Archive for Filament – Page 2

String theory: removing strings from a 3D printed sculpture

Close up of 3D printed sculpture Love and Marriage - Kevin CaronPrinting big sculptures on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante printer is a balance of heat and cool.

As discussed in a previous post, I installed a heated bed on the printer, which helps keep the base of my large format 3D-printed sculptures adhered to the bed during the multiple days of many prints. (Some prints have taken four days. Keeping an eye on a print that long 24 hours a day, switching out spools of filament, adjusting speeds, etc., is definitely not for the faint of heart!)

As the sculptures print, though, I cool them down with fans. My fan of choice right now is a 4-foot-tall oscillating tower fan.

The cooling is especially important when the upper sections of a sculpture narrow, as many of mine do. When they narrow like that, I also turn down print speed to avoid burning on any edges.

The result is spiderweb like strings, or threads, that cool as the hotend moves. They sometimes run between sections almost like the warp, or horizontal threads, in a weaving ….

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3D Printing Filament Comes Out of the Closet

The Point, a 3D-printed bronze sculpture - Kevin CaronI’ve written about applying finishes to the surface of a 3D-printed resin sculpture, but today there are a lot more options for types of the resin filament itself.

Nearly everyone has heard about exotic 3D printing that use biomaterials, titanium, etc. but I’m talking here about filament that mere mortals like me can use in their own 3D printers.

I have 3D-printed in bronze, as you can see at right in my 26″ tall sculpture The Point. That filament is 80% bronze and 20% resin. I’ve printed both a small version of this form on my Cerberus 3D 250 and the larger version on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer.

I don’t have as many choices for my Gigante, though, which requires 5-pound spools of filament for my large prints – unless I want to “weld” together filament from 1-pound spools – providing I can get 3 millimeter filament in that type – and rewind it , which isn’t an entirely crazy idea.

Yet the new materials you can actually print in are staggering. And they aren’t just facsimiles, either. The filaments are actually a mixture of the material and resin, so you are literally printing in these amazing materials ….
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Let there be light (with 3D printed translucent filament)

Sunscraper, a 3D printed contemporary art sculpture - Kevin CaronIn February during my one-person show devoted to my 3D-printed sculptures, I heard many interesting comments and questions.

One thing I was asked repeatedly is whether I’d ever put lights into a 3D printed sculpture.

This undoubtedly grew out of them seeing the luminous translucent filaments I’ve used, including ice blue (for the sculpture Easy In), red (several sculptures, including Redhead and Love and Marriage), purple (Twin Peaks and Love and Marriage) and – my favorite – yellow (SunScraper, right). The yellow just really lights up!

BTW, I’ve tried green “translucent” filament, too, which wasn’t really translucent and was, honestly, just pretty ugly.

The subject came up so often, in fact, that, of course, my mind got going ….

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The Strange Case of the 3D printed Geared Ball

Geared sphere - 3D printed by Kevin CaronIf you read my last blog post, you know I’ve been playing around with some cool designs from Thingiverse.

Both are geared – one is a cube, the other a ball. You can see me playing with them in that last blog post – several people have remarked they are like a modern Rubik’s Cube. I’ve taken a geared cube to events and people just can’t stop handling it.

Lately, I’ve been having fun enlarging the designs to print on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, something that was a whole lot harder than I thought it would be – it isn’t just a matter of scaling up mathematically.

I’ve also been adding stripes to cubes while printing (another good reason to check out last week’s post to see me manipulate one).

But the point of this post is the strange thing I discovered after I printed the large black geared ball (right) ….

When you 3D print a geared cube, you print all the pieces at the same time. With the geared balls, you print all nine pieces – four large ones, four small ones and a middle – separately.

Difference between PLA and ABS 3D printed filament - Kevin CaronUsing my 3D Systems CubeX 3D printer, I had printed six of the pieces in black ABS filament for this 5″ geared ball when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough to print the last three pieces.

So I found some black 1.71 mm PLA filament, which is what the CubeX runs, and figured, “What the hell – filament is filament.”

