During our class visit at Protospace we had the chance to experiment with 3D printers, to test their limits and to better understand how they work.
This was not intended to be a designed product printing, but rather a more free exercise on how a certain product changes once we started changing parameters in the 3D printer.
The results were very different and very interesting, and from each experiment we uncovered some new features of the machine.
Step 1: One Color, Different Settings
The first experiment we did was to keep one single kind of filament (green PLA), one single design, and change as much as possible in the printer's parameters.
The Ultimaker allows to change almost every parameter "live", meaning that every time you turn the knob you can see the results of the modification almost instantaneously.
For this reason, one of the most interesting aspects was to see how each layer changed based on the new settings we put in the machine.
The final result was quite similar to the initial bracelet in the first layers, but then became more like a knitted sculpture. Still, I really liked the shape.
Step 2: Multiple Colors, Multiple Settings
This time we chose to use different colors for the same design.
We cut smaller pieces of filament (around 5-10cm each) and pushed them one after the other through the Ultimaker's filament tube. This way, with the pressure of the rest of the filament, it is possible to extrude multiple colors without the need of shutting down the machine.
We probably pushed the settings a bit too far, hence the wobbly result. However, the result was still very interesting and again very sculpture-like.
With both this experiment and the first one we messed up with the printer's flow, nozzle temperature, bed temperature, fan speed, general speed, Z distance (...) settings and we also physically intervened with the motors, the filament pushing system, the bed distance etc.
Overall a very nice experimentation with the Ultimaker, that greatly resisted to our mistreatments. We got a lot of information out of it about how 3D printers work and what is possible to achieve with them.