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rtrski

3D Printer prep - ideas for plastic parts you wish they made?

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So....on a whim I've ordered one of the new plastic extrusion head 3D printers. Should get it in a few weeks (they're more or less 'built to order'). I'll have a 6" x 6" x 6" (or approx 15cm in each dim for those of you across the pond) build area, and will be able to make parts with reasonable dimensional accuracy out of ABS (same plastic "LEGOs" are made out of) or eventually perhaps PLA. PLA is more flexible but being biodegradable, probably wouldn't hold up to ocean immersion usage very long....

 

I've been thinking about making a few specific parts such as more customized zoom sleeve/gears for particular lenses (do them as a split with alignment pins, and cable-tie in place on the lenses for dive trips, vs. the current irritating two-part clamp-and-gear-sleeve arrangement). That would let me leave notches or slots for on-lens MF/AF switches and the like that right now tend to get in the way. I've also considered parts for a ring flash, snoot parts, cable chain pieces to armor a F.O. link a bit, maybe a mounting for a spare dive computer or watch on the housing, lower profile hinging focus-light holder to thread onto the Ike top post instead of a ballmount....

 

Just curious if there are other parts out there that people wish they had or the manufacturers made, that could be 3D printed in plastic? ABS can be made to hold threads...but that would take some post-machining with a tap and die, or more reliably just printing the part with a big enough opening for a tapped insert. I can get different colors of ABS (even glow-in-the-dark), but will only have a single print-head on the machine I ordered.

 

Open question...any other idears?

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So cool! Me and the hubby just discussed this morning ordering one to do pretty much the same. I have been making some DYI projects for my new housing, but also for sailboat and while hunting parts thought a hundred times "I wish I could just print it in ABS". Had I read this a week ago, you would have had an order for a fibersnoot base plate.

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Which printer head did you get?

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Paul:

 

If you're asking me, I just sprung for a Solidoodle v2. This is my first real exploration into this space, so I didn't want to go all crazy and try to build up from scratch, especially at the price offered.

 

(I'm familiar with 3D modeling from work - I do electromagnetic analysis with FEM software, and have had several rapid prototypes built of parts there as well, but the ME department generally handles those. The software I use is based on the ACIS kernel same as AutoCAD etc. but doesn't output STLs, so they generally do it with the "real" ME databases from Solidworks. Anyway, the STL conversion and then 'rastering' of the solids is the only part I'm not that familiar with yet.)

 

Per the website the Solidoodle is based on the RepRap Sanguinololu v1.3a Electronics with a Nichrome extruder, should have positional accuracy of around .01- .015mm, Z layering of .1mm. Nozzle head is .35mm though so depending on temp and flow rate, I'm not counting on a part resolution much better than that to start with. Any sort of threading will obviously be post machined or inserts, and gear teeth might need a nice acetone wipedown to 'deburr'.

 

Here's some of the part ideas I came up with so far:

  1. Hotshoe mount for Sony (not the 'standard') for an LED mini-strobe atop the camera in housing
     
  2. Top ball mount fitting for holding fiberoptics to Ike housing
     
  3. Replacement threaded cover 'caps' for Inon strobes to hold fiberoptics (I'm cheap - would rather DIY from S/PDIF cables, and the Inon sensor covers cost $15-20 by the time you get them shipped....I can probably make new butt ends for the ones I have vs. buying, as I experiment with different FO or break them like I did my first DIY attempt.)
     
  4. Zoom gear/sleeves as mentioned before. Currently the 8-16mm (Sigma) WA works fairly well by just fitting the larger-flanged Ike gear sleeve right over it (no clamp) but I did have to cut it back to avoid hitting the MF/AF switch, and a better arrangement would be nice. Would also custom-make sleeve/gears for a 105mm and maybe my 17-70mm (wasn't too thrilled with how well it shot underwater anyway...need to rethink my medium range lens options)
     
  5. Protective cover for a small dome port.
     
  6. Possibly replacement shade for above - add snap-in 'teeth' to outside faces for cover to lock onto easily (?)
     
  7. Compass/watch/spare computer mount point for housing
     
  8. I liked Margo's ideas for "nonvertical" handles in another thread....might play with that eventually
     
  9. For above water, would like to come up with a pistol-grip arrangement for my huge and heavy 150mm-500mm lens, preferrably also find a way to gear the focus down to a thumbwheel or something on the grip. The A55 is ridiculously light compared to the lens, so a pistol grip on the camera doesn't make as much sense as adding one to the existing tripod support for the lens.
     
