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  • 101Hero 3D Printer: Filament Samples

    Posted on December 28th, 2016 admin No comments

    Although I haven’t had any luck at all with the failaments (deliberate misspelling) that came with the 101Hero, filaments from other companies have printed with no issues.  RepRap Silver, Botfeeder Opaque Red, and RepRap Translucent White, the only ones I’ve tried so far,  have done well.   I had wanted to order samples from eSun, but it turned out that shipping costs were prohibitive.

    Prints showing RepRap Silver, BotFeeder Opaque Red, RepRap Translucent White

    Prints showing RepRap Silver, BotFeeder Opaque Red, RepRap Translucent White

    Sample Filaments From Kind Suppliers

    BotFeeder PLA, BotFeeder Canada, Ontario

    • Opaque Red – a particularly bright red
    • Transparent Natural  – a clear filament, should make a pretty vase or window ornament
    • Gold – a metallic
    • Flex Natural – a flexible filament, not sure what to do with it

    RepRap PLA, RepRap Warehouse, Edmonton, Alberta

    • Glow-in-the-Dark Green
    • Thermal Color-Changing
    • Wood
    • Flex Blue

    Handling Samples

    Each set of samples came in a single zip-lock bag.   I separated them, and put each filament into its own sandwich bag, labelled with the supplier and type of filament.   It’s dry in the Alberta winter so was not too concerned about desiccant.  Nor was I particularly neat in my labeling, not being too obsessive about such things.   In the future, however, I will print up a business-card sized label showing the manufacturer, supplier, color, recommended extrusion temperature, and whatever other information I can find about the filament.  This will save me having to look it up every time I want to use a sample.

    sample-filaments

    The box in which the 101Hero 3D printer was shipped is sturdy and turned out to be just the right size for storing filament, both spools and samples.

    The 101Hero 3D printer shipping box used for filament storage

    The 101Hero 3D printer shipping box used for filament storage

    Guess I’m as organized as I’m going to get.    Next step is to start testing some of the more exotic sample filaments.   I think I’ll start with the glow-in-the-dark green.    Oooh, I’m so excited!

    Further Reading

  • 101Hero: Changing the Levelling Screws; Screw Holder

    Posted on December 26th, 2016 admin 5 comments

    One thing about the 101Hero 3D printer is that I seem to be almost always screwing around… uh…fiddling with screws. Here are a couple of screwy little hacks.

    Replacing the 101Hero 3D Printer Z-Axis Adjustment Screws

    I thought that once I got the 101Hero levelled, that would be it.   Turns out you have to do it whenever you change filament, or temperature, or whatever.

    After about the tenth time of powering down the printer and pushing the print head to the bed to adjust this, I had had enough.  I had to use a little Phillips screwdriver, and there really wasn’t enough room with the rods and pylons right there to get my fat hand in easily.  And often the screwdriver wouldn’t bite and would slip out, so I couldn’t tell if I’d turned the screw or not.

    The 101Hero 3D printer is certainly hackable.  So I hacked.   I removed the little Phillips screws and threaded in some 4-40 x 10 mm hex-socket head bolts that I had on hand.  Actually, they were 4-40 x 30 mm but I cut them down.  I could have re-threaded the holes with a 4-40 tap, but the plastic was soft enough that I just screwed the bolts in and let them cut their own threads.  They went in easily and grip firmly.  However, since the bolt head is thicker than the screw head, the bolts had to be driven in almost all the way.

    4-40-hex-socket-bolt-arrow

    These bolts are far easier to adjust using a 1.5mm hex key (aka Allen wrench).  The hex key provides

    • Easier Adjustment, because the wrench handle is away from the pylon
    • Positive insertion – it’s easy to tell when the hex key is properly inserted
    • No slipping – the hex key does not pop out like the Phillips screwdriver sometimes does
    • Finer adjustments – with greater leverage, it’s easy to make adjustments a degree at  a time.

    easy-adjustment-with-hex-key

    Collecting Loose Screws

    When I remove the screws from the filament gate, and set them down on my desk, they always run away.  They fall off and bounce under the desk.  They scoot under the printer.   Enough, already.  I took a small magnet and set it on the top of the printer.   When I remove the screws, I put them on the magnet.  They stay put and are always right there when I need to re-insert them.   Maybe I’ll fasten the magnet to one of the pylons.    But for now, it works fine.

