Orienting for part strength in 3D Printing

Sometimes you will wait all day for your 3D Print to finish, only to find that some areas of the geometry where parts are long and thin are weak and liable to break… In this example of my Guardin’ Gnome, the first print, though it looked great, was fragile at the sword blade. The the layer cross-section of the blade is weak because the bonds between layers are not as strong as the perimeter. [This was printed on a Creality Ender3, an FDM style printer]

The sword blade broke removing supports, and will have to be repaired
Orienting the model with the blade horizontal to the build plate

The second time that I printed this model, I oriented the blade so that it was horizontal to the build plate. As the layers are build up, the extruder lays down a perimeter of plastic that outlines the entire blade. This will make the sword very strong and not prone to breaking.

The second print turned out much stronger for the sword. Though, because the back side had to be supported, there is a lot more cleanup and sanding required. On both versions, there were some details that failed, (due to partial support failure) that I will have to fix with a little Green Stuff (modeling putty)….

Below are some other Gnomes (The little ones (28mm scale) are printed in resin on a SparkmakerFHD).

I hope that this tip will be useful for you, if you have a long thin part that you are worried will break.

DIY –3D Printing in Bronze!

So I broke down and purchased my own 3D printer, when I discovered some amazing new materials that are 80% powdered metal. They are Bronzefill and Copperfill, created by a company called ColorFabb in the Netherlands. This is like creating cold-cast bronze, but directly printing it instead of casting it in a mold.

copperfill

My first print using Copperfill turned out great. The material cools a little slower than regular PLA, so it doesn’t warp at all. I did increase  the temperature on my extruder to 215C instead of the default 208C. I’m using the Printrbot Simple Metal, which I am very pleased with (that’s an affiliate link, so if you are in the market…). Below are the steps I used to finish my print:

  1. Print your part. I’m using my design, YodaBuddha
    Photo Feb 04, 8 53 28 PM
  2. Clean up the print using needle files, sandpaper, and even a soldering iron! This last tip is a great way to weld different parts together! Use steel wool to buff the surface and expose the metal particles.
    Photo Feb 18, 6 28 20 PM
  3. Apply traditional cold patina (I’m using Mahogany from Sculpt Nouveau) with a brush or spray bottle. You may want to warm up the print with a hair dryer before applying. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then reapply until you get the darkness you want.
    Photo Feb 18, 6 32 47 PM
  4. When the print is dark enough, use the steel wool to gently buff the raised areas to bring out the metallic luster.
    Photo Feb 19, 9 42 42 AM Photo Feb 19, 9 46 41 AM
  5. Seal the print with clear wax. I used floor wax!
    Photo Feb 19, 9 59 08 AM

That was all there was to it. I hope this inspires you to do some 3D printed bronze yourself!

Photo Feb 20, 11 30 32 AM