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Credit goes to Medelis 3D for this FEP film vat for UV-Resin 3D printers! You can check him out on Facebook and Youtube!
When making a FEP film vat, it’s important that you use only PET laminating pouches as these are harder than PETG pouches. PETG laminating pouches do not fit, and they are also soft which means they scratch easily.
What is a laminating film?
It is a sheet of laminating film that is composed of various layers of plastic. The harder layer (PET) is on the outside and the softer layer (EVA) is on the inside. The harder outer layer is usually made from PET plastic (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and the softer inner layer is made out of EVA plastic (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate.
What is the material?
PET…This is as much as 200 times stronger than glass. It is virtually unbreakable and also has very high impact strength. It is also chemical resistant and super transparent!
How do we get started?
First, grab your laminate pouch and split it into 2. All you need to do next is dissolve the EVA side in the oven (The heat from the oven makes this transparent) Ensure that the PET side is placed down on some baking parchmanet paper before placing in the oven. Place in the oven at 200-210 deg C (392F) and for approx 4-5 seconds. That is all! You may find that it is tacky to the touch afterwards, but this is normal.
The next step
So once you have heated the laminate pouch, it should now be transparent. Grab your resin vat, and stick this on top of the laminate, but make sure that the EVA side is now facing down as the resin needs to be in contact with the PET side. You should now have your FEP film vat for your UV-Resin 3D printer!
The UV Post Curing Temperature is 60-65 deg C using 405nm UV Light. PET melts at 260 deg C.
You can check out Medelis’s video below for a more in depth explanation.
The Alternative was FOUND 🤑 cheap & simple FEP film vat for UV-Resin 3D printers - YouTube
Settings used for the Micromake L2 / Flsun S & Monocure 3D Rapid Resin
First Layer Time 50000
Num Bottom Layers 3
Layer Height 0.05
Layer Time 15000
Again, thank to Medelis for the content. Remember to check him out on Facebook here – Clicky!
What is Resin 3D printing?
Typical 3D printers use what’s called fused deposition modeling (FDM), in which a heated nozzle extrudes plastic filament causing it to melt, meticulously tracing out every detail of the object it’s making. Resin printing (SLA) turns the process upside down. Instead of starting with a solid raw material, it starts with a liquid and turns it solid.
The process uses a liquid, called “Photosensitive resin”, that hardens into solid Polyester, vinyl ester epoxy or urethane when exposed to light. Some resins react to visible light and have to be stored in black containers. Others react to ultraviolet light. If you keep them out of the sun, you won’t have any issues.
To make the change, a Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector shines an image into a vat of resin for each layer of the object to be made. Once the first layer hardens onto a platform, the platform moves a tiny bit deeper into the vat of resin — and the projector shines a new image to harden the next layer.
The big benefit of resin printing is the ability to make objects very small, very detailed or both. The resolution of the print job on an FDM printer is limited by the thickness of the plastic coming through the nozzle. Good home printers get down to 100 microns (one-tenth of a millimetre, or 0.0039 of an inch).
That may sound good, but the individual layers in a print job might still be visible, and surfaces won’t be totally smooth. With a resolution of 10 microns or better (depending on the resolution of the projector), resin printers produce much finer detail, and items come out smoother.
That makes SLA printers a good tool for jewellery makers, for example, who can design a detailed piece and use the resin print to make a mould.
Want to win a Tevo Michelangelo 3D Printer? – Click HERE for your chance to win!
BIQU Magician Lipstick-Sized Delta Rostock 3D Printer
Well, let me start off saying first impressions of this BIQU Magician printer seem great! Good quality packing it comes in. A great big cylindrical tube! You could use this as a stool, or even a place to put your printer on…this to me is a good indicator from the start of the quality you’re about to receive. As for the cheap price of £179 from Amazon!
What do you get?
The BIQU Magician comes neatly packed inside with a top and bottom sturdy foam platform to absorb any knocks during transit. It is all shrink wrapped up, with the belts cable tied so they don’t get damaged either. It comes with the following:
250g spool of white filament
Full colour instructions
Flexible build plate
SD Card with .obj files on and instructions
Spare nozzles & various other bits
Levelling sensor + extra pads
Setup for the BIQU Magician was a breeze. After you have unwrapped everything, screw the spool holder on the top, secure your filament, use the auto leveling sensor, pre-heat your PLA and away you go! That’s all there is to it.
Regarding the levelling sensor, the instructions are incorrect as to how to connect it and which side to place the sticky pad! On the black connector, you will see some embossed writing, put this face down on your desk and then apply the stick pad on the other end. When connecting to the printer, ensure bit bits of the metal terminal are the same way and that you have a cold nozzle. The BIQU has a handy function within its menu options to test this further if needed. Go to Operation > Endstops. This will show you the X,Y & Z endstops as well as the levelling, All you need to do is press the buttons on the end stops to initiate them and you’ll see the icons light up red on the screen to indicate they are working.
The printer itself…
The printer looks great and kind of futuristic in a way with its exposed metal rods, it’s jagged belts and the spacey blue touchscreen.
It comes with a spool holder which you have to attach. For me personally, it’s not the greatest! For a start, you’d only be able to use the filament spool that comes with it (Unless you modify it by cutting off the plastic plug bit) but it doesn’t seem secure and could easily get your filament in a tangle. I decided to print a replacement spool holder which is much, much better! (available on Thingiverse)
Loading the filament can be tricky at first as you need a good aim to get it into the hole by the extruder gears, but it’s easy enough after some practice. The touchscreen is vibrant and very responsive with a vast array of options to choose from such as pre-heating PLA, cool down which turns all fans on to cool down the extruder. You can change your offsets, feed the filament through increments as well as the X & Y axis. You can view the contents of the SD card so you can choose what to print and also the auto levelling feature.
