Napoleon Bust 3D printed!
My MakerBot Replicon 2 has been running great for a few months now. I figured it was time to share a few of my prints starting with the Napoleon Bust!
We left off sending the STL to the printer. One of the big first lessons I learned is how important it is to level the build plate properly. From the print not anchoring correctly to clogged nozzles, an inaccurately leveled build plate seems to be the usual suspect. Oh if only I could have the many hours of my life back spent figuring this out, not to mention the wasted print material. My addiction to cold brew coffee finally paid dividends though, to my girlfriends chagrin. It seems that the business card for my local favorite coffee shop, insert plug for Balconi Coffee Company here, was the perfect thickness for testing the nozzle distance. So if you like cold brew coffee and have a 3D printer which needs leveling check them out.
Even then I was still getting a clogged nozzle after a few hours of print time. To call it frustrating having to wait several hours to see if you fixed the issue that caused the error would be an understatement. I certainly pulled out a few of the hairs that I have left. I came upon a technique on the Makerbot forums that sounded crazy but people swore worked for clogged nozzles. Put a paper towel or small sponge with a dab of Canola where the filament comes off the spool thereby lubricating it lightly as it prints. In desperation I tried it and my nozzle hasn’t clogged since.
Warping prints is the one problem I haven’t been able to solve completely. When the PLA filament cools it shrinks a small amount. Over time you can watch with a fatalistic intensity as the edges slowly curl away from the build plate. No matter how much yelling or screaming you direct at that cold heartless plastic it never seems to listen. This can actually curl up into the nozzle either causing a clog or the nozzle pulls the print off the plate. Either way your left with a lump of useless PLA and 4 wasted hours you could have spend making the world a better place. The first solution I found is to clean the build plate with alcohol(rubbing though I’m sure tequila would work just as well) giving extra grip to the plate. Unfortunately this extra grip makes it impossible to remove the print from the plate without damaging it. In comes blue generic painters tape to the rescue. Cleaning the build plate with rubbing alcohol and then firmly placing a layer of this heavenly tape on top seems to be just the right recipe!
Once I go through this pregame it seems to prevent most of my bad prints. The one other indispensable tool that I’ve found a need for is a sturdy yet very thin art spatula for removing the prints off the plate. I may have super human strength but I’m pretty sure that is not what caused me to snap 3 of the more flimsy spatulas. Spend the money and buy something that won’t shatter into lots of pieces and lodge themselves in your eye.
After a patient 8 hour wait my print finally descended.