The Second Hot End

This is a continuation of my adventures with an Ender 5 S1 printer. When last reported, I was waiting on a part from customer service that would enable me to actually hook up the new hot end.

The needed part arrived from a warehouse in California about a week after it was ordered. I was busy doing life things, so it sat on the unused printer for a few days before I took my son’s hairdryer to the hot glue, cleaning off the old connector board and freeing the other connectors without breaking them. Yay, technology! It took about an hour to put all the new pieces together and get the whole thing ready for a spin.

Project File #8a: Clockwork Update

Watch Escapement

I continued to work on this project, creating a new balance fork and strike plate. This resulted in a model that successfully ticked and tocked until the main spring relaxed.

  • Make Date: March 4th, 2024
  • Materials: white Monoprice PLA

As expected, I used my first printings with the new hot end to refine the last project I was working on. Others had made a wide variety of optional parts: either making the wheels look cooler, or altering some of the functional parts. Some seemed doubtful, but I printed out an updated balance fork and strike plate that seemed to address issues I was having. They totally fit the bill and made the model work as expected. So huzzah!

I tried printing out a thicker ‘hairspring’, but it didn’t have the springiness I wanted. I had thought about printing some of the groovy balance wheels, but couldn’t decide on which looked cooler, so I moved on, instead.

Project File #9: Mini Buddha

Mini Buddha

This is a traditional Buddha model that I’ve used for several years, and I’ve made it in many sizes. The original archive is gone.

  • Make Date: March 6th, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 33.1 x 25.3 x 608.0
  • Materials: transparent whilte Hatchbox PETG
  • Extruded: 6g, 1.76m
  • Print Time: 52 minutes

This is an older model I’ve used several times with my older printer, including several painted models and at least one that was entirely made from copper-infused plastic. However, the original archive files are gone: sad trombone. For this project, I had two goals, one was to print out the model very small. The second was to test this transparent plastic I got.

Transparent plastic is a challenging material to work with: high temperatures and slow speeds are required, along with changing the infill to go in parallel over each layer. The result was translucent around the thinner areas, but otherwise, it was a frosty-white two-inch high model of a Buddha. The head popped off while I was cleaning it, and because of the size, when I epoxied it back, it didn’t go back exactly right.

Project File #10: Gear Bearing

Gear Bearing

This planetary gearset can only be manufactured by 3D printing and comes preassembled. No cage is required to keep the rollers in place, because their gearing keeps them perfectly spaced. The gears are all herringbone, and so cannot be disassembled.

  • Make Date: March 8th, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 51.7 x 51.7 x 15.0
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG
  • Extruded: 20g, 6.04m
  • Print Time: 2 hour 25 minutes

This is another model I’ve printed before. The object prints in place, but as before, it’s extremely tight and immobile until a hex wrench is inserted into the center hole and the kinks worked out. (In an earlier version, I used a power drill to smooth out the action.)

Project File #11: Torture Toaster

Torture Toaster

It’s the Torture Toaster! The guys at Edge of Tech challenged designer clockspring to make a torture test that would be fun and interesting while testing print tolerances, overhang handling, and bed adhesion.

  • Make Date: March 8th, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 119.7 x 127.6 x 65.4
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG
  • Extruded: 148g, 44.72m
  • Print Time: 13 hours 12 minutes

I had been wanting to print this one for a while — another item too big for the old print bed but perfect for the new one. This prints as a single item with hinges and gear locks. When you close it up and lock the gears, you can push the side lever and push the “toast” out. Careful review of the details of this model can help troubleshoot printer errors.

Gap sizing, overhangs, and stringing are just a few issues that this model would highlight if a printer is not well tuned. It’s also a cute item (and remarkably heavy). Mine has a few issues with overhangs on one side, so that should have been a red flag before I got started on…

Project File #12: Planetary Model

Mechanical Planetarium

A working planetarium*, modelling the orbits of the inner 6 planets and the Moon. One rotation of the dial equals 14 days of movement. This model is based on plans for a mechanical planetarium shared by Ken Condal.

  • Make Date: March 12th-18th, 2024
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG, copper Hatchbox PETG, gray Monoprice PLA

An orrery is a mechanical model of planets orbiting a central sphere, and models dating back centuries ago from Muslim lands were known. This seems like a great sort of project for a variety of reasons, not least of which being that I’ve always wanted an orrery! Thingiverse is rife with orreries, so I looked around at some different ones. I spent some time trying to figure out how much one would cost to build and decided to try a less expensive version instead.

The model I ended up printing out represents the solar system from the Sun out to Saturn, plus the Earth’s moon. There are a jillion little pieces and it builds into a kind of stacked clockwork that very roughly estimates the movement of the planets. And if my printer didn’t have just a slight deformation problem, the gears would have all been perfectly round. But they were not, and the orrery never worked all the way.

It is my intention to return to the world of orreries, probably after some more adjustments have been made to seal, perhaps insulate, the printer box. Most models don’t require this degree of accuracy, and I’m assuming that irregular heat loss is the problem. There could be a problem with an axis, or some other adjustment I could make in slicing. Much to experiment with!

Another reason this project was particularly appealing is that it was entirely built with OpenSCAD, which is a means to create shapes by programming them. In this world, the manipulations done to each element of a model are coded in a series of manipulation steps. The application then renders the models for export. As a programmer, working with OpenSCAD has been the most sensible way to create 3D models. With this project, I can see a lot of technique that I would have taken a long time to figure out on my own.

