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Today will bring the first tests of the 3D printer. There was a short but complicated learning curve this past week in determining the optimum layouts and positions of the individual pieces to be printed on the print bed. Since the models need to be printed in particular positions, to avoid adding multiple and unnecessary support scaffolding, all of the model designs needed to be tweaked by adding injection sprues for the casting flows into the molds. This was determined by first laying the models into the 3D printer bounding box, positioning for optimum and minimum scaffolding placement, then returning to the original model designs to find the best locations for the sprue canals, based on the proposed printer layout.

Before I make the actual casting prints for the investment molds, I’ll have to first print the models in a less expensive plastic resin, since the castable resin is five times more costly. For that reason, I’ll have to shell, or hollow out the model designs to conserve the casting resin. So there is still some minor model development to be done before the first casts are made. I’m considering the Steampunk Steamray or maybe the Cogwheel ring, with a brass gear and silver barrel for my first attempt. Of course, the brass and silver parts will be cast
separately, and then soldered together with silver solder. Again, I’ll try to photo document the results of each step of the processes.

Later, as I get more familiar with the printing process, I can print multiple models in one batch or as many as I can array on the 6″ x 6″ printing bed. This will also allow metal-casting several models at a time. Like branches on a tree, the main sprue can support additional models in one casting throw. For now, experimenting with the one ring model will be sufficient.

Quote of the week:

“Deadlines refine the mind. They remove variables like exotic materials and processes that take too long. The closer the deadline, the more likely you’ll start thinking waaay outside the box.”
~Adam Savage

Learning Curves

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