The BIQU Magician can be classed as quite noisy, but for me it gives out a robotic sound, which is quite musical I think! I have no issues with that. I don’t believe you can apply dampers to the motors as they are smaller than your usual Nemo 7 stepper motors.
Time for printing!
After slicing your file using which ever software you have, save this to the SD card, insert into the slot on the front. The Sd card is loaded straight away onto the screen where you can then choose your print. I’d advise giving these short names, or something at the start of the filename for ease of finding! Tap on your file you want to print and the BIQU Magician will heat up the PLA quite quickly and then start your print. As the print bed is non-heated, and uses a flexible plate, first adhesion can be hit and miss, so with the glue stick that is provided, you can lay some of this down before hand. Once printing, you can watch in awe as it produces your creation!
BIQU Magician printing - YouTube
I printed the Robot Maker which comes pre-loaded on the SD Card
Not bad for an out the box print! Obviously, playing around with some of the settings within your slicer would produce even more outstanding results! I have also used this to print various other items and upgrades for my CR-10S whilst that prints the bigger objects!
This is a fantastic little printer for the money. If you ever want to get in to 3D printing, this is a great starting point! Although limited in its capabilities, you will gain an understanding on how to print, how to adjust prints to make them better, then when you feel ready, you can upgrade to a bigger printer, of which you can use this to print upgrades for it!
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review, and any comments are welcome on anything I may have missed. If you would like me to include anything in future articles, let me know. Happy printing!
Be sure to enter the giveaway for a Tevo Michelangelo 3D Printer! – Click here!
Just for giggles, I also loaded it up in my Tevo Tornado. The Tornadohas smoothers on the X/Y axis, a BL-touch, modified Marlin firmware and a modified cooling nozzle.
I typically print my PLA filament at around 210-220c, depending on the model. This PLA ran through the temperature quality test best at 210c on my setup. I printed all of the test samples at 220c to guarantee good layer bonding. They are printed at .2mm layer height with 30% infill and two perimeters and 4 top/bottom layers. I have my print bed on my Black Widow heated to 60c. These are my typical settings while printing out ‘usable things’, not just trinkets or models.
What is Hobby King?
Hobby King is an online shop specialising in RC hobbies and 3D printers and supplies. This is my first roll of Hobby King 3D filament. I’ve read good things on the filament from popular blogs and Facebook groups online. The ordering process for Hobby King was easy and they offer text/email updates for shipment, which is very nice.
The shipment took three days from start to finish for the filament to arrive at my door step. The packaging was solid, but plain. The filament came in plain cardboard boxes with no graphics what-soever. The spool was vacuum sealed with a desiccant pack and was tightly wrapped with plastic cling wrap around the actual filament to prevent un-spooling. There were no rips in the bag.
Hobby King lists the filament with the name ‘Bright Red‘ on their website, but the product number that I received matches what is listed online. The Hobby King Transparent Red filament, as it’s name would suggest, is transparent and a nice bright red colour. It is very uniform in diameter, with tolerances within 0.02mm. In the hand it feels a little bit ‘slicker’ than other PLA filament that I have used. It feels more like PETG than PLA.
First Failure… RIP: ‘Mistor Duct
This is kind of embarrassing. My first test print failed and it failed hard. The print came loose from the bed plate and formed a hot wad of filament around my nozzle and hot end. It killed a thermistor and my cooling duct, so next time you’re having a drink… pour some out for my duct and thermistor.
Let’s Get Printing!
After cleaning that up and printing a new cooling duct in PETG, I went back at it and the 2nd test printed perfect. Just for giggles, I printed some handy Joy Con grips. These all came out amazing. The Hobby King Transparent Red printed bright, clean, and shiny. The colour is gorgeous, but I really like red colours.
I printed a few other random models and also an E-Nable Phoenix Hand that will be donated to some very lucky boy or girl. I had no issues printing any of these things. There was no warping and all models were proportionally accurate with the measurements that I had specified.
Some of the cheaper filament that I have used in the past will have intermittent patches of under extrusion or even missed extrusion. None of that happened on any of my tests with thisHobby King Transparent Red filament, just strong, smooth, and solid extrusion. I really like the colour.
The only slightly negative thing I would say about this filament in the smell. It’s definitely the stinkiest PLA that I have ever used. Most brands give no smell or some slight sweet scents. This smelled like I was processing maple syrup in my work space.
Also, since the filament is transparent it gives off awesome lighting effects!
The Nitty Gritty, Should You Buy It?
I wasn’t expecting much from bargain priced PLA. This Hobby King Transparent Reddoes print very nice and looks fantastic. It normally sells for under $15 USD a 1KG roll, and shipping is reasonable in the ‘States. I can’t comment for any of my friends across the pond or up the the frozen tundra, so YMMV. It’s cheap enough to take a gamble on, and I’m glad that I did. In the future I will try out some of Hobby King’s other filaments.
Check out some more pictures of my prints in the gallery below!
Where do I begin? I am still looking for the perfect 3D printer for a ‘New-To-The Hobby’ kind of person, although the Geeetech E180 was very close. Something that comes fully built, easy to use, easy to maintain, and finally with open avenues of support. The Aladdinbox Skycube doesn’t check all of those boxes. There are some features on the Skycube that I find really intriguing, but should you buy it?
Full disclaimer, I was sent this Aladdinbox Skycube from Gearbest to do this review. Sothanks to Gearbest for giving me the opportunity to try this out!
First, when it’s on sale for the low-low price of $178 USD, what are you really getting? Let’s go
through the features!
110x110x110 build area
Cantilever style printer
no parts cooling fan
built-in spool holder for mini spools
removable magnetic bed
What’s in the box?
The printer was well packaged, with a large piece of Styrofoam on the bottom and the top. This helps sandwich the printer in the box and keeps it from moving around. The gantry was held in place with some tape and two 3D printed clips on the Z rails. There was some damage to my box during shipping, but the printer came out perfectly fine!
