Mediocre Cookies

NOTE: This post was released after it was written as to not spoil the surprise 🙂

Today was a friend’s birthday, a friend who has obsessively fallen in love with Mad Max: Fury Road. So when I saw this Mad Max cookie cutter on Thingiverse while browsing I knew I had to print it out for him.

Cura: Mad Max cookie cutter
Cura: Mad Max cookie cutter

I actually printed each part separately, but you get the idea. Here’s to hoping the cookies it helps make don’t taste too much like motor oil or sand.

Assembled cookie cutter

Bats in the House!

The kids and I decided to make some decorations for Halloween with the 3D printer. Our first attempt was these cute little bats from Thingiverse.

They print flat and then you insert the wings into the flat body so they stand out from the wall a little bit. I didn’t bother to sand them since they are only seen from a distance and I like the texture on their backs – makes the almost look furry. I did use a dab of Elmers glue on each wing to ensure they would stay together, and taped them to the wall with masking tape so I wouldn’t damage the paint.

Marvin the Monitor

Last night I wanted to test out tweaking my layer height on my 3D printer. I picked the Marvin Keychain from Thingiverse since it was small and had some details I thought would be a good test. He can hang out on top of my printer and monitor the following jobs as they are run.

As you can see in the image below, I’ve set the layer height to 0.15mm and also increased the speed to 125mm/s.

Marvin layer height test
Marvin layer height test


Overall I was happy with the test. I have some sanding and cleanup to do on the print, and I can also use the print as a test on finishing and painting. If you consider how zoomed in that photo is (it’s a very small model) it didn’t turn out too bad. I do wonder if printing at a slower speed would melt the layers together a bit more, though.

Coffee Cap

More 3D printing tonight!

This time, a screw top for our ground coffee. This clever top pieces together on top of an existing bag of beans (ground or whole) to make sealing and pouring much easier.

Cora – Coffee Bag Lid

I tried printing this one with a 0.15mm layer height. I have to sand down a few pieces since they’re pretty tight, but when trying to seal coffee that’s a good thing! If you check out the Thingiverse project you’ll notice there is also another cap that can be used for pouring; I may have to add that next.

Apple Lightning Cable Protector

While I’m much happier with the durability (and ease of pluggable use) of Apple’s Lightning cable, I’ve noticed that all my cords have started to disintegrate. Electrical tape seems to extend the life, but doesn’t feel very solid and looks gross especially after gunk starts accumulating on the cord end.

A battle-worn lightning cable

Apparently I’m not the only one since I found this model on Thingiverse to print your own protector.

Lightning cable protector model previewed in Cura

It’s a relatively quick print at 28 minutes. My main advice is to be sure to add a brim around the edge on this model since it is so skinny at the base. My first print attempt broke free from the glass plate as the leverage applied to it grew the taller the object became.

3D Printed Earrings

I thought I’d try my luck at making some costume jewelry (at least for my daughters, if not my wife as well). I still may use a metal printing service like Shapeways for nicer jewelry for my wife, but the homemade 3D printed jewelry has the kid-advantage of being cheap, very light, and a fun project for them.

For these earrings, I grabbed the model from Thingiverse, printed them with black ABS filament, and then used silver nail polish to finish them off.

Speeding Up Slic3r

I’m fairly new to 3D printing, but one of the first things I noticed was how slow Slic3r can be when generating gcode files to print. After some quick Googling it seems as though Slic3r grew in popularity back when it was faster but has since slowed down with each subsequent release. There’s no doubt that people are posting and printing more complex and higher resolution models which I’m sure adds to this.

Fortunately, the “fix” is really easy. I say “fix” in quotes because it is more of a workaround and with most things there is a tradeoff. The magic happens in the Print Settings tab in Slic3r. Simply uncheck the “Avoid crossing perimeters” setting and you’ll notice a vast performance improvement!

Slic3r crossing settings

So what is this setting and what is the tradeoff? From the Slic3r docs:

Will force the nozzle to follow perimeters as much as possible to minimise the number of times it must cross them when moving around, and between, islands. This has a negative impact on both G-code generation and print times.

Slic3r manual

Basically, this feature tries to make sure that when moving around the print area, the extruder never (as much as possible) crosses over the perimiter of an object and instead mvoes around it. This keeps an potentially oozing extruder from leaking extra plastic onto the clean outer shells of your object. When it is absolutely necessary to cross over a perimeter it tries to do so at a vertex instead of a flat surface to minimize any noticable artifacts.

So far I have not noticed any major issues from turning this setting off. Occassionally I will see a few extra nibs or bumps on my flat surfaces but it’s nothing that I can’t sand off – something I do to make the surfaces look nicer on my prints anyway.