Archive for delta 3D printer

Switch cuts out 3D printing problem

3D printed table base - Kevin CaronAbout a week ago I decided to tackle a project I’ve been thinking about for a while. I have a beautiful glass tabletop and thought it would be fun to 3D print a base for it.

Fun?! I like to go into a project thinking positively, but maybe that just set me up ….

Anyway, the first day of what would be a 5-day print went fine. It was when I had to change out the 5-pound spool of PLA filament on my 8-foot-tall Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer that things went terribly wrong.

The print paused normally, then I switched out the spool of natural filament and loaded up the new spool. When I tried to resume the print, though, everything went haywire. The printhead swung wildly out of position, and the print was lost.

I was ready to pull my hair out! A whole $100 spool of filament and a day of 3D printing had been lost. Not to mention the frayed nerves.

Then Steve Graber, the man who built the Gigante, told me about the switch ….

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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 ….

Art show puts spotlight on my 3D printed sculpture

Endless Line art show of 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronI’ve had my 3D printed sculpture in a number of shows, but thus far it’s either been in an exhibit with other people’s 3D printed work, like the Shemer Art Center 2014 show “Materialize,” or as just pieces in an art show, like last year’s  show at MonOrchid, “Ten Modern Abstract.”

Finally, it was time for a show dedicated to my 3D printed sculpture.

I’m deeply fortunate that I was approached by Robrt Pela, the highly talented curator, writer and critic to do a show – well, actually two shows, but that’s another story altogether.

This one, called “Endless Line,” would feature the largest single exhibition of my large and small format 3D printed sculpture, really putting my work out there for comment and criticism ….


For the 3D printed sculpture show, Robrt chose the Walter Art Gallery, which is part of Walter Productions, a maker space that features, among other things, a brewery, artist studios and the gallery. Most famously, it’s the home of Walter the Bus, which many people know from the Burning Man festival.

Displaying and lighting these sculptures was a real challenge. First, most of them are in a single, saturated color. That meant they had to be placed carefully so that each sculpture complemented the others. Fortunately, they had enough space to place each sculpture so it could be circumnavigated. That is invaluable with any sculpture. Lighting was tricky because some of the sculptures are printed in translucent filament, like the luminous Sunscraper, which had actually sold before the show even began.

Copper Cuff, a 3D printed sculpture by Kevin CaronSome of the sculptures, including Glance and Copper Cuff (right), have patinas on them, but the majority have the shiny surface of filament, which made it challenging to not just reflect a glare from them. Lighting master Todd Grossman finally settled on making the light work best at night when the opening and closing receptions were held.

I brought my Cerberus 3D 250 deltabot 3D printer and set it up to print a small sculpture. We had my jewelry set up for sale, too.

Everything was ready by the time of the opening on Friday, February 5. Our hosts were even nice enough to bring Walter the Bus out and turn on his undulating neon lights to welcome visitors.

And come they did.

It was fascinating to watch people, listen to their comments and answer their questions. Many of them didn’t yet understand how 3D printing even works when they came in the door. After explaining the process to hundreds of people over the last few years, I think I was able to explain it to them in such a way that most of them got it before they left.

Others were fascinated by the filament. I overheard someone flicking Sunscraper with her nails. I only cringed a little.

Some preferred the patinated pieces. No one, at least that I heard, was turned off by what they saw or denied this was art. In fact, most of them were blown away, which felt great. I also overhead conversations about 3D printing in general – what people are already doing and what the future may bring.

I think I gained some new fans with this show, and I know we educated a lot of people. I came away more confident than ever that people understand that 3D printing may be new and, for now, novel, but that it’s simply another tool in artists’ quivers.

The closing reception for the show is Friday, February 26 at 6 p.m. at the Walter Art Gallery, 6425 E. Thomas Rd. in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tinkering and tweaking: 3D printers today

3D printed prototype failure - Kevin CaronWhen 3D printers were first developed, they were called “rapid prototypers.” (As we’ve discussed before, “rapid” is relative.) In addition to creating original sculpture (you can see my latest here), I do use my 3D printers for protyping.

Sometimes a prospective customer just can’t visualize a piece, and sometimes I just want to see how a form comes together or balances before I either create a full-scale 3D printed sculpture or a metal version.

For prototypes, I usually use my Cerberus 3D 250, which is a desktop 3D printer. Lately, though, it’s been starting to print fine, then stops extruding before the print is done ….

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Easy out

It’d been a while since I’d printed a large sculpture on my Cerberus 3D Gigante 3D printer, and I had a new design I wanted to try. So I sliced the file in KISSlicer, transferred the file to the printer, and started the print.

Beginning of printing sculpture Easy In - Kevin Caron

And so it begins ….

I’ve been avoiding really large prints – this 3D printer can create pieces as tall as 4-1/2 feet – because of the angst of printing for days on end. Glance, for instance, took five days of printing over a tortured 11 day period.

Steve Graber and I have made a lot of upgrades to the printer since then, though, so I had reason to be hopeful that this print would be peaceful and productive …..

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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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Embracing the obvious

Jacob Graber, adjusting the Cerberus 250 printer in Kevin Caron's office

Jacob Graber, adjusting the Cerberus 250 printer in Kevin Caron’s office

In jumping back and forth with three different 3D printers – yeah, an embarrassment of riches – I have had to learn and remember each 3D printer’s idiosyncrasies.

Yes, there are more similarities between the Cerberus 3D’s two deltabot style printers, the 250 (right), which sits on a desktop, and my Gigante, which is 8 feet tall and can print up to 4-1/2 feet tall, but they each also have their own preferences.

(Yes, I think they’re alive, but that’s another post ….)

One advantage of having different 3D printers, though, is that I learn from them, or at least I should ….

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More adventures on the bleeding edge

I wish I could say that the holidays are entirely the reason for not posting recently, but that’s only been part of it.

Steve Graber putting the card into the top of the Gigante itself.Truth be known, I’ve been having fits with the Gigante. Fortunately, Steve Graber from Cerberus 3D, the company that built my 8-foot-tall deltabot printer, has been very present and very patient.

“Present” has helped because I’ve had some hardware issues. One of the struts let loose at one point, for instance. He also has replaced the carriages and platform (I’ll have another post that goes into more detail on that) and the Bowden tube that the filament feeds through, as well as completely rebuilt the hotend.

But there have been other problems, too ….

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Speaking the language of 3D printing


In the second set of three days of the six-day studio tour known as Hidden In The Hills, which is sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League, I heard more from visitors about 3D printing.

Altogether, more than 1,300 people came through the studio I was in, and as the first artist theyKevin Caron's jewelry at Hidden In The Hills saw, we usually were able to engage visitors. The colorful jewelry and small 3D sculptures I call Progeny helped catch their eyes.

Most people were simply amazed – many had never seen anything that had been 3D printed. And then, when I showed them a photo of Gigante and explained how it worked, they often said, “Now I understand it!”

Of course, my large deltabot printer uses only one approach to this technology, but it was fun to see the light bulb go on for so many people who were curious but cautious about this new development.

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