Tips of the Week is our weekly peek at some of the best making tips, tricks, and recommendations we’ve discovered in our travels. Check in every Friday to see what we’ve discovered. And we want to hear from you. Please share your tips, shortcuts, best practices, and tall shop tales in the comments below and we might use your tip in a future column.
ABS Slurry Glue
To the list of hairspray, glue stick, Kapton and painter’s tape, and all of the other methods people have come up with for adhering 3D prints to a printer bed, you can add ABS slurry (aka ABS juice). In this DIY Perks video, Matt shows how he makes this kind of print bed glue using scrap bits of ABS plastic dissolved in acetone. The result is a sticky slurry that can be troweled onto the print bed and prints then printed onto it.
3D Printing on Tulle
One of my besties, Dave Mordini, is a talented DC-area artist. He drank the 3D printing and maker-tech Kool-Aid a few years ago and has been doing some really interesting work with these tools ever since. Recently, as part of an art show about gun violence, he made a mourning veil covered in tiny 3D printed black guns. The veil was made of tulle and he printed the guns right into the fabric by starting to print the first layers (8 in this case), placing the tulle down on the printer bed, and then continuing the print. Dave writes:
Printing on fabric is a great way to transform the material, and tulle makes for an especially excellent fabric to use. Plan out what you want to print. You can find online dragon scales and other geometric patterns that will work well, too. You only need a few layers printed before inserting the fabric. For mine, I wanted the tulle more in the center of the models, so I printed 8 layers. Some slicers allow you to automatically pause after so many layers. With my printer, I manually paused it where I wanted to add the fabric. It’s important for the fabric to sit smoothly over the print. You don’t want the heat from the hotend hitting a wrinkle and melting a hole in it. To do this, use binder clips, or in my case, my Artemis printer has a metal frame, so magnets worked really well. After you have the tulle down, resume printing, and that’s it. My delta printer could only print about a 7×7 square, so I ended up printing my piece in 8 sections. Be sure to keep an eye on things and make sure that your hotend and fans are clear of the material you are printing.
Using a Power Drill for Filing/Sanding
In this Laura Kampf video she reminds us of an important tip. Your power drill is more than just a drill. It is a rotary spindle that can be used for lots of clever and make-do applications. Here, Laura uses it as a means of filing and buffing a metal part that she’s chucked into the drill.
From my friend and Make: contributor, Willow Bloo, comes this wonderful little project idea: Making keychains from Lego bricks and then using a Lego plate as your keychain holder:
Mondo for Bondo
In case you missed this post from Caleb Kraft earlier in the week, it includes two excellent tips videos by industrial designer, Eric Strebel, on working with Bondo, the popular automotive body filler, and with resin. In the above image, Eric shows you how you can use bondo over Styrofoam to create parts for modeling and prototyping. As Eric points out, bondo is an incredibly versatile and durable material that you can mold, cut, drill, sand, tap, drill, and many other treatments. I had no idea that bondo is simply polyester resin (as used in fiberglass) with the addition of talc, turning it into a putty.
Using Tape with Drilling
In the project I posted about earlier this week, for building a simple pyramid peg game, the Crafty Lumberjacks demonstrate an important tip to keep in mind when drilling holes. If the material is likely to create lots of “tear out” around the holes, you can prevent this by applying painter’s tape to either side of the hole before drilling. Also note how they use a block of wood as a support and spoil board below the thin metal lid they are drilling into to prevent it from being deformed with the pressures of drilling.