Mini Test Production Run (3 Rings) on Type a Machines Printer

Introduction: Mini Test Production Run (3 Rings) on Type a Machines Printer

About: Based in San Francisco I strive to incorporate custom lettering in the art that I design, print, and make.

This instructable discusses how to do a production run on a 3D Printer. A Production run or in this case a 50% production run is used to determine what it will take to print multiple objects with a consistent quality. 

The steps in this instructable will review 

1) how to use KiSSlicer to duplicate the model
2) the print and quality concerns
3) the test print
4) time to print comparison

I made it at Techshop with a Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer
Submitted by SFlettering for the Instructables Sponsorship Program

Step 1: KiSSlicer for Model Duplication

In KiSSlicer with the regular trial version you can only load and slice a single model. Once your single model is loaded though you can choose features like

1) scale by x
2) print multiple copies of the exact same model with same print settings

The image shown here is the model loaded into pronterface and is showing how once duplicated the print path will automatically be chosen with efficiency in mind.

TIP: This particular print completed with many PLA strands between the rings.

Step 2: Starting the Print

Starting a production run for testing purposes requires a great first layer. Anything less than a perfect first layer is likely to produce jagged edges (absolutely not a good match for a "tight" ring) and is not acceptable. On the good side if your first 3 layers come out well the final print is on its way to success.

TIP: Cancel and restart all prints that do not have a great first layer.
Note: In this particular print the first layer had some unexpected overlap between rings. This was not the case in similar production testing prints.

Step 3: Green Progress Bar Showing Percentage Complete

In the pronterface print control panel the green progress bar will start out all black and the level of green will rise in sync with the percentage complete levels shown at the bottom of the window in pronterface. The progress bar is a great visual indicator of how complete the job is at any time.

TIP:Sometimes the actual percentage complete does not show on the bottom of the screen and the reason might be because the name of the file is too large and writes over the percentage complete message. (Testing is still required to determine if true).

Step 4: Mini Production Run

When doing a mini production run (in this case of 3 rings all the same) consider the following 

1) are all rings printing with the same quality and appearance
2) what is the increase in time from 1 ring to 3 rings
3) are there PLA strands between the duplicate items

TIP: To get the best results for a production run (even a mini one of only 3 items) use a checklist written down at your workspace for tracking as though you are writing a chemistry lab in science class and keeping lab notes. Another option is to take notes, take pictures, and write an instructable to share what your learned with other makers.

Step 5: Final Product Comparison: 6 Rings Over 4 Unique 3D Prints

Here are 6 final printed rings from a production run of 3 rings at once and 3 unique prints of 1 ring each (the 3 rings labeled A).

The first 3 prints from sheet A are to test which font and size are best in terms of fit and appearance of the lettering and ring smoothness. The 3 rings on the sheet labeled B are the 3 rings that were printed at the same time in a mini production run.

Image 2: shows the mini production run with 3 rings on the print surface all printed at once.

Step 6: Total Time Requirement: 1 Ring in <7 Minutes and 3 Rings in < 13 Minutes

The total time is an essential component to a mini production run. In this case a single ring printed very fast (about 7 minutes) and this number is compared to printing 3 at once which was even faster .... printing in under 13 minutes

After printing 3 at once check my instructable on printing 6 at once to see if the time savings scales or not. 
TIP: When doing a production run it is a good idea to track your total PLA used for future cost accounting and optimization purposes which is shown after the completed print.

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