Here I am showing off 3 of the better quality prints that I was able to produce at TechShop SF using the Type A Machines 3D Printer and a few customized design files from thingiverse.com.
In this instructable I review
1) the 3D model
2) some of the options for customization
3) a print quality comparison of changes by 10%
4) a demonstration of what happens when you print a thin bottom edge
TIP: Do not use a thin bottom edge without a raft or you are more than 50% likely to get results that although decent are not good enough for a gift quality final piece without some final "retooling".
thingiverse Model url: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:103455
I made it at Techshop http://techshop.ws
Submitted by SFlettering for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
Step 1: Thingiverse Custom Ellipse Bracelets: Testing the live text preview feature
The final model in this instructable is also online at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:103455
Here you can see the customizer app screen as you udpate the text
Here I tested the text of Techshop SF to show off the almost live on screen text update within the model feature
TIP: When using the thingiverse.com customizer app you can see a live preview of your text within the app and before printing.
Step 2: Text Customization With Customizer App
When designing this model the original author did a great job making several different options that are customizable. For many of the models that are customizable you can only change 1 or 2 parameters. Here you can update several parameters that I tested to change the size by 10% to make it stronger at the base and to test if the bracelet would print better at 110% of original size.
You can customize
1) the bracelet text
2) the bracelet font
3) thickness of wrist
4) width of wrist opening
5) actual band width
TIP: Within thingiverse you will have 2 scroll bars when on this screen. Make sure to use the scroll bar nearest to the settings to scroll just that portion of the screen.
Step 3: Customizer File Creation: what needs to be in place for success
The thingiverse.com customization app file creation process is not pefectly simple
1) it requires that you have an account on thingiverse which is simple but for some not a fair request
2) you must publish the file for it to show up for others to view online
3) you can choose to keep the model on thingiverse unpublished but the default is to publish
4) the file will take at least a minute for a simple model to generate
TIP: If your file size is small and under 500K it is fast to render and make available as an STL for download. Models over that 500K size can take a longer time to print, render, and slice.
TIP: When preparing to slice a model your computer can have an error if too little (less than 1G) of memory only is installed on your machine and you have a complex model. (the warning in KiSSlicer is set to show if you attempt to slice a model that requires more than 50% of available memory)
Step 4: Printing The Top Edge - what to do with stray PLA bundles
Here in the image you can see the final 10% of the printing for the "I printed this ellipse bracelet". Some of the things to notice in this print are that the overall quality is good in terms of the form of the printed model. The letters on the bracelet are also printed well and very easy to read.
This bracelet had a few print errors and in the image near the opening you can see a stray bundle of PLA that is left over.
TIP: When you have print errors that leave stray PLA you can cut them off with a wire cutter although they will not cut absolutely flush and therefore it is necessary to sand them down to smooth the plastic. On the bracelet before I learned the importance of smoothing out the final piece...while putting on and taking this bracelet off I scratched my wrist a few times similar to how a cat scratch looks.
Safety First !!
Step 5: Print Time and Print Control Software Feedback
From the Pronterface print control panel for the Type A Machines Series 1 Printer you get some feedback after you load a model which is a "high" estimate of how long the print will take. For example with the bracelet the print actually took 51:08 and used more than 6000mm of PLA.
The next print that I loaded was the scaled up bracelet which was about 10% larger in the model design and the print estimate for that model was 35% more at 1 hour 20 minutes for the total print time for the larger bracelet. You can also see in the print feedback area that the new bracelet is 127 layers high.
TIP: I found that printing larger did help a few issues, but a print test of 50+ minutes is not an ideal way to get rapid feedback. When printing to learn about the machine it is best to focus on prints that can be completed in 10-15 minutes to maximize your feedback based on input time.
Step 6: Comparing 3 Prints And The Settings For Best Usability
Here are 2 images of the final 3 prints of the customized ellipse bracelets
1) print 1 was the basic model with "I printed this customized text"
2) print 2 was scaled up by 10% only in KiSSlicer with text "I printed this" (BEST PRINT)
3) print 3 was scaled up within the thingiverse customizer app by about 15% including making it wider as well and the text reads "Who is your daddy" - This was a father's day gift idea
What I learned from this series of prints is that the print quality improved with experimenting at how the size could be scaled up and how the model design issue of thin edges could be mitigated by increasing the total model size and width.
TIP: One of the best ways to learn to 3D Print is to make gifts for other people that require your best effort to maximize the possible quality of the print and keep you focused.