Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lessons Learned this year with the 3D printer...

Last may the school got a 3D printer.  We were all excited about the printers capability and for the most part have enjoyed it!  The students are creating various types of objects in classes.  We have created Roman architecture (Latin Classes) , plant and animal cells (7th grade Science), jewelry (8th grade Art) and demons (9th grade english).  The demons was my favorite this year.  They read the Screw Tape letters and had to design their own demon then write about why they designed it the way they did.

Anyway I have found that knowing the software can add supports is fantastic but MeshMixer is even better at cleaning up the 3D prints.  MeshMixer has allowed me to build supports that have less cleanup.  It also has imported easily into the software for the printer.   I also build the raft so that the prints are easy to remove, a pastry scraper has also been beneficial to lift the prints from the painters tape.  The painters tape is also a must in the room. Unbelievable the uses for painters tape.

I have come to hate rain and humidity.  I find the rainy days printing doesn't go well since the PLA doesn't like humidity. Also I have found that it takes a long time for items to print.  Students need to learn patience when printing.  They need to realize that it will take a long time for an item to print.  Our average prints have been 3 hours.

I have also figured out how to level the build plate takes practice that light amount of friction is hard to find.  There are tools out there that can help you get the right measurement.  But If you find someone who knows how to level the plate and ask them to let you run the paper through afterwards you can get the feel.  Once it is level and you don't really move the printer its good.

Don't worry about the mistakes.  There are lots of them and it is okay to have them.  I have many in my basket.  This happens as well as rafts.  I always use one so I can get the print off the bed easier.

This is my thought as a newbie just entering into the 3D printing territory.