Archive for 3-D printing software

The mystery of the 3D print fail

Overheat screen for 3D printer - Kevin CaronIt starts out so innocently …. Doesn’t it always, especially with 3D printing!

I wanted to print something using NGen_FLEX (usually called “Ninjaflex”) rubber filament on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante printer when I got a “Runaway temperature warning” (right), and the printer shut down.

I checked the graph in Simplify 3D, the combination host and slicer program I was using, and saw the temperature spiking instead of its usual gradual climb.

I shut off the 3D printer, let it cool, and tried it again. Same problem.

I printed the same file with regular PLA and had no problem.

There was only one thing to do …

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Worlds Collide: 3D Printing Experience Informs Metal Sculpting

Dynatorch Super B 4x4 CNC Plasma TableSince I became a full-time artist in 2006, I’ve purchased and used a lot of tools. A lot of tools. If you took the recent video tour of my studio, you see many of them, and yes, I use them all. Using the right tool for the job can mean the difference between a job well done and one that turns out just OK, and the difference between spending hours and committing days to a single task.

Recently, I “moved up” in the world of metal working with a purchase of a Dynatorch Super B 4×4 Plasma CNC table (right). This tool allows me do jobs in an hour that would have taken me days, and does them better. It cuts out the metal accurately and cleanly – no more cutting close, then trimming or grinding to size!

The CNC table is a game changer for me, much like my 3D printers have been.

Interestingly enough, my experience with 3D printing helped me get up to speed on the Super B a lot faster than I would have otherwise ….

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‘You have to do what?!’ – Barriers to 3D printing

Using CAD to design - Kevin CaronAlthough the buzz about 3D printing isn’t as red hot as it was, people are understandably still jazzed about this transformational process.

I see the reactions all the time, whether it’s at a gathering focused on how the process works, how I use it in my practice as a sculptor, or just a bunch of people who are fascinated by 3D printing. What I almost also invariably see is disappointment.

The dirty little secret about 3D printing is that you must have a file that you can print.

That’s easy enough if you are satisfied printing other people’s files, such as ones downloaded from Thingiverse. But what if you want to create something yourself?

Well, at this point in the evolution of 3D printing, you’d better know CAD (Computer Aided Design) software, or know someone who does. That’s what most people don’t realize: 3D printing itself is the culmination of a longer process ….

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Using a 3D printer to refine a design

Creating isn’t always a one-shot process.

When I first conceived my 3D filament sizing set up, the bent piece of metal through which the filament ran to ensure there were no lumps that could jam the 3D printer seemed a simple yet elegant solution.

After using it for a while – and catching my coat on it, as you’ll hear about in the video – I realized there was a better way ….

This video explains what I came up with and how I used my 3D printer to create, then refine the design:

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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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 →

Changing 3D printing filament is now so much easier ….

Sometimes change is imposed upon us (make that “Often change is …”). Anyway, sometimes (often?) that change is good, and that’s the case with how I now am changing my filament on my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer.

Last month, the teeth on the Gigante’s extruder motor got stripped, which required me to order a new extruder. That actually worked out well – I was between one of my own prints, Redhead, and beginning a 3D printed commissioned sculpture.

When I got the new extruder, I discovered I could just pause the print to change the filament instead of having to do it on the fly, the way I had been doing it:

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Day and night: what I’ve learned about 3D printing

When you work on something for a while, it’s easy to forget how far you’ve come. You know: it’s that old frog in the pot metaphor, except the outcome is sometimes – as in this case – positive.

Change happens, even if it seems like it didn’t.

I’m getting a good reminder of that right now as I recreate a project I did about 10 months ago that apparently didn’t end as well as I’d hoped ….

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The 3 Biggest Myths About 3D Printing

Any time there is new technology – fax machines, the Internet, electric cars – claims abound it. New!

“This will change the world like nothing before it!”

“You’ll never have to [fill in the blank] again!”

“Your life will be easier and better than ever before!”

Of course, some of these claims end up being true, but often they blow the benefits out of proportion ….

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Reality check

A small container - Kevin CaronI’ve been playing with the CubeX and the Cerberus 3D 250 for a while and decided to take on a little project with Cerberus 3D’s Gigante deltabot printer.

I designed a hexagonal bin with swirling sections around the outside using Geomagic. I used the “shell” command, thinking it would give me a relatively slim container with the swirl embedded on the sides.


I still have a lot to learn about using CAD, translating through Kisslicer and into the printer …..

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