3D additive prototyping

To help the prototyping phase move along more fluently I have acquired a 3D printer. It was useful to use a print shop but costly. Working sheerly on cost and the fact that 3D printers are so cheap nowadays it is more economical to make plastic parts myself. I have more control concerning quick changes and I feel that I have (or can gain) enough technical ability & knowledge to handle a 3D printer.

The Creality Ender 3 Max I acquired boasts a nice large bed of 300mm x 300mm x 340mm for a great cost at £230. Originally I planned to make the outer panels from aluminium, but this is enough space to fit the width of all the battery parts although in terms of length and height parts will need to be adhered together. Or maybe I rethink the design so that it can be produced in parts bolted or slotted together.

After a wee bit of calibration I decided to go big or go home, setting off on my maiden voyage into XJ600e 3D printing with the battery box rear cover recently redesign to give more cable clearance. Print time on this part make with wall thickness of 2mm at 80% infill is about 1.5 days — probably slightly less as I juiced up the speed a bit.

I have started with PLA+ (polylactic acid), a reasonably easy material to handle that is a renewable biodegradable material made from corn starch. I have had some initial issues with bed height but this was quickly solved on the fly with a couple of machine adjustments. As I become more practiced I will move on to materials that have higher UV and temperature resilience to ensure they are more durable. There are some great companies out there that make recycled filaments so I’ll have to d some research to ensure I continue to align with my sustainable goals. Look forward to seeing the outcome.

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