The 3D printer is a fascinating innovation of science and an interesting tool of art. It's marveling as you watch your thoughts become reality at your comfort zone. It's a beautiful tool for prototyping, modelling and illustrating. I'll give a summary on my first experience using it.
It's a Creality CR-10 3D Printer, elegant in beauty.
After unboxing and calibration, the printer was set for first use. In my first experience with Creality CR-10 3D printer, very little information was given in the paper manual on how to operate it so I had to do some online research. There are several websites with sample 3D designs where you could easily download a 3D design such as www.tinkercad.com, www.thingiverse.com and several others. We downloaded an object that was made up of a triangular prism sitting on a cylinder and the cylinder was placed on a square base.
It also involved converting the downloaded .dwg file to an instruction the 3D printer would execute. I had to download CURA, a software that is used to convert the .dwg file to a .gcode file the printer understands, It is also used to set up the printer/printing process such as the nozzle speed, wall thickness, fill density, print diameter, print resolution, etc. There was an SD card that accompanied the printer, luckily we found some youtube videos and a more detailed manual on how to setup and use the printer - it also came along with a sample drawing.
I almost forgot to mention that the printer can estimate the print duration based on the settings and the finer the print the longer it would take, it could range from few minutes to few days. The sample design was going to last for 18 hours so we decided to stick with the downloaded design.
We were not so bothered about resolution, we just needed a quick test print, so we gave it a very low print resolution and print was to last 6 minutes. We did a final check to make sure everything was in place before print commenced. We copied the .gcode file into the SD card and inserted it into the printer.
The heated bed needed to heat up to 70 degrees Celsius and the nozzle needed to heat up to 240 degrees Celsius. That took a few minutes and printer started to work its magic. The print filament was a Polylactic acid (PLA) material that came with the printer. Initially, the print filament feed mechanism did not pick the filament and was not feeding through. We fixed this quickly by pushing the filament all the way to the end of the tube, and then it started printing.
The movement and precision was remarkable, it functioned as required and after about 6 minutes, the first print was out (bottom left). Consequently we did a second print of the same object with a finer resolution which took about 38 minutes (bottom right).
The difference between the two of them is undeniable. I thought of someway we could apply a fast print to something useful. So I decided to print an Arduino Uno (microcontroller) mounting, and it came out perfectly.
The Creality CR-10 3D printer is remarkably precise up to 0.05 millimeters, easy to use and quite portable.
Our next 3D printing project will be a bit more ambitious. We want to print parts of a larger electronics project we are currently working on.
I'll tell you about that next time.
It's fulfilling seeing your conceptual design produced physically, thanks to 3D printers, my first experience with Creality CR-10 3D printer was awesome.