To get to this point I completed the following
1) test printed 6+ rings of different styles and settings
2) test printed this exact ring 3 times to test for errors
3) chose a draft mode for faster printing
This production run although small is a real world example of what it takes to scale from a single print, to sets of 3, and finally to a set of 6 printed as duplicate models.
I made it at Techshop http://techshop.ws with a Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer
Submitted by SFlettering for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
Step 1: Tracking Your Past Work - How to Store Your Work to Enhance Learning
One way as shown here is to use painters tape to keep the rings in place and in order.
Tip: When writing on painters tape with a sharpie the ink can smudge - better choices for writing onto painters tape include using a ball point pen.
Step 2: Starting the Print - What to Look For
1) each model starts the first print layer correctly
2) each model sticks properly to the print surface
3) each model does not overlap (overalap on the outer ring did not create problems)
When starting your prints pay careful attention to all these aspects for the best quality results.
TIP: I advise that you print successfully at least 2-3 times before doing a production run. It is important to dial in your settings and produce a single set and a mini set (of 3) before printing 6 at once as problems will be magnified when printing 6 and these could have been worked out in earlier prints.
Step 3: Model Print Path: Understanding What the Printer Is About to Do
In this image you can see the printer path. The past layers are shown in black and the current layer is shown in red. By watching these layers you can predict how the printer will move.
TIP: The printer path could be optimized in your gcode if you really understand 3D printing and product design.
Step 4: Model Close Up - Great Results of the Lettering and Layers
NOTE: Pronterface trial version only allows loading a single model and although you can print duplicates you are not able to print multiple versions all at once.
TIP: after printing let the printed models cool for at least a few seconds before taking it off the print surface to avoid moving the 3D printed model while the PLA is still hot/warm.
Step 5: Left Over PLA: Reading the PLA Tea Leaves to Optimize Print Results
If you had leftover PLA that included malformed pieces or PLA that was broken due to heat settings or other issues you can learn how to improve by paying attention to what is left over.
TIP: Read the PLA tea leaves and gain insight into what to change to optimize printing.
Step 6: Final Print Done in 40 Minutes - 6 Duplicate Rings Printed All at Once
1) printing models that take 50 minutes or less
2) printing models from thingiverse in addition to custom designed models
3) using thingiverse customizer app to practice printing and learn new things
4) print gifts to keep your focus on high quality
From this small production run of 6 custom rings I learned that the reliability of the machine is very impressive. Each ring appears exactly like all others and the quality is consistent between each individual ring.
In future instructables I will review the print times for larger production runs and when printing at different qualities.
For comparison purposes
1 ring took ~7 minutes
3 rings took ~13 minutes
6 rings took ~40 minutes
What I learned from analyzing the print times is that what I thought would take <26 minutes based on the print time for 3 duplicate rings ended up taking longer. I will need to experiment longer to determine what factors that I did not consider made the print time longer.