3D Printing Large Objects (Pt1)

I have a Creality Ender 2 It is a great beginner machine, with a print volume of 150mm x 150mm x 200mm. I have been using it for about 18 months now and have found it to be a fantastic introduction to 3D Printing. Big shout out must go to @WoodPunk and the #EnderArmy for the recommendation and support.

The Creality Ender 2 3D printer is small, simple and cheap – exactly what you’re looking for in a beginner or secondary 3D printer – All3DP.com

I have mostly printed small functional parts and tools for my leather crafting. However, I have started a project recently to print a 250mm diameter VW Logo. This is far too big for my print bed and so I have had to ‘chop’ the design into smaller parts.

Through some experimentation, I have found that I can divide the design into 6 parts that are a maximum of 125mm at their longest point (and the whole thing is only 35mm high) so easily fits inside the printer’s build volume.

It took me a while to work out how to do this, and really challenged me… mostly my mathematical ability to keep track of the 60` rotations! Each part takes 6 hours to print so I have been doing them as often as I can during work hours mostly (as I work from home!).

I have been using Tinkercad for this model… I really want to learn Fusion 360, but I am at that stage where I need to progress and am struggling to make time to learn a new tool so it’s quicker (or at least it feels that way!) to use the software I know.

Here you can see how I have achieved the splitting… I took a segmented cylinder that is bigger than the main design and left a 60` cutout. I made the cylinder into a ‘hole’ and then when grouping it with the main logo solid, the result is a slice of the VW Logo. It was then a simple* case of rotating the logo in 60` increments and repeating the grouping process. I could then copy each slice out and export them to individual STL files for printing.

*Not simple at all for a Dyslexic, but I got there!

So far I have printed 4.5 slices and the results are really promising… watch this space for the completed piece. I aim to follow this blog up with others covering the whole process… please let me know over on Twitter what you would like to see me cover or if you have any questions. I have managed to include alignment holes and creatively design the model so that I can make the best use of the filament (the hidden parts are hollow in the STL and then printed with support which would normally get removed). I also wrote myself a handy spreadsheet to calculate the cost to print each part based on electricity consumption and filament costs.

Filename Actual Print Time Filament (g)  Electricity Cost Filament Cost Part Cost
1.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 05:55 61  £                     0.27  £            1.01  £     1.28
2.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 05:51 59  £                     0.26  £            0.98  £     1.24
3.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 06:05 64  £                     0.27  £            1.06  £     1.33
4.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 06:07 64  £                     0.28  £            1.06  £     1.34
5.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 06:09 62  £                     0.28  £            1.03  £     1.30
6.V2_BevelledVWBadge.stl 06:07 62  £                     0.28  £            1.03  £     1.30
12:14 372  £                     1.63  £            6.16  
 Total To Print  £ 7.79
Becky Thornton