Slic3r

Almost four years ago, I started my 3D print career on a Leapfrog Creatr. Nobody beliefs me when I tell this machine is still producing great prints. Last week, the first structural problem arrived: the fans became noisy and after some time stopped turning. A little push made them run again, but still very noisy and after some time they stopped again. I mailed Leapfrog and they will sent me new fans. After almost four years of daily use, the fans are finished: seems normal to opqrstu3D, as long as this robot still prints cool stuff.

So, for the moment no printing and some time left to publish a new post. This time about Slic3r. Opqrstu3D uses this slicer because it came with the printer. It’s free software with many options and it’s great. I am an experienced user, but the possibilities are almost endless. By changing Slic3r settings a 3D printer can produce dramatic changes in it’s endproduct. It started with my invention of ‘infill only’, resulting in ‘un3Dprinted’ lights.

thrill © opqrstu3D 2016

Next, I learned about modifying meshes, or using several infill patterns in one layer, a vey graphic kind of 3D printing. You can use different patterns in different densities to create unexpected (un3Dprinted) prints. I used this technique to create a 3D printed Picasso:

Abstract Painting 26, 3D printed by opqrstu 2017

To get this, Slic3r needs to know which part of your drawing gets which pattern and density. You transport this information to Slic3r by using multiple STL’s. If you want five different patterns in your print, you have to feed Slic3r at least six STL’s. To get these STL’s you have to do six drawings. It is a complicated and time consuming method, BUT great results. If you want to know more, follow this link: www.3ders.org

‘Modifying meshes’ works in horizontal direction. This is an awesome tool to create 3D printed graphics, but for my lights, I need to modify patterns in vertical direction.

Slic3r is a great tool, but comes with minimal information about it’s possibilities. I knew there must be a way to change patterns vertically. It took some time to get it right. It is almost like ‘modifying meshes’. Here, you use the STL’s as a part, instead as a modifier. Confusing maybe, but that’s the way it is. I cannot present a link to check this out, because there isn’t. The do this at home, you have to try and fail, try and fail and try.

Modifying infill patterns vertically ©opqrstu 2017

DoubleThrill

This weekend opqrstu3D designed & printed ‘DoubleThrill’… It looks very UN3DPRINTED. I am doing experiments in ‘infill only’ 3dprinting for two years and this is the print that says it all: ‘DoubleThrill’ really looks like it’s made of lace-like fabric. It’s not as thin as lace, but 0.9 mm comes close. It was a five and a half hour print job and took 12 meters white 3D4makers PETg. It’s printed at 0.3 mm layer height, 600 layers high. Bed Temp: 65 ºC, Extrusion Temp: 230 ºC. It’s almost unbelievable: infill printed at 0.9 mm thickness.
Only by going extreme opqrstu3D arrived at this point and created an awesome light:

DoubleThrill © opqrstu 2017

unexpected 3D print

Opqrstu3D designs models for our printer and models for our Shapeways shop. Mostly, Shapeways models are too complicated to print without support on the opqrstu3D printer. I always print without support, because I don’t like the works that come after removing the support, like cleaning and sanding.

Anyway, this week I was cleaning up the Shapeways shop (removing unpopular models) and saw a light, I designed at least four years ago. I deleted it with pain in my heart. Yesterday, it was Friday. Time to check out weird things. This week’s weird thing was to check out how Leapfrog Creatr would handle the deleted Shapeways model. The first three trails failed, but at minimum speed (10 mm/sec) the robot did an amazing job and produced an unbelievable an completely unexpected 3D print:

iLED Amsterdam © opqrstu 2017

The robot printed these things (without support) upside down. The printing of the first 30 layers was very tricky. These layers are far from perfect, everything moved when a new layer was added. The design is simply to steep to print. When the angle became less steep, the printing stabilised and without problems Leapfrog Creatr 2013 completed it’s most complicated print job ever. Layer height: 0.3 mm.
Lesson: try the impossible and you will become a wiser man. Another opqrstu3D print experience.

Slic3r modify meshes

Today, there was some time left for new experiments in Slic3r, or designing and printing multiple infill patterns in one print. This only makes sense when you use ‘infill’ as decoration in the design. In this session opqrstu3D designs and prints a coaster, or a thing you put under a glass if you want to avoid direct contact between the glass and a table.

I won’t explain the process, but to give an idea; every infill pattern has it’s own STL.
This coaster contains three patterns, which means: there are at least three designs involved. At least, because I also need a general STL (the object) and a contour STL.
In Slic3r, you load the object.stl and set zero top layers, zero bottom layers and zero perimeters. Next you load the other STL’s. These are the modifiers, they change the settings/content of the ‘object’ anywhere you want. I learned this method from publications of Steve Wood at 3ders.org. He explains ‘modifying meshes’ perfectly in a four-part series. If you wanna know more, follow this link.

Today’s experiment resulted in four very un3Dprinted products. With some fantasy, these coasters look like they are made of some kind of fabric. ‘Modifying meshes’ rules!