The Aladdinbox Skycube came with the normal assortment of tools, a micro-SD card, a USB reader for the micro-SD card, a mini spool of filament, the manual, USB cable, a glue stick, the magnetic print bed, and a power brick. This was probably the best in terms of filament that I have ever received in a printer purchase, besides some bundle that includes a free roll.
The tool selection was on point, but the Micro-SD USB reader was a god send! It was nice to be able to use that instead of putting in an SD adaptor and then using my laptop to access the files off the SD. The Aladdinbox Skycube comes mostly assembled, all you have to do is remove packing material, pop in the Bowden feed tube, load the filament, insert the micro-SD card, level print surface and start printing. No tools required. The filament spool holder drops from the side, and fits the included mini spool perfectly.
The good thing about the Aladdinbox Skycube is that it’s all a single unit. The spool holder is built into the side, and the external PSU is just a laptop brick that hides nicely from view. There’s very little to adjust in the chassis, the only real adjustment is the Z end stop. Everything else is snapped in place.
The body is made out of injection molded plastics with NO 3D printed parts. All axis operate on smooth guide rods with linear bearings. The Z axis is a single M8 lead screw drive directly off the motor. All motors appear to be the standard NEMA 17 type.
The Y carriage is semi-permanently affixed to the guide rods and would require a disassembly of the entire printer chassis to service. Same for the X axis, the Z axis is a bit more serviceable, allowing access to the lead screw from removing the Z axis motor from the underside of the printer.
The control knob, display and the micro SD slot are all on the upper right front edge of the printer. This makes it easy to swap the card out and access the controls. The power and USB connections are to the right of the display just above the extruder. Everything is easy to reach and not really in the way. It would be better if the power and USB were on the rear of the machine, but that’s just me being picky.
After plugging it in you will be greeted with a simple menu. This is a bare bones printer with little in the way of options and no room for upgrades. It runs a bare bones Repetier firmware with only a few options…
Print From SD
Heating print head
‘Print from SD’ allows you to print or delete files off of the included SD card. There are a bunch of fun files on the SD card to try!
‘Auto-Stripper’ is to swap filament, it will walk you through the option of heating the print head and then backing the filament out. Unhelpful name, but solid process.
‘Heating print head’ heats the print head to 230c. The manual for the Skycube states that this is to help remove jams. Heat the hot end way up and then force filament in and out manually. In my testing of this printer, I never had a jam.
Levelling the bed?
Not very level..
You will notice right away that there is no assisted bed levelling like what I am used to in a ‘noob-centric’ build. The only want to ‘level’ the bed is to adjust a single Z end stop, which is a large thumb screw under the Z axis end stop switch. The manual states that you adjust this end stop screw to level the bed. Here’s a quick run-down of the levelling process:
Make an adjustment with the thumb screw
Manually lower the Z axis down by twisting the lead screw
Test with paper near the centre of the bed, note the change that needs to be made
Manually raise Z axis by twisting lead screw high enough to fit your hand in
Repeat process until you feel confident
I hope you got angry reading that, because it’s a frustrating process. This is only accentuated by the fact that you can not make adjustments to the bed corners. If you have a low spot, like I did, shim the plate and use a raft. This is 2018 people! Say NO to rafts!!!
Let’s get 3D Printing!
After leveling the bed, insert the SD card and get printing! My Aladdinbox Skycube, fresh out of the box, sounded like someone ripping wood with a table saw on every axis.
It was so loud that the wife forbid me from using it during the evening hours. Every one of the motors was hot to the touch. None of them ever failed in my testing. From the sounds of it, there was definitely something wrong with the VREF on the stepper drivers.
Print quality was surprisingly good. With all of the racket this thing was making I expected it to just look terrible. Much to my amazement, it made good prints! The only issue I had was caused by bed adhesion. This was due to the fact that my build surface/Y carriage was so warped that I had nearly. 5mm worth of differentiation across it’s surface diagonally.
It’s also worth noting that even though the Aladdinbox Skycube doesn’t have a dedicated part’s cooling fan, it manages to do a fairly decent job at cooling because of the duct work from the hot-end that directs the air down towards the print on three sides. Even though the fan is small 30mm 12v fan, it performs admirably.
The extruder on this printer is another solid design. It has a very protected filament path that allows this printer to also utilise flexible filaments that don’t require a heated bed.
So now, let’s hammer out the positives and negatives..
serviceable manual with plenty of full colour pictures
Here’s what I didn’t like:
warped print surface or bent X/Y rail
the noisiest printer on planet earth
seriously, folks.. the NOISIEST printer in the world!
no dedicated part’s cooling fan
I didn’t talk about it until now because I was saving it for last. I am fairly certain that this company, Shenzhen Longer 3D Technology Co, has either gone under or dissolved. I’ve contacted their HR department to let them know I was writing this article, contacted their support for some assistance, and it’s been MONTHS without a reply. I have created a Facebook group for owners of this printer to get support from other users.
This printer was also sold under other names besides the Aladdinbox Skycube. So if you stumble across this page and you own this 3D printer and wish it was better.. stay tuned for the next article where I walk you through turning this half baked attempt of a 3D printer into a venerable POWER HOUSE!
If you are wondering about a slicer profile, I am going to hold off on that for this article. If you own this printer, I really encourage you to read the followup article to really get it functioning properly. I had good luck using the default settings for the MonoPrice Maker Select Mini V1 in Cura 3.2.1. Just be sure to edit the bed size in the printer settings to suit the 110x110x110 of the Aladdinbox Skycube.
If I didn’t know much about 3D printing and I spent under $200 USD on the Aladdinbox Skycube, would I be happy? Probably not. I would be disappointed in the lack of options and pondering if I should return this small blue box to GearBest for store credit towards an Ender 2/3.
