More Adventures in 3D Printing!

in ThreeD (3D) Printing7 months ago (edited)

The library network for which I work has several Dremel 3D printers, one of which has again rotated to my branch. Here's a look at a couple recent projects!

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The Cute Octopus file on Thingiverse is a popular model frequently requested by our patrons, but one little girl wanted the body and the tentacles to be different colors. I found a replacement tentacle project, which linked in turn to a body only file, so I was able to make it happen. It was greatly appreciated. However, this also set off a chain reaction. A sister also wanted one with a rainbow of different-colored tentacles, and another wanted a different two-tone version, and finally a teenage boy requested the color combo pictured here.


I had to tweak the print settings to make this work, and there were a few failed tentacle prints as I adjusted the g-code, layer height, etc. but once it was dialed in, I was able to mass produce these easily enough. The key is to make sure the tab of plastic closing off the clip opening for one layer remains intact. It keeps the clip tip stable during printing, and can be trimmed away when complete.

A little care is needed when snapping the tentacles in place, but none broke. A few replacements had to be made due to rough play by the kids who got them, but I already had everything dialed in, and it costs less than 20¢ apiece to print those.

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Last year, I posted about printing Baby's First Mace for my niece. It's her favorite toy now. This year, I was asked to make another for a future baby shower.


A line is visible where I paused the print to add 3D-printed "peas" to make it rattle inside the enclosed mace head. See that prior post for a picture of what I used. The settings were better this time around, and the overhangs didn't sag like last time aside from a bit of a bulge in the pommel ring.

Here's a glimpse at the print process. I experimented with using OpenShot to make a low-resolution image series from a cell phone video clip, and then Gimp to convert that image sequence into a GIF. I had to re-run this at a smaller resolution again to keep it small enough to upload here at all.


It does this over and over, melting PLA plastic and depositing it one layer at a time as the print bed lowers, until the job is done. It's basically a very sophisticated and precise hot glue gun, if that makes sense.

This print actually failed when it was 90% done, which was quite frustrating. A snarl somewhere deep inside the filament spool bound up the feed process, and the tension dragged the print head off its proper coordinates. Unfortunately, there isn't really a way to clean up the bad layer and resume. Instead, I had to start from scratch after salvaging the "peas." Then I printed the new mace head, the pommel, changed filament colors, and finally printed the handle.


After that last post asking about adhesives, I tried using model glue that melts and welds plastic pieces. It's common in the plastic model world. It works great on styrene, but not PLA. Lessons learned from the old mace were applied here, and I used Loctite 2-part epoxy to glue this one. It'll hold forever now, or as near to as makes no difference for a toddler.

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What do you think? What new projects have you been printing, or at least pondering? Does your library have a 3D printer, or is there a local makerspace you might want to explore? Chime in with a comment!

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Can that thing print lower receivers?

Technically it can. Legally, we aren't registered as a firearm manufacturer with a federal firearm license, so we can't print that kind of thing for our patrons lest we incur the wrath of the ATF. And even if I were interested in trying that as an extracurricular activity after hours, I'd want something other than PLA.

I guess that would count as a transfer, even if there wasn't a sale. Lol, yeah I wouldn't want to pull the trigger on that. I've seen plenty of videos of printed guns being fired but I'm still not sure I'd be comfortable firing one myself.

On a vaguely related note, did you know that Wyoming has a law on the books prohibiting the feds from enforcing the NFA on firearms made and kept exclusively in the state? I wouldn't want to be the person that tested that law but it'd make for an interesting court case.

A few states have the same laws regarding suppressors and machine guns. Especially under the 2nd, 9th, and 10th amendments, it's entirely reasonable. But government enforcers are anything but reasonable.

A 3D-printed AR-type receiver is quite viable, provided there is some reinforcement at the buffer tube region. I'd also suggest a unitized trigger drop-in kit instead of the usual pinned separate components.

Yeah, the attempt to negate the entire act by doing an end run around the interstate commerce clause had me amused. I find it curious how federal enforcers largely give up if they don't have the cooperation of the state enforcers.

I've always stayed away from ARs just because I dislike the 5.56 round. May have to reconsider that, one running 6.5 creedmoor would be right nice. Hmm....

.300 Blackout is ideal if you want a suppressed SBR.

That would be fun. Don't know how much of a need I have for one though, feel like I'd get more/better use out of something with a little more zip and range.

I knew a guy who used .300 Whisper (the wildcat round later commercialized as .300 Blackout IIRC) as his whitetail round in the woods here in the Pacific Northwest. He had bursitis or something in his shoulder. It was a balance of power and recoil he could manage.

As for the other point, isn't it odd how a clause written to prevent states from taxing or otherwise obstructing interstate commerce has become a means for the federal government to control interstate commerce?

According to the 3D Print General on Odysee, PLA+ is a good material for 3D printing firearms. His latest is glass reinforced nylon, but that takes a heated bed and enclosure.

Well, the Dremel has a heated bed and an enclosure, but we're not using PLA+, much less more exotic filaments. Glass reinforced nylon is basically a FDM Glock-like material though. Plenty tough.

I haven't tried anything related to 3D printing. It's something I've gotta learn more about.

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I don't have any experience in 3D printing yet. If given the chance, I would love to print mechanical gears or mechanisms, home decors and cute little toys for the kids.

The octopus looks awesome.

Thanks for sharing.


Have you looked into the CAD design process for your own clockwork mechanisms? Drawing your own involute gear teeth is complicated, but feasible. I was over-ambutuous in my drafting final, but I made a system of gears and levers to lift marbles up a series of stepped pistons and 3D printed a prototype. The tolerances for moving parts and printer a accuracy can cause problems, but when it works right, it's awesome technology.

Clockwork mechanisms? That's a lot of gears. I will probably start with simpler ones like toy cars. 😊

There are some complicated models on Thingiverse for automatic transmissions, gear-driven clocks, and more.

I find the 3D printing process quite fascinating, and love the idea of being able to make replacement parts instead of buying them at the store for ridiculous prices.

Hi @jacobtothe .hope you are fine. Great work you have done.

Thanks! I'm still here, doing what I do, except at a slower pace than usual this month.

I find the whole 3D printing thing fascinating. I should get one at some point. When I clear some of the muck out of the garage perhaps. The octopus looks darn cool!

May I suggest a home brewing project for that space? Heretic Shallow Grave is a phenomenal porter. I may or may not be almost too drunk to comment now. Insomniac drinking is healthy, right?

All drinking is healthy!! You should have seen the state of me last night 🤣


Es algo que tuvo y tiene todavia mucha popularidad. Es una pieza sencilla que en un principio no le vi el potencialpero luego de un pedido que me hicieron me enamores, es muy divertido para jugar ademas de que los eslabones de los tentaculos estan muy bienlogrados.


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