Learning Lessons – And Still Glitchy

I spent some time tonight making three pieces of my rocket fit together without conflicting in space. That can be quite difficult when you’re trying to make it so 21 thin vanes slide into a cylindrical body part which has slots for those 21 vanes. And further complicating matters, the vanes themselves are part black and part yellow, meaning I have to print the black area as one part, and the yellow as another. And both of those have to slot into a red body part. Like so:


On the left you can see the red middle body part with slots. Slipping down onto that cylinder would be the 21 vanes of the mid-section’s black vane piece. The cap at the top stops at the top of the red body tube. Then underneath the yellow part of the vanes would slide up into the red cylinder. A delicate fit. If it works. If it does not, I will have to redesign this part if I want to print it on the Afinia without issue.

This is where I may have to eventually redesign the rocket to accommodate some of the limitations of the 3D printer technology.

Incidentally, in my modeling program I’ll be coloring parts of my model no one will ever see (when assembled) cyan in order to remind myself that those parts of the model will be hidden. Of course coloring the model has no bearing on how the model prints. It prints with whatever color filament I’m using at the time.

So I printed this piece tonight, at .25mm in Normal mode. It took not long under two hours.


I learned an important lesson. It can print these thin vanes ok, but they are very weak. And if I print this pieces oriented like you see here, the hollow inside (which is capped at the top) must print support material. And that means pulling thin support material away from thin vanes, and at the cap at the top you really have to get in there and remove rafting material. With 21 thin vanes in the way.

When I print this again, I will be printing it upside down. The angle allowed for printing without support is variable, but I’m almost sure that the vanes are at an angle slightly less than the maximum. So printing this upside down may just work. If it works as I hope it does, it will print like an upturned dixie cup, and the only support material needed will be just a bit at the “top” which has the peg protruding.


But, sadly, the printer glitched out again. When it finished printing this part, it didn’t finish cleanly, rather, it looked like it was trying to print a previous print job, forcing the print head down into the part.

I am assured a new version of the software fixes this, and should be live any day now, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Until this new software becomes available, I can’t trust the printer to print anything, as it freaks out at the end, and I’m afraid the slamming of the head into the plastic part can only damage the printer.

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