After the last three pieces printed, I bought some 1/4 x 20 Allen bolts to assemble it, just as I’d done with a 2-1/2″ gray version I’d printed earlier.

But the black geared ball just wouldn’t go together. It probably took me two hours to assemble the gray one, but the black one probably took me three.

Finally, I realized that the three pieces I printed in PLA resin were slightly larger – the photo at right shows one of the smaller pieces protruding slightly.

I’d heard that PLA resin shrinks less, and this seems to prove it.

I want to try playing with this some more, comparing PLA to ABS, but since I finally got the black geared ball together, I’m happy for now.

Boys Just Gotta Have Fun

Thingiverse homepageYeah, girls have to have fun, but so do boys!

If you’re a regular reader, you know that not everything I make on my 3D printers is a sculpture. Every now and then, I make a part or something we need around the house, and I have plenty more of those kind of projects to work on.

Recently. though, I’ve also been playing with some designs from Thingiverse.

If you’re not familiar with Makerbot’s huge community of makers, members have uploaded more than 564,000 3D models and are adding more every day.

The cool thing is that you can upload your own designs as well as download whatever you want.

I like to browse Thingiverse like I browse for new books to read, and one day I found some intriguing designs that I couldn’t wait to play with ….

 

Of all the designs I found there, the geared cubes and spheres really caught my eye. Well, really, it’s my brother-in-law Bill‘s fault – he’s the one who got me hooked on 3D printing, in part because he sent me a geared cube. Once I found the geared cube, then I also found a geared sphere.

These are really cool designs – I give huge credit to the designers.

Of course, I couldn’t stop there. I enlarged the designs and also began adding stripes to them. The stripes are super cool when you start twisting the cubes because they then make their own designs.

So here, for your entertainment, are some videos showing me playing with these giant geared toys:

A geared sphere …. #3Dprinted #3dprinting

A post shared by Kevin Caron (@kevincaronart) on

Getting to Solid

Opioid, a 3D printed fine art sculpture - Kevin CaronLike most things, when you start looking below the surface, you find all sorts of nuances that make you realize that there is more than you realized to whatever you are doing. Well, at least to do it right!

For instance, I’d never thought about how to make a flat surface using 3D printing. After all, I do it all the time with metal – I make a very similar form to what you’ll see below to use as the strikers in most of my sound sculptures.

Besides, when I 3D print sculptures (or anything else), I have large expanses of filament. As you can see at right in my latest 3D print, Opioid, I have large expanses of solid filament “fabric,” but they aren’t horizontal. The printer does a fine job of creating these 3D printed “skins,” even in large sections.

But what if you want to create a flat surface? How does the 3D printer go from, say, printing the edges of something to filling in the area between the edges, especially if it is a pretty large expanse?

Well, that is a different story altogether …. Read More →

Coats of many colors: using finishes on 3D-printed resin

Epic Swoon, a 3D printed fine art sculpture by Kevin CaronWhen I first started 3D printing with my 3D Systems CubeX it was such a struggle to get the form completed the way I wanted it I never thought about finishes.

I was purely focused on the form.

Besides, 3D printing delivers the strong, saturated color of an opaque filament, such as in sculptures like my 5-1/2 foot-tall commissioned piece Epic Swoon, which has a red upper and a black pedestal, or the often glowing quality of translucents, like my sculpture Easy In.

I love how those translucent filaments embrace the light – one of my favorites is my sculpture Sunscraper, which practically bursts into flame it’s so luminous.

The first time I used a finish on a piece was with my sculpture Oculum, and it was out of necessity ….

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Taking a tumble: burnishing 3D-printed bronze

The Point, a 3D printed bronze sculpture - Kevin CaronMany sculptors work in bronze, but in my more than 10 years as a professional artist, I have worked in everything but. I have mostly fabricated in mild steel, but have also worked with stainless steel, Cor-ten (weathering) steel, aluminum, brass and copper.

Finally, with 3D printing, I have my first bronze! Well, it’s 80% bronze and 20% PLA resin, but the resulting print is clearly a different breed than the ABS and PLA resins I usually print in.

