Wednesday 21 December 2011

Twinkle twinkle little star - Christmas Glitter printing and more

Hello and Happy Christmas everyone.

As it's Christmas and we are all feeling festive I want to share some glitter printing with you, it's easy to do and you have at least two options to experiment with - 

Option 1 is the easy and less messy way, if you read the blog and want a simple option - The wonderful people at Faberdashery have used their magic alchemy skills and made a special and unique batch of PLA that has aluminium flakes embedded into it, (Galaxy Blue) giving really nice glittery prints.

Option 2 Uses raw glitter (+other things) it's a lot more messy but great fun and can give some really interesting results - see below.

It'll brighten up your prints and make someone's day special - I have experimented with both and you should have a go too, and if you think of anything else to embed into prints, do let me know.

This all started because my Little Girls asked if they could have some sparkle on their Holly Wands, I found a really easy way to get a nice and  interesting effect - 

Use Glitter! - All you need to do is sprinkle glitter over a hot bed, it will bond itself into the first print layer or more if you carry on sprinkling as it builds.

Sprinkle - not too much...
You can then sprinkle more as it builds.

Looks great with coloured glitter and clear PLA

Glitter was sprinkled over all the layers as they built-up so the stars ended up very shiny!

You can also embed other things in the printed layers, if they are thin enough they stay on the the bed where you place them - Here is a multicoloured object with glitter and Plastic Pearlescent Stars embedded in the first layer -

First layer down and second being printed.
The glitter and stars are well embedded in the first layer.

Printing with Faberdashery Galaxy Blue PLA

This stuff is great and makes the job so much easier - you use it just like normal PLA, here are some initial prints, I'm planning more objects using this plastic. Just imagine what a complete machine would look like in this.

All the prints below here were also some of my first experiments with Slic3r - an awesome Gcode generation program that deserves a big mention - Please Do try it out, it's coming along very nicely and Version 0.5.7 or higher Should be out now. The Author Alessandro Ranellucci ('Sound' on the RepRap Forum) is actively cracking on with development at a really great pace.
If nothing else it will save you time - The snowman below takes just under 2 mins for Skeinforge V45 to slice - Slic3r takes just 1.9 seconds on the same PC, it happens so fast, you initially think it must have failed.

Snowflake by JonMonaghan

Close up you can really see the extra twinkle.

I know he should be Snow White... but what a nice sparkle.

Snowman by ChristineBowyer

Alien Egg printed at 50% size for a challenge.

Alien Egg by WickedAndy

Close up of the Egg.

Christmas Tree by TopperDEL

Bonus Print - Shine-by-Day and Glow-by-Night
My monster GLOW-IN-THE-DARK spider - based on the printing plates by MakerBlock that was printed last month had the glitter treatment on one side when it was printed, as it is also Glow-in the dark, it glows by night and twinkles by day.

The glitter bonds perfectly and does not come off.

I had glitter all over the place by the end, watch out where your fans are pointing!

Have some fun with your printer and I hope you can bring yourself to buy some Sparkle PLA or even Raw glitter and give it a try for Christmas. (If you do, I'm not responsible for everything being covered in glitter !)

The glitter I used was normal kids stuff you can get everywhere (Quite large flakes), but I have seen some ultra-fine glitter used for Nail Art. If you search for Glitter dust all sorts of great colours come up - I'm going to get hold of some and see how that works - if anyone tries it or finds other things to bond into plastic, do let me know.

I must also just share a quick experiment I'm doing as I type this -

Chocolate snowflake molds! 100mm x 100mm x 15mm -  they are chilling at the moment so I'll let you know if they work.
I will pop some examples up on Thingiverse if they do work, I'm expecting to have to use the heated bed to help release the cooled chocolate... we will see.
I'm thinking they may also work for Ice cubes? - Make your whiskey more festive.

Not yet printed this tray design yet, but I added sloped sides.

More Christmas printed things on my Flickr pages here

Have a really great time everyone, and I'll see you all in the new year for more Reprapping fun.


Monday 14 November 2011

Thing-a-Day-Part2 - The Tricky stuff...

Part 2 of my Thing-A-Day quest - These get progressively more complicated and tricky.

Firstly one of my most favourite objects ever, and modelled so very well by tc_fea - the great Nautilus Shell 
I always planned to print a full shell so I simply scaled this print and made a mirror image for the other side.

