Saturday, December 19, 2015

3D Printing Thoughts..

This is what I started in May of 2014 when we started with our Makerbot:

This year we got a Makerbot, and it has been my task to help teachers and students utilize the Makerbot within the classes.  So far the projects have had 7th grade Science design cells, Latin classes design Roman Buildings, 9th English classed design Demons based upon "The Screw Tape Letters".   In addition to fun items such as key chains and Yoda.  I  have worked using 123d Design, Tinkercad, Google Sketchup and 123d Creature.

I never published the post, have no idea why.  In fact I have a few on 3D printing started and never finished so as I head onto Xmas break where I can catch up on writing here are a few thoughts:

We now have two that run pretty consistently, and one that is in the process of getting fixed.  The lessons I have learned from this have been incredibly interesting.  In addition to the project above we have also had:

  • Third Grade Butterflies
  • Skulls of Day of the Dead
  • A Nativity Scene by 5th grade
  • Robotics Pieces
  • Biome Animals
  • 8th grade Jewelry

Off the top of my head that's what I can think of.  It has been crazy here working through the projects in the Makerspace.  But a few lessons I have learned:

  • 123D Sculpt (123d creature) exports really small, it's best to use MeshMixer to transform, make a solid and add supports
  • Replicator G takes a long time to run the code, and hasn't given me better results than MakerBot Driver settings.  MakerBot has also better their settings to be able to give more information to the prints.
  • When making figures that have detail it is best to use a slower speed than 90.  I have found 50 works better and smaller objects I go slower than that around 25 to get the details.  
  • When having kids export over the information it is best to have them also give you the stl file as well in case you have to go back in and make edits. 
  • The printers don't behave well all the time, but most of the time.
  • If you leave the PLA in the printer and it doesn't run for a day are two run the Load script before you unload.  I can get the unload to not jam as much.
  • Jams happen, spend time getting rid of them.  I use a needle and paperclips to help get a nozzle clean. 
The students are finally starting to come around and print.  I have had a few play with Tinkercad and print some items for parents which is fantastic. It has been a three year process but they are finally coming into the space to try the printers and other items we have.