Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Clamps & spider arrive

The FDM'd clamps and spider turned up in the post. I spent last night picking the support material out from the gaps - I'll have to refine the clamp design, as there are a lot of fiddly nooks and crannies filled with support material. Still, the holes are the right size and in the right places.

I found the best tool for extracting the material from big, flat areas was a 1 inch wood chisel, flat side against the plastic you want to keep. It fairly rips through. Pokes deep holes in fingers too, damnit.

For slots, a craft knife works well, and for awkward areas I used a cobbler's awl. To clear out bolt holes. I "wood-pecker" drilled using a Dremmel with a 2.5mm bit, then punched out the remains with a screwdriver. My original plan of using a router bit on the Dremmel was a compete non-starter and my water-blaster won't shift the support material at all.

If there's one thing I've learned so far, it's not to design intricate little crevices that get filled with support material.

Vik :v)

I was just visiting a molecular biology lab where they use two different types of rapid prototypers to make 3D models of molecules and viruses. One of the prototypers used plastic (the other used plaster). The plastic one had two write heads, one with the tough plastic which was used for the model itself, the other had some kind of weak brown plastic that was used to build supports for overhanging pieces. The cool part was that the brown plastic just dissolves away in a warm solution of a weak base. Unfortunately the guy giving me the tour had no idea what kind of plastic it was. So no need to get in there with sharp tools and dig the support out.
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