Monday, July 28, 2014

Thingiverse Prints

Looking for fun and useful things to print, I went to Thingiverse.  Found several files for iPhone bike mounts, from which I chose this one:

My first try for this was printed horizontally, and ended up as a support material disaster.  Way too much of it, and way to hard to remove.  It did motivate me to investigate the Skeinforge slicer settings, however.  The Repetier Host "Help" wasn't particularly helpful at all, but I did eventually find this page with decent explanations of what the myriad options actually do.

I ended up going to Craft->Raft and changing "Support Flow Rate" from 1.0 to 0.7.  This should mean thinner support material that is easier to remove.  I also tried printing vertically, with both exterior and interior support.

Much less material this way, and it came off pretty easily.  One of the interesting things about this print was that the overhang on the bridge-shaped part that fits over the handle bar came out pretty well without any real support. A few threads of filament sagged significantly, but the print recovered and by the time it reached the top you would never have known there was a problem.  The surfaces where I had to remove the support material do look a bit rough, though.  Maybe time to switch to ABS and try sanding or acetone to get a nicer finish.

When I went to mount this on my bike, I found I didn't have the right size zip ties handy.  That got me to thinking: maybe I could print zip ties.  Turns out you can find zip tie designs on Thingiverse, but they don't print well in PLA, as it is too brittle.  My test print worked, but promptly broke after a little bending.  Maybe I'll get some Ninjaflex and try again.

Another thing I found on Thingiverse was a design for a baseball stand.  Kai (my son) had brought back some souvenir baseballs from his trip back east to visit his grandmother, so I thought I could print him out something personalized to put them on.  Unfortunately the thingiverse contributor did not upload the CAD source files, so I had to redesign the stand from scratch in order to customize the text.  

This ended up being surprisingly easy, taking only 6 lines of code (counting by semicolons):


cylinder(h=10, r=25,$fa=3);
cylinder(h=10, r=20);
writecube("Orioles",[0,0,0],[40, 30, 10],face="top", t=8,h=7);
writecylinder("Camden Yards Summer 2014",[0,0,0],25,25,center=true,west=180);

Printed one for Camden Yards, and two for Fenway Park:

One more Thingiverse print, made for my daughter.  Took this arm band to work to show off, and everyone thought it was way cool, especially that the whole thing was printed as one interlocking piece.  Check out the instructable video.