I used the1.5mm version and scaled it by 2.5X so the shell walls ended up about 4mm think, good for support, but made this a long print (about 3 hours). My files for both larger halves can be found here.

For a test, I printed one half with the external fan and the other without, it didn't make a huge difference to the outside surface with this print, but the final overhang section was much better internally when using the fan.

Then I could put if off no longer, I had to print the Purple Tentacle! by Bluemetal but I wanted it bigger, so my version is sliced in two, scaled and printed BIG. 
This used the fan to blow gently across the hollow print
He is also filled with some beads and makes a great sound.

After the Tentacle came the Hollow Halloween Pumpkin by Kaetemi printed as a challenge in our local reprap meetup in October.
This was printed with just 1% infill for speed and an experiment to see if 1% works. Using a small fan blowing across it printed reasonably well and the low infill % had a nice side effect of glowing with a light on the base.

It has a fault line on the lower half, this was where the orange filament ran out and I had to run across the room and stuff in more without stopping.

After printing the original I uploaded a mega pumpkin challenge (maybe for next year) you may need a whole team to print it all. Please let me know if you attempt it!

Next I wanted to try something really complicated, so I was searching Thingiverse for organic shapes and 'tricky' things, I found a few Brians and selected this one as it looked most detailed and complete.

Human Brain by jmil

I sliced it in half so I could get a nice flat surface and also so it would fit on the machine, this was the most complicated thing my machine has printed so far.

Base of the brain.

Top of the brain.

Skeinforge spent many hours slicing the model and at just 8% infill each half took over 9 hours to print. It has so much detail, much you can't see as it's deep in the folds and cavities, no picture can do this one justice, but here it is assembled -The Gcode for each half is around 30MB, (using small Gcode output) that's a LOT of machine moves!

That's the closest I ever want to get to a real brain.
It even looks a little wet and 'brainie' with a close-up.
I love the fact it was imaged by MRI slicing and then assembled into a highly detailed 3D object, and we print it in slices again on a 3D printer. I can't imagine any other fabrication method could make this object as well as a 3D printer.

So after all that printing I has a special request for  'Holly' Magic Wand from my little girl, the files can be found on Thingiverse Here  'Holly' magic star wand - pencil topper by RichRap

The design spec - 
Daddy, Can you make me a 'holly wand'? and I want it to tinkle, and glow and look really nice, and be Purple and Pink. Thanks.

The design was done in Sketchup, some are glow-in-the dark, some have clear backs so you can see the internal letter and some are filled for a mix of glowing, rattling/tinkling joy. - this should be a perfect stocking filler, so get printing now!

Filled with stars, slices of filament or Hama Beads.

Bonus Print - (For Halloween). Glow-by-Night
A monster GLOW-IN-THE-DARK spider - based on the printing plates by MakerBlock
My version was scaled up to just under 2 x the normal size.

Lots of Glow!
Quite a few parts to this spider

And he is really BIG!

And a video showing some of the prints (Hi-Def here on Youtube) or below - 

I really enjoyed doing Thing-A-Day, and I found out new things and new print effects.

There is a little more to this story but I'll save that for another day and another post.

I printed all the things in Thing-A-Day without a single change to my filament size in Skeinforge due to the Faberdashery PLA I'm using being so well dimensionally controlled, I never need to think, is it different? If you swap over filament colours quite a lot and want to use the same Gcode then having the same filament dimensions from batch to batch and order to order is really quite important. I can't recommend this stuff highly enough, it's excellent.

I now have loads more things on my list to print for the future, here is a small collection that caught my eye as I was browsing thingiverse last month, take a look at these below for inspiration and wonderment - 

spinnyJiggyVase by mannytan - Looks insane, one I'll want to watch printing.

Maraca Traditional - 2 Piece by beekeeper - useful and fun.

The OpenSCAD Pirate Ship by MakerBlock  - print without support?

Mechanical Animals by sconine - these are just great on so many levels.

Jack in the box by Sublime - this is looking great, must print some of these with various things inside.

Spiral Lightbulb Sculpture by benglish - must try this without support.

Devilhead 2.0 by yzorg - Wow! Print blood red or Glow-in-the-dark

And when I get my build height back, plenty more of the excelent basic receptacles by MakeALot

Do have some fun with your printer.

Thanks for reading, until next time.