The Ender isn’t as slick looking as this printer and the Ender doesn’t have a magnetic build plate that you can easily pop off. I want to reiterate that out of the box, this printer was pretty terrible sounding. The crippled GUI and levelling process(lol) will also be off putting to some. I like that this printer is mostly self contained, save for the small PSU, and looks good on a desktop.
Once you get it dialed in.. you will be blown away by the print quality! Only you can decide if this is worth your time!
Like the review? Share it on Facebook or send me a donation on Paypal! Check out my last review of the awesome Geeetech E180!
Hopefully you haven’t mistakenly clicked this article and have no idea what Open-Source means. Open-Source means sharing of the original source code for the intent of it being modified and redistributed.
The day was May 29, and the year was 2018. This was the exact day that Geeetech released it’s Smartto firmware and GTM32 schematics as Open-Source to the public. Some 3D printer manufacturers have been denying public access to modified Open-Source firmware. Of course this is a violation, but let’s skip past all that and get to the REAL point of this article.
The GTM32 Mainboard
A small portion of the GTM32 schematic
Geeetech has been using the GTM32 board in the A30, E180 and the Rostock 301 model 3D printers. This board has a 32bit CPU, which is a significant improvement over the 2560 and 1284 based boards that are used in most of the other consumer based printers.
The 32bit CPU allows for much faster calculations, which is a necessity when working with the fast Delta/Kossel style of printers. This is also an upgrade for any other printer in terms of computing power, but more than likely it won’t be fully realised on Cartesian style printers.
The GTM32 has outputs for 4 steppers and also has sockets for the drivers so you can configure the board to your liking. It’s a 12v board, and is capable of delivering 9A to the hot bed. I always recommend the use of either an external mosfet or a solid state relay to offload the bulk of the current from flowing through the board. Don’t burn your house down.
I have compiled a short list of some of the more popular Open-Source boards used in consumer grade printers:
ARM SAM4E8E (32bit)
ARM STM32F103 (32bit)
Removable drivers, driver model
$63 w/ touch screen
The Duet Wifi is one of the top of the line boards. It offers many bells and whistles and it’s price reflects that. The GTM32 should make for competitive option for users keen to get into 32B but are unwilling to fork over $150+ on a new main board. If Geeetech plays their cards right, they could really sell a lot of these GTM32s.
Intro to Smartto
Screen shot of Configuration.h
I would have to assume that other companies, like Geeetech, watched the community back lash towards Creatily and it’s stubbornness towards sharing their version of Marlin firmware.
It’s important for me to bring this up, but Smartto is NOT a fork of Marlin or Repetier firmware. Smartto was designed as a completely new firmware built around the STM32 CPU and the GTM32 boards. Geeetech’s goal was to offer a low priced, fast CPU/board combo with an expandable firmware into the community for Open-Source adoption.
Now that Smartto is Open-Source I finally got a chance to snoop around in some of the configuration files. Anyone used to configuring either Repetier or Marlin will not have many issues navigating the different configuration files. You will find most of the variables and processes are cleanly labelled. As more people investigate and take a look at this firmware option, it should continue to expand as consumers purchase the GTM32 board.
Going Further with Smartto
I am excited to dig deeper into the Smartto. I am curious to see the differences between the processes that carry over across the major firmware flavors. There are also some features that I plan on adding into Smartto in the future.
Geeetech has also uploaded some tools for tuning on their git hub site. My primary workstation runs Ubuntu Linux, and the tools are supposedly all for Windows based platforms.
My experience in using the Smartto firmware has been mostly positive. I’ve used it on my Geeetech E180 and it has performed admirably. If you are curious about the E180, check out my review! The only issues I have had with it have been SD card related. I will not blame the firmware, as all printers go a little wonky with a suspect SD card giving it broken Gcode files.
Why the Big Whoop about Open-Source?
Many different Facebook groups and YouTubers openly petitioned against Creality a few months back. This caused many other Chinese 3D printer manufacturers to start sharing their firmware files.
This is a requirement of the GPL for Marlin and Repetier. These are two of the more popular flavors of consumer grade 3D printer firmware. The GPL is a software license that grants the end user the ability to modify and share the software.
At the end of the day, this really benefits the whole 3D printing community and is the driving force behind Open-Source. If everyone is allowed to peek behind the curtain, the community can work together with the manufacturers to add and tweak features. I am anxious to see how the 3D printing community accepts the tools that Geeetech has provided.
Sunlu Filament seems pretty good already. As you will see i added strawberry laces as the background image, now i bet you are thinking why?. Well when i opened the box and took it out, it looks and feels exactly like strawberry laces!…now, if it had the smell of strawberry laces, would I eat it? You bet I would!
So, in the box for the Sunlu filament you get your shrink-wrapped filament with your silica gel pouch as standard also a small leaflet with the basic parameters of different filaments and the company details. The box is detailed on the back with the basic parameters again. These boxes are nicely designed (Much better than your standard brown cardboard packaging with nothing but a sticker on it)
This is my first time using TPU 3D printer filament and my first impressions of using are mostly positive!
As you can see from above and below, I have the Black and the Blue Sunlu filament. As for their appearance, the black is black, no questions about that and the blue is a royal blue in colour in its raw state. After printing, the blue becomes much lighter in colour, almost a pastel blue. The black, again, is black after printing.
The temperatures that I am using on my Creality CR-10S, are bed: 60° and extruder: 220°
For the print settings, this can vary on the type of model you are printing, however, a key thing to note when printing with TPU is to print slower than what you normally would. This would cause your print to take longer, but you can be assured of good adhesion & great quality prints! Say if you’re default print speed is set to 60mm/s, set it to at least half of that – 30mm/s. I would also suggest turning off retraction too.
The only bit I found tricky when using the Sunlu filament was when loading it into the extruder. As this is a flexible filament, its is, errr, flexible, so will bend and flex as you try to push it through. There is no real way to get it in first time, so keep trying and it will go in. There is a mod you can print for the CR-10S which I looked into, but after trying without, there was no need for it. I imagine this would be the case for all flexible type filaments.
