Printing Motorized Spheres on a Formlabs Form1: Experiments In Progress #3DThursday #3DPrinting


Here is some interesting feedback from artist and tech writer Brian Evans re: some experiments he is making with a FormLabs Form1 SLA printer:

Working on a prototype for a new project, or at least a remake of an older project anyway. This 10cm diameter sphere will be one of maybe seven if I’m lucky for an upcoming exhibition in Santa Monica in November. It is printed in photopolymer resin on a FormLabs Form1 desktop SLA machine. The quality is good but not great… layers are still visible, lines are not that crisp, theres a slight yellow hue to the plastic, where the supports attached there are little bumps, theres a little de-lamination in the print on the seam, and so on.

The two hemispheres are held together with three very strong neodymium magnets. (One of the magnet holders on the top in the back was filled with resin and had to be drilled out – breaking in the process.) Because “complexity is free”, each of the seven spheres will be customized with a different pattern of ley lines on each one. The board is a custom Arduino setup with an H-bridge for controlling the micro metal gearmotor and a charging circuit for the lithium battery. The arm attached to the motor swings around a lead weight acquired from the wife’s lead type collection to create the movement of the sphere.

The ball is overall pretty cool, and definitely not possible to manufacture on my other more traditional FDM machines, but I’m not terribly happy with it either. The print quality issues, combined with the print time (16 hours total) and the cleanup involved after the print is done with the cost involved ($260 for 2 liters of resin at discount) on top of everything just has me rethinking it a little…

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