Time for another project!

Hey everyone!  wanted to do a post and update on the latest project I’ve been working on!  I’m creating a shift knob for my car (manual transmission) that is custom molded to my grip!  You might ask yourself “but how does this involve 3d printing?”.  My answer for you is “trust me, it does :P”.  In order to get the custom shift knob, here’s the process I am currently going through:

1.) Mold the general shape out of PlayDough
2.) Grip the PlayDough the way I normally would my shifter
3.) 3d scan the PlayDough knob
4.) 3d print the stl generated by the scan
5.) test for fit
6.) make a silicone mold from the 3d printed knob
7.) cast the mold in resin so the resulting knob is a cool color and solid plastic
8.) sand the resin cast starting at 120 grit sandpaper and working my way up to 400 grit
9.) apply 2 coats of polyurethane to make the shifter glossy!
10.) my shifter uses a M12x1.25 thread, so drill a hole in the bottom of the shifter and tap that hold with the correct threads.
11.) screw shift knob onto shaft in car and enjoy!

Steps 1-5 went off without a hitch, and the print came out perfectly and fit my hand like a glove!  I learned real quick from other projects, though, that I’m allergic to resin…. it makes my face swell really badly :(.  So I enlisted the help of a good friend for steps 6 and 7.

After I had finished sanding, the surface was very smooth, but it wasn’t as shiny as I would have wanted, so another friend suggested step 9, and it turned out incredible (see below pic)

I still have to complete steps 10 and 11, so stay tuned for more updates and more pics!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

The start of a project!

So, one project I’ve been wanting to do is print a vase that I cadded a while back!  Sorry it took me a little while to blog about it, but I needed to find a continuous 28-hour period for it to print (since that’s how long it’s going to take haha).  I tried to print it once, but my previous simplify3d settings weren’t as good as the ones I have now!  To show the difference:


The red print is the newest attempt, and the white print is the older attempt with the old settings!  Just from looking at the picture, you can see a very marked difference.  The white print has some gaps and extrusion issues, while the red print is incredibly smooth!  Having a printer perfectly dialed in makes for gorgeous prints.  Furthermore, when you see the inside of the vase, it doesn’t have any stringing at all, which means I have my retraction settings perfect as well!


The only reason I stopped before the vase was complete is because the power in my apartment went out for a period of time, causing the print to fail.  So, lesson learned, always have battery backup!  I will try to print the full vase again soon, so stay tuned!


John (aka The Mad Printer)

Support works now!

I tried a print that was mostly support: a light switch plate with integrated hooks on it!  normally, you would say “why would a flat plate need support?”  Well, the hooks on the switch plate cover needed support.  And the switch plate was scalloped in a little bit, requiring the entire plate to need support underneath it.  Honestly, it’s probably just easier to show you guys pictures, so here you go!


So, now you can see why the print needed support!  It turned out super well!  The surface finish was better than I’ve had before, and the support peeled off cleanly!


And here’s the switch plate hanging on my wall and in use:


Stay tuned for some more projects, now that I can print things with support!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

Sorry for the delay but…

I’ve been hard at work getting support settings for the Hyrel just right!  I didn’t want to post pictures until I had something good to share, so here it is… Support material seems to work!  I printed 2 fidget spinners, one with support, and one without support, and here are the results:


The one with support is on the right.  You can definitely see how the one without support (left) drooped and had a very poor surface finish.  The other awesome thing is that the support came off cleanly and very easily!  The next step is to do something big with support and see if it works!  I’m planning on this light switch cover with hooks coming out of the bottom of it:


Will report back once it has printed!

John (aka The Mad Printer)


Finally, the .35mm nozzle has been unclogged, the settings adjusted, and perfect prints are finally happening!  For example, here’s the latest print I did.  It’s a small vase, and there are no surface blips, stringing, or lumpy walls!!35mm35mm2.jpg

There is one last hurdle I have to tackle now: supports.  Then Simplify3D will be perfect on the Hyrel!  Stay tuned for finishing up supports!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

Size does matter

So, I realized something…. I noticed that the Hyrel head wasn’t performing quite the same way on small details on some of my prints that some of my other printers did.  I realized that the biggest reason for this was a difference in nozzle size.  My Hyrel head had a .5mm nozzle mounted on it!  While I was definitely able to tweak settings to remove the layer gaps and underextrusion (turns out I had some further parameters to specify on my M721 and M722 instructions!), a support distance from the part of .1mm was too close (the support stuck to the part).  Also, some of the finer details didn’t have a nice surface finish and looked rather coarse.  I realized that my other printers had a .4mm nozzle instead of a .5, so I’m working to change that!

Had some problems with the .35mm nozzle that Hyrel has though: it clogged pretty fast!  I’m not sure whether I was trying to extrude too much plastic for a given pulse of the stepper motor or not, but my plan is to unclog it and try again!  Stay tuned.  I’m hoping that this will make my prints look a lot nicer!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

Too Much Retraction isn’t good

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the extreme delay between blog posts, but I’ve been having to deal with life a lot more than normal.  Anyways, I tried printing a few more things with my current Simplify3d settings, and I realized my retraction settings weren’t quite correct.  I was getting some gaps in my sidewalls.  I realized that this was due to me having 3 unprime instructions and only 1 prime instruction.  The next experiments with Simplify3d will be 2 things:

1.) adding another prime instruction to hopefully get rid of the gaps in the sidewalls of the print.

2.) refining support material settings to the point where they actually work well.

Hopefully I can get this soon!  Stay tuned

John (aka The Mad Printer)