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.