The Printing And Results!
So, with my 2 Sunlu filament colours I decided to print a phone case for my Galaxy S8 in the blue and for the black I printed an Octopus.
The phone case took just over 4 hours for it to print. I had quite a bit of stringing with this as some of it had not adhered well, especially what appears to be the first layer…I have no fan on for the first layer, so a potential reason why and I also had retraction on. It could also be down to a not high enough temperature!
As I also have Octolapse set up, it moves the extruder to a part of the build plate that you specify (I had set to centre left) so this causes blobs and more stringing as it moves to take the picture and moves back to continue printing.
The feel of the case is great! It feels thick and appears it would offer good protection for my phone, however, Its not as solid as I had hoped for, but this could be down to the design. The fit for me is a little too loose, but this could be down to the way it printed. Not a bad first attempt though!
You can see the time-lapses of the prints below and also the finished product.
I printed this with a bed temperature of 40° and at a lower speed (15mm/s) so took only a little longer to print at 4.5 hours after. I did alter the feed-rate back to 100% after it had to put it to 10%, but this has produced an outstanding result! The quality of this print is probably one of the best I’ve had from this printer…Hardly any stringing on this one either!
Removal from the print bed is easy too, but try not to pull it off…use your scraper under all of it to reduce pulling it apart. I also think glass would give a flawless finish on the bottom too…I’ve yet to try this out.
The only post processing was cutting off a few straggly bits and a quick flame to get the slight hairlines off.
Octopus - TPU Black - YouTube
2020 Cable clips.
As with all new filaments I get, I like to print a quick print so I always go for the 2020 Cable clips. This only takes around 10 minutes and came out better than I expected!
First initial sticking to the bed was great with both Sunlu filaments, no issues what so ever (It probably helps my gcode draws a line at the start to help with the extrusion and priming the nozzle) The layering of the filament was pretty much spot on…sometimes the trouble with TPU is that sometimes it won’t stick so well and this leads to leaving straggly bits. Nothing is impossible! SUNLU quotes that this is 100% bubble free, and it is. Nothing more to be said on that.
A great looking filament direct out of the box from SUNLU. Provides good quality prints, as long as you have mastered the settings for this. A good all-rounder for flexible filament! Do you research from others to find the best settings for your printer.
Go out and buy this Sunlu filament now!
I hope you have enjoyed reading my review, and any comments are welcome on anything I may have missed. If you would like me to include anyting in future articles, let me know. Happy printing!
Please be sure to enter the giveaway for some Sunlu filament! – Click Here!
Hey guys and gals, today I am going to go over how to thermoform your 3D printed parts. This is useful for the 3D printed hands and arms that I do for E-Nable. I will go over some of the benefits to this process, and some ways that you can use it in your designs and prints.
Thermoforming is the process of heating your prints after they are finished printing and then reshaping them. This allows you to create more complex shapes and designs than would typically be possible.
Also, let me just say… I have only used this process with PLA. I’ve seen it used for more heat resistant materials like ABS and polycarbonate.
All of these parts you are about to see where printed on my venerable Tevo Black Widow. It’s equipped with TMC2100 stepper drivers on the X/Y axis, a parts cooling fan, Volcano hotend with Micro Swiss goodies, and a glass bed.
Methods to Thermoform
There are a few different methods to thermoform your prints. The two main methods are a hot water bath or a heat gun. I prefer the hot water bath. I feel it is a superior way to get the whole part to a stable temperature without the risk of melting it. This method also typically requires nothing extra to be purchased. There are still many houses without a heat gun, come on people.. it’s 2018. Kidding!
Don’t let this be your house!!!.
With that said, these instructions are to be taken at your own risk. Please be safe, as there is a high chance of getting burned. If you intend to try this out, please read these instructions a few times. Be familiar with the process, so you are able to give it your full attention. After all that… let’s start to thermoform!
The Heat Gun Method
The heat gun thermoform method requires finding a safe space to heat your 3D printed part without the fear of burning your dwelling to the ground. Find a scrap plate, dish or pan that is NOT FLAMMABLE. That part in ‘caps’ is pretty important. I will not be held responsible for any structure fires in the name of 3D printing.
Keep the heat and blower speed on the heat gun low and also keep the gun 6-8″ away from your 3D printed parts. Move the heat gun quickly either left/right or up/down depending on the overall shape of the 3D printed part. Do not keep the heat gun focused on one place for too long. This thermoforming method tends to go from nothing… to a hot drippy print quickly… so be prepared.
Once the print is heated, bend it anyway that you would like. When the plastic cools, it will retain the shape that you manipulated it to.
Hot Water Bath Method
Thermoforming in an electric skillet.
The hot water bath method requires you to submerge the part into hot water until it becomes pliable. This is, in my opinion, the superior way to thermoform as opposed to the heat gun. This method allows the whole part to get to the same temperature. The water doesn’t need to be boiling, but it should be able to get around 200F/90c.
You can use a pot on the stove, hot water from a tea kettle into a dish, or even use an electric skillet like I do. The skillet allows me to fully submerge large parts and is able to heat the water fairly quickly. After getting the water up to temperature, submerge your part until it becomes pliable. Remove the part from the water with some tongs and cool for a few seconds as to not burn your hands.
Once it’s cool enough for you to safely touch, form it to your heart’s delight. If you didn’t get it correct the first time, toss it back in the water and it will go back to it’s original shape. Pretty handy huh?
Joining the thermoformed parts.
So you are probably wondering… why go through all this hassle? Why not print the shape I wanted to begin with? Well, what if I told you that this would save you time, money, and filament.. while also strengthening your parts. Buckle up and prepare to be amazed!
The forearm gauntlet and bicep cuff that I print for the E-Nable 3D printed hands now print completely flat. This wasn’t always the case. Some models printed the forearm gauntlet vertically while some printed along the X or the Y axis.
