Optimising print time

Hi, It might be a non issue or something that’s already been explored, but I was wondering if the print time of the stages could be reduced, or could they split into modular parts? My delta stage took somewhere between 16 to 19 hours to print (I was sleeping during the window of uncertainty) and apart from some slightly droopy bridges worked first time. I can see those less lucky or with less reliable printing setups might find it an issue if prints fail a long way in.

I don’t have the skills yet (or the time) to try myself but I was wondering if anyone had tried printing the stage in parts (I’ll start another thread about fixtures).

Also I was wondering if there are other possible ways to reduce print time such as minimising z-axis lift offs? Maybe this wouldn’t have much impact but could the actuator housings and motor mounts be printed as a continuous wall?

The main bodies are long prints. The single piece is necessary for the flexure system to work.

On the other hand >24hrs is not uncommon for a detailed 3D print.

Splitting into multiple parts is an idea for a later version of the microscope. We loose some of the benefits that come from a single monolithic construction.

From my experience there are not too many tricks you can play to speed up the time which make a significant difference except by making the printer head move fast or increasing layer thickness. These are probably more likely to make the print fail.

As we do production runs of the microscope I totally agree prints failing near completion is incredibly frustrating. I have found that things like excessive levels of printer maintenance/cleaning, and picking settings that reduce this risk of failure to be the most effective way to reduce (but not eliminate) the frustration of failed prints. My new discovery this week is that Windolene window cleaner seems to work great for cleaning PEI print beds!

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It is worth mentioning that a lot of printers now default to very fine layer thickness, and put people off thicker layers by calling them “draft quality”. My experience is that 0.2 or 0.24mm layers are fine for the microscope, because while we care a lot about strength we don’t care much about having a pretty surface finish. I tend to use 0.2mm on my Ultimaker 2+, and can print a microscope in about 10 hours. The delta stage main body is bigger, I’ve not printed one of those recently but I guess it will take rather longer…

I suppose the print path will vary between slicers as well but I’ve noticed my estimated print time tend to be over estimated (21 hours for a delta stage).I use Ultimaker Cura and my printer is an Artillery Genius. I’ve limited experience but noticed for simple prints such as the small gears actual printing time (not including set up) for 3 X 1 gear was quicker than 1 X 3 gears. (less applicable to the stage, small areas of infill add extra time where thicker walls probably would be fine). I thought splitting the legs and platform from the actuators might be an option and possibly printing them flat, although perhaps bed size might be an issue.

Had a question, and this topic suits it greatly) Are there any specific places to read about the proper preparation of the print? Should I use supports and if I should, were those should be placed? I will use Prusa 3 homebrew clone and petg…

The microscope is printed without support. The body must also be printed without a brim. Supports and automatic brim stop the motion of the stage. There is an STL for the main body with ‘smart brim’ which has a brim specially placed so as not to interfere.
There is also a leg test STL to help with getting your settings to print well.
Some more print explanations are in the instructions on the web site.
Edit: right at the bottom of this page https://build.openflexure.org/openflexure-microscope/v6.1.5/docs/#/0_printing

What percentage of infill one should use for the different parts?

The infill is not critical. Some printing details are in the middle of the page Printing parts (openflexure.org). It does not explicitly say the infill, but the screenshots show 15%.

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