Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another improvement

As you might remember, I have a prusa i3 on loan, and had an issue with the cables to the servos breaking due to the movement of the axis. You can read all about it here.

Consequently, when building the Blocks Zero printer, I payed particular attention to the routing of the cables, and securing them such as to avoid excessive stress at the most fragile point, i.e. where it enters the connector. The problem is that the movement induces fatigue at the point the cable joins the connector pins.

It doesn't appear to be such a big problem in the Blocks Zero, as only one servo moves, and moves along with the Z axis, making it not too mobile. Still, I decided to make a jacket for it, to hold the cable slightly above the connector, to maintain the cable/connector connection free of movement.

This is the result:

Again, the printer is so accurate that I first printed a part with an extra 0,5mm tolerance, and it was too loose. I ended up printing one with the exact 42mm.

As usual, the models can be found at the warehouse.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Blocks Zero 3D printer

A few months back I ordered a Blocks Zero 3D printer in kit. It appeared to be a nice printer, made in Portugal!

Received it and finally had the opportunity to assemble it after the holidays.

What a great little printer it is! Great build quality, great assembly instructions, and everything worked right out of the box!

Go check it out! and if you need a small printer - it will only print 12x14x12cm in PLA - I think it is a great contender!

I ordered a heating plate to install a warm bed to be able to print ABS, but I'm not sure I'll install it. At least not now. It just runs so well and produces such nice parts that I'm not sure I want to change it.

If you do assemble one, be sure to check the additional assembly instructions at their website, which I wasn't aware until after I figured out how to assemble those extra parts.

Here are some pictures of the final product.

Once I finished assembly, I wasn't very happy with the black display being left there in the hole, so I designed and printed a little frame for it, which I think really ties the whole thing together. And the precision on the printer is so good, that it fit right in. It's a tight fit! It was a bit difficult to take it out from the base plate, and it broke a tiny bit, which I glued back in place. Might print another one soon.

The files can be found here on the google warehouse.

I would advise to remove the display for installing the frame.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Small teeth box

My small girl lots her first tooth lately, so I needed a small box to keep it: what else could I do besides printing one!

Here it is, the lid matches perfectly with the bottom! I printed this in transparent ABS, but will probably redo it in glow-in-the-dark PLA. If you want to print it, you can find it here in the warehouse

Small box to store the fallen teeth
And closed

Prusa i3 improvements

As I've been posting here, I have a prusa i3 on loan for a couple of months.

A few weeks ago, I got a piece that had no plastic deposited on one specific area, and was fine on the rest. This was very odd, so I had it reprinted and stayed around to see what happened. Immediately I saw that the extruder stepper motor was not turning. I looked around to try to see the reason for this, and found the culprit: a damaged cable:

Extruder stepper broken cable

I tried fixing it, by taking out the small metal tab in the connector, but that didn't work for long.
I talked to the owner of the printer and he had a spare cable. According to him this had happened before, and was a common problem.
The issue here is that a lot of stress is put on that particular cable as it travels left and right along the X axis all the time, plus vertically, although that is a slow and much less often travel.

Since I don't like problems that reoccur, I thought of a solution: a cable holder that transfers the stress from the connector to the cable, which is a point much less prone to failure. So I designed a cable holder that holds not only the extruder stepper cable, but all the cable for heating the extruder and for the fans. Here it is, printed in glow-in-the-dark PLA:

Extruder stepper cable holder
Extruder stepper cable holder

This makes the whole cable behave much better, and I think will also prolong the life of the extruder heating connections. I also printed one for the X-axis stepper motor which travels up with the Z-axis:

X-axis cable holder

You can find these models in the warehouse here.

While discussing this problem, I also realized the cable proving the heated bed with power also keeps traveling back and forth along the y-axis and so it would also fail sooner or later, so I also designed a little holder for this. You can find it in the warehouse here:

Heated bed cable holder

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

3D Printed zipper fix

I have been very busy with the 3D printer, and have a lot of pictures and material to post here, so stay tuned!

Today it's about a little fix: a broken zipper on my daughters favourite backpack.

As you can see in the picture, the zipper handler was broken, but she was still using the backpack, however difficult it was to open it.

The broken handle

This hardly asked for a 3D printer to fix, but, since I was busy printing stuff, why not print a handle for the zipper? So that I did.

The handle, in glow-in-the-dark PLA

I then used a dremel to cut a groove on the printed PLA (glow-in-the-dark) part, and used epoxy to glue it on.

This is the final result, she is very proud of it, and of me having fixed it, and she loves that it's glow-in-the-dark!

The handle glued in place

Friday, December 2, 2016

3D printed Apple Airport Extreme Wall mount

I got a 3D printer on loan from a friend, it's a Prusa i3.

I have used it before by designing and taking the files to him for printing, but this allows me to quickly check and made adjustments.

So to start, I had a wall holder for an Apple Airport Extreme wifi router design that I made a few months ago, but never got to print, since I then made such a holder out of acrylic.

By accident, the acrylic holder broke a few days before I got the printer, so it was the perfect opportunity to try it. Here is a rendering of the holder:

I printed it using PLA, and got quite a nice result! Here are a few pictures.

I use Sketchup to design the models. If you want to have a go, you can find the sketchup model on the warehouse here.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Chimney Turbine fix

Another unconventional fix, this time the chimney turbine.

The Chimney Turbine
It's been there for a 4 or 5 years, rotating steadily and stealthily, until a couple of nights ago, it nearly drove me crazy as I searched for the origin of a faint noise as I used the computer in the attic. I thought it was from the hard disk, then the boiler, and finally, after a night or two I realized it was from the turbine. It didn't help that there wasn't much wind, so it only turned intermittently.

Come the weekend, and I jump on the roof to get it out, disassemble it, to find a rusty bearing at the very bottom. The hole where the axle is assembled is protected from water ingress, but I guess not protected enough, and over the years, some water accumulated, and got the bearing rusty.
The rusty bearing

A trip to the local hardware store later, and I ordered the bearings on eBay, from some German store. The local store closed at 12:00 on a saturday!
The rusty bearing opened and the new one about to be installed

They arrived today, so I prepared it all, ready for final assembly and replacing it on the roof!