4 November 2012

New things.

  • Filament from repraper.com is ok, though I've had better.
  • Don’t expect support from romscraj.com.
  • Slicer 0.7.1 creates more sturdy objects than the latest version.
  • If you want support done right you have to do it your self.

I have been to an eResearch conference at the Sydney masonic (conference) centre. It is a cool curvy concrete building with high ceilings, wood texture all over the surface of the walls as well as all the usual masonic symbols and shapes.

At the conference I meet the operator of the printers at Melbourne uni, and another printer enthusiast (American).  It was great to talk to both of them, the operator had an excited pragmatic view of the world while the American has waftty expectations that printing is going to revolutionise the world. Its fun to consider the future of printing but just easier to talk about what is really happening. I hope to stay in contact with both.

My new plastic was waiting for me when I got back! I ordered a number of coloured rolls of ABS and PLA, as well as glow in the dark, transparent and conductive ABS from repraper.com. All the filament looks and feels very nice. Not sure what I'm going to do with the conductive ABS.

After a couple attempts the black ABS printed a pretty good calibration pyramid (the best I’ve printed anyway), though it was very easy to break with my fingers. This is the first ABS I have printed at home. I’m hesitant to print anything too big as my extruder is all PLA. If the experience of MHV is anything to go by I may need to upgrade it to ABS to print ABS. Chicken and egg problem.

Objects printed with the black PLA also break, the layers split very easily. Part of the problem seems to be the plastic, and part is due to upgrading slicer. To try and get the PLA to stick to its self better, I kept increasing the temperature. 210 degrees seems ok.

I found an stl that did not slice correctly as it contained reversed triangles. I tried contacting the author of the stl at romscraj.com. They said they would look at it but then never got back to me even after asking nicely twice more. So don’t buy from them, or at least don’t expect any support if you do.

I found a newer version of slicer was available which could slice the problematic stl. It looks nicer with new configuration management features and inbuilt plating. However it does a second rate job of generating solid printed structures compared to the old version (0.7.1).

I have reverted to 0.7.1, and combined with using a higher temperature I can once again produce solid models. Catch is for another problem stl, version 0.7.1 just refuses to generate support. I tried printing with the latest version again it came out complete rubbish. Long story short I have created my own support zig zag using scad. This caused more problems. Exported stls from open scad where also bad, slicer would not create paths for ‘support width’ structures, and difficulties getting the support in the right spot. 

I found netfab can be downloaded free [if you look in the right spot] and can repair some stl problems automatically. Eventually I had to settle for 2 X ‘support width’, I assume it is something to do with slicer being able to travel the whole perimeter of objects. And, the best tool for combining stls was the dodgy plater that comes with printrun. It left objects at their original locations and would export the combined objects to a new stl.