Back issues and shop cleanup, still.

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  • dbhost
    Slow and steady
    • Apr 2008
    • 9256
    • League City, Texas
    • Ryobi BT3100

    #16
    I figured the adhesion issue. It is a problem with the slicing software. I am trying to use Cura with the Ender 3 profile, which SHOULD be identical to my Voxelab Aquila, but for some reason no matter what the hot end and bed temp settings are, it comes out at 175c for the hot end and 50c for the bed / build plate. Dug into using VoxelMaker, Voxleabs own slicing software and so far it is pretty good although my prints are curling, Trying again with cooling turned off to try to slow the cooling process down a bit...

    I am trying to print snap together case halves for a Raspberry Pi 5 + Pimoroni NVME base at least right now.

    I have a second printer, a MUCH larger format printer coming in today, another Voxelab, this time the Aquila S3 Max which has a 400x400x400 build dimension, WAY bigger than I am going to need, but I am getting into Sketchup and I am going to design / 3d print an electrical I/O panel for the camper van. Basically an enclosure for the heater thermostat / control, control / display for the inverter, 12V outlet panel, USB charging, and switches for the water pump and some exterior lighting. When I bought my Aquila I didn't think I would need to / want to print anything big, well I found out I was wrong, Although probably 75% of my prints are less than 4x4x4 inches, I have printed some "Seasonal" flower pots for my wifes grave while we waited for the marker and vases which we now have...

    IF I could step back in time and start over, I would...
    #1. Start with the larger printer. You can always print smaller stuff on a bigger printer, you cannot print bigger stuff on a smaller printer. At the time I bought though, big 3D ptiners were in the price class of a SawStop. Not gonna happen on my budget. I was planning on using an expander kit on my aquila called the "Ender Extender", but the new printer is actually cheaper than the upgrade parts I originally planned on. One of those stupid cheap introductory sales...
    #2. Printer that has the one touch leveling setup. Bed levelling is such a PITA it isn't funny, good thing is once it is set it TENDS to stay that way as long as I can keep the cat away from it... One touch / auto leveling makes the process easier and more accurate, in a manner of speaking. I can shoot you an expalnation video if you'd like. I am going to add one touch leveling to my existing Aquila, and the Aquila S3Max, the new one, comes with it.
    #3. This is where the Aquila series kind of goes flat. A high temp hot end that can do 300 deg C. Due to the PTFE Bowden tube used on this style of printer, hot end temps are limited to something around 250 deg C, plenty good for PETG, but things like Nylon or ABS I think are out of my range to print...
    #4. I am going with cheap printers, and the cooling fans are LOUD, not much you can do factory from them, but I WILL be upgrading the cooling fans on my Aquila as it is well out of warranty now, and it was / is designed as an open source tinkerers product / project anyway. I found some nearly dead silent fans that are an easy swap, but they are also LED RGBW lighted which is a bit tacky by my taste, but some may love it...
    #5. You may, or may not want an enclosed printer, I went with open frame printers, enclosed printers are easier to control cooling on and keep the cat away from the print bed, they are also a LOT more expensive than open frame printers. Get what you pay for in this example. No regrets on my end, just trying to learn it all with some more finesse....

    I am going to look up that drill press vacuum attachment / adapter. Might have to print one of those up for myself...

    I have had some VERY good prints with PLA and since it is biodegradeable / bioplastic, I don't have any ethical issues using it... I have ethernet cable clamps, clamps that hold my WiFi 6 mesh routers through the house, cases for my Raspberry Pi 4Bs, replacement ends for my Bt3100 miter fence etc...

    My current batch I am trying to work on is like I mentioned the camper electrical IO panel, chisel retainers for the pegboard tool cabinet, and I am piddling around with ideas for other shop applications.

    I am moving more toward PETG as it is more long term stable and less brittle than PLA, but again, working the issues I have with it as we go. Mostly learning curve and apparently somewhere in the slicing software, cura, was an update that broke stuff... Happens, Just going to use what the printer MFG recommends instead...

    Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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    • d_meister
      Established Member
      • Feb 2009
      • 196
      • La Conner, WA.
      • BT3000

      #17
      All good points, and I can't imagine having to level a print bed. I would be messing with it for days and making parts to get it within 0.00001". Auto leveling is great, because it doesn't really level anything, it compensates for any variances.
      You're absolutely right about the high end units being expensive, especially the enclosed ones with venting and fume extraction. My original $50 Craigslist unit is going into the garage with a home built enclosure to be used with ABS. That stuff stinks. But first, I need to install one of the two hot ends I bought months ago....
      I print PETG quite a bit, and the draft control and blue painters tape is essential. I'm really not seeing the benefit of PETG in most cases, but I haven't done any in-the-sun or under the car hood items. Funny thing I've experienced is two brands of clear PLA started just breaking by itself off off the reel when static, but not during use. PETG clear hasn't done that, nor have colored PLA filaments. You're right about PLA being more brittle. Clear isn't as strong as colors in CNC Kitchen testing, too. He doesn't use the Chinese stuff I use, either.
      Here's the Marius Hornberger stuff including the vacuum articulation:

      https://www.printables.com/search/mo...ger&ctx=models
      There are others that have modified them to fit US vacuums, but you can resize the .STL's easily, however, there's a lot of trial and error, since so many vacuums are non standard sizes, anymore. TinkerCad is great for quick and dirty modifications to existing designs'
      I printed a TPU (flexible) bushing to suit the hose end I have, and I found that rubber bands make good bushings, too.

      Comment


      • dbhost

        dbhost
        commented
        Editing a comment
        Well I put the Aquila X3 Max together tonight and something is very much not right, the Z axis when zeroed is about 3" off the build plate. Got a support request into Voxelab. I believe it is most likely a firmware issue. When my original Aquila arrived the firware was whacked as well as it displayed in Chinese only... I am ironing out the piddly stuff right now. Getting my temps to where I get good adhesion and the cooling right so I don't get unwanted shrinkage / curling as the model that finished about an hour ago came out more like a taco than a Raspberry Pi housing... And yes, if you need multiple parts fast, get multiple printers. I am glad I got my original Aquila when I did as the prices have skyrocketed since I got it. I think I paid under $150.00 for the printer and the first spool of filament.

        If LCHIEN is reading this, to start out, you obviously need a printer, filament and pretty much everyone starts out on PLA, which is fine, but can be sort of brittle and is very much NOT UV stable, great for indoor stuff though... You will need to download slicer software to prep the 3D print files for whatever specific printer and settings you have and want. Some MFGs have their own that work best with their stuff, some just use other slicers... I used Cura which is from Utilimaker a 3D printer MFG, and it worked great, until it didn't. Like all software sometimes updates are buggy... Also depending on your printer, you will need a Micro SD card adapter for your PC or Mac, or Pi, or whatever you have... Both of my Voxelab printers feature the high tech "sneakernet" technology of walking the flash drive from your computer to the printer. There are some higher cost printers that do have USB, or WiFi printing. I believe the Aquila S3 had it, but I was shooting for size not being too lazy to carry and insert a flash card... I would also recommend a little plastic box of sorts to keep the small stuff that goes with your printer, near your printer and keep it from growing feet and walking off, like the allen wrenches, tiny screwdrivers, etc...

      • LCHIEN
        LCHIEN commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not a very patient guy anymore.

        DH: "And yes, if you need multiple parts fast, get multiple printers. "

        That parallelism works if you need multiples of the same or different parts, faster. But if you are iteratively designing a part and making prototypes, you can only do that serially and have to wait for each part to be done before it can be tried and adjusted. And then another iteration takes a long time.
    • d_meister
      Established Member
      • Feb 2009
      • 196
      • La Conner, WA.
      • BT3000

      #18
      Originally posted by LCHIEN
      Is Anycubic Kobra 2 Plus a good starter machine, refurb its $160 or so, Aside from filament anything else needed to start?
      As far as other startup needs; nothing but filament in the way of supplies or equipment. I know you have digital calipers, and you'll use them. A lot. most things in the 3D world are metric, but inch scale is available. I found metric to be more common-sense, and I never used metric often before. Plan on a draft-free area to set up initially. The printer nozzle (hot end) operates at near 200 C (392 F), and the print base is heated to around 70 C (158 F), so steady operating environment is desirable. Mine are on desktops in my office. The software learning thing you can warm up on. If you cruise on thingiverse.com and/or printables.com, you can search for "Ryobi" so the results are relevant. Then, simply download the files for free. The file extension you'll need is .STL. Next, download the Anycubic Slicer from them and import your STL file into that and get familiar. There are presets for the model of printer, and some for type of filament. You'll get PLA with it, so go with the defaults. After you get the image of the object, you can "slice" it. 3D printing is nothing more than laying down melted filament one layer at a time. Once the object image is sliced, you can operate the slider on the right to look at every layer, and you will see the voids and reinforcing structure layer by layer. You can experiment with the "Fill" control and see what the interior can be like with different structural options like honeycomb or others. Density can be adjusted, but you'll be surprised at how rigid things are at just 5-10% infill. I've never gone over 20%, and I designed and printed a seal installer and compressor alignment tool for my Volvo engine. Sturdy stuff.
      As for filament, I use the cheapest I can find, and that's almost always on eBay. No deficiencies experienced, to date.