    20161226_113531

    I wish all my 3D printing issues could be solved so easily.

    More Fun Hacks and Tips

  • 101Hero: Vertical Print Limitation

    Posted on December 22nd, 2016 admin 2 comments

    How high can a little printer reach?

    The 101Hero 3D delta printer was launched on Kickstarter  at $49 USD and continued on Indiegogo for as low as $79 USD (S/H extra for both).   One of many billed as “the world’s most affordable 3D printer”, intended to retail at $99 USD, it was certainly inexpensive.

    The printer promised to deliver simple assembly and simple operation from either an SD card or computer via USB.  Some of the early deliveries suffered from stepper motor failures, while others required considerable tuning, hacking, and fixing.   Mine was one of the latter, but by about the third week, I was getting very nice prints.

    The first vase, 75 mm tall

    The first vase, 75 mm tall.  Octopi not included.  Love the single hair on the little guy on top.

    Today I decided to see how high I could print.   The 101Hero claims on its Indiegogo page: Print size: Height 100mm (3.93″) Base Print Area φ150mm (5.9″).  Having just printed a very nice spiral vase from Thingiverse at 75 mm, I decided to do the same print at 100 mm high and 45 mm wide.

    The larger print suffered three flaws, pointed out in the image with arrows.  The first two were entirely my fault.  When I loaded the print spool, I didn’t notice that I had the filament crossed over itself.  Twice, the filament got trapped briefly, which caused minor layer shifts.  They’re only noticeable if you look for them, and don’t really affect the quality of the print.  In fact, on looking closely at the smaller first vase,  I see that this might have happened to that print as well.

    large-vase-small

    The major issue is that before the vase reached 100 mm,  the print head began mushing against the print.   Possibly the 101Hero can print an Eiffel Tower to 100 mm (I read somewhere that the actual print area of a delta printer is conical)  but it couldn’t print this vase at 45 mm wide and 100 mm tall.

    The maximum height for the vase:  95 mm

    The maximum height for the vase: 95 mm

    Had I set the height of the design to 95 cm, I expect the print would have been just fine.   The next step, I suppose, is to see how wide a bowl I can make.

     

  • 101Hero: Reversed Prints

    Posted on December 21st, 2016 admin 2 comments

    When I got my 101Hero, I assembled it according to the directions… but all my prints were backwards!

    The three pylons were identical, except that one had a much longer wire from the limit switch.  There is no mention of this in the instruction booklet so I assumed it was just a change made mid-production, where somebody realized that money could be saved by making the wires shorter.  So I figured it didn’t matter what pylon went where, and the instructions didn’t say anything on the matter.  As it turned out, maybe it did.

    Connecting the wiring to the controller seemed straightforward.  On page 7 of the instruction booklet was a nice diagram of Step 3 Connect the Controller.   Each wire was labelled with a letter, and the diagram showed where each plug should go.  One plug appeared to have read “C” but was over-written by hand to read “J”.   I also noted which connections were to the print head.

    Connection diagram in the instruction booklet

    Connection diagram in the instruction booklet

    I connected the wires as per the diagram, and went on to have some terrible prints.

    Eventually, I got things sorted out.  One of my test prints was an XYZ calibration cube from Thingiverse.  It printed nicely, if with a few holes on the top where fill didn’t quite reach the walls (since adjusted by increasing the Infill Overlap).  It was only some time later that I noticed that the “Z” on the top of the cube was printed backwards.  Since “X” and “Y” are symmetrical, they looked just fine.

    ZYX Cube.  Note the Z inverted on the top.

    ZYX Cube. Note the Z inverted on the top.

    I continued to tune the printer and refine settings, and eventually I got a really nice Benchy in silver PLA.  On the bottom of the boat it is supposed to say “CT3Dxyz” to show whether you’ve got the first layer “squished on” properly.  On my Benchy, these letters were a mirror image.

    This is a common enough situation with delta printers, apparently, and the solution is to reverse two of the leads from the stepper motors and the corresponding limit switches.   So I interchanged A with C, and H with J.  This should swap the X and Y axes.  I noted the change in the instruction diagram, and also ran a strip of label tape to remind myself of the change for the next time I’m hacking the controller.

