Geckos and 3D Printing

It has been a while sicne I have been able to put an update on the geckos and gecko condo.  This time of year can be a bit slow with the geckos depending on if I have many clutches that need to be managed, and I do not have as many to work with this year as I did last.  I was finally, however, able to get my 3d printer, a Printrbot+, calibrated and working properly.  It still needs some tweaking, but it is generally running just fine.  Along with the many other things I can use this for it means I can finally move ahead with the final step of gecko condo of printing decorative bolt covers as mentioned previous posts about gecko condo!

Aside from providing decorative fixtures, geckos have also been providing possible solutions to other challenges.  How geckos are able to grip surfaces, for instance, has been a subject of great interest lately and something that could benefit the industrial and scientific sectors.  The below image, though it may not look like much, is actually a model of a gecko foot pad designed to be printed on a 3d printer.  Though it does not work currently, it is something that can hopefully be designed and perfected for applications beyond geckos skampering up and down walls.

I am not quite ready to print out any gecko themed bolt covers.  I still haven't created the actual 3d models that will be used, and I have a lot of fine tuning to do with the Printrbot+ to get it to a level of detail I will be happy with for these bolt covers.  Still, it was a lot of fun getting everything set up and running.  Though the build process and calibration were frustrating at times it was worth it to see it all work properly and produce a three dimensional object from an image on a computer screen.  My first object of course had to be gecko related, so I went and found a gecko throwing star on thingaverse and went to getting things set up to print it.

Here is a video of the last few minutes of printing the first print:

Here is the finished print!

You can see on the top and bottom geckos that the tips of their tails are slightly deformed.  This is because I didn't put kapton tape on enough of the glass coverign the heat bed which prevented the first layer of plastic from sticking, screwing up every layer following it.  All part of the learning process with these machines!

After the gecko star I moved on to make things smoother, and my final print of the night was of a model of Philadelphia's City Hall.  It didn't print the roof and tower quite correctly, but this was because of the image file I fed to the printer and not the fault of the printer itself.  There are many pieces that need to be done correctly to make sure these gecko bolt covers end up looking right.  I am also excited because this will allow me to make things for a few other projects and uses. I already have ideas on a multi-level and multi sized boxed screen container to make cleaning and sorting the roaches a much speedier and cleaner experience.

 

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