I’ve been working away at the shells for a while, attempting to print them. I got access to an Objet Eden260 at York thanks to the support of Brandon Vickerd at the Digital Sculpture Lab. I spent about two weeks trying to get a decent print, but unfortunately it never worked out. So eventually I abandoned ship (just like the MakerBot) and sent the models off for printing with Shapeways. I would have liked to have spent more time, but my priority is getting the robot done. Hopefully, the prints arrive early next week, if not tomorrow.
The problem with the Eden 260 was that I was getting lumpy prints. And that just won’t work when you want a precise part. The aberrations varied from massive distortions to minor bumps, but even the latter was a big problem. Have a look for yourselves.
You may wonder why there are two tones in this model. It is because the printer wasn’t properly cleared of the last resin before printing. Yet I have tests in solid material which turned out the same. This is simply the clearest photo.
I tried so many different tests, including using different materials, thickening the support material, changing printer heads, and more. Each test takes hours. It was a drag. There are still things it could be. I think it is related to all the bits of crud that covered the prints.
The heads might not be clean enough. See the photo below. It seems like they need to be scraped, but as I was personally on the line for the cost of the printer I couldn’t take the risk of being overly aggressive.
I was pretty much on my own in trying to figure out what’s going on. Brandon wasn’t available as he was on sabbatical and getting ready for a show. The Objet support was not very good I have to say. Objet support is mixed. Their written documentation is far too minimal. Both the manual and online help is minimal. For example, errors might pop up but there is no record of what these mean. The support people didn’t provide much help. This is not a cheap process. You’d think you’d get more for your money. Update: Objet Support called me back a week later to check up on how my printing went. It’s rare that a company calls you back to check up on your work, so I’m recanting my complaint in this respect!
At this juncture, it’s more important to get it done then to do it myself. Shapeways price is quite reasonable. I hope the output is high quality. Just to be clear, I am grateful to Brandon for allowing me access to the lab, and hope to try my hand at it again in the future.