For one thing, it’s noticeably heavier. Seeing as I’m printed just two or three layers thick, it’s amazing how much heavier these bronzes are than if they’d been printed in the resin I usually use.

(Of course, that gets my mind going … if I could print a solid bronze, how much would it weigh? How would it compare to the weight of a traditional poured bronze? And we’re off and running through the grassy fields of my mind ….)

One of the big differences is that the sculpture isn’t done once the printhead rises ….

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3D Printing Bronze Brings New Challenges

bronze filament from Colorfabb - Kevin CaronI’ve been drooling over all the different kinds of filament out there, from the luscious translucents I’ve used on several of my sculptures, to rubber – Steve Graber gave me a cool “vase” printed in a single layer of rubber that’s a huge hit at events – to the new transparents.

Some of them aren’t really available to me for the Gigante, which uses 3 millimeter filament but for which I like at least 5 pound spools. (My company policy is to order at least three 5 pound spools at a time for the Gigante just to make sure I have enough in the same color lot to do a 4-foot-tall sculpture. Yeah, I have a lot of filament in my supply closet!)

Others, like wood, don’t turn me on.

But bronze? Yeah, I’m a sculptor, so bronze definitely interests me.

So I bought some bronze filament from ColorFabb ….

 

My Cerberus 250 runs 1.75 millimeter, but I wanted to use the bronze in my Gigante, so I bought some spools, even though I had to settle for 1,500 kilogram ones.

The bronze filament is more expensive than all of the other filament I’ve bought, and it’s heavier, too. That’s because it’s 80% bronze and just 20% PLA.

First I printed a small version of the form I call The Point that’s just 11″ tall. I was happy enough with it that I printed a 26″ tall version.

The Point, a 3D printed bronze sculpture - Kevin CaronWhat I didn’t anticipate was how much time and effort it would take to burnish them.

When they print, they look almost like wet clay. That is not the look I am going for – I want these sculptures to, obviously, look like bronzes. Yeah, I know they are bronzes, but I want them to look like bronzes, too!

I started out with steel wool and realized quickly I needed to start with something rougher. I grabbed some Abranet, a sanding material my brother, a wood turner, introduced me to. I used finer and finer grits and even tried wet sanding, which I’d read about online with 3D printed bronze, but it didn’t seem to help.

I kept working my way finer and finer in grit until I was back to using steel wool, then worked my way finer and finer in its versions to a very fine steel wool.

After trying various ways to hold the sanding material – wrapped around a pencil, a railroad spike, etc. – I figured out to put it on a simple metal rod with a piece of tape to hold it on. I put that into my drill, which I then used to burnish the sculptures.

I ordered some brass wool from Rockler and tried it on a test piece, but it didn’t do anything. Back to the steel wool.

I spent about 10 hours on the small Point, and 16 hours on the large one.

The biggest success, though, was when I put the small Point into my 100-year-old burnisher. Wow! It gave it an incredibly cool gleam.

I’ll share more about the burnisher in an upcoming post, but suffice it for now to say that I can’t fit the large Point into it. While the finish on it is OK, I see more hours of hand polishing in my future to get the look I want.

Next, I think I’ll order some copper filament ….

100-year-old machine solves my 21st century 3D printing problem

Scale - 3D printing blog by Kevin CaronSometimes working with 3D printing is like discovering a new continent. You never know what goldmine you’re going to discover – or sinkhole you just stepped into.

Fortunately, most of the time I unearth goldmines. This time, I found yet another. What I didn’t expect was that I’d be using apparently timeless 100-year-old technology to solve a 21st century problem.

For a long time, I’ve been a bit frustrated because my 3D printer host software tells me how many millimeters of filament a print will take.

That is only of limited help, though, because filament manufacturers sell their product based on weight (kilograms or pounds) ….

 

So knowing how much filament you need for a job has been a real conundrum. Armed with the magic of the Internet, though, I was determined to find some way to know how much filament I have and how much I need for a 3D printing job …..

I began searching for measuring tools, thinking I’d find something digital. I did, but I also found the perfect tool that just happens to be really, really old.

Enjoy this video, which explains what I found and shows how it works perfectly ….