Tiko Part 2: First Prints and Adjusting the Extruder Tension

My first prints with the Tiko was terrible (not unusual for a 3D printer), I used the default settings including the default temperature of 210°C and it was clearly too hot, making the test print come out a melted mess. No problem, I know how to fix that.  So next I tried 190°C and it came out very underextruded.  The clicking sounds made it clear that the something in the extruder system wasn’t keeping up.

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High Z-resolution 3D Printing

IMGP4478Most FFF printers support a high resolution z axis, but I rarely find the need to print with a layer height smaller than 100 microns (0.1mm). Of course, there are exceptions, and a surfboard fin is one of them.  Here’s a comparison of 5 prints with layer heights from 10 to 200 microns.

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Hot Smoking Fish in the Backcountry

P21_1874

What does my favorite way of cooking fish in the backcountry have to do with 3D printing?  Not much, though some of my gear is 3D printed.  Still, this way of cooking doesn’t seem as common so I though it was worth sharing and I don’t have a better place to put it.  It’s very similar the method shown in this video (which is the one that inspired me to start cooking this way).  So if you enjoy backpacking and fishing, here’s my favorite way to cook freshly caught fish.  (I also cook fish at home the same way, so it isn’t just for backpackers).

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Using Firmware Retraction with Simplify3D

retraction

Why use firmware retraction?  It lets you set configure retract and unretract speeds separately, and values can be adjusted mid-print.  (Too much stringing? try increasing retraction distance.  Nozzle marring previous layers? try increasing z-hop, Getting post-retraction bumps? try slowing the unretract speed or tweaking the restart distance).  Simplify3D doesn’t provide native support firmware retraction (as of January 2016), but it does have the ability to do simple gcode post processing.  This post describes how to use it to tune retraction speeds or enable firmware retraction.  Even if your printer’s firmware doesn’t support firmware retraction, you can still customize the unretraction speed.

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RigidBot Modifications

Rigidbot

This is my 10in³ Rigidbot, part of the Rigidbot Kickstarter in May of 2013, and delivered in August of 2014.  Given the low price and large build area, I wasn’t really expecting a usable printer, but I figured it would be cheaper and easier than buying the parts to build one myself.  What was delivered was well beyond what I expected and I’m grateful to Michael Lundwall the Rigidbot team for everything they put into designing, manufacturing, and delivering this printer.

While the RigidBot was a great deal, print quality and reliability out of the box was not as good as my Afinia H-Series* (not surprising as the Rigidbot was a first gen machine sold at 1/4 the price with 6 times the build volume).  Since then I’ve upgraded, modified, and rebuilt the printer, it now works much better than the Afinia ever has (I have since given away the Afinia).  This list includes the current changes I’ve made to my printer, but does not include the temporary changes I’ve tried along the way.  Some of these changes were copied from or inspired by others in the Rigidbot Google+ community.

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Essential Tools for 3D Printing

Printing Tools

This is the list of tools that I frequently use with 3D printing, both essential tools and some more specialized ones.  Some of these tools may be specific to my setup (glass bed) and may not be needed with your printers.  Many of these products will be more common in North America.  There are affiliate links in here marked with an *.  I earn a small commission on purchases made through these links if you place an order soon after you click it.  Many thanks to all those who have ordered through these links.

 

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Raptor Reloaded Print

Recently printed a test hand to send to e-NABLE, a community of volunteers who make free prosthetics like the one below for those who need them.

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