Printing Camera Case

3D printing merges my interests in geeky, digital stuff and “concrete physical work”.  It’s quite exciting for somebody who mainly deals with “ones and zeroes”.  There’s so much to learn though and I need to expand my comfort zone! So when a friend of mine, asked me to print a camera case that he found on Thingiverse, I didn’t hesitate.

I decided to print it using the following:

  • Plastic: ABS
  • Nozzle temperature: 220C
  • Heated Bed temperature: 80C

At the present time, I use the OpenMatter control software.  The slicing engine I used is “MatterSlice”.

Also, note that I use hairspray to increase adherence on the glass plate.

I’m still learning and there have been a few tries here.  It actually took me three tries to obtain a decent print.

First attempt

My first attempt was unsuccessful.  The structure detached itself from the glass plate while printing the base.  I canceled the print while it was in the middle of printing a bird’s nest.  Sorry, no picture.  It was quite ugly though.

Second attempt (using raft)

This was actually a successful print.  With this second attempt, I used a printing raft, which increased the contact area with the glass plate.  The result is acceptable as you can see.

I’ve left the raft at the bottom of the structure to show what it looks like.  It’s very easy to detach a printing raft, you usually just peel it away.  No need for x-actor work.

My problem with the result though is that some of the surfaces are not as clean as I’d want them to.  This is especially true of the camera case proper which has this surface somewhat “droopy” (again, you see the “wires” of plastic at the bottom of the holder).

Third attempt (using raft and support material)

This is the print I kept and gave my friend.   In this case, I used both a raft and asked OpenMatter to use support material.  Here is the result with the support material still in place:

Removing the support material is similar to removing the raft.  It’s quite easy, you generally just need to peel things off.  Following the removal of the raft and the support structure.  I tried an experiment with a cold acetone vapor bath to smooth out the structure.  Here’s the final result.

Conclusion

It was a very interesting exercise.  It took quite a while as the printing of the two parts take about 3 hours total… so 3 tries of 3 hours took me 9 hours of print time.  The acetone bath did smooth things out a little bit but I probably should have left it a little bit longer as the deposited layers still show (but less).

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