Adventures in 3D Printing: The Arrival

Today, my Solidoodle 3 finally arrived. I was so excited for it, I took a half day at work and headed home early. I immediately started setting up the printer on my electronics work desk in our bedroom, where I normally futz with the Arduino. Setup was pretty easy, not a lot to plug in, it came full assembled. There was some software I needed to install on my laptop, and that was also a quick process. It wasn’t long before I was at the point I could attempt my first print. The software is pretty easy and straightforward, it takes in a 3D model as an STL file, and I can slice the model from there for printing, and then send it to the printer. The first model I decided to print was BMO from Adventure Time: I was going to go with a simple cube, but I ended up finding this instead, which sounded like more fun.

The first time I tried to print, nothing happened, the printer didn’t do anything. I asked in the Solidoodle IRC, and someone pointed out that I was printing to a “virtual” printer, so I corrected that. Next I tried to print, and the print nozzle was rubbing against the build platform, so I had to adjust the default Z height of the build platform. After that, my model was way too small, I realized I needed to scale it up. Then my print was not sticking to my build platform, so I dug into the print settings to make sure the build platform was heated. I was only able to get it around 80 C, 85 C, which didn’t seem hot enough, so I taped together a cardboard enclosure. Now my build platform could get to 95 C, and things seemed to stick OK but not great… but the extruder was not extruding very well. Looking into this, it is because the drive gear is dirty from me messing stuff up. At this point I’ve been playing with this 3D printer for 5 hours, and need to take a break, so I will clean the drive gear tomorrow.

These problems didn’t surprise me, I had done my research. I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m unable to print for a good two weeks. My build platform might be too messed up from my failures, and I probably need to clean it up a bunch. The enclosure I built makes this look like a homeless man’s 3D printer, so I want to get some plexiglass and make a nice one. I also want to order a spool of PLA soon, I’ve heard it’s much easier to print, and it’s food safe so I can print shot glasses. I’m going back to work tomorrow and Friday, so I’ll be spending a lot of time working on this again Saturday.


Joseph Stankowicz is a software engineer who has worked in the video games industry for over eight years. The last two years have had a heavy focus on Unity development, where he helped ship over eleven titles to iOS and Android platforms. He also is really excited about 3D printing, and keeps his Solidoodle 3 printing out stuff as often as possible. You can view his LinkedIn profile here

Posted in 3D Printing

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