Coaster © opqrstu 2017

Printed on 3D4makers PET-G. Five layers, layer hight 0.30 mm

print time

One of the major problems in 3D printing is the amount of time it takes to print perfect things: higher print speeds cause unwanted irregularities. So, when opqrstu3D designs things, I always try the keep them as small as possible. Sometimes this is not an option. Six months ago, I designed and printed GGJK, a wonderful light. A very small LED driver from China allowed me to design a minimal basecamp for this light. This way opqrstu3D reduced print time substantially. But an unforeseen problem arrived on the scene; the basecamp was too small to guarantee stability. GGJK could stand up, but that was it. To build a really functional GGJK, it’s basecamp needed some adaptation. Opqrstu3D talked with Gerard, 12VoltLightDesign, Schoone about this problem and he advised to design a slanting base: the base of the basecamp is big, but it gets smaller layer by layer. I tried and printed a new and very steep basecamp. Without support! Printing this thing plus lid took almost 7 hours at perimeter print speed: 20 mm/sec, layer height 0.3 mm. I am not happy with the increase in print time, but very happy with the new design, because on this basecamp GGJK gained the highly required stability.

GGJK © opqrstu 2016
GGJK © opqrstu 2016

FullMoon

Today, 12 volt LED bulb’s are getting better and cheaper, but they do not run on 220 Volt. You can buy all kinds of 220 volt LED’s, but these are quite expensive. Can 3D printing help us to connect 12 volt LED’s directly to 220 volt light systems? Some posts ago, I designed and printed JellyLight. It connects a 3 Watt, 12 volt LED to a regular 220 volt home system, but is not easy to assemble/use.

Now there’s FullMoon, a very simple three parts 3D printed light. FullMoon fits easy in almost any modern living. Opqrstu3D printed it on 3D4makers transparent PET-g and tested it in the opqrstu studio. This light is much easier to assemble and has an ‘infill only’ printed light head. The ‘infill only’ structures create an organic, silky or moony look.

FullMoon © opqrstu 2016
FullMoon © opqrstu 2016

Creatr is printing on it’s original old nozzle again and as predicted: FullMoon looks perfect. For your information: a complete FullMoon needs an eleven hours print job (0.3 mm layer height). To assemble this light, you need a constant voltage 12 volt LED driver, some wires, some very small screws, two small connectors and a 3 watt/12 volt LED. Save energy!

tissue engineering: testing PLLA

3D4makers has a new filament: PLLA. It’s a PLA that might be used in new medical applications like tissue engineering. Tissue engineering is a domain in medical technology and has emerged as a promising alternative approach in the treatment of malfunctioning or lost organs where patients are treated by using their own cells, grown on a polymer support, so that a tissue part is regenerated from the natural cells.

JP Wille, the founding father of 3D4makers asked opqrstu3D to test PLLA in infill only settings. Meanwhile, Slic3r updated their infill patterns with a pattern called ‘3D Honeycomb’. This new infill pattern should, in theory, provide maximum strength in all axes while using the least amount of material to do so. Today opqrstu3D tested PLLA on ‘3D honeycomb infill only settings and the results look very promising. The prints are light weighted, very strong and looking real clear. The cube is a tissue engineering test. As the pict also shows; PLLA is also a promising filament for non-medical prints.PLLA

Tissue engineering has nothing to do with boats and ‘kroonsteentjes’, it’s about growing animal/human cells in biodegradable materials. To demonstrate the possibilities of PLLA on infill only settings, I downloaded the model of an ear and a nose by addamay123. Creatr printed slightly adapted versions on PLLA, 3D honeycomb infill only.

addamay123/opqrstu3D
addamay123/opqrstu3D

woven glass?

Today, Creatr printed ‘brocade’ on transparent PET-G. The most functional light in opqrstu3D history. Very clear, but structured enough to dim the direct light power of LED’s. Again, ‘infill only’ comes with an un3Dprinted look. This time, clear PET-G infill makes me think of woven glass: very thin (1 mm) but structured, excellent for 12 Volt, 1 Watt LED.

brocade © opqrstu2016
brocade © opqrstu 2016

Opqrstu3D designed ‘brocade’, but it’s just an imitation of a very classic light shade. This shape became classic because it does what it has to do: spreading photons, the way we like it.

Are these lights affordable?

When you are an experienced 3D printer and study the ‘infill only’ concept, these lights are very affordable: once designed, you can print as many as you want. Creatr needs 4 hours to complete this job. It’s a tricky job, so not every print will survive. A ‘brocade’ light shade consumes 13 meters Pet-G and some electricity. You also need a very cheap LED driver and print a save housing around it: another 13 meters of filament on a 4 hour print job. Together: 26 meters PET-G, 8 hours of printing, some electricity and some cheap things, max: 15 dollars pro ‘brocade’ light system. Do It Yourself and save a whole lotta a money and energy.