    Controller connection labels

    Controller connection labels

    Time for another XYZ calibration cube to check that everything is good and proper and that I didn’t screw anything up.

    xyz-cubes-3

    ZYX and XYZ calibration cubes. First (inverted) cube on the left, revised (correct) cube on right. The SD card was nearby so I included it for scale.

    The odd thing is that for most prints, I hadn’t even noticed the inversion, or if I did notice it, I didn’t much care.  Does it matter if a cute little octopus waves a left or right tentacle?  It’s still a cute little octopus.  The Benchy is symmetrical, so no problem.  It’s only for prints where the orientation is important that this becomes critical.

    You may have got your pylons in the right order and your prints are the right way.  If you didn’t and your prints are coming out backwards, it is a simple fix.

     

  • Hacking the 101Hero: Strut Tighteners, New Plate Clips

    Posted on December 20th, 2016 admin 1 comment

    There’s a very helpful crew on Facebook Groups sharing ideas about making this little $50 printer into a real machine.  Here’s one hack that came from the group, and an update on one of mine

    Tighten the Ball Struts

    The ball joints used on the connector arms are very loose and sloppy, which allows the print head to move up to 1 mm or more in any direction.   Users have recommended a three fixes for this:

    1.  Replace the struts and ball joints with higher quality parts.   The radio control industry supplies ball joints and connectors in various sizes, configurations, tolerances, and prices.  For example, Stefano Marcon found a good quality aluminum strut with what appear to be metal ball joints.  Some users wonder if the expense of these parts is justified given the low overall quality of the printer, but replacement is an excellent option.

      Ball strut by Stefano Marcon

      Ball strut by Stefano Marcon

    2. Connect the arms with a light-weight spring.  It doesn’t take much tension to pull the arms in together, and too much may stress the poor weak little stepper motors and wear the ball joints prematurely.  Possibly even a spring from a ball-point pen would work?  I used three identical springs that I had in my junk box, and stretched them out so they had less tension.  I didn’t measure the force, so don’t ask.

      Spring retainer by Stéphane Keep Hérault, from a UTube video

      Spring retainer by Stéphane Keep Hérault, from a UTube video

    3. A small elastic band will do the job too.   Simply remove the struts at one end or the other, slip the rubber band on, and reassemble.  It is enough to keep the sockets tighter on the balls at each joint.

      Elastic band retainer by Stefan Gautsch

      Elastic band retainer by Stefan Gautsch

    Two of these are cheap and simple and appear to do the job of tightening up the ball joints.  Does this simple strut-tensioning hack work?   Well, here are photos of two Benchy prints, almost identical in settings (the one on the left used top/bottom 0.8 while the one on the right used 1.2, had springs, and had a fan running for the top half of the print.  Oh, and I wound up hanging the spool of filament on the holder above the printer, which may have twisted the Benchy just a little.  Gotta fix that).

    Left:  Benchy 1 Right: Benchy 2

    Left: Benchy 1;  Right: Benchy 2.   Dang, the photos looked sharp enough on my phone.

    Clip Down the Build Plate

    One of the first hacks I did was to replace the metal binder clips that were supplied to hold down the round glass print platform. There is nothing wrong with them; even some higher-end printers use this simple and economical retention system.   However, I found them a bit awkward to get at, and they tended to fall off my desk or scoot under the printer.  For a while, I clipped them to the top of the printer or to the edge of one pylon, but I soon saw that having one turnbutton at the front would be superior.

    Low-quality prints in black 101Hero PLA

    Low-quality prints in black 101Hero PLA

    The first ones were in the way for larger prints, so for this batch I moved the LED mount behind the screws.   They still illuminate fine.  I wrapped an elastic band around the one without an LED mount to serve as a gasket or cushion. This was a fast, low-quality print; the clips don’t have to be all that sturdy or pretty.  I didn’t oversize the holes, so you’ll have to drill them out to fit the screws, and if you want to recess the screw heads so they go further into the base, you’ll have to drill the recess wider too.  Layer height 0.2, shell/top/bottom 0.8, fill 0%, print speed 12 @ 200C.  They’re installed and working fine.   Here they are lighting up a Benchy:

    Clips serve to hold and illuminate the print bed

    Clips serve to hold and illuminate the print bed

    Note the little arrow showing how the front one rotates. When it’s swung out of the way, the glass will slip out of the other two and can easily be removed.  Put the plate back in, swing the clip back into place, and the build platform is locked down and ready to go.

