The Longest Print…

Well, after a very busy week at work and elsewhere, I finally had the time to sit down and write a blog post!  This one (as the title suggests haha) is about the longest print I have ever done on the Hyrel, which I just completed.  I made a new cupholder assumbly for my car!

I was fairly happy with how it turned out!  It’s an absolutely gigantic piece that took up most of the Hyrel bed.  And, at 30% infill, it ended up being fairly heavy too.  I made the infill dense so that it would sit nicely in the place where the stock cupholder assembly normally goes.  The best part is, thanks to the gecko-tek plate I have, the bottom of the print came out nice and shiny!

If you’re thinking “hey, the surface finish of this 3d printed part looks a little different”, you would be correct!  I sanded it smooth to 1500 grit.  Sanding plastic was a very interesting process, compared with sanding the wood-infused filament I posted about a while ago.  The biggest difference is that, when you apply a power sander to it, plastic tends to heat up and melt instead of sanding well.

The melting of the plastic happened when I used a belt sander.  However, there’s always the right tool for the job!  As soon as I switched to an orbital sander, it worked like a charm without any melting!  I ended up being able to go all the way from 80 grit to 1500 grit with the orbital sander without issue.  The only thing I wish I had done was insert a few more top layers so that the bottom didn’t have that holey appearance.

However, I’m more than pleased with the fact that the Hyrel printer was such a trooper!  In order to print this cupholder, it took (drumroll please)……. 55 hours!

Hopefully I’ll get some time to start going on the kylo ren mask again, so stay tuned to find out what I post about next!

John (aka the Mad Printer)


It Works!!!

Well, after much tweaking, I finally got some amazing results with Simplify3d on my Hyrel!  In order to do that, I slowed printing speed down from 33mm/s to 25mm/s, and modified the GCODE a little bit since it wasn’t communicating everything it should when it changed layers!  Doing those two things resulted in the best surface finish I have ever seen from any printer I’ve worked with so far:simplifyCube.jpg

All the infill was rock solid and strong, and the surface looks great!!  nice and shiny on all sides.  After printing this cube, I decided to run the dragon with supports again.  And, low and behold, it came out very well!


The supports were nice and strong now, and they removed very easily, preserving all the detail of the dragon nicely!  Now comes the real test….. printing the Kylo Ren mask again!  Remember that project from several posts ago????  Now that I have good support material settings, it should be a lot easier to print (hopefully).  That will be the next project!  Stay tuned everyone!


John (aka the Mad Printer)

More Simplify3d Fun!

Well, I got a few things working very well in simplify3d!  Support material prints at the new, faster speed from last post, and I can now run prints that were directly generated from Simplify3d without having to manually edit GCODE!  Now that the basic functionality of Simplify3d works, it’s all about customization and refinement!

There are still a few problems with the way prints come out of Simplify3d:

  1. The infill is fairly weak.  In order to fix that, I’ve first tried to change the infill pattern to honeycomb instead of grid!  If that fails, the next step will be to reduce the printing speed.
  2. While support prints, it is fairly week and brushes off too easily.  To address this, I’ll increase the density of the support material.

There is an awesome plus side though!  The surface of the part looks pretty good.  Here’s a picture of what the most recent Stanford Dragon I printed looks like:


Until next time!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

I’m Back!!

Hey everyone,

Sorry for the super long delay!  Such are the trials and tribulations of moving apartments haha.  However, I do have good news!  Simplify3d works much better on the Hyrel now.  What was wrong, you might ask?  Well, it all stems from my GCODE being slightly off.

Hyrel was amazing about having me come to their facility and helping me refine the GCODE coming out of Simplify3d to the point where it works very well!  There were a few key problems that prevented things from working as well as they should:

  1. Simplify was putting T0, T1, T2, and T3 instructions where it should have been putting T10, T11, T12, and T13 instructions.  But just what are these random T numbers?  Well, they are the sections of GCODE (the underlying language that guides the stepper motors and movement on the Hyrel) that determine which head is currently active.  The 0, 1, 2, and 3 stand for the first, second, third, and fourth heads, respectively.  Also, the difference between 0, 1, 2, 3 and 10, 11, 12, 13 is the capturing of head offsets.  0, 1, 2, and 3 do not capture head offsets while 10, 11, 12, and 13 do (if my understanding is correct 😉 ).
  2. A few advanced GCODE options weren’t checked off, which was causing the printer to not adjust the rate at which plastic is pushed out when speeds changed.  That’s why I was previously only able to print at 12mm/s!  Now that those options are checked, my Hyrel is back up and printing 30mm/s like it should.
  3. When I inserted instructions to set print resolution on the layer change GCODE, it wasn’t automatically putting in the resolution in as it should.  I fixed that by hard coding a resolution.  Going forward, there will just be different recipes in Simplify for each resolution

Now that those have been fixed, there are still a few things I need to test before Simplify3d works perfectly.

