Welcome

This page is about my interests, projects, and profession (technical artist in the video games industry).  Most of my hardware\software projects are coded in PythonProcessing, & Arduino.  I also enjoy 3d printing, you can find my designs for download over on Thingiverse.

Find Processing\Android\Python programs\apps I’ve developed via the above title bar.

I also maintain several wikis on Maya\Python\Pygame\Processing that I update far more often than this blog.  See them on their page.

All information on this site is copyright under the Apache Licence v2.0, unless otherwise noted.  Which means you can pretty much use the information here for whatever you like, but I always appreciate credit where applicable.

Have a look around.  Thanks for stopping by.

– Eric Pavey

Building the C-Bot 3D printer: Part 27 : First ‘really big’ print

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.


Emboldened by the success on my previous ‘big print‘, I thought I’d go for a ‘really big print':  Something that would really take up the whole build volume.  In Maya, I quickly modeled up a simple vase, sliced it in Simplify3D, and a few hours later, I had a… really big vase :)

Print specifics:

  • Size:  20″ tall, base diameter of 11″.  Could go an inch larger in each direction, but didn’t want to push it (yet).
  • Sliced in Simplify 3D, ‘vase mode': 1 shell (plus no floor or roof, its a tube)
  • Gray PLA
  • 500 micron layer height, 1.0mm E3D Volcano nozzle
  • 250 deg extruder temp, 50 deg bed
  • Print bed:  Glass, slathered with wood-glue/water mix.
  • Print speed:  45mm/sec
  • Total print time:  3 hours, 9 minutes.  Adding a floor would have definitely pushed the time up.

Learnings:

  • I’m happy with the print quality, but I can see where the neck narrows how the filament isn’t being cooled enough (gets slightly lumpier compared to the larger base):  I have a pair of 20cfm fans on order to see if this helps:  My current fans are around 4cfm each, which isn’t nearly enough considering this machine easily pushes out 3x the volume of material compared to my Replicator1, at a higher temp.  And the cooling fan I have on my Rep1 has around 8cfm.
  • Once I bolt the printer down to the table it’s on, it should help lessen the vibration that comes from all that moving mass up on top, and get better quality.  On the todo list…
  • Even though I have all my stepper voltages tuned in, my Bowden extruder stepper was still getting pretty warm after about an hour, so I pointed a fan at it.  Didn’t want a repeat of before

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.

C-Bot 3D Printer: Resource Page

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.


This page is a collection of resource for building my Core-XY C-Bot printer:  Electronics, hardware, software related.

Finished C-Bot!

Finished C-Bot!

OpenBuilds Links:

  • Main C-Bot page : Includes printed part picture links, and external 3d files that are needed (for the Bowden extruder, etc).
  • C-Bot Forum : Fantastic Resource
  • C-Bot File List : Original BOM, assembly guide, and all the stl’s to print.
  • Link to my BOM.  This is a modified version from the OpenBuilds page based on my specific needs.
    • Note when ordering the hardware:  Think about the overall color of the printer:  Many nuts and bolts can come in silver or black:  Do you care? Should they all be one or the other?  Worth considering.

Hardware:

Core-XY Mechanics Theory Link

To build the 12″ x12″ x24″ build volume, these were my extrusions lengths:

  • The below labeling corresponds with the Assembly Guide updates (above link) that Mason Sheffield made.
  • 20×40 OpenBuilds V-Slot Extrusions:
    • A : Vertical Legs : 4x 820mm
    • B : Top/Bottom Horizontal X : x4 440mm
    • C : Top Horizontal Y : 2x 450mm
    • D : Base Horizontal Y : 2x 420mm
    • E : Print Bed Supports (Mounts to G) : 2x 395mm
    • F : Top XY-Gantry (what extruder mounts to) : x1 464mm
  • 20×60 OpenBuilds V-Slot Extrusions:
    • G : Rear Z-Slider : x1 428mm
  • ACME Leadscrews : 2x 705mm

Important notes though:

  • Using the E3D Volcano Extruder subtracts 2″ from your build height based on how much it hangs down.  And, the above calculates on the Z-axis were still off, so right now I’m at a practical 21″ build height not 24″.  To resolve a few options:
    • Cut longer A lengths.
    • Redesign the extruder holder to move it ‘up’ more.
    • Since my z-gantry is a 40×60, I could actually move the whole build-platform down by 20mm by sort of ‘reversing’ it.  however, I feel that design would give less overall strength to it.
  • Basically, calculate your extruder length into your overall height.