    You’ll find the .STL files for these clips here, here, and here.

    The hacks are fun and the sharing is a great way to make the most of this little printer.

  • A Look at the Lumos Bike Helmet

    Posted on December 19th, 2016 admin No comments

    A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of a spell of really cold (-35C) weather, my Lumos bike helmet arrived.    I was excited to see it but not at all motivated to go cycling, so it sat there for a week before I even got to unboxing it.

    Mistimed Marketing

    The thing was originally supposed to ship last summer, which would have been nice, but KS projects seldom deliver on time (you’d think they’d learn to underpromise).  Oh, and they included a bunch of discount cards for referrals — guess what, they expire Dec 31!  So instead of having a few months to show off my helmet and give my friends a discount coupon,  I have… NO TIME AT ALL because none of my cycling friends are going to see this helmet until next spring.   Nice bit of marketing, but badly timed.

    Ah, well.  The weather’s supposed to be nicer this week, so I might get out on a bike to ride through the snow; maybe not right now with winds up to 70 km/h, but some time this week.  At any rate…

    Helmet from the back

    Helmet from the back, showing switch and charge port

    A Nice-Looking, Well-Made Helmet

    The helmet looks well-made, nicely finished with all the parts fitting together well, no gaps or blemishes.  As might be expected, it’s a bit hefty, massing 436 g.  Compare this to my Specialized helmet at 250 g and a cheaper Bell Micro at 346 g.  Still, it fits my head well enough and doesn’t feel that bad as I sit here typing with it on.

    Lumos helmet showing front lights

    Lumos helmet showing front lights

    The switch at the back cycles through three flash patterns for the tail light and headlight in synch, and they both seem plenty bright.

    Turn Signals on the Lumos

    The turn signals show in four places:  on the helmet back, on the front, on the handlebar switch, and in a kind of “eyebrow” panel under the front of the helmet.  This latter I guess is supposed to show in your peripheral vision, though I can’t see it unless the helmet is tipped dangerously forward instead of being two fingers above my eyebrows.  Perhaps it will reflect on the top of my sunglasses when I’m riding, though I doubt it.  It’s one of those features that looks cool but isn’t really useful.  There is something else in the center of this little panel, perhaps an ambient light sensor or a low-battery warning light.

     

    Left turn signal

    Left turn signal at rear

    Controller

    I was impressed with the sturdy handlebar remote which snaps nicely into both the wireless and wired holders.  I don’t think it will bounce out and be lost on the road, but I can still click it out and pocket it when the bike is parked.  A firm push on either the L or R button will turn on the appropriate signal light on the helmet; the button also flashes to let you know the signal light is on.  Another push turns the signal light off.

    Handlebar remote

    Handlebar remote

    Lumos Brake Lights in Beta

    Unfortunately, the brake light is iffy.   Lumos promised “integrated lights, brake, and turn signals” but delivered only two of the three.  The accelerometer that detects braking is mounted in the remote, rather than in the headgear. According to Lumos, “this feature does not work perfectly and is still being refined”.  It works, sort of, but is incredibly sensitive and twitchy.  I think the brakes will go on every time you hit a bump, drop off a curb, or jog around a pothole, which suggests that on a rough route they would be on almost constantly.   All sets of lights — both turn signals, the tail lights, and the headlights — come on for about two seconds every time.  Lumos warns that this can “lower the battery life of your helmet and remote significantly” which is why the brake lights are off by default.  Too bad Lumos can’t use the LucidBrake technology.

    Storage bag

    Storage bag

    Except when we have a chinook happening, the Lumos will sit in storage  until spring.  I guess they foresaw this, as they included a bright yellow storage bag.

  • Hacking the 101Hero 3D Printer: Control Box, Wiring, Cooling Fan

    Posted on December 18th, 2016 admin 1 comment

    Here  is the second installment of hacks for the 101Hero 3D printer.

