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Discussion Starter #1
As I've previously mentioned in my general 3D Printing thread, one of the Halloween things I'm using my printer for is to design finials to be used on PVC fence. Until today, I'd only released one finial design, the traditional four-fin delta shape, which I called the Tetra:



I just released a handful of additional models to Thingiverse, which are a mixture of traditional and original designs. There's the Lily:



The Diamond (which I mostly made because it was relatively easy):



The Obelisk (made for much the same reason):



And an original design that I've named the Lugbúrz, which comes in two- and four-pronged variants.



As mentioned elsewhere, these are all posted to my Halloween collection. If you have an account there, you can Watch the collection for updates. I'll be posting more as I have time to make them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Those all look great! What a super use of a 3D printer. :cool:
Thank you. :D

There's just one problem with using a printer for these: they take hours to print, and you need nine of them per 8-10' section of fence. Since the main section of my yard needs at least 9 sections of fence, that'd mean printing 81 finials. Not counting any extras.

At the current rate, it's almost two weeks of non-stop printing, or a little under one finial per day from now to Halloween. I've considered making printable molds so they can be cast in something like silicone or even Great Stuff to speed up the process, but I haven't had a chance to experiment yet.


I'm still working on additional designs. This is the work-in-progress pic of my bat finial that I posted in the other thread:


My plan for my fence (based on the Instructable) is to cap the small pickets with the Tetra design, to put lanterns on the corner posts, and to put something like the bat finial on the remaining 2" posts between sections of fence.

Then I plan to use red reflective tape in the eyes of the bats so that the headlights from passing cars will hopefully catch them.
 

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black light queen
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i have a 3d printer waiting 4 me when i get back from my business trip

thanks for the designs dyne :)

i don't know anything about 3d printing ... what am i getting myself into? lol ... but couldn't you make a print job, that probably isn't the correct term, to print multiple finials? wouldn't that speed things up some? but the throughput gains may not be that gr8

i also purchased some fluorescent filament so that i can print stuff that will fluoresce under black light :)

amk
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
i don't know anything about 3d printing ... what am i getting myself into? lol ...
It's a rabbit hole, to be sure, but fun and very handy.


but couldn't you make a print job, that probably isn't the correct term, to print multiple finials? wouldn't that speed things up some? but the throughput gains may not be that gr8
It might speed things up slightly, but the savings will be on the order of minutes per batch.

For example, according to Cura, my Tetra finial printed once at 0.3 mm layer height takes 151 minutes (2 hours and 31 minutes). If I place three of them on the build plate, it will take 443 minutes (7 hours and 23 minutes), give or take a few minutes depending on how far apart they are spaced (which matters because the print head takes time to move between them, and it does that every single layer).

Three finials at 151 minutes each equals 453 minutes to print them consecutively (plus however long it takes me to remove each one and start the next print). I would save at least 10 minutes by printing three at once. Every little bit helps, and saving 10 minutes per batch over 27 batches would gain you 270 minutes total. I don't run my printer unattended because that's a fire risk, so assuming I have over seven hours to sit around the house while the job runs, that would be fine.

Unfortunately, the problem is that you run a significantly greater risk of print failure whenever you do multiple parts.

Tall, narrow parts like these already run a fairly high risk of failing because they don't have a large footprint to keep them stuck to the bed, and because they have a large amount of inertia trying to resist the Y-carriage's back and forth motion (i.e. the finial WANTS to throw off the shackles of slavery and be free). To make matters worse, the risk of a tall part failing is often concentrated toward the end of the print job, when the print is at its tallest.


With one finial, if it detaches from the print bed 90% of the way through the job, then you wasted 135 minutes and enough material for that one part.

With three finials, every one of them has the same risk of detaching as the single finial, so the combined risk of something happening is higher. If any one of the set detaches, it can (and likely will) wipe out the other two in the process, and if it doesn't, the nozzle very well might, since it is now extruding into thin air instead of onto the missing part. Say the failure again happens at 90% completion. Now you have wasted almost 400 minutes and three times as much material.


It's not something I would recommend to a newbie. Mind you, once you have been doing this for a month or two and have learned how to reliably get successful prints, you can take steps to improve your chances (i.e. clean build plate frequently, make sure printer is level and calibrated properly, etc.) and can probably pull it off more often than not.
 

