3D Printing Week 7 – Sisyphus’ Print Job

October 18, 2016 / By

October 18, 2016 / By

For my final I decided to print a model of the offices of the Magnum Foundation and the adjacent offices of their neighbours in which the Cabinets of Wonder class is set to hold an exhibition on the 27th. The exhibition contains work from photographers sponsored by the foundation and the Cabinets class, in tandem with the Magnum foundation have designed the exhibition using a blend of traditional and experimental interactive elements of display.

Magnum Model

My starting point was a floorplan of the space, sent over to us by the Magnum Foundation. I imported the PDF and Rhino’s translation of it was for the most part impressively logical. My workflow mainly consisted of taking the curves that made up a section of wall, joining them and using extrudeCrv to make a printable model. I hit a few snags along the way though.

For my first run I hadn’t checked the solid option for extrudeCrv and so my extrusions had no cap,volume or base. This made my first attempt essentially useless and I had to start again. It also took me a while to figure out that if a curve isn’t closed it won’t extrude as a solid, causing a few re-do’s. Certain sections also posed a problem as I had extruded them one way but then realised I should have joined them as curves before extruding: an example is the small sections jutting out at the side of each “window”. It was actually more work to try and get the solids to join than to just go back and start from scratch. I also tried to print the model without making it one solid shell. This concept finally stuck in my mind after a few disastrous spaghetti prints. I did a few minor redesigns like having an arch as representative of where the doors should be so that the model could be whole. I also made sure to booleanUnion the model altogether in sections until it was all one and to make sure any new sections I made fit into this process.

I started the print at about 9pm on Saturday. Cura gave me an estimate of about 13h 40min. I think it ended up being about an hour longer than this in the end. I stopped the print (paused and cooled down) and came back the next day after looking up how to reliably do this beforehand. Everything’s fine on the Lulzbot so long as you don’t move the z- axis and reheat the bed and nozzle to what they should be before hitting resume apparently.

For the smaller prints (red furniture) each chair took about 15 minutes I think. I printed them in the correct orientation and they came out fine. I much prefer the supports that the Lulzbot creates to the Ultimaker. I find them much easier to remove. The table took about 30 min. I set this to fast print as it was getting late on Sunday night and I think the quality difference is noticeable, particularly around the legs. I like the way the plastic compacts together on the table surface though, when printing upside down.

I still have half of the model left to print (the back of the office) but that’s another 14 hour print job. I decided to take a break before attempting that again but I’ll add the whole thing to this post once it’s finished.

I learned a lot doing this print and have many things I would do differently. the main takeaway for me was what makes a model printable clicked in my head (all one shell, don’t try and print random extrusions not joined to the shell) and what’s possible (at least at my basic level) on a 3D printer. I really like them as a tool and I think I’m going to incorporate them into projects if I can from now on. I think I finally found my fabrication workflow.


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