Log 2014-05-06 : 3D printed wheelhouse

Once the wheelhouse was modeled in SketchUp it was time to fire up the 3D printer.

And uh ... things got a bit wrong.

I first decided to print the wheelhouse on its own (no roof, no door ...).

It was going to be an 18-hour print. I started it before I went to bed and should have been complete when I'd come back from work the next day.

Except that when I woke up in the morning and went to check how things were going I found the printing head hovering approximately 4 centimeters above an obviously incomplete wheelhouse.

Somewhere near half of the print the nozzle got clogged and plastic wouldn't extrude anymore. It looked like the printer decided to stop extruding but keep pretending and moving around.

Well, that half printed wheelhouse pointed out some flaws in my design so back to SketchUp for some quick fixes.

I stuggled unclogging the nozzle (which is 0.40mm). Took the printing head apart and tried to unclog the nozzle with a bronze brush I had laying around. I managed to get the nozzle unclogged and printed for about 20 minutes at high temp to try and get rid of any dirt or gunk.

Wheelhouse has large unsupported areas (windows). With a fine tuned printer you can "bridge": print "in the air" from one pillar to another with no support/scaffolding.

Except that the nozzle was still partially clogged or had some leftover gunk: when extruding plastic would curl and curl to a spaghetti-like mess. Forget about "bridging".

Hence I decided to add support (think scaffolding/falsework) using some other software instead of Cura's building support generator (Cura is the slicer from Ultimaker, my printer's manufacturer).

Autodesk Meshmixer is a 3D "sculpting" software which has an interesting support generator which creates tree-like scaffolding which requires less plastic (which means less printing time).

Meshmixer-generated support

Meshmixer-generated support

Tree-like scaffolding, almost like ivy

Front view

Front view

Support material removed.

Working hinges

Working hinges

Hinges were printed. Just bits from a paperclip as pins

Rear view

Rear view

Roof fit right in. Probably won't have to glue it in place

All the parts

All the parts

Some sanding would be required

Though not visible in the pics above the partial clogging caused problems during the print. Will need to clean up the nozzle good.

I'm very please by Meshmixer's support feature. Saves quite some time when printing and the scaffolding just snaps of very cleanly. Just some sanding is required.

Some more modifications to the wheelhouse: added two more brackets to the side walls to support the bridge.

The plastic windows panes supplied with the Ramborator kit fit quite well into the recesses I modeled into the back of the window frames.

Next: setting up the lights and tweak the wheelhouse (to hide/route LED wiring).

I've ordered various fittings from CAP Maquettes: telegraph/power handles, GPS screen and antenna, Radar and screen, ...