  10. A small palmsize split-ring 'wrench' as a dive tool for tightening or removing reg hoses at the first stage...seen them about the size of a socket on the interior but a bit more thick walled and textured on the outer surface for better grip leverage.
     
  11. Snoots, maybe ring-flash hardware
     
  12. Plastic cockroaches and crickets - terrorize the wife and cats. That one's just for giggles...
     
  13. The ubiquitous lens cap holder for a camera strap, in different sizes....
     
  14. A tamping support for an espresso portafilter handle for this beast: http://www.rocket-es...s/premium-plus/ (Actually we only have the V1 with just the boiler pressure gauge, not the second brewhead gauge....hmmphf, not tempted to upgrade. NOT. Nope. Not....(much). )
  15. Misc. cable-chain parts in different diameters for the AV and computer systems. Might also double as FO management in the event of a ring-flash attempt.

...None of the above justifies the purchase of a 3D printer, of course....it's just the excuse for a new toy.

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Another "product" that would make life easier underwater would be some clever strobe-cable management clips to fasten to strobe arms. Oh, the possibilities...

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And perhaps a plastic " bumper" for under the tray or housing body. I could have used that climbing out of the water last night, having to heave the setup up on some rocks to get out. A little sacrificial scratch&bump guard would have been fabulous.

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And perhaps a plastic " bumper" for under the tray or housing body. I could have used that climbing out of the water last night, having to heave the setup up on some rocks to get out. A little sacrificial scratch&bump guard would have been fabulous.

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A bumper or stand isn't a bad idea, and could double as something to attach weight to for buoyancy and balance. For cable management along the arms, I just use velcro loops. (The "One-wrap" type come 25 to a pack for like US$6, and I haven't gone thru a pack yet since they're reusable. Rinse the salt out and velcro them to the inside of the camera backpack padding until next use...)

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Thanks for the information on the 3D printer. I had been following the development of the printers for some time now, and just found I can rent one from a business quite close to me.

Good luck with your new endevours, I look forward to seeing some cool new custom made underwater photography products.

 

And perhaps a plastic " bumper" for under the tray or housing body.

This is quite easy to fashion with simple tools. Just get a flat piece of plastic about a quarter of an inch thick (6mm) and drill a hole in the bottom for a mounting screw to attach to the bottom of the housing.

I have made these plates for my housings since I noticed the abuse the surface coating of my D2x housing was taking from the hard surfaces it coming in contact with.

 

I may be wrong, but I think Martin Edge has used a bottom plate for the camera housing for some time now.

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Wow! I just saw the pricing on the Solidoodle, fantastic! I might just have to order one ;) Can you order the ABS spools from elsewhere or is it necessary to use theirs?

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Marjo:

 

I've been exploring that a little. From what I can read (assuming you can believe what you read on the internet ;) ) ABS is ABS...the differences are going to be perhaps a little different level of impurities, a little difference in 'wetness' (ABS will soak up a little bit of water, so want to keep unused spools in a bag with dessicant until time to use), and maybe diameter control. Since one of the things you set the extruder head and machine settings for is the diameter...seems like you should be able to buy from elsewhere. I'd have to believe the other 3D printer folks using RepRap's, etc will have similar requirements to the Solidoodle. Figured I'd buy my first spool or two from them (just so they can't give me any "you used unapproved materials" guff in case I do have some early issues with the machine) but then assuming it all goes well, open up to other sellers later on. See a lot of ABS even on Amazon or eBay these days.

 

And in the future, there's another open source project working on a machine to chew up your old (or bad) prints and extrude new ABS filament....not sure I'll be printing enough to warrant that. But then again, I'm not sure I'll be printing enough to justify the printer in the first place!!!

 

p.s. Solidoodle's S/N 0001 has just shipped (for the v2 machine). I don't know how far down the list I am but I think they got lit up with way more demand than they expected, something like 2k machine orders, so I'm expecting it to be another month or two yet.

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There's been a production update...looks like I'm only a couple more weeks from the machine. Hurray!

 

In the meantime, came up with another idea: a fitting to just 'plug' normal cheapo "S/PDIF" optical cables into on the top ball mount, so I only have to cut off the other end and thread into a hole in the Inon sensor caps. At $5-15 from Monoprice it would take a whole lot of them to break before I came close to the price of the formal Inon FO cables. (Well, excluding the price of the 3D printer and however much plastic I waste dialing in the design... sick.gif )

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I'd be interested in a wrist computer mount for a Sherwood Insight (similar to an Oceanic VEO) like the ones that Deep See Supply makes - but they apparently aren't interested in supplying one for my computer:

 

https://www.deepseasupply.com/index.php?category=instruments

 

I was going to try and modify the watch band style mount, but there's not a lot of material there to punch holes in, so I'm not sure what to do. If you come up with something, I would be quite interested.

