I use a Printrbot Simple Metal to prototype product ideas and make lots of other little objects for use around the house or on the electronics bench. I chose this printer because the size was right for me, the price was good, the design seemed elegant, and its open software and hardware would allow me to hack it to suit my needs.
One of those hacks I’ve completed recently is the installation of a heated print bed and an upgraded hot end heater cartridge. A heated print bed helps prevent curling and warping. When a part is sitting on a cold print bed with hot plastic being applied on top, there is a significant temperature gradient within the part. Because plastic shrinks as it cools this can be a big problem, especially with plastics like ABS that shrink more than PLA. The result is that the corners of the object will pull off the bed and warp.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!