The problem with this, is that the holes for the wrist and elbow pins are set along a layer line. This makes the design prone to breaking and cracking. The old style gauntlets also suffer from being ill fitting and less forgiving to flexion. Which, are all terrible compromises for something that is meant to be worn on your arm.
Old style gauntlet, Layer lines running through the pin hole
The thermoformed gauntlets print faster, than the old style because they require no support structure. This saves you money on printer operation AND on filament. The thermoformed gauntlets are also much stronger than the old style.
Instead of the pin holes being on a layer line, they go all the way through the layers. This reduces the possibility of cracking during use and improves flexion in the parts. Using the thermoform gauntlets also promotes a better fit to the recipient. If your measurements weren’t quite right, you now have the ability to quickly reheat the part and adjust it for a better fit.
New style gauntlet, prints flat with pins going through all the layers for maximum strength.
You can use the thermoform principles in parts design. Was the design that you were originally working on too
difficult to print? Try adjusting it for thermoform!
The Draw Backs
The only downside to this design method is that parts are not ready directly from the print bed, they require post processing with either of the methods that I described above. I’ve also noticed that too hot of temperatures can affect the 3D printed parts color and finish. It would be best to try this on a scrap piece before you dedicate an important print job to this.
So, today you’ve learned what thermoforming is, what it’s good for, and some of it’s drawbacks. It’s up to you to either wipe your brain of the last 5-10 minutes or thermoform a 3D printed part……right…… now.
Check out the picture gallery below showing more of the thermoforming process.
Thank you for reading and I hope you learned something new. If you enjoyed reading this, feel free to let me know. Either leave me a comment below, or send me some money on PayPal. Any funds received will go towards the printing, assembly and shipping of 3D printed hands that will be donated free of charge. I would like to thank Will and Lynn from Inov3d for all of their help. I would also like to thank everyone in the E-Nable Community.
What would you like to achieve in the next 3-4 years?
The perspective of 3-4 years in such a dynamically developing industry as 3D printing is very distant. The most important challenges we’ll be facing during this period are, dynamic expansion into foreign markets and addition of new devices to our product offer. The development of our company is based on building a strong and specialized re-seller community around the Graften brand.
We are counting on great dynamism in this area because we provide our re-sellers with very attractive conditions of cooperation and support. In order to stand out in the market with an encouraging product base, we are already working on another printer model with a large working area close to 40 cm in each axis. We also intend to continuously develop the ecosystem of our flagship printer.
In the near future, our users will receive peripheral devices that enhance the functionality of the Graften One printer with such usability as:
automatic removal of printouts from the work platform for serial printing
increasing the Z-axis working area up to 200 cm
additional software for controlling automated printer farms called ‘Graften One System.’
What makes the Graften One M1, M2 different from any other 3D printer?
Graften One is a technologically advanced device operating in an open environment. The strength of our flagship printer is the user-friendly interface, very good print quality, stable construction, the possibility to choose from two configurations: M1 – single extruder or M2 – double extruder, as well as attractive price.
We wanted every user to be able to fully enjoy the potential of our printer, so the device can communicate via WiFi, USB, Ethernet or Micro SD card. The printer’s software is shared in the cloud via WiFi. This means that the user does not need to install any software or drivers. Simply connect to WiFi and enter the printer’s IP address in your web browser.
The potential of this functionality is particularly appreciated by the educational industry. The ability to control the printer simultaneously with multiple smart phones, tablets, and computers that are connected to the same WiFi network means that teachers can directly involve their students in the learning process.
The software itself gives you access to two levels:
Simplified, which can be handled by literally everyone, all it requires from the user is to choose the expected quality, filling, and type of filament.
The second level is advanced, and it allows more demanding users to change various parameters.
After the file is sent for printing, it’s uploaded into the printer’s large built-in memory, so that you no longer need to support the connection to the control device. Communication with the printer is also possible via the Internet, which opens up huge possibilities for the user.
Graften One is able to print from all kinds of materials currently available on the market: from popular ABS or PLA to highly flexible plastics as well as composites. Print heads can operate in temperatures up to 400C and the self-levelling worktable in temperatures up to 110C. The user is able to replace the print nozzles depending on the printing preferences.
The standard set includes a seven-inch, branded tablet with an online camera, as well as side panels to cover the working chamber. The casing, apart from its aesthetic design, ensures the maximum rigidity of the structure. It is steel-aluminium, welded and powder-coated so that no technological connections can be seen.
The only difference is the number of print heads. All other components are the same in both configurations.
What was your greatest challenge / Achievement?
From the very beginning, Graften Motorsport, a project aimed at the implementation of 3D printing in racing, has been developed simultaneously. It was here that we faced the most challenges and also successes.
I think that I was able to implement the passion for perfection and precision that I have learned on the race track into the DNA of our printer – Graften One. You know that everything new requires courage, dedication, and commitment.
The beginnings are always difficult, but nowadays, when we appear on the race track, more and more people surround us. They are interested in what we do. We’re visited by champions and their engineers, as well as amateurs. They come to us to see for themselves how many opportunities the 3D print provides.
Graften Motorsport is a team that takes part in the Polish and European Championships. With full commitment, on our own motorcycles, we are testing and developing racing parts printed on 3D desktop printers.
There are two main rules that we follow:
The first rule is –
Safety and responsibility principle: each designed component, before it’s made available to the users, shall undergo tests under extreme conditions. In order for the parts to be allowed on the race track, all these elements are also being subject to meticulous checks by technical committees that enable motorcycles to take part in the competition.
The Second rule is –
The second principle concerns usability: each part must be designed in such a way so that after printing it on a Graften One it is almost immediately ready to be mounted on the motorcycle without excessive post processing.
At this moment we already have 19 printed elements on our motorcycle that generate savings exceeding 4000 PLN per motorcycle. During the 2017 season, our biggest hit was the aerodynamic winglets known from the Moto GP series.
