Monthly Archives: May 2012

Thing of the Moment – RaspberryPi Case

Thing of the Moment is where I find something of interest to print, either useful or fun!

On Saturday I finally got my hands on a RaspberryPi. Having played with it for a bit I can see it will have an uphill climb. However one thing it does need is a case. Popping in ‘raspberry’ as a search on Thingiverse brought up a number of options. Looking through I settled on the case by HansH.

image Case of two halves
Part of the reason I went for this is the case is designed in two parts and you have a selection. Also it is made in openSCAD so it should possible to modify for your own tastes. I just picked a base and a top with a raspberry in.

Two parts, two colours
According to Slic3r I would have to use about 6m of filament. I have been trying to use up the remnants I have had laying around so printed the base in black and lid in red. The parts clip together nicely without fittings.

image

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And finally
It has gone together nicely, I have had to adjust some of the ports to get access fully and to make it close. That said it is a great looking case and works really well.

Links
RaspberryPi Case

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Filabot

3D printers are great. You can design almost anything and have a copy of it within hours. That is if you have the filament to print with. At the moment you have to order filament from a (normally) mail order source and that takes time. Step in ‘Filabot’.

Manufacture you own
image A while a go – I missed it at the time – there was a Kickstarter campaign to help the dream of manufacturing your own filament at home come true. Now the project has been funded and the final steps seem to be near. There has been an update to their website giving out the details of 3 versions of the Filabot and one version of the – yet un-named – grinder.

The variants
Filabot Wee – this is the kit version, it doesn’t have the grinder and will rely on pre-munched plastic or pellets. Probably the cheapest of the lot as you will have one build it yourself. Great to see how it all works though.

image Filabot Core – the built one. This seems to be a built version of the Wee, still lacking the grinder but gains an enclosure as well as working straight out of the box.

Filabot Reclaimer – totally complete and with the grinder. If you have wanted on use up those old prints or HDPE milk bottles straight out the box then this is the one for you. totally enclosed and with a carbon filter, which I assume is to help with those nasty smells from some plastics – I’m looking at you ABS!

Grinding your way to success
The first two variants don’t have a grinder so you would either have to use pellets or buy the extra grinder attachment and grind up separately.

And finally
The team at Filabot seem to have also found some form of conductive filament, this is interesting for anyone wanting to print out their own PCBs. My only thought on this is how much resistance there is in the filament, I look forward to being able to buy some and put it to the test!

Links
Filabot

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Filament from Faberdashery

I have come onto the 3D printing scene late in the party. However one of the problems that seemed to befall most ‘fabbers’ was the availability of filament to print with. When I first got my machine finding the 1.75mm filament within the UK was not easy. Not long after I got my eMaker Huxley (I shall review that at a later date) a company called “Faberdashery” started.

New way of buying
image It seems traditionally you purchase the filament you need as a weight on a spool. Of course this has benefits, you can buy loads at a lower cost per unit. This is great if you are printing lots of items or larger products. If, like me, you only print a handful of items every now and then you can end up with tons of plastic sitting around. The problem with that is that unless it is stored carefully, it absorbs moisture from the air which can affect print quality – the moisture boils in the print head and causes the extrusion to pop and splutter.

Step in Faberdashery (FD). Two things set FD apart from most of the competition. Firstly you buy the material in 1 meter lengths or 100m coils. Second you have a massive choice of colours, which is always expanding.

Weight or length
So why would you want to buy your material by length? Most slicing software used to process 3D models ready for printing can report the amount of filament used. Knowing this will mean you can order from FD the exact amount you need to print. No more excess filament sitting around needing to be stored carefully. Not to mention you are only paying for what you actually need and use.

Print the rainbow
imageColours, we all have our favorite one (mines purple BTW!). FD has colours in the bucket load. From your expected white, grey and black, to the off white “Architect’s Stone” or the new “Pearly White”. But also other colours, red, blues, pink, yellow, orange, greens and many more. There are also metallic like grey and gold, and a glittery “Galaxy Blue”. What ever you are printing FD will most likely have a colour to go with it.

Quality
Another big thing to consider when purchasing filament is the quality of it. This can be summed up in two ways, diameter consistency and filament malleability. You need the diameter to be really consistent, otherwise it could jam in your printer – this is really important for those with a Bowden tube. The filament needs to be able to bend to a degree, it has to come off of the spool/reel, bend up round the printer and into the printing head. Some of the cheaper filaments are brittle and can snap – reports are that all is not lost, there are some reports that leaving it in a oven at a low temperature for a while can help that out.

To this day I have not had an issue with the products from FB. It will bend to your hearts content – within reason of course! Neither have I had it snap on me.

The price to pay
Of course all this choice, flexibility in purchasing and quality comes at a price – literally. Weight for weight FD’s filament is more expensive then most out there. You will have to weigh (sorry no pun intended!) that up against being able to purchase only what you need, in the colour you want and know that the filament will go through the machine.

But in the end
Should you buy from Faberdashery? Like many things in life, it really depends on what you are looking for. For larger items or bulk prints it may be worth looking at some of the cheaper options – although I believe FD do offer bulk purchasing so could be worth an email. For the rest of us printing out little bits-and-bobs FD offers a wide selection and choice of quantity all wrapped up in a consistent quality package.

Links
Faberdashery Website
Faberdashery Twitter Feed

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Obligatory ‘Welcome’ post!

Greetings to you and welcome to my blog. I plan to write up about my experiences with 3D printing, review open-source hardware and software and products that I have purchased.

I hope that it will be interesting for you to read, maybe even encourage some to get into 3D printing as well!

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