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.



  1. Hi Rich,
    nice prints, as usual. But i'd really recommend Marlin for you! The perimeters turn out much smoother where the faces meet on the round parts (tentacle, nautilus), your printer will also shake a lot less because of the lookahead-acceleration.


  2. Hi Tom,
    Thanks, it's been on my list to try out for a while now, has it got SDCARD support yet?

    I will be changing over my hot-end shortly so that could be a good time to try Marlin, I'll post how I get on with it.



  3. Hi Rich,

    SD support is there, i've never used it though.


  4. Hi Tom,

    I tested Marlin last night, it works well and the SDcard support operates in exactly the same way as Sprinter so that's a big bonus.
    My machine is now much smoother and sounds nice again, you can actually hear the acceleration - much less shake rattle and roll
    I only did a quick 80mm/sec print, but I can see the difference using identical Gcode with Sprinter v Marlin.

    The Extruder speed is much slower than with Sprinter, it's a slow toggle causing a small pause so I'll check that out tonight, I expect it's just a max acceleration value somewhere in the firmware lower than in my Sprinter FW.

    I will do some compare prints and times and maybe print another nautilus as a real test.

    Thanks for the nudge, I'm already glad to experiment with Marlin.

  5. Well, what can I say? AWESOME JOB! :)
    That brain was really shocking! Keep up the good work.

  6. Hi and Thanks.

    The brain is a really interesting print, I really like looking at it, but if you do print it, you also need to watch it print, quite amazing.




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