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Adventures in 3D printing

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:57 am
by Mark
I've finally given in to temptation and purchased a 3D printer. Why now? Well, I've seen the filament type printers, and never been very impressed with the finished results. You always seem to have ridges on the finish. Franks, it just wasn't good enough for what I want, which is printing figurines, the odd parts for a model, and other stuff that I don't need, but really really want. Nobody actually needs a Baby Yoda figurine, but everybody wants one!

So, thanks to Mustang's 3D printer thread, and Casper posting a link to the Elegoo Mars resin printer, I decided to buy one.

The resin 3D printers have some advantages, and some disadvantages. The clear advantage is the finished quality is superb! Almost no signs of the layers at all.
The downside is the relatively small pricing footprint. Roughly 2"x4" with a max height of 6". It's also messy to clean up the prints after printing, and they are printed inside a vat of resin.
They also seem more critical when it comes to supporting the model.

This is my new toy :D

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

It doesn't come with any resin, so you need to buy a bottle of resin or two. They come in 500g and 1kg in various colours. You also need 95% IPA for cleaning the prints. The printer comes with disposable gloves, face masks, paint strainers for straining the used resin back into the original bottles. You'll need more gloves and strainers, but there's enough to get you going. They say that the reason smells strongly, hence the masks. However, I can hardly smell it, and their masks look totally inappropriate anyway! The IPA for cleaning is a lot smellier!

They reckon you can be printing within 5 mins of unpacking the machine. Well, probably true if you know what you're doing. Ignoring the time to read the instructions, it took me about 15 mins to set up the machine, add the resin and hit print!

The machine comes with a USB stick with the slicer software and also a Rook, ready to print. 4.5 hours later, I ended up with these!

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

Once the printing is finished, you need to let them drip for a while, then clean them with IPA, then finally, post cure them. The resin is UV cured, and the machine doesn't completely cure it. It comes out feeling slightly tacky. Two options for curing. Either leave them in the sun for an hour or so, or get a UV nail varnish dryer. That does it in a few minutes.

My next trick was a tower of Pi paint brush holder. This took about 8 hours to print. Left overnight, then left during the day to drip. Awkward to get the excess resin off all the detail, but IPA and a toothbrush, and we're good! I'm seriously impressed with this!

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

So far, so good. The only down side I've noticed so far is the the bases of things aren't flat. They seem to curve slightly, and have a tiny wobble. Not good when you want something to be flat. So the next 'experiment' was to try printing a miniature figurine, one version tilted at an angle on supports, and one flat, but raised on supports.

This was the result.

ImageUntitled by Mark Wakelin, on Flickr

I do actually how what went wrong here. If you have a large surface area, like a base, there is quite a lot of suction when the build plate raises to print the next layer. I didn't have big enough supports, and the flat one broke the supports when trying to lift the model. The canted one has a much smaller print area as the base is sliced at an angle. I'll try that again later. Again, the detail is amazing, although you can see the lines on the canted base. They seem to show on a smooth, shallowly angled surface, if you look carefully.

More later. It get more interesting when things go wrong :lol:

Re: Adventures in 3D printing

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:57 am
by royjess
Very cool, I've been after a 3D Printer and been looking at one for the past few years. The only thing that's put me off is how do you program the machine to print off what you want? Especially when you want to design your own design. To me anything new with technology I do struggle with. :mrgreen:

You must do a 3D printer tuition thread

Re: Adventures in 3D printing

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:19 pm
by casper
Great to see you decided to get the Elegoo Mars Mark 8-) The brush pot and Rook look amazing, very impressed with the prints.
Wonder if the weight of the resin when fluid and the angle of the print could cause the piece to have a wobble :think:
Is the resin expensive and does the price go up for certain colours.

Re: Adventures in 3D printing

PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:35 pm
by Mark
It takes a lot of learning to design your own parts. You can get a free CAD programme for personal use, but they are not at all intuitive. I've downloaded a copy of Fusion 360, and so far I've learnt how to split a large part into smaller parts for printing. I will get to grips with making simple things to my own design, but not for a while!

Printing other peoples' creations is much easier. The only tricky part is working out where to put the supports. The printer can't print in mid-air, so overhangs need to have supports from the base.

The resin seems to be about £35/litre. However, unused resin is strained back into the bottle, so there is very little waste. The witches used about 50p worth of resin. The software with the printer lets you enter the cost of the resin and tells you the cost of the object to be printed.

I'll do a tutorial of the process, start to finish, but I'll take a while to work out what I'm doing first!!