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August 2013

Roland iModela

3D printer training in MADE makerspace

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Yesterday I joined the training sessions that we ran in MADE, the Barcelona makerspace. I ran the training for one of our printers: the BCN3D. By chance it’s the same I have at home 😉

Is you are around Barcelona I encourage you to join, 100% maker / hacker atmosphere !

I prepared a short tutorial document with all basics steps such as preheating, using slic3r, printing, etc. This is for free use by makerspace members.

We did not touch the calibration and printbed leveling cause we were out of time. I just explained the main idea of where to adjust since this is not something to be done frequently.

We were not many and this is logical having in mind that it’s still August -sort of THE vacation month in Spain-, but several known faces showed up.

Fortunately we did sequentially so I could see the iModela in action, and the Up and his almost magical leveling system handled by software. Very cool.


Roland iModela

Roland iModela

Afterwards some of us just went out for a drink, as usual 😛

I haven’t started any project yet there, but it is a pleasure to spend some time there, chat with people, share ideas and end up doing something together. For sure better than tinkering alone at home 😀

Regarding the project topic, in fact I am starting a new project for a service related to 3d printing. Still working on the platform. More to come soon. Stay tuned!!

Corcho en Customizer

I love Customizer

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After I uploaded my object to Thingiverse, the cork for oil container, as I explain in my last post it was time to try Customizer.

I love Customizer!!

The truth is it is really simple. Thought to be used with OpenSCAD and some additional libraries.

Once you upload an object in Thingiverse you have to add the tag “customizer” and the app does the rest. When you visit the object you already have the option “Open in Customizer” active.

Customizer interprets OpenSCAD code and is capable to determine the input parameters. You have to follow basic conventions as explained here.

All variables are considered parameters by default, except for those that have an operation or a reference to another variable.

For example, if I want to use $fn=100; to have the cylinder built with a good number of fragments and show it round, this is going to be considered a parameter.

But if I use $fn=100*1; this is not considered anymore.

For my cork model it has taken just a minute to make it customizable.

I added the description to each parameter just by including a comment in the line above, and that’s all.

The result can be seen in this new thing. And the example of options available when you open it.

In the example here I modified the radius to make a more “spectacular” cork 😛

Corcho en Customizer

Cork in Customizer

Tapon aceitera

Playing with OpenSCAD

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After short time playing with OpenSCAD I have to say I am amazed since I tried it.

I gues this is due to the concept of programming objects through a script, ans in addition this reminds me a lot stuf I did with POV (Persistence of Vision Raytracer) back in the early 90s.

This week I made a simple object, but practical.


Los tapones

The corks

The cork of my oil container (a very typical shape in Catalonia, see below) is broken and I need a replacement. Why not in PLA?

And by the way, I can do it with improvements.

So caliper at hand and let’s work to get measurements.





In OpenSCAD this is a simple cylinder. You can specify the size of both cylinder faces so make elements with angle, at the limit you can make a cone.


cylinder(h=10,r1=5, r2=0, center=true);

(code for a cone)

Tapon aceitera


Then comes when you make things more complicated.. .time for an upgrade. The upgrade of a cork is just adding a hole that lets the air in and the oil leak with continuity.

This is just another small cylinder and by difference with the bigger one you obtain the hole.

Next teak comes in the hole positioning. I did not want it in the center but in the side and with the same angle of the cork. Easy and quick, just trial and error modifying the angle parameter until you get it right.

But as i had the intention to upload the object to Thingiverse, I wanted to leave it with input parameters.

And this means the angle and position of the hole needs to be formula calculated.



Well, here google is our friend as always to refresh memory of maths quite buried in my brain. Finally, arctan is what I need.


With the translation of the hole in the cork face I have to do something similar to ensure it stays near the edge according to the input measurements.


Final result:

radius1=29/2; //larger width radius
radius2=24.5/2; //shorter width radius
height=21.4; // height

angle=atan((radius1-radius2)/height);//angle for the air hole
   cylinder(h=height,r1=radius1, r2=radius2, center=true);
   translate([0,(radius1+radius2)/2-3,0])rotate([angle,0,0])cylinder(h=height+10,r=1, center=true);
La aceitera y el tapón tuneado

The oil container and the upgraded cork

You can find it here in Thingiverse.

To finish, I still need to modify the code to be able to use Customizer.

If you don’t know it it is worth having a look, really recommended. By following defined rules Customizer is able to identify the input parameters for an OpenSCAD object, and the values range for each one. So any user, with no knowledge at all of the program, can modify the object in the Thingiverseweb to suit his own needs based on the parameters defined by the designer. After that it generates the STL file for you.

I printed in PLA. It is not ideal but I read that it is better than ABS if in contact with food.

Ventilador montado

Layer fan for BCN3D

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Upgrade for my 3d printer BCN3D that I installed this week.

As I am more a software guy than hardware I didn’t want to get into trouble and I bought the hotbed fan kit provided by RepRapBCN for their BCN3D printer.

But in fact designs are published and there is enough documentation to do DIY. I preferred however that the extruder carrier was a piece made with SLS technology, as I have now, so the decision to buy.


Unmounting the extruder carrier

The change is simple but it requires to replace the carrier by a new one with a hold for the fan. To unmount!

In this model the hardest thing is to unmount the extruder from the carrier, as it is anchored with two screws with difficult access. There is already a paste extruder, but if someone in the end wants to change extruders frequently depending on the material to print it is better to think on a different anchorage extruder-carrier, like on rallies!







Important. BCN3D has a RAMPS and the fan has to be connected to D9. I confirmed also checking the RepRap wiki because the manual provided does not include the connector name, bu you can indentify it by the graphic.

And then to update Slic3r setups to activate the fan when you want. It happens that with PLA it is possible to have the fan always on while with ABS it is not adviced at all as it can make the piece break down when the plastic cools.

I opted for conditional option.



I lost most of the time to check that the fan worked. Neither from the LCD  nor with an object with the “fan always on” option I managed to make the fan work.

I just was in trouble with this until from the LCD I pushed the fan to maximum level (range goes from 0 to 255) and it started working. Discovery…my fan gets stuck. Something to work on this week.


Ventilador montado

Fan mounted

Just by tapping the fan it works, and if I tap again it gets stuck again. Manual control instead of software driven 😛