  1. Support material at the new speed.  Since speeds have changed, I have to dial my support material in a little better!
  2. Right now, I am manually editing parts of the GCODE to make it print correctly.  I’m going to see if there’s some way I can insert those GCODE commands into the start GCODE so that they’ll be automatically taken care of.

Until next time!  Stay tuned

John (aka The Mad Printer)



Sorry for the delay in posting everyone!  I had to move apartments, and my 3d print room is still taken apart and out of commission.  I should be up and printing soon!  Stay tuned for more Hyrel goodness!


John (aka The Mad Printer)

Support Material (again)

These will be somewhat shorter posts, since iterating with support material settings doesn’t necessarily provide much in the way of text.  However, there will be quite a few pictures!  Support material in Slic3r was next to impossible to get right, so I thought I would switch to Simplify3d’s support material instead.  On the first try, it was almost perfect!dragon1

The support removed very well too!


The only thing that was problematic was I had to use a pair of pliers to really pull at the support to get it off.  It didn’t come off as easy as I had seen simplify support come off on other printers, which makes me think that I have some tweaking to do.  In order to make it easier to remove, I’m going to change the “Horizontal Offset from Part” setting to .5mm instead of .3mm and the “Upper Vertical Separation Layers” setting to 2 instead of 1.  Stay tuned for an analysis of whether that worked any better!


John (aka the Mad Printer)


When I last left off, I was going to try a slower speed as a way to get simplify3d prints to come out well, and, guess what!  It worked!!


I know it’s a cube, but the surface finish on the top and bottom looks great!  Even though I still have some adjustments to make to improve the side surface finish, it printed!  The infill was completely full and able to build on itself quite nicely without the weakness I mentioned earlier.  The interesting thing is that the Hyrel normally prints at 30mm/s.  In order to get a good print from Simplify3d, I had to slow it down to 12mm/s.  However, I should be able to increase the speed once Hyrel’s newest firmware is released!  You might say “wow, 12mm/s is slow”, but in my opinion, the slow speed is worth it for the improvement over Slic3r.  There are two next steps here:

1.) improve surface finish of sides of cube

2.) Try a support material print and start refining support settings within Simplify3d.

As I keep iterating on my settings, I will keep making posts!  Stay tuned

John (aka The Mad Printer)


Progress with Simplify3d

So I have made a bit of progress with getting Simplify3d working!  On the last print I showed you, the top and bottom layers that make up the bottom of the vase didn’t adhere to the perimeters well.  I could push on the bottom of the vase and it would just crack right out… But I fixed that by increasing the overlap with the perimeters!  Now the base is steady.

Having fixed that issue, I moved onto trying a print that had more infill. However, that didn’t work too well…. at 30mm/s the infill was not printing unbroken segments; it looked more like a dotted line than a solid line.  One potential solution is to print the infill much slower than 30mm/s, which I’m going to try for now!  The printer will currently print objects that have 100% infill fine, just not anything less than 100%, so stay tuned for better infill settings (hopefully)!

John (aka The Mad Printer)

A Better Idea

So, I was trying to work with Autodesk Meshmixer to generate support like I said in the last post, but it wasn’t producing support material that I was very happy with.  I realized that I was thinking about things all wrong; I was looking at Meshmixer as a way to fix Slic3r, when I realized I just need to figure out how to replace Slic3r all together!  One program that does both no support and support would be a much better alternative than one program that does no support and an external program to add support to an .stl file.  Enter Simplify3d!  From having used Simplify3d on other printers, I know that its support material is beautiful and comes off incredibly easily.

In order to transition my Hyrel to Simplify3d, I had to start from the ground up, creating a new printer in Simplify3d, specifying bed size, specifying extruder tool positions, etc.  However, once I tweaked some settings, I got a pretty decent print out!

However, there are a few things I don’t like about the print that will require tweaking.  The biggest example is the right picture above; the infill and top/bottom layers are really weak.  There’s not enough filament flowing when these layers are built.  So that will require some tweaking within the software to make them perfect!  However, for a first attempt, it’s not bad.

I know this print doesn’t have support material, but that’s because I wanted to get the basic settings correct first before I moved onto a more complicated support material print!  Stay tuned as I detail how I tweak my settings to get them perfect.

John (aka The Mad Printer)