Friday, 17 May 2013

3D Printer Explorations

Time to take another look at some of the fun things that have been going through our little MakerBot Replicator 2 in the last week or so. We finally used up the sample roll of filament that came with the machine and letting things cool down or just restarting alot seems to get us past the heat sensor errors long enough to print some really interesting stuff. Here are 3 specific explorations that are of note.

Saint-Pierra Firminy Church
One of the Architecture honors students (Ana Subotic) is doing something with respect to a church designed by Le Corbusier in Firminy, France here in Built Environment. She split apart her sketchup model to create 3 main STL files for printing. There were errors created by not having things firmly at 0 in Z that were easily enough fixed once we worked out that was the problem. We did get a little warping of the structure (which are the biggest prints we have done) at the corners and a few other artifacts that will take more experimenting to work out why (strange banding on the white roof print for example). Overhangs are a staple of Architecture and without support material we are seeing lots of spaghetti - sometimes unobtrusive, other times pretty annoying. We havent been using the MakerWare support as that is  even more painful to remove. Maybe the Replicator 2X with the water-soluble support is the next step for the Architects as far as a desktop solution goes. Note though that the print of the main floor has a large top that isnt supported at all, but somehow having walls on the outside allowed the print process to span all the way across with very little issue at all - insane!
I dont have pics yet of the cleaned up and assembled thing - but here are a few pics of the pieces. It has a very interesting quality and we are hoping that some paint in the right places and a light inside and the model will come alive.



Katrina's Experiment
Starting as a 'painting' then scanned and a displacement filter applied in 3D to generate a quite complex bed of spikes was the journey that led to this 3D print. Katrina Simon's little print took 3 hours on the machine at medium res which wasn't too bad given the amount of spikes being created. The clear sparkely plastic hid the detail almost completely, but Katrina used the material's strengths to good effect - lighting it from various angles to reveal all the detail in a very cool way.
I am looking forward to more experiments from her, in the meantime - enjoy these images of the piece in all its glory.




Lock Maiden Monsters
We are now testing the 'white' PLA from BilbyCNC, and it has a very different look. The form is revealed completely, in a less jewel-like way. with the white - I think this print in 'high' looks so so cool.

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