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If you can get glow in the dark plastic, how about replacement knobs for adjusting the light output on Inon z240's. They are impossible to distinguish from the other knob - the one used to turn the strobe on - on a night dive.

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Good addition - I find the Inon knobs a little hard to turn even with very thin gloves (insufficiently textured grip), so an extra sleeve to make them bigger or create a T-grip of some sort, in contrasting colors, would be a good part to add.

 

And yes, glow-in-the-dark ABS is available: http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=ABS+filament+glow+in+dark&qpvt=ABS+filament+glow+in+dark&FORM=HURE#x0y193

 

Still no printer. Last update suggested June orders (including me) would be about 'three weeks from now' in a post dated Aug 17th. So....any day now, perhaps. I'm sure it'll take me a good month or so of tinkering to work out any machine bugs, get it calibrated and decide on a software flow as well, mostly just on the weekends since work's been killing me with long hours. As long as I can get it ready to do some real trial builds of parts around Turkey-day, I'll be happy. The wife, maybe not so much, as I'm sure my 'mad scientist' time will put a serious dent in progress on the 'real' chores list.

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Sounds great. What program are you using to design parts ?

I use a Dimension BST1200 3D printer at school... we design on ProEngineer or Creo then via CatalystEX software to the printer.

Looking forward to seeing your creations.

cheers

Weiry

Edited by Weiry

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Why not to print an underwater housing? Has anyone tried?

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Weiry:

 

I'll probably use Google (now Trimble) Sketchup for the most part - because I can't afford a personal copy of Solidworks and can't use my work's software for personal use (legally).

 

gobidion:

 

Most 3D printed parts are pretty swiss cheesey (the 'infill' for the middle volumes is done as a network of hexagons or grids vs. solid, to save plastic and speed up print time) and delamination of the 3D printed 'raster layers' is an issue since the plastic is deposited molten, layer by layer, and firms up somewhat before the next layer comes around. Proper orientation of the part because of that is necessary if they're going to be under any strain in use (e.g. printing a wrench you print it 'flat' since the within-layer bond is much stronger than the between-layer bond). Unlike injection molding, I would NOT trust a plastic part made by FFF or FDM to be even remotely watertight, much less under significant external pressure!

 

I suppose you could 3D print a housing 'mandrel' and use it as a forming tool of sorts - insert metal posts for control penetrations and then overlay it all with fiberglass or carbon fiber for the actual pressure shell - but at that point just milling an aluminum blank to tool up on isn't going to cost much more in non-recurring expense terms.

 

Definitely planning to use it only for fittings of one sort or another, either entirely inside or entirely outside of the housing's seal. And for those outside, it'll probably 'bubble' a bit as air seeps out of all the little pockets (that, or implode on descent! biggrin.png )

Edited by rtrski

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Weiry:

 

I'll probably use Google (now Trimble) Sketchup for the most part - because I can't afford a personal copy of Solidworks and can't use my work's software for personal use (legally).

 

gobidion:

 

Most 3D printed parts are pretty swiss cheesey (the 'infill' for the middle volumes is done as a network of hexagons or grids vs. solid, to save plastic and speed up print time) and delamination of the 3D printed 'raster layers' is an issue since the plastic is deposited molten, layer by layer, and firms up somewhat before the next layer comes around. Proper orientation of the part because of that is necessary if they're going to be under any strain in use (e.g. printing a wrench you print it 'flat' since the within-layer bond is much stronger than the between-layer bond). Unlike injection molding, I would NOT trust a plastic part made by FFF or FDM to be even remotely watertight, much less under significant external pressure!

 

I suppose you could 3D print a housing 'mandrel' and use it as a forming tool of sorts - insert metal posts for control penetrations and then overlay it all with fiberglass or carbon fiber for the actual pressure shell - but at that point just milling an aluminum blank to tool up on isn't going to cost much more in non-recurring expense terms.

 

Definitely planning to use it only for fittings of one sort or another, either entirely inside or entirely outside of the housing's seal. And for those outside, it'll probably 'bubble' a bit as air seeps out of all the little pockets (that, or implode on descent! biggrin.png )

 

 

I see. Thanks for the explanation.

