Sunday, July 28, 2013

My first 3D printing experience

The Milwaukee Makerspace has several 3D printers.  One of them is a Makerbot Replicator.  I was able to use the printer tonight to start a project that I saw on Thingiverse.

I am going to make a Tardis from Dr. Who for my son Dmitry's birthday (shhh. Don't tell him).  Here is a link to the project on Thingiverse.  The extruder material we have at the 'space is white so I will need to paint it blue.  I also might install the lights if I am ambitious.

The process was very easy.

First, I had to download the Makerware software from the Makerbot website.  I have a portable running Ubuntu so I had to download the version for Ubuntu 12.0.4 LTS.  By the way, to figure out what version of Ubuntu you have, type "lsb_release -a" at the command prompt.  the Makerbot website has excellent step-by-step instructions and the install process was very easy.

Next, I downloaded the 3D printable images from Thingiverse.  The files came down as a zip file.  I unzipped it to the folder.  Again, very easy.

The next step was to open one of the stl files in Makerware.  I tweaked a few of the settings for the Replicator and based on recommendations from the Thingi author.  Makerware saved the "g-code" files to an SD card.

The SD card was inserted in the Makerbot's SD card slot.  I kicked off the print and sat back to wait.

The first piece I printed was one of the side panels.  It took almost an hour to print.  It looks like it stopped early.  Not sure what happened.  Maybe the extruder jammed.  (Update.  The side panel did not printer correctly.  The picture shows the back of the door.  The front did not finish printing.)

I also printed two other pieces.  They appeared to print correctly.

That was enough for one night.  I will do some more printing another day.

Another great time at the Makerspace.  Thanks to Joe B. for his help.