New favorite test object?

The low profile whistle.

Not sure if it came out well?  If it whistles, it came out fine.  If it doesn’t, you need to tweak the profile more.  That’s a crazy dead simple non-subjective litmus test.  It’s a big-ish file, clocking in at 14 minutes, but this is for the “large” whistle.  I need to download the SCAD file and try out one of the small whistles.

One other decent possibility

A coat hook.

The thing I like about “samples” is that they can actually be useful.  So, a whistle, a bottle opener, a coat hook – these are all things that people could examine and then actually use.  That way, their utility lives beyond simply being examined once as a curiosity – they become a thing that has realized its potential.

What’s the best MakerBot sample you can think of?

Okay, what’s the best thing you can think of that exhibits the possibilities of a MakerBot or RepRap? 12 If y0u’re going for something that shows off the utilitarian potential, then a bottle opener or thin profile whistle might be it.  If you’re going for something that shows off what you can achieve with just printed parts – a Leonardo Robot or Rubik’s cube clone.  And, if you’re going for something that shows off the precision and detail that is possible, it’s got to be a Pink Panther Lady.345

When judging such things heavily weighted by print time, I suspect the thin profile whistle might be one of the best options.

What do you think?

  1. Yes, I know I ended the subject of this post with a preposition, but what the heck.  The first amendment protects “free speech” not just “correct grammar.” []
  2. Amiright or amiright? []
  3. And, really a bottle-opening-pink-panther-whistle-lady-that-transforms-into-a-dinosaur-and-voltron that shoots open-source-lazzors might just be the ultimate thing to print ever. []
  4. Mind, it should shoot lazzors, not lazzor beams. []
  5. Remember kids, lazzor beams can be dangerous. []

Time? What time do you think we have?

The hours grow short until Botacon Zero.

I am determined to have a fully printed chess set before Botacon so that I can play12 at least one game.  I’ve been tracking my heat/speed/etc settings in PLA but it is a time consuming process.  It just holds its heat so long that small lower layers stay molten and gooey too long.  The only reasonable option that I can foresee is dialing in my settings for PLA so that it prints at slightly cooler temperatures and far more slowly than I am printing right now.  However, between work, blogging, holidays, and other sundry obligations I don’t think I’m going to have time to fully dial in my MakerBot for printing small parts in PLA.

I spent most of my free time this weekend cranking out parts.  I printed up two more key fobs, all the non-pawn pieces for the second half of the chess set, and a really large number of experiments/tests/proofs of concept/nascent ideas.

PLA, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, has been a lot of fun.  I get to run a robot making things, mostly toys or toy components, that smells like cotton candy, without warping.  The downside, as I’ve mentioned above, is that it doesn’t work nearly as well for small parts.  Last night I printed the tallest objects I’ve ever attempted – a 10cm cylinder and another 10cm model. 3

This is the long way of saying…  I’m bringing a printed chess set to Botacon.  The clear PLA side may be droopy and melty looking, but by god you’ll see it there.  I’ve actually got way more than enough melty looking pawns to call this set done. 4  I’ll probably just come back and print the clear pieces again once I get PLA dialed in. 5

  1. And, by play, I mean lose graciously. []
  2. And, by graciously, I mean to say that upon not winning I will smash every piece to bits and yell something along the lines of “I MADE YOU!!!  WHY WILL YOU NOT DO MY BIDDING AND STRIKE HIM DOWN!?!” []
  3. I’ll upload it shortly. []
  4. So, maybe I am? []
  5. If that happens []

Would you be interested in some free MakerBot prints?

I have this pile of printed PLA pawns I’m not going to be using any time soon.  They’re of varying quality and interesting-ness.  If you’ve always wanted a MakerBot printed part but thought they were just too unattainable, now’s your chance!

I’m going to be at the East Bay Mini-MakerFaire this Sunday just walking around with my family.  If you’re going to be there too, drop me a line or leave a comment and I’ll bring a spare piece for you.  I’ll have at least nine pieces to give away.  (More if I try a few new settings.)  If you’re the only one to respond, you get all nine.  :)

Chess set update – 1/2 complete

I finished printing 16 pieces in black ABS.

I’m experimenting with the Skeinforge settings for clear PLA again before I move on to the remaining pieces.

Sonic Screwdriver – first draft

Sonic screwdriver, first draft

Sonic screwdriver, first draft

To the right is a first draft print of my latest designs for the sonic screwdriver.  It’s next to a USB cable for scale and perspective.  There are several things I need to fix:

  • It’s too small.  I was guesstimating the scale based upon the size of hand holding the sonic screwdriver in one of the photos I saw.
  • Too much warpage.  I need to build my heated build platform.  :)  I’ve got my SMT1 soldering Toolkit, now I just need a hotplate.
  • Better connectors.  The connectors I designed are adequate, but not that great.  They need to be much larger to ensure a proper grip between parts.
  • Fix a connector.  I have a hex connector on one piece and a 16-sided connector on another.  That’s not going to work.
  • Consider changing the fit.  Some parts have a 0.25mm clearance on all sides between the male and female connections.  Other parts have a 0.5mm clearance instead.  I tried both on different sections so I could test the fit.  The 0.25mm clearance on all sides is fine for some parts, but other parts could use a little more wiggle room.
  • Change the thickness.  My earlier draft was a whopping 0.5mm thick all around.  I printed these parts at varying thickness to test their durability, flexibility, conserve plastic, and maximize internal space for future electronics.  A 1mm thickness seems to be the most optimal mix.

I’ve posted my sonic screwdriver designs to Thingiverse for people to tinker with and, hopefully, improve.  I would sincerely appreciate any help anyone can provide when it comes to designing the upper half of the sonic screwdriver – especially the moving parts.

  1. surface mount technology []