3D Printing 1

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3D Printing

For Your Information – This is a long post but it does contain pictures if you want to jump a bit.

When I showed you my second woven basket – here – where I’d topped the canes with 3D printed items that were designed to be fridge magnets, I said that I’d used my nephew’s 3D printer and that he wanted me to write a few posts, with his help, about 3D printing.

So here we are with the start of my nephew, WMGs, 3D printing experiences.

My nephew learns a lot about such things on the Internet and decided he wanted a 3D printer.  He spent time looking at posibilities that were in his budget.

One afternoon, after spending some time on my computer going through his wish list and prices with his father, he came to me and asked me if I would order what he wanted from Amazon (I have Amazon Prime so it would be free delivery. Also Mam and I are at home the vast majority of the time, whereas neither of his parents can be guaranteed to be at home to take delivery). He had money in his money boxes and bank account to give me cash to cover the cost.

I couldn’t refuse, so the order was placed straight away for one Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 and one reel of white PLA+ fillament.

Now when he researched this printer originally there was a far higher percentage of 5 star reviews, but you will notice that only around 50% of the reviews are 5 star now.  That is because when it prints it is a great little machine with good quality prints, but when it breaks down (and I would always expect a small proportion of any machinery to break down during the first year) the support from Monoprice is non-existant. I am telling you this now in case you are tempted – although this was nephew’s first 3D printer, and what he printed from it were very good, it isn’t the printer he has now which I used to print the tops of the basket canes, so hold fire for further posts if you are thinking of getting a 3D printer.

The printer arrived quickly, as expected, and as soon as WMG came over after it had been delivered he got it out of the box, set up (had I mentioned that he also wanted to keep it here in our study rather than takeing it home with him because he reconed we had more space and he would be able to set it printing when he comes here to do his homework after school each day?), and his first print set to go.

His first print was a cat. The prepared file for this was on the microSD card that came with the printer.  Unfortunately there was no instruction manual, not even a setup guide, in the box, but my nephew had watched so many YouTube videos about it that he know exactly how to work it.

The printer also came with a sample, small, roll of fillament, which is what used for the first print.  A white cat that WMG painted on a pink nose and collar before he gave it to his grandmother.

We were all impressed with how this looked.

He then printed it again with the fillament we had bought.  And that printed out well also.

Now came the issue of what he could print out next.  The microSD card came with a “slicing” software called Ultimaker Cura on it. (Software that prepares a 3D item file in a format that tells the 3D printer what to lay down for each layer to build up the item). So I installed the latest version of this software on my computer.

But we needed items to put into the software. And WMG knew exactly where to go to find items. A site called Thingiverse.

This site has a wide variety of “things” designed and uploaded by a lot of different people. With a whole lot of free to download things, which come with a variety of different licences for use – some you can use how you like including selling, while some are only for personal use, so each one needs to be checked individually – my nephew is so excited to try out new things.

So, off my nephew went, downloading what he wanted to try printing.

Here are a few of the things he printed first.

I also found a site called Pinshape where I searched for some thing such as novelty fridge magnets.

This is him with his printer watching a horse print out for his mother’s birthday.

And a look at those plus some more of the things with WMG.

(I have to appologise to the creators of some of these items as, with so many similar things on the site, and my nephew not having kept a note of the link to the direct page of the thing, some of what he made isn’t credited, but the things he made that are on show in these photos are – Flipflop fridge magnet; Planetary gearbox, Number fridge magnets,Whistle, Cranc casing for radial crank engine, Straw Cup, Horse – if you know the website address of any of the items on show here please leave a message with the info so I can update this post. More info is now being kept on name and maker of each item he downloads so everything he downloads from now on, and then 3D prints should have a direct link to the source.)

(Cube, Sphere, train and space shuttle – were found in the Windows 3D section files on our computer so believe they came with the PC.)

And this is what he printed for me for my birthday.

(Printable Rose Flower – by Jerrill)

Unfortunately things started going wrong with the printer! Firstly the on/off switch stuck in the on position and the machine could not be turned off except by switching off at the mains. As we could get it off that way we kept on useing it until a further problem prevented printing completely as a blockage prevented the fillament feeding through to the hot print head.  As there were no tools, or trouble shooting info, in the box when it was delivered, we contacted Monoprice via a contact E-mail address on their website.  No helpful information was forthcoming and I was told to contact Amazon to sort out a return.

Amazon were fantastic. A return was organised quickly and a new printer was soon on the way out to us.

Please come back to my blog in the future to find out what happened with the replacement printer.


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You can see the cards I’ve made using design sheets from CUP in my “Crafter Showcase Area” on Craftsuprint.com – here
(Just scroll down past the top boxes to see the cards.)

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