Playing with the 3D Printer

We are testing a Makerbot Replicator2 3D printer. The design tech teacher, Garth and myself have a whole bunch of grade 9’s that are in both his tech course and my science class. They have shown quite an interest in the machine and we plan on putting that interest to work while we are testing it.

So far we have had many successful prints, but have also run into some difficulties. Every so often we get a heating error and have to reboot the machine. We have also had to reinstall the software when a “service error” occurs. Printing objects that have a solid base have worked very well so far. On the other hand, printing objects that have overhanging pieces have not worked wonderfully yet. I think we need to practice those prints.

Garth has put in a ton of effort working with new design software, trouble shooting when the machine acts up and generally testing it continuously. One conversation we had was about how to predict how long a print job will take, so we can schedule prints from various departments. Perhaps calculating the volume of a variety of prints (Archimedes principle) and the time would enable us (or the grade 9 math class) to create a function predicting print time. It does depend on the amount of detail as well though… Any ideas?

I was most surprised by the fact that it doesn’t print solid right through the object. It lays down a grid and then fills in the base and top and sides (all outside edges) completely, but not the inside.

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