Filistruder First Test :-(

I finally got around to testing the Filistruder and let just say it could have gone better. At first I got a tangled mess of PLA.20130727_103359_resizedApparently extruding PLA was not the best choice on the first run of extruding since it turns out to be much harder to extrude consistently.  I decided to do PLA since that is what I use in the Replicator 2.  The filament that comes out of the nozzle is VERY pliable.  I suspect that I can reduce this some by lowering the temperature but not by much.  By supporting the filament by had and monitoring it very closely I ended up making some filament that might be usable (although its probably not worth the trouble).

20130727_103343_resizedOn a positive note the filament that comes out is very clear and if I try really, hard supporting the filament by hand, it is consistent in color and shape.  I am also surprised at how much filament is made from a small handful of pellets.

I think that I am going to have no choice setting up a filament puller similar to he is using an optical sensor to gauge the speed at which the filament is being extruded to change the speed of the puller and spooler.  This all seems like a lot of trouble but for now it is definitely worth it since making my own filament will reduce the price to 1/3 of the current price.  I think that I may try to improve on the design by making the setup in a more vertical configuration since I have limited bench space.  I also think that a wheel directly in front of the filistruder, something that has a high thermal mass like a big steel wheel, will help cool the filament in a much more consistent manor.

Ultimately I knew going in to this that this is not a consumer ready product but there is a lot of potential.  The developers are actively working on improvement even while they are over run with activity in shipping out all the kickstarter rewards.  So far the concept seems to be quite sound and I think that with some additions, making useable cheap filament should not bee too far away.


Summay of the last few weeks

Boo on me it’s been almost three weeks since my last post.  If anyone is listening; Sorry!  I have had a lot going on in the last few weeks here is a summary.

Raspberry Pi cases:

I got an order for 6 raspberry pi cases in several colors that have been keeping me (and my printer) busy recently.  A friend of mine is going to the and they will be doing something with raspberry pis.  He posted in the forums if anyone wants a printed pi case for $8 and he got an order for 6.20130719_192527


I was able to print a hopper and a replacement part for one that broken when I was assembling.  The hopper is actually an upgraded one that I found on the thingiverse and it is very nice.  I am so far very happy with the design and it fits perfectly.  I still have yet to extrude any filament but I hope to soon.  I will post my results once I get it going.20130702_115629 20130702_092106 20130702_090128

Free upgrade Replicator 2 filament extruder:

I finally received the free upgrade for the Replicator 2 filament extruder after waiting nearly 8 weeks (they said it would be 6).

The installation was quite easy and it is working great.  I have printed 3 pi cases with the new parts and everything is working fine so far.

More work from makexyz:

I got a few more orders from makexyz.  This seems to be working out fine.  I have made a few buck from these jobs but nothing to write home about.  I never really thought I would make the big buck doing this and I only expected to supplement the cost of the printer.  Any money I can get back for my investment is fine by me.  Plus I enjoy doing the work (not so much the shipping and what not).20130630_182208 20130712_094139

3D printing presentation on youtube:

It’s true I am on youtube  I have gone 8 years without it happening (to my knowledge) but now I am out there.  One of the members of unallocated space took video of my presentation and posted it on youtube.  The audio is not spectacular but he did a great job integrating the slides into the video.  Everyone said that they enjoyed the presentation.  I hope they are not just being nice and someone got something useful out of it, I certainly had fun doing it.  Check it out if you are interested.

KIFA 3D printing presentation:

I will be giving my presentation on 3D printing again to the Kent Island Federation of Arts at the KI Library on Sep 25, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM.  I am not sure if this is open to the public or not I will try to post back once I figure this out.

Wow this is a long post but that’s what I get for not posting for three weeks.

Filastruder KickStarter – Update 1

I backed a Kickstarter for the Filastruder  back in March and I finally received it.

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I have been busy since I received it so I have yet to test it.  That actually turned out to be a good thing.  I received an e-mail from the author saying there was a miss-wiring when they assembled it and it would need to be fixed.  I scraped together a bit of time this weekend and was able to repair the miss-wiring but I was not able to test the unit.  Couple other issues that I had are as follows:

  • I was able to fix the wiring as described by the e-mail from the author.  No issues
  • When I open the box I notice right away one of the leads to the thermocouple was disconnected.  I was able to reconnect it.20130630_145921
  • The leads on pin 2 also popped off due to the motor negative being extra short and me jostling it round (I decided to replace the lead to make it longer).  I was not able to put all three leads back to pin 2 on due to the connector ends taking up too much space.  I ended up soldering all but the heater line together so that I only had two connections to shove on to the terminal. A followup from the author said they are fixing the connectors to use better ones.
  • The 80 mm fan was damaged in shipping.  One of the corners broke off (the piece was not in the box).  The fan is still usable as only one side of the corner was damaged.  See picture.20130630_143314
  • When putting the filament guide together the upper section of the 3D printed part that holds the vertical filament guide broke off.   See picture.  The author responded to my comments with a redesigned part that I will print as a replacement.20130630_143353

So far my impressions are good.  I like what they are doing and its encouraging that they are actively still working on it to resolve the problems.  This is after all a somewhat beta product and I would expect issues such as this.  So far the issues have been minor and have not prevented the use of the thing (only my lack of time).

I will post and update once I get some time to power the thing on and make some filament.  The prospects of this happening this week look bleak since the 4th of July is coming up.