Re: 3D Printing

Jim Sheldon
 

I have, and use, two 3D printers.  One is a Snapmaker 1 has a small printable area 4.9 x 4.9 x 4.9 inch cube and it's very expensive, over $600 but it does come with a laser engraving head and a CNC carving head for wood, plastic and phenolic substrate PC board material.  Easy to set up, easy to get running and holds it's settings well.  My wife got this one for my 77th birthday and when I decided I needed something else to print larger stuff, she let me get a Creality Ender 3.  I got my Ender 3 from Amazon when they had it as the "Genuine Creality Ender 3-X" with a glass printing bed and the latest firmware already loaded it.  

The Ender 3 (if you get a genuine Creality one not a knock-off) is not too difficult to assemble and set up.  Once you have it running, I'd get the Ultimaker Cura slicer and configure it for the Ender.  Works a whole lot better than the Creality slicer and allows a lot finer settings for the various materials.

I started out printing things I downloaded off thingiverse.com and thanks to one of our 4 state members, I got started with Autodesk's "Fusion 360" 3D CAD program.  I'm still a novice at both 3D printing and 3D CAD, but I am making progress.  I designed, printed, and published on thingiverse a case for Pacific Antenna's 41dB step attenuator kit.  Took a while and I still don't have the design perfect, but it prints well and works to protect the open PC board from clipped leads and fingers when used to attenuate up to 5 watts of transmitter power (this might cause a light RF burn if you touched the right point in the circuit).  Better safe than sorry - LOL.

I also ordered a set of ball end hex drivers (Allen wrenches with screwdriver type handles) in the sizes used for the Ender & Snapmaker's screws.  Needing a tool holder to keep them organized on the work table, I put Fusion 360 to work and designed a nice stand with places to insert the handles.  I also used the print text feature of Fusion and labeled each of the storage positions with the proper size markings for the hex driver that fits in that hole.  It's printing as I write this.  Because of the size, it's about a 6.5-7 hour print.   I started it at 12:45 this afternoon, it's 2:45 now and the Ender's control display shows it about 20 percent complete after 2 hours and 5 minutes of printing.  I've learned a few tricks with the Cura slicer and have it set to stop and call for a filament change at the start of the raised lettering so I can switch the filament color from green (tool holder itself) to do the raised lettering on the top surface in black.  The ender has a very loud Piezo alarm buzzer and once the filament change is called for, it literally screams at you so kind of hard to miss from anywhere in the vicinity of the work room - LOL.

Jim, W0EB

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