Moving On

IMG 0817181 grams, 20 hour print, 0.15mm layer heightAfter the learning experience of additive manufacturing making plastic Junque designed by other people, I asked myself, “What’s in the process for me?”

I admit it was the technology and the low cost equipment that first drew me in. I am a techno-type person attracted to complex operations.

My spouse declared before I had my first piece of 3D printing hardware. “I don’t believe you haven’t started 3D printing” She knows me well after 57 years of companionship.

I was aware of the process many years earlier but hadn’t realized there was a new breed of lightweight and low cost “hobbyist” hardware available. I was hooked and permitted to engage. She lit the fuse.

Nine printers later, I pause to contemplate. One thing stands out is the amount of plastic I have processed into “stuff”. Making stuff is what it is all about. Learning how to do it was the initial motivation. 

It soon became apparent, most of the stuff is what I started calling plastic “Junque”. How many plastic skulls does the average person need?

I quickly tired of printing “other peoples” designs. The real creative juices flow when I can use 3D CAD software and graphic software like ZBrush to create printed objects of my own design. 

Time to move away from Junque making. 

I see the 3D print process as a tool. It is not my goal to “get the machine running” to watch it perform. I pretty much have that under control. All CNC is fun to watch. Not a good use of personal time. 

The hardware I own and use is not junk (normal spelling). The major weakness is rigidity and capacity. Three dimensional printers need to be rigid and stable as every professional grade CNC machine tool. The bigger the size, the more massive they must become.

I have no desire (at this time) to produce massive 1 piece plastic items. My plan is to use the smaller machines I have to their full capacity when necessary. 

Larger prints require longer run times. This has become my standard method of operation. My “moving on” thoughts are to design and produce larger and higher resolution prints. Consuming more raw material. 100 and exceeding 200 gram components not unusual. 12,16, 20 hour print times.

My previous recent posts in this blog are indicative of my “larger is better” printing goals.Moving On

Printing small parts to be assembled into larger items is a very good way to make larger items. I always avoid the mind-set that a product design must be created in a single all-inclusive 3D print. 

Nice when it can happen but most large items are component assemblies.

“Moving On” goal is to produce less Junque by concentrating on larger and superior quality items. Not interested in how fast I can print, but generating the highest quality for the purpose. 

It’s still plastic but it should be high quality plastic…