My first year with a 3D printer
It’s been a full year since I bought my Sovol SV02 printer. I’m sitting at my desk with at least a dozen printed objects around me: fidget toys, small art pieces, organization trays, and electronics enclosures. The process of learning about modeling, manufacturing, and materials science has been fascinating (and occasionally frustrating).
Things I’ve learned:
- Printing requires a carefully-leveled bed. Using an auto-leveling sensor like a BLTouch is useful for making the leveling process easy.
- The on-board controls are mediocre. OctoPrint has so many useful features that completely supplant the printer’s own interfaces and OctoBalena makes the setup and running easy.
- The Sovol SV02 has a reasonable amount of extra room inside its chassis to house a Raspberry Pi, and its 24V power supply has plenty of extra current to run through a buck converter to power the Pi.
- Dual extrusion (printing in multiple materials and/or colors) is slow and requires a fair amount of waste, but the results are pretty neat.
- After designing and printing several objects, I now look at manufactured things differently. Most plastic objects are a fascinating mix of manufacturing and design tradeoffs.
- Getting fit tolerances right is satisfying in a deep way. Using heat-set fittings in assembled objects looks super professional.
- Printing on low-humidity days yields better results than on high-humidity days.
- Good modeling tools are expensive, but make the process very enjoyable.
I’m looking forward to another year of design and manufacture with my 3D printer!