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  • Inlaying Text

    My wife and I inherited 2 massage/tilt beds. We put them together to make a king size. The 1 fault was that the controllers were flimsy. Basically, the plastic was too thin. It led to some of the controls punching through the plastic. The other major flaw is that the cable retainers (you know, those black plastic clamp things that go around the cable and then get squeezed into a hole in a housing) were both gone, leaving the cables hanging loosely through the hole in the housing. Considering the beds run on 120V AC power, I call this unsafe.

    Here's the original controller cover:
    ​​​​​Note how the bolt hole at the bottom is completely punched through. This is where the head and foot tilt buttons mounted. They were basically unusable. Some of the lettering has worn thin too.

    It was time to replace the controller boxes. I 1st tried making 1 the same as the original, but it was too long to fit on my printer's bed, so I had to rethink it. To make it short enough, I decided to design the box so the head and foot massage controls are side by side instead of above each other.

    The biggest innovation, at least for me, was deciding to do the lettering as inlay. What I mean is, I wanted the lettering to be done with white PETG filament inlayed into a black PETG faceplate. That way, the lettering would never wear off.

    I did a test:
    Click image for larger version

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    ​​
    OK, it's not perfect, but I deemed it good enough for my purposes. I figured I would use somewhat larger lettering anyway, so it should be even clearer. The letters are 0.3mm deep. I looked up inlay on youtube and found a video from CHEP where he used Z Hopping. Basically, the idea is to print the model as 2 print jobs, 1 for the lettering, and 1 for the back. The trick is how to prevent the 2nd print job (the back) from damaging the 1st print job (lettering). CHEP did it by having the nozzle hop over the lettering by using Cura's Z Hop feature. For lettering 0.3mm deep, he would use a Z Hop of 0.4mm or 0.5mm.

    In order to make this all work, the lettering and backing have to be in perfect alignment. I created the basic box in Fusion 360, then added the lettering to the top surface. I extruded the lettering down into the box. This cut the letters into the box. Then, I extruded the lettering down again as a new body. This created the recesses and lettering as a perfect fit. Then I saved the box and lettering as separate STLs.

    I loaded the 2 STLs into Cura. I disabled Cura's Drop To Build Plate option, then selected both STLs and used Cura's Merge Models feature. This registered the 2 models together as they were in Fusion 360. Then I rotated the merged models 180 degrees, so the lettering would be against the build plate. I re-enabled Drop To Build Plate, moved the merged models above the build plate and let them drop back down. Next, I un-merged the models and saved it all as a project. I deleted the box, saved the lettering as a separate project, then sliced the lettering and saved as a gcode file. I loaded some white filament, connected to Klipper, loaded the lettering gcode file, and started it printing.

    While the lettering was printing I re-loaded the project that contained both models, deleted the letting STL, saved the box as a separate project, sliced it, and saved it as a gcode file.

    When the lettering finished printing, I changed to black filament, loaded the box gcode file and started it printing.

    Obviously, the lettering can't be too tall or the nozzle would hit the lettering anyway.

    to be continued....
    Last edited by Ender5r; 03-04-2022, 07:43 PM.

  • #2
    Now that I had the basic concept of inlay lettering working, I moved on to the actual control box.

    Here is my face plate:
    Click image for larger version

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    Next, the box:
    Click image for larger version

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    Of course, I had to do something about cable retention. That's why the box has the slot and short wall at the top. The short wall is designed to hold a cable retainer:
    Click image for larger version

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    part 3 follows....

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    • #3
      Continuing on with the cable retention theme, here is the end of the box:
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      Obviously, I need something to fill the part of the slot not taken up by the cable:
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      Here is the basic box and face plate as they will look when assembled:
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      I screwed the 2 halves of the cable retainer to the cable, then slid the retainer and cable combo into the slot formed by the short wall in the box. I installed the slot filler, then screwed the face plate on.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	_MG_4136.jpg Views:	0 Size:	894.5 KB ID:	14248
      final part follows...