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black light queen
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Dyne, you're 100% correct, of course ... i was thinking about a large print job that had, oh i don't know, i guess it depends on the size of the print bed, but i was thinking about cramming as many as you could and letting it run over night ... the fire problem and other issues you mentioned didn't even cross my mind ... see i told you i didn't know anything about 3d printing

personally, i'd still use the messed up finials ... i'm not into "perfect" looking props and would use what ever the printer made or modify to use them as something else ...

is it possible to make your own filament out of scrap plastic? for me, it's ok if there are defects in the resulting 3d object due to poor filament ... but it may not be worth the trouble

i'm thinking that 3d printing, at least for me, will be making something that i can't purchase or something that i need a small quantity of asap

amk
 

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There's just one problem with using a printer for these: they take hours to print, and you need nine of them per 8-10' section of fence. Since the main section of my yard needs at least 9 sections of fence, that'd mean printing 81 finials. Not counting any extras...
Totally see using the 3D printer for making a master mold-making copy. Seems way better to use molds to make actual fence-sittin' copies. (The right tool for the right job, and all.)
 

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I know nothing about this stuff but I appreciate reading the posts. There's clearly a lot more to consider than I would have thought. I feel like I'm learning here.

it's too bad you couldn't group them in sets of four and connect them like the old model kit sprues, where you sort of had to snap the little pieces off. But that'd probably just further increase the print time and not reduce the risk enough to justify the effort. Just thinking if the multiple parts were connected, printing more would *add* stability.

Anyway, keep us posted - hope things flow smoothly for the rest of your finials! (Love the Bat final design too.)
 

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Thank you. :DAt the current rate, it's almost two weeks of non-stop printing, or a little under one finial per day from now to Halloween. I've considered making printable molds so they can be cast in something like silicone or even Great Stuff to speed up the process, but I haven't had a chance to experiment yet.
I've never had the budget for Smooth On products but they make exactly what you want to do....Here's a good place to start https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ1A7ZjTsx8
Check out the description for more similar links from them......Stillbeast Studios https://www.youtube.com/user/StiltbeastStudios has some great tutorials using regular silicone from Home Depot as a mold and would be much cheaper....Check his channel out.....I want a 3D printer pretty bad right now.....Thanks for offering these on thingiverse and Good Luck with your build....ZR
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is the 13th post in this thread, so I am required by law to post spooky pics. Here is a new model for the Bat Head that I experimented with last night in Sculptris while listening to the newest Hauntcast. Its a bit rough, but I'm not really used to sculpting and it was started literally than 5 minutes after installing this software for the first time.





I think the ragged look is spooky, though. Imagine driving past and seeing a couple of those with gleaming red eyes atop posts between the fence sections (see upthread where I mentioned my plan to put reflectors in the eyes). Similar to this:




(Sculptris is Pixologic's free 3d sculpting program, kind of similar to ZBrush. I already had the ability to do 3D sculpting through Blender, but this is a great deal easier to just jump straight in with.)
 

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This is the 13th post in this thread, so I am required by law to post spooky pics. Here is a new model for the Bat Head that I experimented with last night in Sculptris while listening to the newest Hauntcast. Its a bit rough, but I'm not really used to sculpting and it was started literally than 5 minutes after installing this software for the first time.





I think the ragged look is spooky, though. Imagine driving past and seeing a couple of those with gleaming red eyes atop posts between the fence sections (see upthread where I mentioned my plan to put reflectors in the eyes). Similar to this:




(Sculptris is Pixologic's free 3d sculpting program, kind of similar to ZBrush. I already had the ability to do 3D sculpting through Blender, but this is a great deal easier to just jump straight in with.)
That s just awesome! :D I'm really awed by your finial designs too. I'm currently banging my head against a wall trying to figure out how to make a casting of a finial on public property. :eek:
 

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What would be the cost of material to make something like the Tetra? It would have to be cheap since you can buy them for .26 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
What would be the cost of material to make something like the Tetra? It would have to be cheap since you can buy them for .26 cents.
The filament I've been using for my prototypes (Inland Black PLA from Microcenter) is about $15 per kg spool. Cura claims that this makes the cost of the Tetra about 35 cents per part at the settings that I'm using. That doesn't include electricity, of course (remember that these are heated devices, with power usage roughly similar to a desktop computer).

However, bear in mind that these parts are designed to fit PVC pipe. Most of the ones I've seen that you can order in bulk have square bases that a pipe won't necessarily fit inside. Typically the finial has to be oversized or the pipe has to be modified to be square with a heat gun.

And of course once you move beyond the Tetra, some of these are custom designs you can't order at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Here is a sneak peak of another new design in progress...



Edit: forgot to mention, it's Cthulhu. Specifically, it's meant to be the stone statuette described in The Call of Cthulhu.

The other Mythos finial I'm intending to make is an Elder Thing from At the Mountains of Madness (which was a banister motif in Dreams in the Witch House)
 
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