    Desired Changes to the 101Hero 3D Printer

    There are a few issues that have come up repeatedly in 101Hero user groups, as people get to know their 3D printers better.

    • Find some way to better locate the control box
    • Cover the exposed contacts on the SD card holder
    • Get rid of the tangle of wires
    • Arrange some kind of filament holder
    • Add a fan for cooling

    The final two are my own suggestions.

    • Illuminate the bed
    • Replace the stationery binder clips that hold down the build platform

    Some of these were discussed previously.

    Locating the Control Box/Tidying the Wires

    Control box mounted on a pylon

    Control box mounted on a pylon.  See how neat the wiring is?

    The control box is evidently designed to sit on the work surface beside the pylons.  But two of the wires from the limit switches are really short and one is twice as long; probably the long one is supposed to wrap underneath with the short ones and the control panel goes on that side.  But once I noticed that, I wasn’t interested in disassembling the printer, and neither side seemed particularly good.  (It only occurred to me after I did all this work that I could have put the control box where it was “supposed” to go and simply re-oriented the print head!)  The wires from the limit switches and stepper motors sort of sprawled alongside.  It was functional but unsightly and the wires kept snagging on my tools.

    Control box from the "front" of the printer

    Control box from the “front” of the printer.  Note the LED on the “wrong” side

    My solution was to mount the control box, switch end up, to one pylon with Velcro tape.   I chose the opening that accesses the filament change gate as “front” and put the box on the pylon to the right.  Why the right?  Because it was closest to the wall receptacle; had I put it on the left, the power cord wouldn’t have reached!  I opened the control box and re-routed the power LED to the opposite side just above the USB port, so it would be visible.    This required me to extend the two short limit-switch wires so they would reach.

    Pylon-mounted control box from the "back" side.  SD card is still accessible.

    Pylon-mounted control box from the “back” side. SD card is still accessible.  Note the cable ties and blue binder clip securing the wires to the pylon.  Real high-tech.

    The wires from the print head are very long and at first draped all over the place, so one of the first thing I did was to bind them using some gold plastic tape I had on hand from building RC planes.  Others have used spiral wrap;  automotive harness tape is another possibility; both are heavier than the model tape.  Once the control box was mounted vertically, I had even more surplus, and used a zip tie to bundle the excess. For now, a couple of binder clips secure these wires to the pylon.

    The wires are zip-tied together, keeping everything more-or-less out of sight.

    The wires are zip-tied together, keeping everything more-or-less out of sight.

    This keeps the printer footprint small, allows me to easily move the printer, and still allows access to all controls and inputs including the SD card.

    Cooling Fan

    Various 3d printing instructional sites have stressed the value of cooling the layers as filament is laid down.  One usual solution is to mount another cooling fan to the head, with ducting to direct the air at the work.   For the 101Hero, adding mass to the head might increase overshoot and further reduce the print speed of an already slow printer.  As with the LED lighting, this means perimeter cooling.

    LEDs with fan at back

    LEDs with fan at back

    I designed and printed a bracket to hold a 40 mm CPU fan that was sitting in my junk drawers.  The bracket attaches to two of the screws holding down the bottom plate directly in front of the “back” pylon.  This was a quick and easy solution, but as with the LEDs I will have to redo it to move it further back from the print bed.  Having the head whack the fan would probably do neither any good.

    A closer look at the fan bracket mounted

    A closer look at the fan bracket mounted

    Controlling the Lights and Fan

    Although the LEDs and fan draw only 90 mA between them, I didn’t want to draw this power from the control board and risk underpowering the hot end or resetting the microprocessor.  If I do use the control box, I’ll add a 5V power supply coming off the wall wart, which is 12V @ 3A and probably has a little extra.  Got to grab the ammeter and check.

    Incredibly ugly switch for controlling LEDs and fan.  I'll find a nicer switch but for now it works.

    Incredibly ugly switch for controlling LEDs and fan. I’ll find a nicer switch but for now it works.

