Monday, 21 March 2016

Learning to use Netfabb with Simplify3D to make a multi color object

Using Netfabb with Simplify3D

Today I used Netfabb to take a single color object and turned it into multiple objects which I then used Simplify3D to recombine into a multi-color object. To do this, you will first need to install the free/basic version of NetFabb. The download link is

Once you have NetFabb Basic installed, find a STL you would like to print; I choose the Leprechaun Hat by MikeT71 Open NetFabb, go to project > add part > locate your stl. Your part should already be selected and the cutting window will be on the right. If you're using the Leprechaun Hat, start by right clicking on your part and coloring it green. Next, drag the z-axis cut slider until you are just above the brim of the hat (use the arrows for fine adjustment). Next, click execute cut and then cut. Remember to save lots. Select the top part and do the same for just above the belt. You'll notice the buckle also got cut; you can't avoid cutting into everything and you'll have to plan out your cuts ahead of time to minimize the number needed. Next, color the middle black. With the middle selected, using the y-axis, align the cut so that it gets as much of the front of the buckle without intersecting the belt. When you execute the cut, ensure you have "only selected parts" selected. Color the new piece gold. Make another z-axis cut right above the belt buckle, then a y-axis cut right behind the belt buckle. Color the new piece gold.  You'll notice that the bottom bit of the clover is still black, this will take about another 3 cuts to fix (depending on how close you want to get). You'll want to make a z-axis cut right below the clover, then a x-axis cut and a y-axis cut. This should give you a few more parts which can be colored green or black appropriately.

Once you're finished with all your cuts, you're ready to start exporting. I would suggest grouping and renaming your objects by color so you don't miss any. Once everything is cleaned up and ready, right-click each part and click export part > as stl. I had four green parts, two yellow parts, and three black parts.

Now in Simplify3D, import all the parts, don't worry if they are huge and misaligned. Then highlight all of them > edit > align selected model origins. With them still all highlighted > edit > group. Now double click on a part > scale down and center the object. Add in three processes, each with a specific tool selected and "select models" for each of the colors green/gold/black. When you "prepare to print", double check you selected the models correctly by changing the "coloring" to be "active toolhead" and then using the time slider to ensure everything will print correctly.

Now just print the object :D

Monday, 8 February 2016

Filament spools - Which are better: white, clear or black

There are 3 choices when it comes to 3d printer filament spool colors. Clear, black, and white. Clear is neat because you can still see how much material is left. The black spools look nicer against anodized aluminum so they are better for appearance. But my favorite spools are white because I can use a black sharpy and record the material properties, like the actual measured diameter of the filament, its optimal printing temperature, its optimal bed adhesion temp,  the optimal extrusion multiplier, and lastly the serial number of its slic3r profile. Obviously you can pick your preferred spool based on your requirements, but for me I find that being able to record the printing details on the spools helps me keep track of the dozens of different material spools I have in my store room making for much faster and easier switching of materials.

This is the main reason we went from selling filament on black spools to filament on white spools. 

You can check out what we have available here:

Monday, 18 January 2016

Learning how to 2 color print on a RoVa3D

Hi everyone, my name is Travis and I'm the new 3D printer technician for ORD Solutions. I would like to tell you about my experiences with my first major project, printing multi-colored name tags. The name tags were printed with one red perimeter to create the letters with blue infill. I won't comment on everything I did, but I will highlight some of my problems and solutions (not necessarily in the order they occurred). Everything was done using Slic3r and Pronterface.

My first task was to adjust the printer ensuring the bed was level. See section 2.3.16 "Level the Print Bed" of the RoVa3D manual Rev B.

I set the Z-axis home to ensure that the nozzles were at the right height when printing. See section 2.3.18 "Setting Z home". This was tricky and required lots of trial and error. I adjusted this every print until the plastic was just sticking, but not too far as to avoid smearing. The final adjustments were very fine differing by 0.025mm.

I had to find the correct offset of the nozzles. See section 3.1.3 "Calculating nozzle offsets". This also required lots of trial and error and the final adjustments differed by 0.05mm.

The print kept having small bursts of plastic which ruined the print. I tried drying out the plastic because if it becomes damp, the slight bit of water will cause bubbles as the plastic is being melted, however, this did not fully solve the problem. I then tried replacing the nozzles which also did not solve the problem. Finally, I lowered the anti-ooze retraction distance to 2mm which solved the problem. This was because the plastic was being pulled too far back during movements causing the plastic to snap inside the nozzle leading to air bubbles.

My final issue was having the blue infill ooze out from the red perimeter. To solve this I changed the overlap value in Slic3r to be -50% (yes, negative). I also changed the skirt height to be the same number of layers as the actual print to ensure that a proper perimeter was printed at each level.

This was a great starter project, and I encourage anyone to start their multi-color printing journey with different colored perimeters/infill. It's difficult, but very rewarding when it works. As this was my first time working with a 3D printer, it took me many tries to get a final product.

