Sunday, August 12, 2012

BIG update

Hi All,

After all the mini posts I've been doing I thought I'd do something abit longer. 

New Webstore, X3D hotends...

I guess the biggest announcement is my new online store. Please check it out :)
I'll have the hot end kits available through the site as well as spare parts. The site is still very new so please excuse while I continue to tidy it up. I've also decided to name the hot ends (finally =.= hah) to reflect the webstore. I've named them X3D (just like the website :P).

New aluminium mounts, no extra cost :)

Next thing on the list is I'm moving away from the fender washer mounts to a new machined aluminium mount. I'm soaking up the extra cost on this as drilling those washers was a real chore to do!

The aluminium mounts are surface treated on the edges only (deburred and sandblasted) and raw on the top and bottom surface. The main factor behind that was because it'd be sandwiched in between an extruder anyway. It wouldn't take much to polish or brush it.

The X3D hot end has done 2kgs of PLA through it in testing, and it works just like its previous version. Quick heat ramping and uses ~40-60/127 duty cycle (as per pronterface) to maintain the heat.

I also did temperature testing on the mount to make sure not too much heat was transferred to the mounting plate and the extruder. The mount didn't exceed 45C with a 210C hot end. I will still allow the fender washer support as an option on the X3D for those that want to utilise them as heat sinks (a small extra cost to machine the shoulder).

1.75mm hot ends now available too 

With the new mounts I decided it was time to finish testing the 1.75mm variation hot end. The nozzle is completely the same as the 3mm variant, so it'll have a larger melt zone. Knowing that, I wanted to test its performance anyway and see if it had a noticeable effect on printing quality, oozing etc. The benefit of this is you won't need different nozzles for different sized filament.

I was quite suprised after swapping the hot end over to the smaller filament that my settings in firmware did not need to be changed at all. Less work for me :). All changes occurred in slic3r, so it made setting up things easy. I was happy with my calibration prints in less an hour. So far I've printed a few extruder orders and I guess I'll let the image tell the story.
Small bits of stringing, but very happy with the finish considering I have very little experience with 1.75 filaments. There is definitely more room for improvement there.

So after all those updates whats next?

Bowden Cable hotends! These will be available for those that want to try these out. They use Push To Connect fittings for pneumatic fittings. I have had to bore them out to 3mm and 2mm for the two different filaments as they come with a 1.5mm inner diameter. For my testing, I simply tapped the Greg's wades Extruder hole and attached the fitting.
For the X3D side, I used a small variant to the current Peek insulator. This shortens the PTFE inner lining and has a thread on the end for the fitting.

I was pleasantly suprised by how easy it was to set up but there is definitely alot of calibration to do to get prints turning out well. Here are two hooks I printed with the bowden cable mod, they are as-is straight from the printer bed. No cleaning done. You can see a typical oozing issue from most bowden cables setups. The second print shows my attempt at increasing retraction. It seemed to help but it wasn't enough. More testing to be done...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming soon :)

Coming soon :)

Other things as well will be a new webstore and 1.75mm hot ends.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sneak peek.

Here is a bit of a sneak peek into a few things in the works. I feel like I've only been producing hot ends and no design work has been done for the last few months. So hopefully I can get back into things from now.

If you couldn't guess what it was, it's an alternative mounting system for the hot end. One thing that has surprised me so far is that I haven't had a criticism about the hot end so far. I don't believe its perfect, in fact I know its not. So it would be great to hear some peer review on the design. Anyway, I thought the mounting system had areas where it could be improved.

It also draws much of its inspiration from the J-head plate mount. But unfortunately they are incompatible, as the J-head uses a 12mm diameter slot, and the PEEK rod I'm using is 12mm dia! I would have liked to have had them compatible though...

Nonetheless, plan is to test the mount first to make sure the hot end doesn't over heat without the heatsink/fender washer. I'm inclined to leave the shoulder on the PEEK rod to give the option of both mounts or even going back to the original v6 style mount.

No details as yet on my production pricing, but we'll see how it all goes first in my testing for now. Plan is to simply swap to the new slot mount, though, a combination of old and new could be possible. We'll see.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More nozzle sizes available!

As mentioned in my previous post I have a new range of micro drills bits now in 0.5mm, 0.4mm, 0.35mm, 0.3mm and 0.25mm.
I also did get 0.2mm drill bits in, but I don't have a way to drill those holes successfully due to limitations on my lathe.

Out of interest, I did some simple calculations on the reduced area size for the smaller diameter nozzles compared to the 'standard' 0.5mm nozzle. The nozzle size is proportional to the layer height and width of the extrusion, so the percentage in the figure below is only an estimate of increased print time per layer. It doesn't take into account the increase in time in layer height. The last column shows an example with 10min print time with the 0.5mm nozzle. 

It'd be interesting to see what slic3r/pronterface gives for print times with different nozzles from the estimates.