c) somewhere in space and time: M.Norman