3D printing: 18 months after

3D printing: 18 months after

By 13/10/2015 3D printing, Maker No Comments

July 2013

When Edward Snajderat (@edinor) mentioned it at the OSCON conference in Portland, it was the first time I heard about 3D printing and the very first printer I saw: a RepRap. It was so amazing that I decided to buy one and explore the possibilities it seemed to promise.

October 2013

Source : https://www.flickr.com/photos/creative_tools/

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I conducted a rather long search before I ordered the Ultimaker 2. It was announced on September 20 of that year, and an endless queue of orders was already forming.

This printer is open source, precise, fully assembled, build in Europe, and good value for money. I had to wait until the beginning of January to find it on my doorstep. Imagine my excitement when I unwrapped my very first 3D printer, as if Santa Claus had just fallen a bit behind schedule.  

I tried it. I was delighted.

Inside the box was a small crumpled leaflet promoting a sort of club for 3D printers: 3DHubs. The goal is very simple: you may contact anyone owning a 3D printer at home to print your design.

At that time, 2,500 printers around the world were registered on 3DHubs. Thanks to this network, people can print anything, anywhere. I thought the idea was awesome, and I joined the community.

And after

I printed tons of objects from designed spoons, drone pieces, giant stamps, architectural objects, … It was a constant challenge to find the best way to print those things.

I solved wrapping problems using the brim feature and tried different tools: CuraMeshMixer for slicing STL files and Simplify3D, also an excellent tool.

I tested some beta filaments from Colorfabb, Proto-PastaUltimaker, Faberdashery, Laywood, Laybrick, etc.

3D scan with Skanect, printed with Colorfabb Bronzefill

3D scan with Skanect, printed with Colorfabb Bronzefill

However, I experienced troubles with residues from composite filaments. The atomic method was helpful but became inefficient once the nozzle got too old.

So I bought a new block with interchangeable heads from 3dSolex, which was the most awesome awesomeness I experienced.

Each type of filament has its own nozzle, and I had to change a lot of components because the heater and thermocouple got stuck. Still, I’m fully satisfied with my choice. Next step: add an alternative feeder as described by Robert L.  

Ultimaker 2 is a fantastic printer for every maker. If you add the interchangeable heads, alternative feeder and doodle 3D, you get an awesomely, perfectly pimped FDM printer.
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