The spool holder works fine when printing and Router used for new front panel design

The recent spool holder design works in principle but would it work in practice. The only questions I had were to do with the tension on the filament causing a print failure and whether the whole filament would unravel into one great mess!

spool holder

spool holder

Fortunately neither problem arose and it worked very well indeed. As a test I printed out another of the blocks (to replace the odd red one :) ) that make up the spool holder and it printed a good quality example. I did consider removing the green filament already attached but then had the brainwave of just adding the filament to the spool of clear filament, securing it with masking tape.

To help judge the speed of the spool I put some masking tape in place and it had an unexpected benefit of being a crude calibrator of how much filament was used to produce the block (3 in this case). By counting the rings of green filament left I could anticipate how many I could print off. It is crude though, and depends on being able to count the remaining filament (and counting the revolutions!) although it could spawn an electronic measurement project..........

Once this trial was completed I thought I would get back to converting the SumPod to printing using Marlin firmware, allowing the use of the rotary encoder, SD card reader, keypad and contrast button for the LCD which will be relocated to the front panel.

I did start a front panel in MDF but prompted by Richard (owner and designer of SumPod) who suggested the use of the Sumpod to router the cut outs. I took off the hot end and added the Dremel ready for routing. I thought the best way of achieving the job would be to use Alibre 3D CAD to make 3D examples of the parts I wanted to remove. The first trial worked well in so far as the cutting of material.

To hold the material to cut I use the following set up.

1. The MDF base plate
2. Polystyrene foam (1" thick)
3. The material to cut i.e MDF, fibre board, aluminium sheet etc.

To hold the material in place I use carpet double sided tape. It is more than strong enough and has the added benefit of holding the cut out part safely in place when the cutter has broken through.

I expected to encounter problems going back to milling as against 3D printing, but no, it worked fine first time. That' not to say it worked, the design that is. First I found the cut outs much to big. The reason was I did not account for the diameter of the tool. The part I designed to make the cut out worked, it was just the router cut the outside of it, making the hole left twice the diameter of the cutter too large! In a sense it was the negative of what I wanted.

Additional to that the opening was too big even accounting for the cutter diameter. So I made allowances for the two variables and tried again. This time it was much closer, however I checked the router and found it was 3.2mm instead of 3mm so the calibration was closer than I thought.

This is all 'good stuff' though as I am learning more about the calibration of the machine/software and the design process. Because of the length of the front panel I made the cutting in too sessions. Moving the panel for the second cut. This proved to be less traumatic than I thought and easier to position for the second cut. By making a pencil line for where I wanted the second cut out it wasn't too difficult to position the axis.

I ran out of time to finish the panel but learnt a lot and am confident of the process and it ability to produce the panel. It will certainly be a far better finish that I achieved by hand on the first attempt!

I also managed to get enough video to create the Milling 'how to' video to help new SumPod builders.

Related posts:

  1. Hot bed, mock up of new front panel, oh yes, a quick print to see if it was a fluke?
  2. Filament spool holder framework
  3. Filament spool holder for SumPod 3D printer
  4. Lessons learned today are all about 3D design!

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