Don’t Tune Your 3D Printer To Middle ‘C’ After All

Layer shift caused by the belt being way too loose.

3D printer belt tension seems like a simple thing to deal with — you set the tension and then check it’s good now and then. If it gets really loose, then the teeth can slip and you’ll get some shifts in the print, ruining it, but its an easy fix. But, we hear you ask, how do you determine what the correct tension is? Well, here’s [Lost in Tech] with a video showing some measurement techniques and analysis of a typical 3D printer, (video, embedded below) using nothing more special than a set of luggage scales. A simple theory suggested was that a tighter belt tension would result in increased radial load on the stepper motor bearings, which in turn, due to friction, would result in an increase in temperature of the motor.  After setting a few tension values on one of the belts, it was noted that tension values at the upper end of the range, resulted in a measured increased in temperature of two degrees celcius, and a large increase in noise. This can’t be good for the motor.

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The Best Part Of Waking Up Just Got Better

If you ask us, one of life’s greatest pleasures is sitting down with a nice, hot cup of something of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Of course, the best part of this ritual is when the beverage has cooled enough to reach that short window of optimal drinking temperature.

Often times the unthinkable happens—we sip too early and get burned, or else become distracted by watching cat videos reading our colleagues’ Hackaday posts and miss the window altogether. What’s to be done? Something we wish we’d thought of: using the beverage’s heat to cool itself by way of thermal dynamics. For [Scott Clandinin]’s entry into the 2018 Hackaday Prize, he hopes to harness enough heat energy from the beverage to power a fan that will blow across the top of the mug.

[Scott] enlisted a friend to smith a thick copper slab in a right angle formation. The gentle curve of the vertical side pulls heat from the ceramic mug and transfers it to the heat sink of a CPU cooler. Then it’s just a matter of stepping up the voltage produced by the thermoelectric generator with a boost converter. Once he’s got this dialed in, he’d like to power it with supercaps and add a temp sensor and a microcontroller to alert him that his moment of zen is imminent. We’ll drink to that!