You just got a 3D printer – now what?

With the holiday season upon us, and the availability of 3D printers increasing, we have reached the year that many people will be getting or building a 3D printer and then wondering what they can do. There are two main ways to get things for your printer to print – you can download them or you can design them. Downloads There are quite a few sites now that host 3D printable models. The first major one is Thingiverse, which is owned by Makerbot (who is owned by Stratasys). Thingiverse had files for 3D priting and for laser cutting. Some models are extremely well made, and print with ease. Other things may not be well designed or could even be impossible to print. A good rule is that if there isn’t a picture of a printed part on the thing’s page, then it’s probably not printable. Also make sure that the printed […]

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Extruder fan controller

I brought my makerbot to the Reading Friends and Family Day to show at the Reading Robockets booth. I’ve been having some issues with the extruder skipping, and I think part of the problem is that the stepper motor that does the extrusion is overheating a little. MIT Swapfest was also this past weekend, and I got a number of small useful items, like a few of these fans for $1 each (including the finger guard). these fans are LOUD and move a lot of air.   One thing that I liked about the fans is that they are the four wire variety which means they can have speed controlled with a PWM signal applied to the blue wire. The base frequency is around 25 kHz, and the duty cycle controls speed (from 30% to 100%). I did a bit of research online, and came across a neat ieda for […]

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