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Helping out with Rapid Prototyping

I received an email about doing some printing for a gentleman. He already had the digital file created so all I had to do was print.

"The project is actually to create a better method to use computers for those with limited mobility and EDS as it reduces lateral movement of the fingers in comparison to a standard keyboard and mouse."

What was a little different this time was he needed some 'thumb pads' for an 'xbox controller'. So that mean using a filament called TPU. TPU stands for Thermoplastic polyurethane. You could call it 'rubber' but that wouldn't me chemically correct but it is basically a soft-ish type of material that is just like rubber. IT comes on a spool, just like regular filament, and prints 'like' regular filament(some higher temps involved though typically). There are various 'hardness' ratings to it was well.

Also, like any other filament, you have to test print a few times to make sure you have your particular machine dialled in to print it right.

Believe it or not, these are actually good results. These 'testing towers' have different settings for each level. The one on the left is testing 'retraction'(how far the machine pulls back the filament between moves) and the one on the right is testing out temperature. With TPU, that 'stringing' is par for the course. You'll get it regardless of what you do, the goal here is to narrow down what gives you the least stringing and that's the setting you use. Actually, there is one more test I still need to do to be more dialled it but after doing these two, I had a good idea that it would print good.

The print job was only 17mins long, so it's not like I',m wasting a lot of material so I printed one. If it failed miserably, then I would do the 3rd test. Luckily it did not.

It was difficult to get a good pic with my camera but you get the idea. The client was concerned about dimensional accuracy of the machine. I explained that its not the printer but the material when it comes to dimensional accuracy. The TPU that was ordered has an accuracy of +/- 0.003mm. The printer has a layer height accuracy of 0.08mm.

I sent him this pic as to how accurate the print turned out.

The client was happy with the results and even asked if I could print the joysticks that these will go on. Sure thing!

He sent me some pics of how they turned out for his project.

Suffice to say, I'm happy how this project turned out for him.

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