They helped to stabilise the motorcycle and increase the front axle pressure during the quick turns. In this season we are planning the reconstruction of air box in order to increase the boost and, finally, the power. But the Graften One printer is not just about Motorsports.
The Graften recently won the 2nd place in the prestigious CD3D Polish Industry Awards as the Best New Company 2017, we already have many interesting implementations and successes in business, medicine, entertainment or education and every day brings us new challenges, experiences, and achievements.
What exactly is Graften?
Our mission is to convince users that one’s limits are one’s own imagination. Graften exists to popularise technology, inspire users to push these boundaries of their own creativity.
Why do we do what we do? Because we want to show that incremental technology still has enormous potential and that there are still many undiscovered spaces in which 3D printing can be implemented, thus opening up new possibilities.
Our printers and unique objects created on them are only tools that help achieve what is really important in life. They help our clients to realise their visions, goals, dreams and, above all, to stand out from the crowd.
My words are backed up by such innovative implementations as printing parts for professional motorcycles, a series of printed jigsaw puzzles that produce musical instruments, furniture, and other designer objects, as well as many other implementations that from the very beginning required unconventional thinking.
When did Graften start?
Graften is a company with 16 years of history, however, for our start in the 3D printing business, we have to take 2014 when we were the first in our city to start providing 3D printing services.
Where are you located?
Graften is a Polish company established in the city of Olsztyn. Since its inception, it has been closely associated with the University of Warmia and Mazury, which has been using Graften One printers as a beta-tester for over a year.
Why do you want re-sellers in the United Kingdom market?
United Kingdom is the first step in our long-term strategy for international development and expansion. We have chosen the British market as the most promising because our innovative printer fits it best. Re-sellers in the UK can count on strong support from our brand. The benefits of joining our network are based on four pillars:
Work on very high margins, reaching up to 50%.
Our full support for the Re-sellers’ Network includes:
– Distribution of the training materials and educational content
– Information about the cooperation on our website, social media and blog, as well as during public presentations.
– Promotional campaigns on social media websites, news aggregators, and forums
Participation in the contest for the General Distributor (and also for the local one) who will replace Graften in the distribution of its products in the particular area, and will supervise the smaller distributors.
Transparent principles and rules of the pricing policy which support Re-sellers’ activity:
– Our Re-sellers always have the right to grant a small discount for printers. It will not be available at graften.com website/shop (with the exclusion of cooperative periodic promotional offers).
– The strategy of “suggested retail prices” which aim is to maintain a healthy competition.
Why did you get into 3D printing?
We started operating in the industry in 2014, fascinated by the idea of the popularisation of the 3D printing market. We decided that it’s the right technology to be implemented in the Motorsports. Printers available on the market did not meet our expectations because they either significantly exceeded our budget or did not provide satisfactory quality. That’s what inspired us to develop Graften One, a professional desktop printer at an affordable price.
How did you get into 3D Printing Motorsport Parts?
When we started working on Graften One 3 years ago, it was a time when, after a few years’ break, I was coming back to motorcycle racing. From the very beginning, it was part of our plan to implement 3D printing technology in Motorsport. We were excited and inspired by the fact that nobody had done it before us.
It was an utterly virgin niche for us, but one in which we felt very comfortable and natural. We were at home with designing and printing 3D parts for motorcycle racing, it is a natural environment for us, after all.
Graften is a simple story…. but inspired by passion, adrenaline, and adventure.
Thank you for the interview, with kindest regards: Daniel Mańkowski, CEO Graften
Graften One - Epic 3D Printer - Tutorial - YouTube
Tronxy X3S Fiirmware – After watching numerous Youtube reviews of the Tronxy X3S and the Creality CR-10, I decided to pick up a Tronxy X3S. This is Tronxy’s clone of the Creality CR-10, but with a cheaper price tag. I had been looking to buy a printer with a larger print area and the price on the Tronxy X3S was reasonable, in my opinion, for a printer of this size.
Especially considering that it’s made from 20×20 aluminum, comes mostly assembled, and includes a nice looking electronics enclosure. The first printer I bought was the acrylic framed HICTOP Prusa I3 back in 2014, and I paid roughly the same price. After assembly, the HICTOP’s wiring looked like a rat’s nest, and the acrylic frame, over time, began to fail.
When the Tronxy X3s arrived, I assembled it in less than an hour. Things were looking good. Then, I started trying to run an initial print and the fun began.
I fired up Cura 15.04.6 (I use the older version because it works well for all my other printers, and I’m too cheap to bite the bullet and pay the $150 for Simplify3D), connected the Tronxy X3S, and made sure I could manually control the Tronxy from Cura. So far, so good. I sent the print over USB. Nothing. The message I was getting back over serial was saying “Unknown command” for every line of G-Code sent. I also tried the latest version of Cura (v.3.2.1) and had no luck.
I wasn’t even getting feedback with Cura 3.2.1 to even know if the same thing was happening. Just a whole bunch of nothing. I decided to try to print using Slic3r and Pronterface to see if the issue carried over. I fired up Slic3r and sliced my model, imported the G-Code over to Pronterface and sent the print.
Low and behold, it was printing. I did notice, however, that while the Tronxy X3S was heating up and preparing to print, the Z-axis would raise a few millimeters. Once heated and homing was initialized just before the print, that few millimeters that the Z-axis raised seemed to be the home position that was used. So the print began a few millimeters above the bed.
Now, I did notice, while browsing through the files on the flash drive included with the X3S, that Tronxy had included a copy of Repitier Host, but no copy of Cura. Every other printer I have bought has come with both. So, I started wondering if maybe something was set up different in the Tronxy firmware to specifically work with Repitier.