Best of luck and stick with it :)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Progress on the Robotic Arm!

So, I've been pretty busy customizing and testing printers for our newest customers, but I managed to squeeze some work in on the robot arm. Got it all printed, and assembled, and it wasn't the easiest, I had to file and grind several parts to make my servos fit. I guess china servos have a fairly lax tolerance.‎ But here it is:

Now I just have to do the electronics and for that I think I'll use this tiny arduino I got from dfrobots, it's called the beetle:
And they also have this nice breakout shield called the beetle shield:

The beetle arduino fits on perfectly and handles the power distribution nicely so the arduino needs only worry about the signals:

Together they should easily handle the 4 servos. Then it's onto coding,‎ hopefully the code from the arms creator will mesh nicely with this arduino, because I'm not a programmer. I'm also never that lucky, but hey that's the great thing about projects like this, it pushes me to learn something and with all my tinkering in mechanics and electronic it's only natural to learn some coding as more and more diy projects blend these 3 technology disciplines. 

Thanks for reading and watch for the next update when this thing moves!
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

From Quadcopter to a Robotic Arm - Mike's been busy!

Update from Mike:

So things have been getting crazy and printers have been flying around the world faster than santa. but I managed to squeeze some time in to some side projects
The quadcopter is still in the works, and while I figure out a few ideas of the direction I want to go with it and wait for some parts to arrive from my friends at im shifting gears a bit to bring you this side side project
here at thingiverse:  I found this 3d printable robotic arm, and as luck would have it a few months ago I bought 50 or so of the same servos used in this arm.
So while pondering the quad I printed the parts on my ORD Solutions MH3000 printer, and began assembly
I don’t yet have pictures of my build but will get them out soon. With the build process underway, a few of the parts were tricky to print and needed to be run in multiple part batches because the design has low layer times at the top which often creates a situation where too much heat is dumped into a small area causing deformation of the part.
There are multiple strategies to address this issue, from slowing the print down when a layer takes less time to complete, printing multiples of the same part so that one can cool while the others are printing, or adding cooling fans.  I’ll post some examples later.
So watch for my printed examples of this arm and some build process and my quad project, check out the thingiverse link if you want to print this arm or the instructable for details from the creator of this item.
Monday, 14 December 2015

Meet our newest team member - Robert Hurley our Embedded Systems Developer!

Our team is growing, and today we will hear from our newest team member - Robert Hurley! He is our Embedded Systems Developer.

Two and a half weeks ago today I started at ORD solutions as an embedded systems developer. Starting out I didn't have much experience with 3D printers in person, so I was pretty amazed when I was able to download a cube file from the web, and print it in PETG and hold the print out in my hand. Since then I've been printing through spools of PETG and PLA learning about all the aspects of ORD’s printers and 3D printing in general. Even after using and working on the printers full time for two weeks being able to design an object in Blender on the computer, and then to physically create the item still is exciting. It's also still a disappointment after working on a print for a while only to see it come off the print bed and become ruined.

Getting a chance to program the firmware on these machines has been a blast. Previously I was programming on android so the switch to programming on the microcontroller was a bit of a learning curve. However my previous experience writing in OpenGl has certainly come in handy when it comes to adding new features and tweaking existing items while dealing with the three dimensions in printing. I can already see all the possibilities of new features I can add to make the printers easier to use and more versatile. Being able to work on cutting edge printers at a great company has been a great two weeks so far and I am glad to have been given the opportunity.

Moving forward, there’s lots of work that can be done here to improve the printing process at all steps and I look forward to accomplishing those changes here at ORD solutions.

- Robert 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Why you should buy your 3D Printer from us...

Jenn here!  I wanted to write today about why you should buy a 3DPrinter from us!  Often when we are at a trade show or a Maker Faire, we meet people who just think we are there selling 3D Printers, and do not actually realize (until we tell them) that we not only sell our amazing printer(s), but we also are the designers, and manufacturers as well.  We do it all!   

Chris is the Designer/Engineer behind all of our awesome printers, Andrew is the Director of Operations and over sees all of the assembly team, and I look after all sales and marketing, and social media.  We have our support staff, our assembly staff, our software developer, and our 3D printing guys.  Our team is growing and I think we have a really great group of people at ORD Solutions.   

When you purchase a printer from us, you will have access to a team who knows everything there is to know about your purchase because we created it!  You can speak to the designer, you can pick his brain, and if you need support who better to ask then the guy who designs and builds them!  

And you know how frustrating it can be to call somewhere and have to explain everything to someone, only for them to then transfer you to someone else and you have to re-explain everything again?  Well that’s not us, we are a small team, and we work hard.  We know our customers, and we make ourselves available to you when you need us.  We love talking to our customers and strive to offer the best customer service and support that we can.   We love what we do!  

If you are reading our blog and have visited our site, send us a message to say hello!  If you have questions just ask!  We are here to make sure you make the right decision in your printer purchase, and to be happy when you get your printer from us!