Finally complete!

After 3 long weeks and many failures, the flower box is complete!


The biggest thing I learned from this was that sanding is so crucial.  Now that I have everything sanded correctly and the tolerances right, it moves flawlessly!  Everything except the base with the feet was printed on my Hyrel (don’t quite have support settings right yet on the hyrel…. hint… another post in the future will fix that!).  This was definitely one of the more complicated assemblies that I have put together, so it was nice to see it all work.  a tea candle will be able to sit right in the center hole and look gorgeous.

The wood-infused PLA is a cool material as well, because it looks just like real wood!  I ended up sanding, staining, and polyurethaning all the surfaces to give it a nice finished look, so I think it turned out pretty well!

The next post will be back to Hyrel and dual head configuration, so look forward to that!

John (aka The Mad Printer)


It’s still coming along

Hey everyone!  So the flower box is still taking shape since I had a few minor setbacks with it.  one huge thing I learned so far is the following: print plastic gears at 100% infill, especially in situations where they will be taking some stress!  I tried printing one with lesser infill, and the teeth snapped off.  Also, there is a track that the gears ride in in order to make the petals collapse back into a dome shape when you spin the center collar of the box..  That track is incredibly finicky.  If you don’t sand it enough, the gears mesh too tight and break the track, causing the whole thing to not work.  you can see some nicely shredded tracks in my 2 most recent failures pictured here haha:

trackyou can see that the chunks that were taken out of the topmost track are a lot less severe than those taken out of the bottom track.  That’s because the top most track had been sanded, while the bottom one had not!  However, I didn’t sand the top one enough, only taking off 1/100 of an inch.  It definitely worked much better than the bottom one, but it wasn’t as buttery smooth as in the original youtube video:

I think that’s because I have to sand even more!  I’m going to take 3/100 of an inch off now (3x as much as I took off previously and see if that helps the movement at all.  I also beefed the infill up on the track too!  With 100% infill, maybe the track will be a lot stronger and hold up a little better.  Maybe with all those modifications, I’ll finally have a working box!  Stay tuned.

John (aka the Mad Printer)

I haven’t forgotten!

Hey everyone,

Sorry it’s been longer than usual since I’ve posted, but the flower box that I started in the last post is taking shape!  Here’s a teaser photo:


When it’s finished, I’ll do a gigantic post about the completed box, how it works, and what the challenges and things I learned from the project are!

Stay Tuned,
John (aka The Mad Printer)

In the meantime….

I started trying to print with two Hyrel heads, but I realized one of the heads had a firmware issue (I was using a test head that had a different firmware version on it), so I have to take some time and install some new firmware on the second head!  Since that’s more of a weekend project, I’ll put that on hold right now in lieu of something else…. I’m doing another wood-infused PLA print, sand, stain, urethane, assemble project!  This time, it’s going to be the “flower box” from thingiverse: (video of how it works in the thingiverse link).

Second verse, same as the first :).  I have printed 4 of the petals and have sanded them to 400 grit.  I took a lesson away from the pen stand project: if you sand too fine, it shows scratches much easier.  So, in order to make it look and feel a little more like wood, I backed off on the grit a bit.  Here’s a picture of a sanded petal for the top of the box:


Versus what it looked like originally:


Definitely a big difference!  I have also applied one coat of stain to one side of each petal (having to wait for one side to dry before I can do the other side haha).  I learned something about staining from the pen stand project too!  If I apply with a sponge, it comes out too thick.  So, I applied with a rag this time and got a much nicer surface finish.

I’m currently in the process of printing and staining all the other parts, so stay tuned for more updates and pictures, as well as the working assembly sometime down the road!

John (aka the Mad Printer)

My Newest Project!

So, Hyrel printers can do some very advanced things that I haven’t played with yet, so that’ll be the next project!  Documenting my experiences with some of the advanced features of the Hyrel printer.  Hyrel printers can use up to 4 heads at once to mix and match different colors and materials!  I will be using two heads to demonstrate that process, since doing it with 2 heads seems a little easier for a beginner.

According to Hyrel, you can use the two heads to scaffold your way up to multi-color and multi-material prints.  Basically, you start learning how to level the two heads with respect to each other and how to set each head’s offset.  Then, once those are set, you start with doing a parallel print (i.e. printing the same GCODE with each head at the same time).  Once you get the parallel print working, then you step up to true two-head printing!

Two heads will also allow me to use dissolvable support material, thus eliminating any support material removal problems and allowing me to create more complex parts than normal!

This will open up a whole new set of projects I can do, so stay tuned for more updates!


