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July 2017

Draudi paso3

First experiences with a BCN3D Sigma

By | 3D Printing | No Comments

This week Tresdenou delivered tome a BCN3D Sigma R17 3D printer.

I was looking for a Dual Extruder and that it was quite plug’n’play for once 😉

And my choice was between this one and the one from Ultimaker. I went for BCN3D being cheaper and local.

Sigma R17

The first experiences this week are very positive, still few things could improve.

The packaging shows a good deal of thought behind, interface is simple and there are plenty of improvements compared to my BCN3D original 4 years old already.

As you start an assistant kicks in that lets you load filament and calibrate heated bed and the extruders. Very simple and effective.

And then you make it work as usual with a SD card.

The software seemed to me a bit basic because it is a customized version of Cura for BCN3D and it is not updated. So I am missing some functionality for example the support options are limited. There is also the option to use Simplify3D but I haven’t tried yet.

With the software you also get profiles for different materials and quality by default which makes things easier.

The same night I unboxed I was already printing, after doing the setup process 🙂

With BCN3D I have a problem that I need to sort out. It doesn’t print with exact size on Z axis. Since I had to change the electronics a couple of months ago, I don’t have a clue of the reason behind…and I think it was happening already before that. The fact is that for 3D printing services that require exact measurements I was not in a condition to provide them, wile for figurines and other objects without precision there was no issue at all as we speak of a difference of 1 mm over 150 mm total height.

And now with the Sigma I just got a couple of requests packed in this week about parts for 3D printer kits. Waiting for the feedback 😉

 

While I am writing this I am 3D printing a Draudi in two colors, a must!!

Cura con Draudi

Cura customized version for BCN3D

The progress up to now:

 

From this four days here is what I liked more and what I liked less:

More

  • Initial experience. The packaging is well thought, with documentation, tools and first steps properly guided.
  • The 3D printer management is simple with clear menus, and the usual functions maximum two clicks away. Filament change and calibration are walked through and easy to perform. The slicer piece could be simplified a bit more, but they already provide default profiles and their website has a profile generator that makes its use even easier. However, I think Cura shows too many options if it is for a newbie that only wants to always get good 3D prints and that’s all.
  • Dual independent extruder. It looks pretty good and has plenty of potential. After the Draudi in two colors, PVA supports is the next thing to try 😀
  • Quite silent, as fara as I heard it is an important improvement to the previous Sigma version.
  • Amazing jump compared to my first 3D printer, the BCN3D, from the same company called RepRapBCN at that time.

Less

  • The interface is simple but the trade-off is that it is also limited. For instance if you have a problem in filament load process you cannot stop it. It happened to me that I started the setup again since I did not complete it in the first round and I messed up (user fault :P). The filament load started when I already had filament loaded and I could not stop it, unless I switched off the machine. The outcome was that the motor kept pushing filament as in normal procedure and made a dent to the filament while it was blocked in the end. Then it could not push anymore. I had to find a way to push the filament a bit more so it got grip again. It also happened to me that when the filament is not caught at first try it pushes following the procedure but may get only to half the bowden tube. Then, following the next procedure step of fine tuning load you have to keep pushing the button many times at low speed until you get it loaded properly, caught in a process that was thought for the last mm probably.
  • I understand it has bowden because there is enough complexity in X axis with the IDEX system, but it does not seem to me that it get the speed advantage that a lighter carry would bring. Like in Delta printers for example. For now I 3d printed properly at 100 mm/s.
  • LEDs are nice, but I am afraid there is no way to switch them off. If oyu leave the printer working at night, you know the drill…

Several disclaimers

Although I know BCN3D Technologies and its CEO Roger, I have no relationship with them. I bought this printer because I think this is a good machine among Dual Extruders.

In fact I bought it at Tresdenou, a shop in Poble Nou (Barcelona) managed by Rafa and César. They are members of the 3D Print Barcelona group for three years I guess, but less involved lately since they have to cover the commercial schedule and we meet just at the other side of Barcelona.

Good people, always willing to help, and I did not doubt for a second buying from them since I know I would have excellent local support if I need it. ¡¡Very recommended!!

I bet for local. You know, if you buy from China you better be independent to repair all the issues that the machine may bring at the beginning, or those that you can make afterwards.

This post is not in any case a review of the machine, simply my first impression as advanced user. I do not perform thorough reviews and I do not have intention to perform them. For this you have several youtubers that have already published.

Stepcraft kit

Starting with the Stepcraft CNC router

By | DIY, maker | No Comments

About three months ago I bought a Stepcraft CNC router, following the advice of a friend that already has it.
It’s not an industrial CNC router, but you can play quite with some stuff given its size and the ability to cut aluminum.

Stepcraft is a German company that also has a branch in the USA. The machine went through a kickstarter campaign successfully.
Since then they have improved documentation and the available information, and have also added optional upgrades to perform tasks such as laser cutting, wood engraving, vinyl cut, 3D printing, etc.

What I liked more from Stepcraft is the community behind their product. The Facebook group is very active and there is a lot of sharing, ideas to make, suggestions, solutions, etc. And of course there is the brand support.

I bought the 840/2 kit version, the biggest one. And with this the HF500 Spindle and aluminum base to add sturdiness.
Assembling instructions are excellent, with step by step videos.
So the assembly did not have any relevant issue.

Stepcraft kit

Stepcraft kit in the middle of the assembly

I did some screw ups, like tightening one of the axis too much to the point of making it bend without noticing because it was covered.

Or break the first mill out of stupidity. Looks like the “Hello World” for coders applied to CNC routers 😛

First cuts were done with MDF, making basically siple 2D cuts. I painted and varnished them afterwards.

I made names, hashtags, logos, PacMan and its ghosts, etc…

First thing Natalia name, my girlfriend 😉

Next steps are testing with other materials and other mills. But I’ve been over a month now tied in a 3D project for a multinational company where I am 3D modeling a prototype and 3D printing several versions and materials options. When this is over I’ll come back to the CNC router.

I leave a small gallery of stuff I’ve been making or still work in progress 😉