Time to Design

These are my current “daily drivers” in my stable of 3D printers. I have owned 14 printers of various types. One I donated to a high school and one is brand new still in the shipping box unopened. 

What’s important is how many are used, not how many have or are owned. I have had up to six of them running at the same tine. 

These two see most of the present activity. Both are dual filament Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) that extrude melted plastic layer by layer to a build surface. The raw material is purchased as a kilogram (2.2 lb) filament on a spool. Both machines use two spools at the same time

The printer on the left is the Snapmaker J1 IDEX (Independent Dual Extruder) system. It has two complete printheads that can operate in a number of different configurations.  

The printer on the right is the Tiertime CETUS2 that has two extruders is a single printhead and both extrude through the same single print nozzle. It’s generic name is a single nozzle dual extruder printer.

Follow the links in each paragraph above to the product websites for additional information. More detail there than I can ever post in this post.

For me, the printing is just the reward for dreaming up the designs I create in CAD (Computer Aided Design). I only print someone else’s design when it is as good or better than I can create. Or someone asks me to print something they have seen on one of the many free access file sites.

I spend most of my time in the design because the printing part is a “load the drawing file and push start” operation. Well, not exactly. But the printer can run for dozens of hours without human action if everything is properly configured.

My creative effort is in the design. The printer just makes my design a tangible item. Many hours of more creative drawing and design time available between pushing start and prying the finished item off the build plate.

My current go-to CAD is called Autodesk FUSION 360. It is a professional grade CAD software system. Not free.

I will be posting more about the CAD systems I use. I have several more that are used in different applications. RhinoCAD (Rhinoceros) and Vectric Aspire are the other two biggies.  More about my CAD in the future. 

So, I am enjoying full retirement from daily revenue production and can spend all the time I want on designing for the enjoyment of the process. My time to design. 3D printing provides provides a quick prototype or plastic item with a functional use result. 

I still have a workshop full of wood and metal working CNC tools that can also be used for production. But the design time must always come first. 

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