Introduction: 3D Printing on Unconventional Items
Have you ever wanted to do something different with your 3D printer? Well, you should try 3D printing on different surfaces other than BuildTak or blue painter's tape. After a lot of failed prints and perseverance, I came up with kind of a basic formula or method. I shall cover printing on paper, fabric, and a CD (yes, a CD). This is just the start though because you could incorporate this method in many projects from birthday cards to customizable T-shirts. This method works very well of delta printers because they have a fixed, accessible bed. Also, I tested this on a Rep-Rap Kossel Mini with PLA.
Step 1: Fabric
Bored of the blue tape? To print on fabric, take a piece of regular fabric (or a T-shirt), and get some binder clips (5-6 should do). Place the fabric on the print bed, and tightly stretch it across using binder clips. If you are using Marlin firmware, decrease your printing area by about 1 mm, and you can just start printing directly on the fabric. Be very careful that the fabric is tight and not moving around during printing. If you don't have Marlin firmware, then just use the screws on your print bed to lower it about 1 mm (2-3 turns). This would be a great idea if you are trying to mount an Arduino or Raspberry Pi onto a T-shirt, because you could just print a case directly onto your shirt. One model that might be of some use is this Arduino Bumper by "Chu": http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:26237
Step 2: Paper
To print on paper, use duct tape of more blue tape to secure your printing surface on the ground. Again, find some way to lower your bed around 1 mm, and you can just print directly on the paper. It is quite amazing how well PLA sticks to paper. This would be a great addition to a get well card, or on an envelope to someone.
Step 3: CD
If you have a spare CD around and want to get creative, try printing on a CD! The CD worked because it was made of plastic or something, so after lowering my bed 1 mm or so, I got the PLA to stick really well. I really don't know what use this could be for, but I thought it looked so cool. You can secure the CD in place by using blue painter's tape. Happy printing. If you have a cool use for this project, I would love to see a picture, so if you have done something, please click the "I made it!" button. You could make some really cool gifts this way!