I just built a 3D printer. Here is why,
(Image: https://ifun3d.evlla.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/3120W-81E8B21kg-B8E5BE-510x510.jpg)what it means for A Tribe Called Cars and the things I have printed so far.
Years ago, when 3D printing was so young it struggled to grow a beard, I wrote an article
about the best 3D printers money could buy. Some looked amazing, all metallic and shiny. While some
looked like a school project gone wrong. One where the teacher was inebriated throughout.
Weirdly enough, that particular printer – the Prusa Mendel – is the successor to what I just
emptied my bank account on. Now it is time to meet my lovely gathering of black metal,
orange plastic and confusing circuirtry. Yes, the super secret gadget thing mentioned
in numerous videos is the Prusa MK3S+. One of the best 3D printers for consumers. Not the Mk4, which
I expect to be released soon because Sod’s Law. Now, most of my family think I am mad for
buying a 3D printer. However I know for a fact that my gadget-loving grandpa – a
fellow photography and audio nerd like me – would have been as intrigued. I mean, the
possibilities are endless. Well, almost. I mean, scientists are printing organs.
For the body, that is, not a church. Although you could probably print those too
if your printer was big enough. If you have ever built a PC or played
with Lego or Mecanno, maybe not Duplo, you probably could build a Prusa MK3S+ yourself.
And given the price of some of the more exotic Lego sets, afford one too.
Between opening the sizable cardboard box like it was Christmas day and turning it on without
causing a fire or postcode blackout was around nine hours. The record is four apparently.
Admittedly, I did make two mistakes that meant some minor disassembly.
Why did I choose to build my 3D printer and not have it delivered already made?
Because it means learning how a 3D printer works. Already in a month
or so I can diagnose numerous printing issues. But the main reason is that it saved me £150.
Prusa is the brainchild of Josef Prusa, who comes from the Czech Republic. Home of Tatra,
as SnowRunner fans may know. I picked Prusa because, despite costing more than its rivals,
you supposedly spend more time printing and less time troubleshooting.
And with my schedule making YouTube videos, updating my website, learning to play the
Ukelele (okay that one is a lie) and trying to start a super secret side project I figured ease
of use was important. I have officially reached the age where I simply want things to work.
Why did I buy a 3D printer in 2021? Good question. Firstly, I have waited about a decade to do so
and I am fortunate enough that I was able to afford one. Just about.
The second reason is that I want to diversify A Tribe Called Cars and 3D printing crosses
over nicely. Without giving too much away, I mean some of you may have a rough idea,
I think fans of SnowRunner and other driving games will enjoy the related content.
There is also a chance that I could sell some cool 3D printed things in the official Tribe shop
that exists on ATribeCalledCars.com, but I have not added anything to it
yet. Stay tuned – I have a cunning plan. Two of my ideas are pretty elaborate. No pressure.
Anyway, the most important bit of this video. What have I printed so far and how badly did I fail?
Well, my first print was this martian keyring that comes on the SD card in the Prusa MK3S+ box.
It can go on a keyring, looks pretty cool. Nothing siezed up or melted. A good start.
However, I then tried to print the Child or Baby Yoda as he is better known. Worth a watch,
the Mandalalorian TV show on Disney+. Even if you are not mad about Star Wars.
This model looks good at first glance. However, this was before I realised I
could print at higher resolutions so it is pretty liney. Sorry, Baby Yoda.
Next issue, you see under his ears and sleeves? These are called overhangs and you need to use
something called a support if they are too long and too steep. Otherwise the 3D
printer struggles to put the plastic where it needs to and it sags or looks like spaghetti.
Baby Yoda’s ears get away with the issue because it looks like fur. Old yoda has furry ears, right?
But the sleeves look too bad to be a fabric defect. I could probably paint it as is
or spray on some primer and use sandpaper for a smooth finish.
Because as someone said, 3D printing can be 90 per cent sanding. I can relate to that already.
Just like painting a wall, imperfections you see now you will see later regardless of how much
paint you slap on. Preparation is everything. Of course, good 3D print settings help too.
The opposite of what I used for Pikachu Mk 1. No, he was not dismembered in an industrial accident.
This is what happens when the extruder nozzle smacks into the model
and then moves it so you have to stop printing. Now I print with what is called a brim, which is
basically a thin layer around the model that helps it stick to the print bed and has nothing to do
with fancy hats. Good cleaning of said bed and the ability to heat it up also helps with adhesion.
Not to be defeated, here is my second attempt that has a tail and a base. Same model. I did some mild
sanding and used yellow primer spray paint. Looks pretty cool, but I did not sand this for too long
so there are still some surface issues. This print was more about getting used to supports
as Pikachu’s bum sticks out quite far – not fat shaming him, don’t worry – and there is
a large gap between his tiny feet. I did not want Yoda Sleeve issues again.
Weird sentence. I also upped the detail and used a brim.
Oh, yeah, can’t show you this stuff yet. Do not worry, it is not an adult toy.
My next print was something useful. No offence, Pikachu and Yoda. Yes, 3D printing requires tools
and I have enough clutter in my life so I printed a tool holder.
The free 3D model from Thingiverse is a remix of another design. Basically, it
adds an optional tray area. Comes with holes for allen keys, screw drivers, can hold a marker pen,
SD memory cards, glue, pliers, tweezers, brass brush, IFUN Resin nozzle needle for cleaning and so on.
It just clips to the frame above the power supply and that is it. I did zero sanding,
used something called Prusament PLA for the material, Jet Black is the colour,
and I printed at 230 degrees for a shinier finish. 215 is more common, but it worked nicely.
I have also done some structural upgrades such as this slab of orange PETG plastic that helps
strengthen the frame and improve print quality. Yes, the shade is different to the Prusa stuff
because I wanted to test out a different brand. I also printed what is effectively a hat
for one of the motors that gets a bit toasty in the summer.
I will then connect a five volt Noctua 40mm by 20mm fan and connect that to the circuit board.
Other modifications include new feet that supposedly help reduce vibration over the standard
rubber offerings, a cable holder to keep the LCD screen ribbon from getting caught by moving parts
and the first of a few drawers that sit neatly below my £7 IKEA Lack table. Because storage.
These are pretty cool, you have got the drawer itself that lives inside a jet black frame.
Two magnets at the end of the compartment give it a slightly satisfying closing feel. One of
the models warped because I had bad settings but I will make it work. No point wasting plastic.
So what is next on the 3D print list? Well, that is a surprise but I will say the things
will be more fun! And maybe have wheels. Hopefully you enjoy this side-project.
It will not affect the usual content so expect SnowRunner and other driving games
as usual. Let me know what you would like to see. And that is it for this video, thank you for
watching. Feel free to subscribe, like and share. Maybe even give me some suggestions
as to what I should print. Until next time! Take care, bye.