MakerBot Thoughts

Discoveries
. After Sharpie permanent marker drys on ABS plastic it will not rub off.
. Silicone is not a good build platform. I used the bottom of a silicone baking pan and the ABS (or maybe it was PLA) did not stick at all.

Other stuff I learned
. There ultraviolet light cured 3D printers. Inkjet-like technology squirts out object and support materials. UV light cures the object material to a solid and the support material to something that can be separated from the object. These have redundant print heads so that if material cures in the print head, the object is not ruined.
. Gator board is “Much stronger then foam core, but about the same weight.” An individual at FIRST suggested this be tried as a build platform material.
. The biggest limitation the engineers I’ve met at FIRST see in the Cupcake CNC is not the print area or the resolution, it’s the lack of support material. It’s crucial that a multi-plastic extruder head be developed.

Ideas
. Use a smaller diameter filament. Decreasing the diameter by 50% should reduce the force necessary to drive the filament by 75%; reducing the motor’s necessary size. You could also increase the filament input speed 400% and run it at 4 rpm. I bet there are more sources for motors geared down to 4 rpm than there are for 1 rpm.
. Make a multi-plastic extruder head: one motor, several rollers with actuators, and a plastic wire between the shaft and each roller. Each plastic extrudes only when the roller presses the plastic against the roller.
. Use egg dye to color the ABS plastic. That may be a good way to get into all those little cracks that a marker cannot.
. Use liquorice string as an extrusion material
. Use two sizes of extrusion orifice. A small orifice to do detailed work, a large for fill. This could solve the problem faced  in the compromise between built time and print resolution.
. Use a flexible, reusable material for the build platform. From this we can build a belt mechanism, so multiple print jobs can be executed in succession without human interaction. After a print is finished the x-y platform moves to the opening and rotates the belt. The object should break away leaving the build platform ready for another job. We may be able to use a mesh or woven fabric made from a material that would otherwise not be suitable if it were a solid chunk.
. The next time I have a makerbot on display I would like to have a video camera in the machine to display the build process on a video screen viewable from outside the booth. This would be good for people to see form a distance and allow more than just a few close individuals to see what is happening.
. Make printed circuit boards by extruding plastic where traces should be on the surface of copper clad board. The board may need to be heated.
. Make printed circuit boards by shooting UV laser light at the surface of photo resist board.
. Can a furnace spray nozzle be modified into an extruder nozel? Maybe there is an obscure one out there. What about a fuel injector or something?
. If a nozzle is made from JB Weld or other material, we may be able to form it around a nylon of Teflon threaded rod (assuming it won’t stick) rather tan tapping it.
. How about making things by extruding JB Weld?

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