One aspect of this new Industry 4.0 is 3D printing. But this technology is with us since 1981. What changed recently is RepRap. An open source, super cheap and self-replicating 3D printer (design).

I bought one, build it and make my first object. It blows my mind.

Anet A8

RepRap is just an idea. A blueprint for a printer. Anyone can build around that and sell own version. One of them is Anet A8. A Do-It-Yourself kit. It's cheap and it's available everywhere. I got one next day of purchase. Those guys at Botland really know how to run an online shop.

I planed a day off for assembly. It took half of it. If you ever use IKEA instructions, this is very similar. And each part is different so it's impossible to make any catastrophic mistake.

Assembled Anet A8

The printer was ready to use. Or not. Calibration is an art. It took another day to calibrate my printer. Once I learn how to do it properly it was easy. And few days later printer still keeps it's calibration!

Benchy3D prints

Benchy

The community standard for testing prints is to use Benchy3D. It's a cute little boat that shows all the flaws of a print. Much can be fixed by fine tuning configuration of slicer. Rest is linked to the hardware itself.

First successful Benchy

P1X Swag

Blueprint (heightmap) for the P1X Tag

This image made in GIMP is a heightmap for a slicer. With this simple image I could make such awesome business cards.

Thingiverse!

First item I shared with all of us is obviously a P1X logo ;)

P1X QRCode TAG on thingiverse

Success Story

My watch band broke. I ordered new online but it was days before it will arrive (Christmas time). I thought what if I could print one? Turns out there are whole world of articulated stuff to print. It's a moving parts that are printed and do not need any future assembly to work.

I printed this customized band. Using SCAD I was able to change width to the 18mm required for my Casio.

And it worked surprisingly well. Band is "flexible" and worked out of the box. I mean, bed. And it served the purpose - for few days I could use my watch till new band came.

Articulated Prints

Those are the prints that have joints to make them flexible. You don't need to assemble them. Those two were taken straight from the heat bed.

Watch the video of the moment I finishes printing.

Articulated Slug finished print

Anet Upgrades

Over the next days I learned how to use the printer better. And printed a lot of things. Most of them failed to print properly. But that's the beauty of learning a new skill.

Most needed parts are for the Anet itself. Each upgrade made prints a little bit better or make printer safer and easier to maintenance.

So far I upgraded:

  • Fan exhaust (circular),
  • T-block support for main arms 2x,
  • filament holder,
  • bed calibration screws + spring holders 4x,
  • X/Y-axis belt tighten-er,
  • X/Y-axis belt pulley insert,
  • mosfets for bed and extruder,
  • mounting for mosfets,
  • kempton tape for bed (most important upgrade),
  • moving arm for Pi camera,
  • mounting for Raspberry Pi.

I have Raspberry Pi B+ with OctoPi. It works stable but super slow. So slow it fail to deliver enough commends to fill the buffer. Thus slowing down the prints. To fix this I need to order Pi 3B+. I tested it already and it solve the problem.

EDiT: After testing other software I found Repetier. It is far superior in operation but the UX/UI is from 90's. But it works perfectly!

Repetier Server on the Pi. Then Repetier  Host on PC to slice, group, move objects, etc. And with one push of a [PRINT] button it starts printing our model.

Streaming

PatoDrukarka is my fist ever streaming project. It's super fun. And as exciting as watching grass grow or paint dry. Just watch some archived recording.

Conclusion

And what's the best part? It's all open-sourced/free. The printer, software and models.

I used GIMP, Ultimaker Cura, OctoPrinter (OctoPi), recently Repetier Server and Host (Recommended for Anet A8!).

Other useful software: OBS, VLC, QMMP. All on Pop!_OS 18.10.

Lama lama lama

After few weeks of extensive printing. Failing. Changing settings. Abandoning software and founding new one. Upgrading. Setting the workflow. Now I can say i know how to brake a print. But also I am confident enough to know witch print should succeed and witch not so much.

Mission Control Centre

3D Printer is a very nice hobby. It is also a beginning of a new era. And now it's the most fun period. Where everything is still new and just awaits to be discovered!

Let's print our New World.