Mastering a 36-hour Print
Ken Carrier recently completed a design for a new small engine that increases efficiency while still being “green” and inexpensive.
For the engine prototype, Ken was determined to print a fully operating 1:1 model, but the cylinder was a daunting 240mm in length. He purchased a printer that would accommodate his model, with just a few millimeters to spare.
Ken’s engine cylinder required 36 hours and 2 full rolls of filament to print! After printing 4 cylinders, Ken can be deemed “A Master of the Marathon Print,” and is happy to share advice regarding extended builds.
First, and don’t take this lightly, Ken advises it is imperative to start a long build with a clean extruder tip and a free-flowing filament reel. Ken actually disassembles his extruder nozzle and thoroughly cleans it before each long build. Next, he advises careful planning to prepare for changing filament rolls. In Ken’s case, it was his wife who mastered the art of feeding in a new roll of filament precisely at the end of the first roll, usually about 3AM.
However, even with the best preparation, unforeseen complications may arise such as a clogged nozzle. Ken developed a method to resume printing on top of a partially built model, which saved hours of printing time and filament. He carefully measured where the model stopped printing, added one layer height, and then used one of the advanced features in Simplify3D Software to restart the print at that exact height. As he told us, “I may have stopped and restarted 10 times during one of my builds, and the end result was still a great model!”
Ken completed 4 incredibly long prints, compiling all the parts to assemble a 1:1 operational engine prototype. We challenge you to identify the cylinder below that has 10 restarts!
If you’d like to see more, view the animation of an 4-cylinder engine in the video below.
UPDATE November 2015: Since Ken completed working on this engine prototype, the design has been patented. You can view the patent information here, as well as the inventor contact information on Idea Buyer. Congratulations on this exciting accomplishment!