3D PrintingMakes

3D Printed Pen Organizer for my Laser Printer

IDEATION

It seems odd but sometimes I think of things to print because I don’t want to change the filament on the machine! Last night was no exception and after printing a set of iPad Pro mounts for my DJI Mavic off of Thingiverse the roll of Black ABS on my Prusa MK3 was calling for another project.

Near the end of the desk is my Dell scanner/copier/laser printer and in front of that printer is a coffee cup full of pens, pencils, and whatever else will fit inside. I have knocked that cup over and scattered its contents at least a dozen times over the past year or so since I got the printer. Some of those times include when I need to use the Envelope tray that tilts forward or to add more paper. Both of those events require me to move my cup’o’stuff and whatever else I’ve gathered in front of the machine.

CAD

I’ve been trying to move slowly but surely away from Ansys SpaceClaim to Autodesk Fusion360. I’ve been using Spaceclaim for about 4 years now and it’s a great program but it is expensive and tied to my main pc because of license restrictions. Also, the SpaceClaim team has been very consistent in pushing useful updates around 3 times a year. Unfortunately, those updates seem to be more about tweaking features to accommodate their target market (whoever that is) instead of making the user interface more agile like Fusion360.

This is the first design I’ve done entirely in Fusion360 from ideation to revision to the final printed object.

I’m still working on getting the most out of Fusion360’s history and sketch capabilities but I made some progress during this design. It’s really nice to have the 3D printer “Make” button in Fusion360 where I can select a component and it will open Simplify3D for me with the design, ready to setup and send to printer. I can NOT do that in Spaceclaim and probably never will be able to.

DESIGN AND REVISION

STEP 1. Figure out the mount point and create an adapter. The mount point for this will be the finger pull on the multipurpose tray. It has a small instep that goes down a bit. This is where a cheap digital micrometer is really useful. With it I was able to grab the step down depth and the rest of the measurements I need to make a prototype. In Fusion360 I created a new component “Adapter” and using the dimensions did a simple sketch and push/pull to get the shape I needed. Then sent the Adapter component to the printer. It fit really well on the first go! Usually it takes a few tries to get a good fit when making something like this from scratch.

STEP 2. Initial Design. I had an idea of the shape I wanted and it was fairly simple; a large area in center with a smaller area on each side. The first iteration had the center area exactly the same size as half of the cup but after reviewing it it seemed too small and never got printed. The one shown here is the second version and was about twice as big. And really worked well.

STEP 3. Printing was easy thanks to my awesome Prusa MK3. I was already using some older black ABS and that was perfect for this job. This job took waaay longer than expected. About 6 hours. I noticed one thing during the print and made me go back and tweak my design a third time to help speed up the print. The original wall thickness on the design was 1.50mm which is about 3.75x the width of 0.4 the printer lays down on each perimeter. This is fine and will work ok, but it caused the slicer to create an infill between an inner and outer layer despite having set the perimeter option in Simplify3D to 4. I learned from their awesome tech support that I needed to tweak a setting in Advanced so it would know I wanted no infill on Thin Walls. That said I didn’t know about that advanced setting and thought it was because I had the wall thickness set at something not evenly divided by the extrusion width of 0.4mm. So I went back to Fusion360 and updated the sketch by clicking it in the History and “Edit Feature”, this is awesome!. Once I changed the sketch so the walls were 1.2mm (exactly three widths) I sent it to Simplify3D again. It still tried to add the infill and that’s when I emailed support and found out about the Thin Wall feature setting in the Advanced tab. Now, I have not printed this design again with those new settings but I’m sure it will print considerably faster as most of this design is height and printing perimeters “vase style” is much faster than a sandwich with infill.

STEP 4. Trial Fit, it did fit but I didn’t account for the ABS expanding a bit and the gap I left between the back of the organizer and the mount was not enough. I fixed it with a small file and just removed enough filament to allow it to slide into place. I revised the design to add another 0.6mm gap to the adapter/back plate.

IN USE

After adjusting the fit I slid it into place and started moving the cup’o’stuff contents into the new organizer. It all fit!!! And with a little to spare. The multipurpose tray does open and the organizer stays in place. I may add some double sided tape or 3D command strips to further secure it to the printer door but for now it’s working!

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Thoughtfully Edited by my friend and business partner MHeston