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Printer finally arrived. Got its software configured and after a couple false starts have the print head moving in X and Y freely and the table in Z. Haven't calibrated table to extruder distance yet.

 

The downside - no filament to print with! My order is backordered. Will probably put in an order from somewhere else this weekend so I can get started sometime next week.

 

Google/Trimble Sketchup may not be a very functional 3D modeler. Watching the how to videos it seems great, but in action, trying to do things like produce a conical hole in a solid seem to result in a lot of missing faces or other errors. Perhaps clean-able, but I'm looking for other 3D modeling options. Found links for a couple other inexpensive 3D cad tools...well, relatively. AutoDesk has 123D, which is (or appears to be) free, so far just downloaded and watched one of the videos but haven't installed yet. Not sure I like what I see, its another 'easy peezy sexed up fast interface' (why does all modern software UI seem crafted for the computer gamer or touchscreen / tablet set, and sacrifice precision and utility??) but might have some of the same issues I'm having with Sketchup. Alibre personal-edition looks like a really well-rounded parametric 3D modeling suite...but at $200 it better be, I really didn't want to spend that much. They do offer a trial so I'll probably download and get myself hooked.

 

Open to other suggestions. "Real" CAD suites like AutoCAD Inventor, Solidworks, Pro/E, etc. are just out of my price range for home use.

 

First project will probably be something simple (after a couple calibration parts): a tamp stand for our espresso maker portafilter and handle. Basically a small table with a conical and half-cylindrical depression cut out the top and thru-hole for the nozzle so you can tamp the puck without it rocking all over the place. Shouldn't require much precision. After that , start thinking my way thru camera-related parts I want.

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For 2D CAD work try DraftSight, its free.

 

http://www.3ds.com/products/draftsight/overview/

 

For 3D CAD, I use Freecad open source software, its also free, but lacks good documentation.

 

http://sourceforge.net/projects/free-cad/

 

For what its worth, I tried Alibre Personel edition. You do not get the sheet metal section with the personal edition, it is an upgrade from the $200 you just paid for the personal edition.

 

I had a Windows Vista Business crash on me during a Winodws Update.(Go figure!) Anyway, Alibre will not start now because of the operating system re-install and customer support has failed to respond to my inquiries for the last two weeks, even though thier website promises a reply in 24 hours.

 

That's just my personal experience, your mileage may vary.

 

Personally, if I had to do it all over again, I would keep my $200 in my pocket and just download FreeCad.

 

I am starting to like open source software more and more these days.

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Whoa - thanks for the link to FreeCAD. That looks like it just might be the ticket.

 

EDIT - Ouch, man that code looks good, but is buggy and clunky. Probably took me 3-4 tries to figure out the right sequence to not have 'holes' in my resulting solid, but I think I finally got the tamp stand designed. Thanks again for the suggestion though - I'm sure I'll slowly ramp up on the learning curve and it does seem like a very capable product for free. Some unreliability is the price you pay for not paying a price. wink.png

 

 

post-11418-0-30208500-1351949122_thumb.jpg

Edited by rtrski

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Wow, looks like you're a pretty quick study to get that far.

 

Glad you like the program.

 

As you said, a little buginess is a small price to pay for the program.

 

I just found a shared open work space in a neighbouring city that features a 3D printer (Reprap), cutting laser, and I believe, cnc machine, so I will be accelerating my learning curve very soon.

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I do electromagnetics for a living, using a program called HFSS (High Frequency Structure Simulator). Front end is a 3d CAD package that uses solid primitives, Booleans, revolutions and extrustions, etc. to generate the model, and its all parametric with a 'history' tree as well. So I'm familiar with the concepts, just have to adjust to another modeler's way of doing things, and avoid automatic habits. You should hear me cursing going between HFSS and AutoCAD at work (and yes, I considered using those, but doing too much 'personal modeling' at work is a good recipe for getting into trouble.) Usually the 3D view manipulation shortcuts are the hardest habits to switch back and forth between, FreeCAD's middle-wheel-down then leftclick and drag is a bit of a pain compared to to the Alt-Leftclick-drag rotation I'm used to for example.

 

Still, thanks again, very much, Paul.

 

And in another touch of irony, I put in an order for ABS filament from a second source on Friday, got shipping notice, and then got the shipping notice for the backordered filament from Solidoodle today. Hah. So next week might have first part pix to show, then on to pertinent (camera/dive related) designs!

Edited by rtrski

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