After trying a few different plastics, and still finding that nothing I printed was even remotely pliable, I came to the conclusion 3D Printing simply wouldn’t work for anything I envisioned. Therefore, the 3DPrinter made it’s way to the back of the closet.
Long story shortened, a friend sent me a link to a video where they print in nylon. It was just like any of the other 3D Printing videos you see, except at the end you see a nylon part that can be easily twisted and bent. I was anxious to try it out. He sent me my first samples of 3D Printing nylon and included me in his test program as a designer and nylon tester.
That was three months ago. I’ve been printing Purses, Clutch’s, Belts, Wallets, Rings, Bracelets, Compact cases, Earrings, Necklaces you name it for accessories and because this stuff is so durable, I’m thinking the holy grail of accessories, Shoes! But I’m not that good a designer….yet. Oh, and did I mention you can print out 2 or 3 layer flat sheets and then iron them to make permanent seams and folds?
So, because this 3D printing nylon is so new, and I think there may be others out there that would like to print accessories or smooth, lustrous and pliable items, I wanted to show how I create some simple items and how I 3D print em.
I do want to explain the pictures I am uploading because there are a lot of CAD screen photos. I am doing this because some people may think using 3D CAD is hard and it’s not. I only measure when I absolutely have to and everything else is a guess based on “if it looks good and seems about right and I like it”.
As a tip, there are three CAD commands just for us quick designers that allow us to do anything.
1. Boolean – This is a fancy term for adding two parts to become one part or subtracting one part from another.
2. Fillet – Another fancy term for putting soft round edges on parts.
3. Cage Edit – Another fancy term, but this is great. It’s like having your basic part made of jello. You simply push or pull a certain point and the area around that point follows along…..like…jello! This is what I use most because it lets me push and pull curves into my design and if I don't like it, I just undo it and try again. After playing with the cage command just an hour I had it down and now I'm pretty good at adding nice curves and flow to my designs.
You will notice that I design by adding a known part, like a round peg (cylinder) that equals a lip gloss and then I add and subtract other pegs (cylinders), donuts (torus) and squares to make the part like I want it. And that is why I have the CAD photos so others can see how easy it is.
A short note on 3D Printing.
1. Design your part in a 3D CAD program. Then export the part to a file as a “Part.stl”
2. Slice your part – This is a small program by itself or it comes with your 3D printer.
(This is where you tell the 3D Printer how to make your part. Dense, Hollow, Normal and the number of outside walls. You can make your part in just perimeters or circles or thicker parts you can add fill. Fill is how sturdy the part is. A high fill means the part is printed with lots of nylon inside, so it won't be so pliable or bend as much. And some parts you make hollow, like my purse.)
Load the “Part.stl” in to the slicer program and it will output a file called “Part.gcode” or something similar (see your printer instructions).
3. The “Part.gcode” is the file that the 3D Printer uses to make your part.
4. Don’t worry about all the tech stuff. The printer has sensors to keep you from breaking it, so just keep trying and it will get easier each time.
I have this down to about 2 min, now that I've done it a hundred times. IT is really easier than it sounds.
Each section of my instructable shows a complete accessory. I will show you how I designed a Lip Gloss shell, a compact replacement case, a simple ring, a bracelet, a simple credit card DL and money pocket, a fully usable and pliable belt and last a “KD” designed lustrous, pliable purse with silver adornment.
All the tools we will need:
1 each 3D CAD program – There are free ones and low cost one available on the web, ask some tech friends. I have a student version from college that I use. taul says that Google has "Sketchup" for free and a free one from Autocad "123D" , so check there.
1 each 3D Printer that can print 3mm round Nylon
2 each spools of 618 Nylon from taulman3d.com – this is what I have tested and use and it cost the same as regular 3D printing plastic It comes a natural color that is really no color but looks bright white when you print with it. You can see this in my photos.
1 each 20 to 40 watt soldering iron with a sharp “clean’ tip
1 each hobby knife to cut away loose threads
1 each Metal ruler 12” type – this must be metal to stand the soldering iron
1 each Metric measuring tool. I use a caliper I bought on ebay They are not very expensive and make measuring in metric a snap. You can use a metric ruler, but it's harder to measure some items.
1 each flat metal surface – like the back of a cookie sheet
1 each Eyelet Crimp tool – these are at all hobby stores
1 each Small Screw driver
1 each Needle Pliers
1 each scissors
1 each small tube of gorilla type glue. You will need a sticky type of thick glue. A lot of glues will not stick to nylon.
Step 1: Lip Gloss Shell
1. Find or purchase a Lip Gloss you want to use
2. Measure lip gloss diameter – Mine is 17mm
3. Add a thread to the 17mm = 17.5mm The thread is the nozzle size of your 3D Printer. Mine is .5mm – this to make sure it prints a little larger opening for the lip gloss. I add .5mm on all openings and holes.
4. Lip gloss looks bout this tall (Insert estimated measurement here)…
5. Make 17.5mm tall peg –
6. Make little larger round peg but a little shorter…looks to be 24mm dia…not to large..
7. Push small peg up to give the tube a bottom….not much…just so it looks good….
8. You need some shape……so add rounded ribs…
9. Select “add torus(donut to the rest of us)” make it bout the right size a little larger than the tube…..
10. Copy and paste a few more…eyeball the spacing…
11. Now…Boolean “add” the outer peg and toruses…so it’s one part
12. Now for the hole where the gloss goes…
13. Boolean difference small peg from large peg…
14. Looky there….just like I planned it…export stl to thumb drive
15. Now to slice it for the 3D Printer…
16. I want it to shine….so I lower the temp to about 245….
17. Set the layers height to bout .3mm….
18. Go with one perimeter and two solid layers…!
19. Slice to g-code file …
20. Set to print on PCB material (printed circuit board with lots of lil holes makes the print stay flat for tall or large parts – I get mine at Radio Shack for about $3)
21. Load gcode in to printer….And print …
22. Once printed, carefully remove and trim any loose nylon threads.
23. Insert the Lip Gloss….if it slides in to easily, just wrap a little tape around it. Use clear gift tape, because a dark colored tape will show through .
Now take a look above. In less than 20 simple steps we created a very simple “off-the-top-of-our-head” idea to a beautiful part that really works. And the feel of the nylon is a lot better than the plastic already on the lipgloss. This truly gets easier each time you design and print something. I have done so many prints now, I don't pay attention to the tech stuff and just work on my design ideas.