I bought my first 3d printer in November, a Phrozen Sonic Mighty 8k, and yesterday I run my first 3d print. As you may imagine, for an individual whose superpower is overthinking, it has been a real challenge to break the delay and jump into this extremely deep ocean of technology. But let's start from the beginning!
I've never been so intimidated by an inanimate object in my life. And I owned a GSX-R 600, which was a pretty fast motorbike.
For months, I just left my Mighty 8k inside the box. I looked at it in passing, wondering how to deal with it.
I've always been fascinated by 3d printing and all its endless potential, and I purchased a 3d printer because it could be a priceless tool for my job. But still, I felt overwhelmed just by the idea of starting with it!
Of course, I was crazy. Not only because I invested a pretty good amount of money in that machine, but also because it's silly to have such an amazing tool available and let it collect dust in a corner of the house!
So, yesterday, I decided to take a deep breath, open the box and start to make...something.
THE FIRST ATTEMPT
After having set up the 3d printing corner, I decided to take advantage of all the tutorials I watched on Youtube and try to print my brand-new Admiral. I contacted William from Atlas3dss to get a pre-supported file of this kit (I know, I'm a spoiled brat) and I tried to figure out a decent setting for a first attempt. I know what you are thinking: "No, Matteo! You should at first spend time to properly calibrate the exposure times, printing many calibration tests, and only after this crucial baptism of fire you are allowed to print a proper kit!", and I agree with you.
But I have only two modes: the frozen overthinker ("I don't do anything because too many things can fail) and the Leeroy Jenkins ("straight to the bigger prize, no matter if I'm a level 1 noob and there's a dragon in front of me!").
So I decided to aim big and I tried to print a proper kit at the maximum quality possible.
I decided to go with a 0.01 layers height, I did my math to figure out a theoretically decent exposure following this video, I wore my gloves, glasses, and mask, I turned on my Dyson Purifier in the room and my Elegoo purifiers inside the printer, I prayed God for not getting cancer for printing a sexy Second Government Admiral and I finally poured the smelly resin in the vat.
I then started my first attempt. ETA: 13 hours and 32 minutes.
14 HOURS LATER
For an anxious individual with control issues like me, the whole 3d printing process is a nightmare. The 3d printer seemed to run smoothly, but for almost 11 hours I could only see the bed. I had no idea what was happening down there. Was everything going ok? I didn't know.
A part of me was aware that, especially at the beginning and above all after skipping all the tutorial parts, the risk of failure was very high. But a part of me was also hoping that some kind of miracle could happen.
Finally, after 12 hours of mechanical noises and scary "beeeeeep", the 3d printer bed was retracting high enough to see what was happening down there.
When I spotted something, my heart skipped a beat.
It was true: the 3d printer was really printing something!
However, I immediately realized that something wrong happened.
The Admiral is divided into 4 components: the main body, the legs, the hat, and the sleeve of her coat.
I clearly spotted the legs and the hat, but not the other two components.
Unfortunately, there was nothing for me to do rather than wait for my beloved Galatea (so I named my Sonic 8k...) to complete her task and then proceed to check the final result.
At 1 am, the first attempt was officially over.
AN UNEXPECTED RESULT
I confess: I expected two scenarios: complete failure and flawless victory.
The final result, instead, was totally unexpected because I got 50% of failure and 50% of flawless victory!
As I was expecting, the main body and the sleeve for some reason failed, I think at the very beginning. But the legs and hat came out perfectly!
I was amazed by the quality of these two parts, they are just perfect. Even the finest details like the Second Government symbol on the hat or the paws of the Pug are sharp and perfectly printed. The surfaces are smooth and clean: pure perfection.
This amazing success, however, makes me difficult to understand what happened to the two components that failed. Despite my extremely low knowledge of 3d printing, I guess that it might be something related to the exposure times of the bottom layers, but if I can understand the failure of the main body (which is the heaviest component of this kit), I don't understand why the sleeve failed and the legs came out so well.
Of course, the only way to figure out how to improve this first attempt is...to make a new one!
This morning, I woke up with pure determination and enthusiasm. I cleaned up the vat, I prepared a new file, and poured new resin into the vat. Again, I prayed to God for protecting me from cancer, and I start my second attempt.
Experience tells me that the second attempt is usually the worst one, so I try to lower my expectations and I run this new try to see if the first successful prints were just a coincidence.
For this reason, this time I tried to set a more busy and useful run, adding to the scene some calibration cones (thanks, Ro, for your support and suggestions!) in order to start learning properly the basics of this matter and so understand better what I'm doing.
I adjusted the exposure times by increasing the bottom layers exposure, and I added two main bodies to the scene so I can better figure out if it was a problem of exposure or if there is something wrong with the printer bed.
I honestly don't know what to expect from this second run, but it would be awesome to get something similar to the first two successful components because it would allow me to immediately start to paint the box art of this kit, and open the preorder with a more professional look!
So, well, that's all folks!
At least for the moment. Tomorrow I hope to give you good news!