The Tronxy X3S was running Marlin v.1.1.7 dev. So this really didn’t make sense. I have worked with Marlin firmware quite a bit, every printer I own has been flashed with the latest version of Marlin, and I don’t remember seeing any specific settings that would do this. But, what the hell? I’m no expert. Maybe I missed something. So, back to the Marlin source code I went.
While I was working through my issues with the X3S, I came into contact with the folks here at Inov3D. Gearbest had just sent them a Tronxy X3S for review and they were also having issues with the Z-axis offset in the Tronxy firmware. We were both having issues that were preventing us from printing, and thus, preventing Inov3D from completing their review. We decided to combine our efforts and collaborate on the review since I was having some of the same issues, and a few that they weren’t experiencing (the Cura issue).
In the end, I decided that the issues I was having were all firmware related. Either from a corrupt firmware flash from Tronxy, or just some bad configurations in general in the Tronxy firmware. This isn’t uncommon with mass produced kits like this. Some of the HICTOP Prusa I3s also had issues with firmware that had the wrong step settings for some of the axes. At this point, flashing a new firmware to the Tronxy X3S was the best solution to the issues I was having.
I began looking for a copy of the original Tronxy X3S firmware so I could reference the settings for Marlin 1.1.8 with no luck. I found a few versions that people had configured, but the claims were that the LCD wasn’t working. This wasn’t going to be acceptable. So I kept digging. Eventually I found the following Facebook post by Harold Gutsche.
The post is pertaining to the Tronxy X5S, but the Tronxy X3S uses the same board, and the only real issue while configuring Marlin was getting the LCD to work.
Female to female jumper wires to connect UNO and Tronxy X3S controller board. Order here.
The following are instructions on how to flash the new Tronxy X3S firmware.
Download and install the latest version of the Arduino IDE.
Download the Tronxy X3S firmware.
Download the U8glib library for Arduino. To download from GitHub, select the “Clone or download” button and select “Download ZIP”
Open Arduino IDE and go to File > Preferences.
In the Preferences window, under the Settings tab, paste “https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Lauszus/Sanguino/master/package_lauszus_sanguino_index.json” into the Additional Boards Manager URLs section and select “OK”.
Under “Tools”, select Board: > Boards Manager…
In the Boards Manager window, scroll down and select “Sanguino by Kristian Sloth Lauszus” and select “Install”. Once finished, select “Close”.
Install the U8glib library for Arduino. Unzip the “u8glib-master.zip” file you download in step 3 to your Arduino Libraries folder. In Windows 10 this should be “C:\Users\\Documents\Arduino\libraries”.
Close Arduino IDE.
Flash bootloader onto Tronxy X3S controller. (This step is required in order to be able to flash the Tronxy firmware over USB later.)
Connect Arduino Uno to computer with USB cable.
Open Arduino IDE.
In Arduino IDE, under File, select Examples > Built in Examples > 11.ArduinoISP > ArduinoISP.
Under Tools, select Board -> Arduino/Genuino Uno, Port -> (port your Uno is connected to), Programmer -> AVRISP mkII.
Now upload the sketch to the Uno.
Once the sketch has finished uploading, connect the SPI interface from the Arduino Uno to the Tronxy controller board. Make sure to disconnect the USB cable so you don’t short anything. There are two ICSP interfaces (six pins) on the Arduino Uno. Use the ones on the backside of the Uno. (“ICSP for ATmega328” in image below.) The ICSP interface on the Tronxy controller is close to the side with the power connections, behind the USB port.
The connections should be MISO -> MISO, MOSI -> MOSI, SCK -> SCK, VCC (on UNO) -> 5v (on Tronxy), GND -> GND, Digital Pin 10 (~10 on Uno) -> Reset (on Tronxy).
Reconnect USB cable from Uno to PC.
In Arduino IDE, under “Tools”, select Board > “Sanguino”, Processor > “ATmega1284 or ATmega1284P (16MHz)”, Port -> the port your Arduino UNO is connected to, Programmer -> Arduino as ISP.
Under Tools, select “Burn Bootloader”.
When finished, disconnect all ICSP connections.
Close Arduino IDE.
Copy and unzip the “TronXY_X3S_Firmware_r1.0_(Marlin_1.1.8).zip” to your desktop, or some other folder where you can find it easily.
Open the “TronXY_X3S_Firmware_r1.0_(Marlin_1.1.8)” folder and navigate to the “Marlin” folder.
Scroll down and double click on the Marlin.ino file to open the project in Arduino IDE. (If your files aren’t showing the .ino extension at the end, just look for the file named “Marlin” with an Arduino icon beside it.
Connect USB cable from PC to Tronxy board.
In Arduino IDE, under “Tools”, select Board > “Sanguino”, then Processor > “ATmega1284 or ATmega1284P (16MHz)”, then under Port, the port your Tronxy board is connected to, Programmer -> AVRISP mkII.
Upload the new Tronxy firmware and enjoy.
Notes: When compiling and uploading the new Tronxy X3S firmware, you may see some warnings in Arduino IDE. These can be ignored. It is from where some of the pins are being redefined in the firmware so that the LCD will work properly.
After configuring and installing the new firmware on my Tronxy X3S controller, all my issues were fixed. I can now use Cura, as I usually do, and I have no offsets to cause any issues. Also, I made some changes that make the LCD controls respond better, and enabled a few more options in Marlin for extra settings.
This Tronxy X3S firmware should also work with any of the Tronxy machines that use the same CXY-v.2-0508 controller board. Only minor changes that will need to be made (i.e bed size settings).
I hope you all find this article useful. I spent quite a few man hours trying to get this sorted out and put together in hopes that I could save someone else the trouble of doing all the research to get their Tronxy X3S firmware running properly. Hopefully, this will get all you guys up and running and producing some awesome prints on this beast of a machine.
I’d like to thank Inov3D for allowing me to collaborate on their review of the Tronxy X3S and for allowing me to contribute this information to their community.
If you’re interested in the Inov3D review of the Tronxy X3S, you can find it here soon.