Saturday, April 2, 2011

This is my largest print to date. It measures 10" by 10" by 3" and was printed in two parts that took more than 24 hours each. Even so, it is still just the front half of the teeth of an orca whale.
I found several people online took photos of the same orca skull in a museum, and was able to use all those photos to reconstruct the positions of the teeth, since each photo had a different angle. Unfortunately, I haven't found any CT scans or the like, which might have given me better quality data, so the jawbone here is pretty simplified.
I initially used that model to create a 3D whale model for rendering in Carrara, but I wanted to see what it would look like at full scale, so I printed it. I printed the first part in November, and it had some rough spots in the overhang area. A few weeks ago, I printed the second half, using what I've learned since then, and the result is much nicer, except it got stuck a few times, so I had to restart it in the middle.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I haven't had much to write about, but I have been printing stuff. Check out the designs I've shared on Thingiverse
In addition to the clear PLA I started with, I'm also now printing with black. The black PLA has been uneventful, to the point where I just warm up the machine and start printing. Some prints take 8 hours or more, but I don't have to babysit them anymore. :-) That lets me get more ambitious, like a 20-hour print I'm in the middle of now. I just slept through the first part of it. To date, I've had about 30 successful prints. At some point I had heard that the acrylic I used as a build surface deteriorates after as few as 20 prints, but I don't see any evidence of that with PLA. (My build still has some scars from when I was trying ABS.) The PLA keeps a good bond to Acrylic while printing, (it needs to so it doesn't move around) but I slide a spatula-shaped Xacto knife underneath, and the whole model pops up when I get enough leverage. The acrylic is left pretty clean. This works even on large 8" models.