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      • #4
        The finished product:
        Click image for larger version

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        This is far from the best quality prints I have done. That's because I wanted to get the 2 boxes done, even though I had made changes to the printer and not yet tuned it in properly. The rounded corners are rough and I had some stringing. There is also some serious ringing. Still, the boxes do the job.

        I spent quite a bit of time talking about cable retention. That's because I wanted to be sure the cable was held securely in place, because the box runs on 120V AC. I considered the original boxes to be unsafe.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow. This is very impressive. I will have to play around with this tech :

          "OK, it's not perfect, but I deemed it good enough for my purposes. I figured I would use somewhat larger lettering anyway, so it should be even clearer. The letters are 0.3mm deep. I looked up inlay on youtube and found a video from CHEP where he used Z Hopping. Basically, the idea is to print the model as 2 print jobs, 1 for the lettering, and 1 for the back. The trick is how to prevent the 2nd print job (the back) from damaging the 1st print job (lettering). CHEP did it by having the nozzle hop over the lettering by using Cura's Z Hop feature. For lettering 0.3mm deep, he would use a Z Hop of 0.4mm or 0.5mm."
          An alternative is to use a IDEX printer but not everyone has one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Irv Shapiro.

            IDEX has the advantage that it can do inlay at different heights of a model, whereas the method I describe really only works on the surface in contact with the build plate. Until I can find a fix for the extruders on my Artist-D, this 'surface inlay' technique is pretty much my only option.

            Comment


            • Lowteck
              Lowteck commented
              Editing a comment
              What problems are you having with the extruders on your Artist-D?

            • Ender5r
              Ender5r commented
              Editing a comment
              I've mentioned it in other threads. The issue is erratic and under extrusion. It doesn't do too badly with PLA, but I print 99% PETG. The most vexxing issue is the erraticness. I can't count on a repeatable rate of extrusion. From thingiverse I downloaded an STL that's supposed to make it possible to mount a set of mirrored BMG extruders, but the details on the page are a little thin, so I haven't pursued it yet.
              I have narrowed the issue down to the filament not being gripped firmly enough. If I pull on the large button, to increase the pressure on the filament, I get better feed.
              What the Artist-D really needs is a dual gear extruder; gears made of steel. The BMG is such an extruder but, as I said, there isn't enough detail on the thingiverse page to make me pull the trigger and order the extruders.

          • #7
            From your description that one looks a lot sturdier than the original. Not perfect but looks like it will server the purpose .

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            • #8
              Exactly my thinking

              Comment


              • #9
                Ender5r I have only tried PETG once, I could not get it to extrude unless I pulled/pushed down on the filament. Not sure if it is the gear or temperature, or both. So I understand your frustration. I haven't had a need to use PETG that PLA could not do, but I do have some PETG and I will try again in a few days. PETG on Amazon is cheaper than PLA. I will let you know what my results are. I did buy some steel gears with more teeth. I have checked the ware on the ones I have and cannot see but very little ware, so I have not changed to see how they work. Makes me wonder if maybe mine came from the seller with the gear damage. Maybe a return sent back out as a new one. Anyway, I have become a big fan of the Artist-D and so far I have not seen an IDEX printer without big problems. I have also noticed that the most popular printer ( Ender 3 ) has more mods than can be counted. That tells me it also has a lot of problems. Question -- Is there a perfect printer, especially an IDEX?

                Comment


                • #10
                  Well, not too surprisingly, more money will buy you a better printer. From what I've seen, Ultimaker IDEX printers work pretty well. Their build plate has an unusual feature that I saw Joel point out in a trade show video: there seems to be a hole at the front center of the plate that's used to set the Z Offset of the nozzles. Both nozzles are moved, in turn, to the location of the hole and lowered to get the Z height. Not surprisingly, they cost a lot more than the printers we use: $4,000US or more.

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