    The LEDs and fan are powered by a 6V battery pack tucked under the printer base, controlled by an ugly old 2P3T switch that was on hand. It’s zip-tied to one pylon to keep it in place.   It gives me three settings – OFF, Lights ON, Lights and Fan ON. Manual control of the fan is clunky but fan control doesn’t seem to be part of the 101Hero firmware.  At any rate, I can illuminate the work, then after the first few layers are adhered to the print bed, I can turn the fan on for the rest of the print.  If I feel ambitious, I might build in pulse width modulation for speed control and incorporate the light/fan/speed into the control box.

    Further Reading

  • Customizing the 101Hero 3D Printer: SD Card, LEDs, Filament Holder

    Posted on December 17th, 2016 admin No comments

    I’ve had the 101Hero 3D printer for almost two weeks — I was lucky enough to receive one in good working order — and as I’ve used it I’ve thought about things I wish were different.

    SD Card Protector by T. Gray.  Photo by  Hannes Brandstätter-Müller

    Some recent prints.

    D

    Desired Changes to the 101Hero 3D Printer

     

    There are a few issues that have come up repeatedly in 101Hero user groups, as people get to know their 3D printers better.  The final two are my own suggestions.

    • Cover the exposed contacts on the SD card holder
    • Get rid of the tangle of wires
    • Find some way to better locate the control box
    • Arrange some kind of filament holder
    • Add a fan for cooling
    • Illuminate the bed
    • Replace the stationery binder clips that hold down the build platform

    There have been various proposed solutions; here are mine.  Today I’ll discuss the SD card cover, bed illumination, print platform clips, and filament holder.   The rest will come in another post.

    Cover the SD Card Holder

    Some users were concerned about the exposed contacts on the bottom front of the SD card holder.  I designed and printed a little cover for that.  It clips on by friction and does the job.  Apparently, it has been picked up by other users.

    SD Cover installed

    SD Cover installed

     

    SD Card Protector by T. Gray. Photo by Hannes Brandstätter-Müller

    SD Card Protector by T. Gray. Photo by Hannes Brandstätter-Müller

     Illuminating the Print/Holding Down the Platform

    I ended up combining these two into one solution by printing some anchor clips with LED mounts.

    LEDs with fan at back

    LEDs with fan at back

    Bright white LEDs are the obvious answer to illumination.  For many 3D printers, a ring of LEDs can be mounted under the print head so that they shine down onto the print platform.  Considering the light weight and flimsy connecting structure of the 101Hero, adding any mass to the print head is not a good idea.  The LEDs have to be mounted at the perimeter of the build platform.  I used singles cut from an LED strip.

    My first attempt at attachment clips I called “elf boots” because that’s what they looked like.  I didn’t even install them because it would have required drilling holes into the plastic printer base; it needs all the strength it can get.  I also realized that I could use the clips to mount the LEDs

    The next iteration worked well enough.  I had calculated the height of the clips so the print head would pass over them, but the LED mount of course stuck up.  It was only when I printed something really wide that I discovered that the “knuckles” where the ball joints are attached to the print head would strike the LEDs.  I also created a version with no LEDs, and a version to hold LEDs but not anchor the glass plate, but all had the same flaw of being too close to the glass print platform.    The fourth revision will move the LEDs back out of the way.

     Filament Holder for the 101Hero

    A filament holder was the second thing I made, using some light aluminum angle and a 1/4″ bolt.  It was designed only for sample filament such as the coils that came with the printer.  It is not intended for a spool of filament: the frame of the

    Nicely wrapped wires, and filament holder

    Nicely wrapped wires, and filament holder

    101Hero is not strong enough to support 1kg.  So a desktop spool holder is useful, with a printed lead-in funnel.  Still, with limited space on my desk, going vertical has some appeal. I’m thinking that a couple more aluminum supports at the top and some diagonal pylon braces might stiffen the frame enough for a topside spool holder.  Or perhaps a horizontal mount where the spool weight is equally taken by each pylon.  Lots of room for a creative solution.

    More hacks tomorrow

  • Unboxing the Lumos Hi-Tech Bike Helmet

    Posted on December 16th, 2016 admin No comments

    The Lumos bike helmet came last week, but it’s been in the minus 30s (Celsius) here for the last week, and playing with my 101Hero 3D printer has been far more attractive than anything to do with cycling.

    Shipping box

    Shipping box

    Nonetheless,  I wanted to at least have a look at it, even if it sits in the garage until spring.

