Showing posts with label Infinity Supports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Infinity Supports. Show all posts

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Turning Our Attention to Post Processing

While the blog has been silent for a while, it does not mean that the interest in moving our 3D printing experience forward has been dormant.  But, sometimes it's difficult to write when time is spent in exploration and experimentation.

I have spent a great deal of time experimenting with the Infinity supports for both the Cube3 and the CubePro.  In addition, I have been exploring printing with Nylon with the CubePro.  Then there is the effort put into building our 3D ThinkLink Lab at YouthQuest.  Soon I will have great news about that.

I've also been experiment with a system that stabilizes the print table even more solidly when printing with two print jets.  It's very promising and the brave among us can print their own to attach to the print plate of the Cube3.  I don't want to release the STL file until it's been tested thoroughly over a lot of removal and insertion cycles.  Even then, it will include a warning then one MUST be very careful to ensure proper seating each time the plate is returned to the printer.  For me, however, the improvement in Z-Axis alignment is worth it.  More later on this, too. 

But, the primary reason for writing this blog post is that I think the next area of improving our 3D printing experience not only has to do with new materials like Infinity Supports and Nylon; but, with developing techniques for post processing our prints.

For this reason, I have purchased some equipment and materials with which to experiment.  But, I also found a product that promises to help all of us that print in PLA who wish for a smooth surface like that achieved by vapor processing ABS.  I don't have any as yet; but, hope to have some soon.  It's called Smooth-On XTC-3D High Performance 3D Print Coating, an epoxy coating designed especially for 3D prints.  Fortunately, Smooth-On is a very pro-active company when it comes to providing online training for their products.   So, if you go to the link above, you'll be treated to some very useful information.  Here is just one sample...



Can you imagine how nice the print would be had it been printed with Infinity Support material?  :)

But, of course, I am interested in first-hand experience when it comes to products like this before giving it a whole-hearted endorsement.  Look for my review in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, it's inexpensive enough to give it a try for yourself.

One of the first things I plan to test with it is custom Cube3 & CubePro printed phone cases.  Frankly, the ones I've tried recently haven't held up well over time.  But, I'm thinking that an epoxy coating will not only give them a better overall feel; but, improve ruggedness.  We'll see.

So, please be patient as the post-processing experiments work their course.  Whether they fail or succeed, you will hear about it.  :)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Rinsing Infinity Supports is Not the Only Removal Strategy

Any reader of this blog should know by now that there was no love lost between me and the old style supports.  I hated them with a passion because (1) removing them was likely to draw blood and (2) it was nearly impossible to use supports with marring the printed object.

So, why do I now LOVE supports?

Well, it's not just because the Water Soluble Supports dissolve in water.  In fact, I only use water when the part makes it absolutely necessary.  Take this part, for example.


Dial Indicator Holder

This part was designed to hold a dial indicator for checking the level of the print jets.  It was printed in a signle piece oriented as exactly as it is being used, upright.  It required a fair anount of support material.

Infinity Supports - Front View

Infinity Support - Bottom View
The supports literally surrounded the part and were even iside the clips that hold the part to the print table.

Yet, I didn't have to use a bit of water to easily and quickly clean the supports from the part.  I simply broke them away in the traditional fashion.  Because of the unique characteristics of the new supports the materials separated quite easily using a pick, a spade, the palette knife and pliers.  It's amazing.

If the part is designed so that supports are easy to access, then there may be no reason to use water to remove them.  But, it's great to know that there is more than one strategy for removing these supports and that both methods work very, very well.

As a side note... this was printed on my early vintage Cube3.  It's my understanding that the waste trays and rubber wipers have been redesigned since my printer was released.  So, that may be why there are bits and pieces that end up on the part and print table.  Fortunately, they do not seem to negatively affest the print.

But, there was a marked increase in the material getting down into the vents on each side behind the print trays.  It's an old issue (I wrote about this issue very soon after my Cube 3 arrived.); but, it seemed to me that the support material increased the incidents.  So, taking a hint from Eric Albert, I created a cutting jig that allowed me to create some plastic 'fences' to keep the material from getting into the vents.  The fences, may, however, be dlipping material onto thr print table.

I will post about it after I have tested alternate plastic sheet sources.

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