 

Electronics


 

Software/Firmware

 


Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.

Building the C-Bot 3D printer: Part 26 : First ‘big’ print

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.


I’m still heavily tuning the extrusion, but wanted to print something ‘big’ to see what the machine could do:  Ran across the ‘Zuzanna Lamp‘ on Thingiverse, thought I’d give it a shot, it’s about 10″ across:

Print settings were:

  • 1.0 Volcano nozzle, 500 micron layer height.
  • Extruded @ 200 deg, HPB @ 60 deg.
  • ‘Natural’ PLA.
  • Took about 6.5 hours @ 30mm/sec.

Things learned:

  • Still having a hard time getting each layer to stick together:  Many horizontal cracks showed up during printing, where the layers were delaminating.
  • The print quality towards the top really fell-off : The filament would really ‘wick up’ at the end of an extrusion.  I feel its not being cooled fast enough.

So a lot more tuning is needed, but hey, at least it printed something bigger than my Replicator 1 ever could! :)


Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.

Building the C-Bot 3D printer: Part 25 : Catastrophic failure

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.


I figured at some point something would go wrong:  It finally did.

I’d noticed the stepper for the Bowden extruder had been running really hot.  Hot to the touch, and way hotter than the other steppers.  I had started by setting it’s reference voltage to .6v (like all the others), but it didn’t have enough ‘oomph’ to drive the filament through the extruder.  So I increased the voltage until it started behaving, which ended up being around 1.2v (2x as much as recommended…).  I’m sure this contributed to the over-heating.  But I wasn’t sure what else to do:  Any lower voltage wouldn’t extrude properly.

I’d been pointing a small fan at the stepper, and this seemed to keep it’s temp at a reasonable (but still hot) temp.  And since things had been going so well I decided to do my first “big print”:  Fired it off, and for the first 20 minutes all was well.  I decided to take a walk.  When I returned an hour later, to my surprise it was air-printing:  I found this really surprising with a Bowden (heat-creep on my Replicator 1’s direct-drive can cause this more easily).  The Bowden stepper was still turning, so I figured some how it had notched the filament.  But there was no notch, it just wasn’t extruding.  That’s when I noticed this:

melty_bend2

Top view, looking ‘down’.

 

When I went to touch the stepper, it was burning hot:  I had forgot to turn on my cooling fan, and the stepper had gotten so hot it melted the printed Bowden mechanism :(

The great thing about having two printers is you’re always able to print, even if one breaks:  I re-printed the melted bits and after two hours bolted them back on.  But I obviously still needed to do something about the heat.  I was perplexed why this one stepper needed 2x the voltage of the others.  So using the techniques mentioned before, I reset the reference voltage on the DRV8825 back to .6v, and tried extruding:  I worked fine.  Huh?

I’ve noticed while building this bot that stuff like this often happens:  I’ll set some value that doesn’t seem right, but works.  A day later, I’ll reset it to the ‘correct’ value, and then it works as expected.  I don’t know how to explain this, but it’s not the first time it’s happened.

But it’s printing great now:  I’m an hour back into the ‘big print’, extrusion is good, stepper is ‘normal temp’.

Live and learn!


 

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.

Building the C-Bot 3D printer: Part 24 : Tuning print settings for the Volcano

Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.