      Comment

      • dbhost
        Slow and steady
        • Apr 2008
        • 9256
        • League City, Texas
        • Ryobi BT3100

        #19
        So I have been putzing around with the printer, the big one has an issue I am working on with Voxelab. The small one, the original Aquila was about 50% software error, and 50% user error. NOT the fault of the printer. I am knocking out enclosures for my Raspberry Pis that I am setting up as a Kubernetes cluster for a lower cost way to learn the technology / have my own private cloud installation... Let me tell you what I am using to do the job.

        Printer (duh). You are going to need one of those.
        Sheet of A4 paper since the original Aquila does not have auto level (yet) so I have to do it manually. I am trying to find an all parts included BL Touch autolevel kit for my printer, all I see on Amazon are cheaper knock offs that might do the trick, or might not...
        Printer tool kit that came with the printer. I am keeping this in a snap lid pencil box. Like a small rubbermaid container.
        Alcohol wipes for keeping the build plate clean.
        Uhu Stick school glue stick. In case of adhesion problems. This is a common 3D printer adhesion cheat. Better to improve adhesion with proper temp control though. It literally came with my printer.
        USB to Micro SD card adapter. Came with the printer.
        Micro SD card. Came with the printer
        Some printers have wireless or USB direct print capability. Neither of mine do, and I did not value that feature enough to sacrifice other features and / or lower cost.
        Filament. A small amount comes with the printer for a few small test prints. You are going to want to put some money into materials here. Most of mine is PLA, I have one spool of transparent red PETG I have yet to try out.
        If your printer has a bowden tube extruder and not a direct drive, and you want to print higher temp materials, you will want to get a 300 Deg C capable bowden tube. Something like $14.00 on Amazon, and you are going to be installing the bowden tube to begin with so why not just go with the better one?

        Now that we are out of the printer itself, I am using the following computer hardware software.
        X64 laptop. Just about any reasonably modern not too low spec PC running current version of Windows will work. I will dig into it more to determine replacements for the software on Linux but that is going to be a learning curve...
        Sketchup Make 2017. Long unsupported by Trimble, but still works great. If it ever becomes a security issue, I am going to run it in an isolated VM and keep chugging along.
        STL Import / export plugin for Sketchup.
        FreeCAD. I am realistic enough to know Sketchup is a bad long term solution, their online free version is horrible, and the paid versions start at extortion level pricing and go up from there.
        I am probably going to bite the bullet and try to learn Blender 3D, I gave up on it years ago as too complex especially with Sketchup at the time, with Trimble doing what they did with Sketchup I need to migrate away from their stuff honestly.
        Utilimaker Cura. Not sure what is happening with the temp controls in the output, but up until that point, Cura has done me well.
        Voxelab VoxelMaker, slicing software specifically for Voxelab printers. Other MFGs have their own slicing software. FWIW, if you are unaware, slicing software simply takes your 3D project output, and converts it to the .g or .gcode output that a printer can read basically defining each layer of the print.

        My original Aquila for now is on anold filing cabinet and takes up the entire top of the cabinet. If you have one small printer, this is a good solution. Used 2 drawer desk height cabinets can literally be had on heavy trash day for nothing as people tend to just throw them out when they are tired of how ugly they are. Just paint, or if wood restain it and you should be good to go.

        Since the Aquila X3 Max is such a behemoth, I have repurposed a 5' folding plastic table I had used for camping for years but no longer use (too big) so the big printer is on there now, the small one is going on there as soon as this run of prints is done.

        Coffee, you are going to need to have some coffee as this isn't a fast endeavor, and you should at lest periodicaly check on the status of your print job. In case there is a snag, something bubbles up, gets hung and next thign you know you have a ball of filament goo all over everything in the hot end... Don't ask me how I know about this...

        Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Please check out and subscribe to my Workshop Blog.

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