Manual Mesh Bed Levelling For 3D Printers

In 3D printing, we often talk about leveling the print bed, although that’s not an accurate term. A bed that is level in our terms presents a flat surface that is parallel to the path of the print head, but within reason we care little about that. Instead we care more about it being parallel to the path of the head than it being perfectly flat. If we had a perfectly flat bed — say a sheet of glass — you’d think it might be pretty easy, but for some other materials it could be convex or concave or even have ripples all over the place. [Teaching Tech] shows you how to manually “level” the bed using a mesh but without using an automatic sensor. You can see the technique in the video below.

When you use adjustments to level the bed, you are tramming it, but only the very pedantic use that term for fine adjustment. But no amount of adjusting bed springs will get rid of bulges and ripples. A common solution is to use a sensor to measure the distance to the bed and form a mesh correction. Then, as the printer head moves in the XY plane, the software will adjust the Z-axis to rise over bumps and go down if there is a concave portion of the bed. What [Teaching Tech] is doing, however, is a manual mapping. You won’t need to add a sensor to your printer to take advantage of the method. 

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Multi Material 3D Printing Makes Soft Robot

When you zoom in on a fractal you find it is made of more fractals. Perhaps that helped inspire the Harvard 3D printers that have various arrays of mixing nozzles. In the video below you can see some of the interesting things you can do with an array of mixing nozzles. The coolest, we think, is a little multi-legged robot that uses vacuum to ambulate across the bench. The paper, however, is behind a paywall.

There are really two ideas here. Mixing nozzles are nothing new. Usually, you use them to mimic a printer with two hot ends. That is, you print one material at a time and purge the old filament out when switching to the new filament. This is often simpler than using two heads because with a two head arrangement, both the heads have to be at the same height, you must know the precise offset between the heads, and you generally lose some print space since the right head can’t cross the left head and vice versa. Add more heads, and you multiply those problems. We’ve also seen mixing nozzles provide different colors.

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A 3D Printer Scratch Built For Your Viewing Pleasure

Today it’s almost always cheaper to buy an imported 3D printer kit than it is to source your own parts and build one yourself. But that doesn’t stop people from doing it anyway. Whether they’re looking for something a bit more solid, or just want to do things their own way, there are still valid reasons to design and build your own machine. Luckily for us in the audience, [Rob Mech] decided to document the build of his custom “LayerFused C201” printer on his YouTube Channel.

If you’ve ever dreamed of taking the plunge and building a 3D printer exactly the way you want, but were never able to manage the time, this seven video series might be the next best thing. Each video takes you through a different step of the construction, from building the frame out of aluminum extrusion all the way to wiring up the endstop switches and the 32-bit SKR v1.3 controller. There’s even a video that introduces the viewer to the concept of a “Frankenstein” printer that uses cobbled together parts just long enough to produce its own final components.

All told, [Rob] says the Bill of Materials for the LayerFused C201 comes to at least $200, but that’s going to take shopping around for the lowest possible prices and potentially even salvaging some components from other machines and projects. Like we said, building a cheap printer is absolutely not the goal here; it’s all about building a printer you want to use. Continue reading “A 3D Printer Scratch Built For Your Viewing Pleasure”

How To 3D Print Your Identical Twin

It’s possible to have an enjoyable weekend touring a city with a stolen cardboard cutout from some advertising display or other. However, it’s 2019, and 3D printing means you can go so much further. [Simon] of RCLifeOn went so far as to print a lifesized body double of himself, and it’s only slightly creepy! (Video, embedded below.)

The model was sourced from a 3D scan [Simon] had done with commercial hardware. An Optimus P1 industrial-grade 3D printer was used to print the parts, with total printing time being around 200 hours. Adhesive was used to join the various segments together, and the assembly was then sanded and primed, ready for paint.

Unwilling to tackle the task alone, [Simon] enlisted a professional painter to help put the finishing touches on the piece. The end result is impressive, particularly from a distance. [Simon 2.0] was then sent out to the city centre, aiming to raise money from bewildered passers by.

We suspect the market for custom body doubles will only increase as the technology to create them becomes more widespread. If you’ve tackled a similar project, be sure to let us know. Video after the break.

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University Makes Bulletproof 3D Prints

Researchers at Rice University are studying 3D printing plastic structures that mimic tubulanes — theoretical nanotube structures predicted to have extraordinary strength. The result has been very strong and very compressible structures that can actually resist bullets.

As an experiment, the researchers fired projectiles at 5.8 km/s at a block of plastic and at a block of simulated tubulanes. The structure of the tubulane block stopped the bullet at the second layer with no significant structural damage beyond the second layer. The reference block had a large hole and cracks throughout its volume.

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Fail Of The Week: The 3D Printer Nozzle Wipe That Won’t

Some of you will be familiar with the idea of using a brush as a nozzle wipe on a 3D printer. The idea is that passing the hot end over the brush cleans any stray plastic from the nozzle, ensuring that those plastic bits don’t end up in unwelcome places. [Mark Rehorst] attempted to implement a nozzle brush system in his own printer, but hasn’t so far been successful.

One of the things [Mark] makes is 3D printed lamp shades and this led to his experiments in setting up an automatic nozzle cleaner. Despite best efforts, the hot ends of 3D printers can occasionally accumulate bits of molten plastic which can sometimes end up deposited on the print. Because the lamp shades are so thin and so big, having a charred blob end up on the print is pretty unwelcome. Having the nozzle automatically wiped clean would be a very handy feature, but is proving to be a troublesome one.

[Mark] based his design on a small, dense wire brush used for cleaning the print nozzle of a Stratasys printer. Sadly, he found no combination of motion or brush height that got the nozzle reliably clean every time. Sometimes a blob would be dislodged, but the hot end would pick it back up again on subsequent passes. You can see it in slow motion from a variety of angles in the video below.

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SiCK Mechanical Keyboard Is 3D Printed

We’ve noticed a rash of builds of [ FedorSosnin’s] do-it-yourself 3D-printed mechanical keyboard, SiCK-68 lately. The cost is pretty low — SiCK stands for Super, Inexpensive, Cheap, Keyboard. According to the bill of materials, the original cost about $50. Of course, that doesn’t include the cost of the 3D printer and soldering gear, but who doesn’t have all that already?

The brains behind this is a Teensy that scans the hand-wired key matrix. So the only electronics here are the switches, each with a companion diode, and the Teensy. The EasyAVR software does all the logical work both as firmware and a configuration GUI.

If you look at the many different builds, each has its own character. Yet they look overwhelmingly professional — like something you might buy at a store. This is the kind of project that would have been extremely difficult to pull off a decade ago. You could build the keyboard, of course, but making it look like a finished product was beyond most of us unless we were willing to make enough copies to justify having special tooling made to mold the cases.

PCBs are cheap now and we might be tempted to use one here. There are quite a few methods for using a 3D printer to create a board, so that would be another option. The hand wiring seems like it would be a drag, although manageable. If you need wiring inspiration, we can help.

For ultimate geek cred, combine this with Ploopy.