First 3D Printer

Husband bought me an early birthday present this past week, the Monoprice Maker Ultimate. (AkA, the Wanhao Duplicator 6) I believe there was a sale, as buying a 3d printer was not something we had been planning on lately, but has been really cool to have so far.

We’ve had it for about a week now and have printed a couple dozen things, mostly silly things and test prints from files I downloaded off yeggi and thingiverse. I’ve mostly been learning the limitations of the unit but haven’t attempted a max print area piece just yet, and limited myself to small prints that take less than 5 hours. My longest print so far has been a modified spool holder for the back of the printer as the stock one was too short for the spare filament we had purchased.

Most of what I did this week was dial in the settings for the slicer software that came with the printer, a re-skinned version of Cura that has the printers defaults loaded up for you. The first issue I ran into was prints around the edges of the head bed were curling up halfway through the printing process. A quick wipe down with acetone has since fixed that issue for the last 6 days running and all prints are sticking great. So far I’ve only used PLA to print with, and it seems fine for what we use the prints for.

Above are some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered while printing. The solid coins up top left came out fine in smaller formats, but the M’s centers snapped off of the smaller versions of the through-hole coins. In the top right pic you can see that not every file you find on the internet will print the way you think it will. I had tried to cut an M from a bottlecap obj file I had found but the mesh decided it wasn’t printing today and after a 45 minute check on the print discovered that it was only printing the supports. The bottom left was something I had designed myself to requested specs, however I learned that the printer can’t handle such tiny screws just yet and couldn’t fit them in. The bottom right image shows a flawless Mickey body but once it go to the ears the single direction of the cooling fan meant that one side of his ear never set before the next wave of filament was put down, resulting in a gooey ear that never stuck to the supports.

I’ve also had some really great prints come out. Expect to see more of the DnD mini figures and terrain/houses in the future as that’s the main objective of having the printer. I found and printed several wall mounts for the Oculus Rift sensors that fit perfectly. There is a website you can use that will let you upload a photo and convert it into a 3d printed lithophane which was super cool. The top left image is something I made myself for once, it’s a travel holster for 30ml unicorn bottles. Of course it took about 3 test prints to get the hole size right as I don’t have digital calipers yet but that was kind of fun to do as well.
Next week I am planning on printing out a blower fan mod for the extruder to fix the uneven cooling issues, so there will be some tests after that with nice big overhangs etc.

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