John (aka The Mad Printer)

Sometimes simpler is better

The next project I have planned for my hyrel is going to take a really long time to print, so I’m planning on leaving that one for the weekend!  However, I did some work on my Kossel delta printer in the meantime.  I tried printing a bigger piece, and I realized that the bed of the printer wasn’t level, and no amount of auto leveling would fix it!  So what was the solution?  Washers.

I bought some washers and used them as spacers to jack the platform up!  very simple solution, and it actually worked!  Here’s what the printer bed looks like now:


Some sides of the plate needed two washers, while others only needed one, but it evened everything out for sure!  Now that I took care of the sticking issue, I noticed something else… it was failing part way up and extruding so stringy that it couldn’t build successive layers on top of each other… There are two things that I’m going to play with to test what’s going on:

1.) A higher feed rate or flow rate (or both!)

2.) A different filament holding system that offers less resistance

either one of those things could potentially be the problem, so we’ll see what fixes it!  I’m almost at the point of having another perfect printer now… just have a little bit more work to do, so stay tuned!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

GeckoTek3d HT Buildplate Review

So I realized very quickly that hairspray on the glass bed of my Hyrel usually provides incredible adhesion, but the part usually sticks so well that I have difficulty removing it.  Doing some research online, I found GeckoTek’s buildplate which is coated with a special surface that allows different materials (ABS, PLA, PET, etc) to stick very well.  However, with a small flex of the platform, the part is supposed to pop right off without much effort (!

That sounded incredible, so I worked with GeckoTek to test the plate on my Hyrel.  I can definitely say that it is an incredible build surface!  I did a test with two materials: Inland PLA and ProtoPasta Rustable Magnetic Iron PLA (click here for link).  I attempted two different test prints: this vase (pla) and this cute octopus (Magnetic Iron PLA).

The PLA vase finished, worked incredibly well, and left a nice glassy surface when removed from the bed like so:


The incredible thing was that, after leaving the finished print on the platform for 5 minutes or so, I was able to remove it by pushing it off with one finger!  It came off so easily that I didn’t even need to flex the plate to get it off.  Interestingly, the Magnetic Iron PLA was a little harder to remove, but still much much easier than removing it from hairsprayed glass.  The video below shows the removal:

Notice how glassy and incredible the bottom surface is at the end of the video!

Now for a few recommendations:
1.) GeckoTek recommends not squishing the filament into the platform and going
with a slightly higher calibration than normal
2.) GeckoTek also recommends cleaning the platform with isopropyl alcohol every 5
prints or so

However, with all that being said, it’s quite the buildplate!  And, of course, it doesn’t even need any prep to stick!  No hairspray, painters tape, glue, etc!!!  I will be using it as the main buildplate for my blog projects from now on, so I will continue to test its limits and will update if my review changes over time.  However, up to now, I am incredibly pleased!!

Stay tuned for the next project!

John (aka The Mad Printer)


More Kossel Fun!

So, I tried a bigger print on my delta printer than 3d benchy now, and I realized one corner was consistently warping off, no matter how I prepped the bed, while the rest of the print was looking beautiful.  My first thought was that it was out of level, so I ran the auto-leveling procedure and releveled it.  The exact same thing happened!  one side wasn’t sticking as well as the other side.  Realizing it wasn’t something I could correct in the software or by adding more glue to the bed, I looked at the plate itself, and realized that it wasn’t completely level.

That meant that I needed a way to manually level the plate!  I looked at some interesting spring leveling systems on Thingiverse, but the downside was that they would reduce the amount of usable height on the printer since they were fairly tall.  so I finally settled on jacking the one low side of the platform up with some washers.  I haven’t installed the washers yet, but that might require me to change a few things (namely getting some bigger screws for those sides of the bed to accommodate the washers).  That should get fixed soon, but I did realize one thing as I was going through this process: PET+ is an awesome filament!

I printed with PET+ and it flowed probably the best of any filament I have used with my delta printer, so that was the good part of this experiment!  Sorry this is a shorter post than most, but I will have big things happening soon (I’ll leave it a cliffhanger ending 😉 ).   Stay Tuned!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

Finally Done!

So I have finished the stool project!  After around 100+ hours of printing, gluing, etc, I have a completed 3d printed barstool:


It turned out really well, and I can actually sit on it and have it hold my weight.  There is one problem with it though….

It’s not very sturdy.  It twists left and right like so:

So, I’ll have to make some design modifications to get it to be more sturdy!  However, that shouldn’t be too bad.  On to the next thing!

John (aka The Mad Printer)