    The shipping box had arrived in good condition with no serious damage.  Inside…

    The bright yellow inner box was in perfect condition.   It fit tightly into the shipping carton but was easy enough to remove.  This box appears to be designed for retail display, and it and the contents show that considerable thought has been devoted to display marketing.

    What first caught my attention a card cleverly titled “Tips for the Perfect Unboxing”.  I removed the helmet and set it aside for a moment in favor of the card.  Note the “Pull” at the bottom, which I callously ignored and simply opened the little box.

    The “Unboxing” card contained a small yellow box, a sort of accessories pack; inside were the controllers, attachment rings, and charge cables. There were a wireless switch and a wired version, both intended to mount to the handlebars with rubber rings (included in the box).  The actual switch unit snaps firmly in and out of the mount, allowing you to remove it when leaving the bike parked.  You can put the wired version on another bike, and this lets you easily move the control switch between bikes.

    The display box

    The display box

    7-pack-1-inner

    Also in the main box with helmet and accessories pack was a yellow storage bag and a manual.  The yellow bag is where everything will stay for now.

    A report on the helmet and controls later, and maybe if the weather warms up,  an outdoor test.

    Okay, it’s unboxed.6-pack-1-bottom

    Tips for Perfect Unboxing

    Tips for Perfect Unboxing

    7-pack-1-inner8-manual

    4-box-inner-open

  • 101Hero No Longer a 101Villain

    Posted on December 15th, 2016 admin 2 comments

    When first it arrived a week ago, I wasn’t too impressed with my 101Hero 3D printer.  A lot of backers have been plagued with defective motors, missing parts, broken gears.  It was starting to look like a real 101Villain.

    However, after almost a week of tweaking and test prints and settings changes, I did manage to get it settled in, and it is making fair-to-middling prints.   For all its low price, it is is not bad, and is going to be useful for prototyping, toys, and kitsch for the grandkids.  My son says its output is better than our old Makerbot Cupcake.

    Showing layer drift, poor adhesion

    Early print showing layer drift, poor adhesion

    The main issue turned out to be print speed.   The default from the manufacturer was 14 mm/s,  and at that speed there was a lot of layer drifting.   This applied to every print I tried from the creator site, 101land.com, such as the fish at left.

    However, once I started using other slicers (mostly Cura 15.02.1 for now), and was able to change the settings, I started getting better results.  It turned out that the fastest safe print/travel speed was 12 mm/s with 10 mm/s required for anything approaching decent results.  This is dreadfully slow compared to other (even slightly more expensive) 3D printers:  another example of “you get what you pay for”.

    Left, the .stl image; right, the print

    Left, the .stl image; right, the print

    Nonetheless, once I had the settings nailed, prints started coming in better.  Not great, but better.

    XYZ Cube and yes, the top is backwards.

    XYZ Cube and yes, the top is backwards.

    It also turned out that the supplied filament wasn’t too great.   I bought a spool of silver PLA from the RepRap Warehouse in Edmonton, and with it the prints got better yet.

     

    Octobowl

    There are some issues that may not be solvable.  For example, I printed a Benchy that came out fairly good except for the smoke stack, which was distorted.  Some tests with an Eiffel tower print suggested that narrow vertical parts (the top of the tower, the smokestack) were printing too hot, and the “minimum time between layers” feature in the slicer didn’t work.  Neither did the plugin to turn the extruder temperature down.  The lack of a cooling fan is a serious deficit of this printer.    Adding a small cooling fan on the bed helped, but is not the final answer.

    Today I printed the Octobowl from Thingiverse.    Compare it to the original, and notice that it is a mirror image.  No idea why that is happening.   A close study of this image shows many flaws: missing layers at the top of the tentacles, some poor adhesion in the lower layers, some lines in the body.  I can only hope that when my Kodama Trinus shows up, it will do a better job.   Still, for  printer that was $49 USD for the first backers on Kickstarter (I paid almost four times that in CAD with shipping and duty in), the 101Hero does an acceptable job in my opinion.  And a lot of those flaws could be concealed in post-production cleanup.

    Conclusion

    So all in all, my 101Villain turned out to be a 101Hero after all.  More like a kid with a towel cape than Superman, but hey, for the price….

    Further Reading

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