3D printing isn’t anything new. A lot of people on Youtube have been big into 3D printing for like a decade. But it used to be a very expensive hobby with 3D printers costing insane amounts of money. But prices have dropped and I stumbled upon a 3D printing shop by accident like 2 weeks ago as I was searching for something else and dropped my eyes on Creality Ender 3 S1. It was around 440€ so not really a fortune. Creality is kinda the most mainstream 3D printer maker and I thought, can’t go wrong with most widely used device. Usually great for servicing too thanks to availability of parts as well as info how to operate them and all the tricks.
The issue was that this particular 3D printer was not in stock for whole month. And then I spotted Ender 3 V2 model. Sure, it’s an older, more basic model with no automatic bed leveling and more basic extruder, but I thought, hell, it’s so much cheaper (like half the price) and how hard can it be to level the bed and it’ll be great for learning while saving bunch of money. And I was right!
Assembled it super quickly with included instructions. It was like assembling LEGO Technic 😀 I did an exception and just ignored the included 3D models. Instead, I went ahead and used Tinkercad from Autodesk to just go straight into my own designs and man, I love it. I’ll eventually move to more advanced modeling programs, but I love Tinkercad for how easy it is to work with. From idea to 3D printed models literally in minutes. It’s literally like Minecraft or LEGO building. I just wish it wasn’t an online only tool, but I can forgive it because it’s just so simple to use yet powerful. All other 3D modeling programs are so clumsy and it seems like there is this huge disconnect between input of information and its visualization. Tinkercad is the opposite. It’s literally WYSIWYG. You drop in basic object and define its dimensions and as you’re tinkering with it, you already see how it’ll look like. I kid you not, it’s as simple as drawing basic shapes in MS Paint, but still much more powerful as you can input dimensions of sides directly and you can also lock objects together or substract them by changing objects status to “hole”. If you merge regular object and a “hole” object, the “hole” object will remove the material from the original object, creating a hole. Or an angled edge or whatever you want. It’s an amazing tool to work with.
What I love the most is how easy it is to fabricate parts for real-world practical applications. All I use is measuring caliper and I can basically fabricate anything with it by quickly transferring measurements into Tinkercad. And man it’s actually damn precise. I was mostly rounding measured things down to 0.5mm, but it still fit things perfectly once printed.
Created a holder for my CMOS clear switch that I had in front of the case so I don’t have to take apart my entire case just to bridge the CMOS clear contacts. Before I just had switch dangling in there and now it’s properly held in place with this little thingie I fabricated in like 5 minutes.
Mind you, those walls of the object are just 1mm thick! The blue parts hook into the PC chassis and you slide the switch in from the side so it’s sandwiched between chassis and this printed plastic piece.
And here is the final result…
This was my 2nd printed object of all time and I initially made a mistake of making a solid box with hooks and realized I won’t be able to jam it in. So I just carved away a line of material to give the hooks on one side some springiness and it clicked in beautifully. I’m actually amazed how flexible and springy PLA material is. This bit is covered by front case panel so I don’t care that it’s white and not most aesthetically pleasing, but it works and all I used was measuring caliper to read out dimensions from the case and the switch and transfer them in Tinkercad.
I’ve been playing for a while with various other things and I’ve made some pretty amazing things with it. Probably one of most complex ones is the HEPA filter replacement for my vacuum cleaner so I can mount the vacuum cleaner hose on the exhaust of the Bosch vacuum cleaner, converting vacuum cleaner into a blower. So I can clean dust from my PC without any worry about static electricity or having to use a compressor.
It’s a drop in replacement for HEPA filter so it fits into same slot on the back of vacuum cleaner. I didn’t design or use any gaskets because I don’t require perfect seal like HEPA does.
Now it no longer sucks, it blows! And boy it blows hard! 😀
I’ll be printing more of stuff in the future, might even post finished models to print. It’s pretty cool as it’s the reverse of how I used to fabricate parts for my stuff. I used to take away material from blocks of plastic or metal to create objects. Now I’m adding it till they form a desired shape. And it’s so freaking cool 😀