Now that the cooling fans are installed and I can start tuning my print settings.  I’ve been using a .4mm nozzle on my Replicator 1 for the past 3 1/4 years:  The nozzle I have installed on my E3d V6 Volcano is 1mm (currently:  I have other nozzle sizes from .6mm -> 1.2mm).  And getting this thing to print right has been… much different than I’m used to.  Mainly first layer adhesion.

I spent the bulk of this 4th of July printing off a variety of 1 and 2 cm calibration cubes getting things tuned in.  Below are my current findings on what makes the Volcano happy using my slicing software, Simplify 3D.  Note, I’ve been searching all over the web for ‘volcano print settings’, and really haven’t found anything.

  • Print surface:  Removable glass plate on heated bed.  I mix 1 part wood glue with 1 part water, use a paper towel to slather the glass.  After that dries, do it again.  PLA loves to stick to it.  I’ve gotten far better results with this than blue painters tape.
  • Filament:  “Natural” PLA, 1.75 mm, manufactured by Esun.
  • I also use a ‘filament-cleaner':  Sponge soaked in some vegetable oil the pre-extruded filament is pulled through before it hits the Bowden drive.  I’ve had good results on my Replicator 1 using these.  Note:  Do not over-soak!  I ended up with a pool of oil on my build platform nothing would stick to :(
  • Notable Slicer Settings:
    • Layer height:  500 micron/.5mm : Half the width of the 1mm nozzle.
    • Print speed:  30mm/sec.  Just a starting point.  I’ve gotten good results with up to 45mm/sec, but around 60mm/sec (based on the below settings) print quality starts to suffer.  This sounds terribly slow considering I can get good results out of my Replicator 1 at 120mm/sec, but it’s weird to think this thing still prints faster:  A solid 1cm calibration cube takes 2 minutes.  A solid 2cm cube takes 8 minutes.
    • Extrusion Multipler : Set to .9:  Normally on my Rep1 with a .4mm nozzle I leave this at 1.0 for PLA.  But it seems the bigger the nozzle the more it wants to over-extrude, and I’ve found success with this value.
    • Extrusion Width : 1.0, the same as the nozzle width.
    • Retraction:  Had a lot of issues with the nozzle drooling all over the place, but based on these settings it’s behaving much better:
      • Retract distance: 10mm
      • Retract vertical lift : 0 : I had set this to .25, but the constant lowering/raising of the bed caused too much commotion for my taste
      • Retraction speed : 45mm/sec
      • Coast at end:  Off.  I had set this to .5mm, which worked good on calibration cubes, but on larger prints with a single shell, slight gaps started to show up.
      • Wipe Nozzle : Off.
    • Ooze Control Behavior:
      • Only retract when crossing open spaces:  True
      • Force Retraction Between Layers : True : This is important, without it, blobs would show up on the perimeter.
      • Only wipe extruder for outer-most perimeters : True : Only matters if you’re doing ‘wipe’ (which I currently have disabled).
    • First Layer Settings : These were really important to get right:
      • First Layer Height : 75% : Anything less than this would squish the filament too much, and cause it to overlap/delaminate corresponding extrusions.
      • First Layer Width : 90% : Larger values contributed to the above issue.
      • First Layer Speed: 50%
    • Temperature:
      • Extruder: 200 deg
      • Heated Bed : 60 deg : Event though this is PLA, heating up the bed really helped the first layer stick better.  Without heating the bed, the extruded filament would just sort of ‘bounce’ off the platform, curling up into the air.
    • Cooling : Turing on the filament cooling fans starting at layer 2.  Note, so much filament is coming out, I think I need more powerful fans… even with two I think it could be cooled down faster.

Based on those settings I was getting calibration cubes printed within five-hundreths of a mm tolerance, not too bad IMO.  I was also able to successfully knock out single and dual-shell cube prints with a variety of infill that feel strong enough to drive a car over.  Really looking to printing something ‘big’!

But in the meantime, the 2cm calibration cube’s aren’t looking so bad either:

calibration cube2

2cm cube, 500 micron, courtesy of the Volcano


Jump to C-Bot blog index to see all the posts.