As a bonus, the gears in this project were created with a handy gear library, meaning that I can use that same library to make all and every gear I’ll ever need. [insert cackle] (I have several such OpenSCAD libraries that simplify complex shapes and actions. It’s like having the world’s fattest Swiss Army knife.) I love projects that use gears and pullies, so I anticipate I’ll be using the heck out of this gear library.

Project File #13: Octahedron

Large 8-sided Die

From an OpenSCAD-based polyhedral dice set created by Tim Edwards.

  • Make Date: March 19th, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 161.7 x 160.1 x 132
  • Materials: white Monoprice PLA, white Hatchbox PLA
  • Extruded: 240g, 72m
  • Print Time: 11 hours 7 minutes

I had a special request from a friend at church who needed a giant octahedron for a church fundraiser. She wanted to paint it to be an 8-sided die, so it was to be plain white plastic. I offered to print it with the numbers embedded, and she thought that would be swell, so I found a nice set of D&D dice models, all build with my friend OpenSCAD.

I want to point out that because this is an OpenSCAD model, I can put whatever I want on the sides: numbers, letters, dots, icons. The UTF-16 character formatting standard puts ASCII to shame, and supplies character sets for every major language on the planet, plus a host of wingdings, icons, and emojis. Yes, I could make emoji dice.

But this time, I just sized the model so it would just fit on my build board – 205mm wide. I sliced it, and this normally small solid object stretched huge was going to take a lot of plastic and days to print. So I tossed the model into the Meshmixer and exported a pair of hollowed out shells of an eight-sided die. I printed these shells and used epoxy to connect them.

Recall that I’ve been having some issues with proportionality, and there was some risk in the approach to printing two shells. As it happened, they didn’t align 100%, but it was a good enough result that a little paint will hide the split. I didn’t really have a choice. After hollowing out the model, there was no longer anything to support the top layers, and filling the model with support plastic would waste an enormous amount of plastic.

The result was gleefully accepted. She even tried to pay me for it!

Project File #14: Athena


Athena with no spear or shield.

  • Make Date: March 21st, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 80.0 x 80.0 x 210.0
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG
  • Extruded: 89g, 26.76m
  • Print Time: 10 hours 26 minutes

This is one of a series of Greek mythology statues I downloaded years ago. The archive is long gone, unfortunately, perhaps for licensing issues — these are very high quality models, with a great deal of detail. On the old printer, I could only print as tall as 4 inches, and little 4-inch statues are cool, but the detail is lost and the scale is such that the smaller bits don’t stand up to model cleaning.

Among the last things I printed before we moved were taller versions of these models, stretched tall and cut into parts in Meshmixer. I was able to print eight-inch versions of Poseidon, Artemis, and Hermes. While I could continue this process and create two and three foot statues out of blocks, I decided to create something that utilized the build area present to create a single object.

After slicing the 210mm tall Athena, and seeing both how much plastic would be used and the time it would take, I stepped back to do a little strategizing. My choices boil down to: use a little plastic at a time or a lot, or move faster or slower. Obviously a lot of plastic faster creates crappy models faster, while a little plastic slowly creates beautiful models slowly. I chopped out a bust of Athena to test a couple of different settings, and I’m glad I did, as it was clear that the regular precision & speed would be adequate.

Again, I chose to hollow out the model, but because I was printing it as a solid object, the slicer automatically put support plastic into place. This time, I’m okay with that because my goal was the reduce the amount of plastic (and time) used to create the model, and support pieces are far less dense than the rest of the model. Except for one thing, the print came out great.

The one thing was that the left arm got knocked away at one point and there was a break just below the shoulder. Because of the support plastic, enough remained in position for the remaining model to print well, so I all I had to do was break the model at the flaw, file down the extra bits and glue it back into place. That worked great. I’m looking forward to painting it.

Project File #15: Model Differential

Model Differential

This is a model of a differential gear train with module 1 gears (M1). The frame is compact so that it sits comfortably in the hand and makes for a great fidget toy for people who like gears and mechanics.

  • Make Date: March 23rd, 2024
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG

Still intrigued by gears, this model differential seemed like a good project. It’s small and was hoped to be a nice fiddle toy. The parts all printed out in a single job and looked great. However, they didn’t fit together. I reprinted a few of the gear/shaft parts at 95% and was able to get everything to set up. Then I had to reprint the drive shaft at 100% fill so it wouldn’t break again. (Usually things are printed at 20-30% fill. Within the model shell walls, the interior is generally filled with a sparse repeating geometric pattern.)

More fiddling. I disassembled it again and used some dry lube on the rubbing surfaces. After assembly, it moved better, but it’s still too tight. I don’t see spending any more time on this model, but I may use this gearing pattern somewhere else.

I’m still interested in gears, but now I want some kind of applications. I turn to wind powered designs. I have one model that captures wind energy as physical kinetic energy — another model at least as complex as #8. There’s a variant of this project that just has the wind turbine and associated worm gear, and I thought about doing this one when I saw…

Project File #16: Anemometer


Anemometer for a little dc motor. Charge your electrical devices with wind.

  • Make Date: March 24th, 2024
  • Dimensions (mm): 154.8 x 137.4 x 52.0
  • Materials: white Hatchbox PETG
  • Extruded: 29g, 8.77m
  • Print Time: 3 hours 35 minutes

While I love doing complex prints and builds, sometimes there’s a joy to just printing something out, ready to go, in one shot. Anemometers measure wind speed and pressure, often by converting rotational motion into an electric charge. This anemometer was just such a project. It’s just three wind-catching paddles that connect to the shaft of a modeler’s small electric motor. Simple design for the win!

This works because of the close relationship between motors and generators. In a generator, rotational motion creates an electric charge; in a motor, an electric charge creates a rotational motion. At industrial levels, generators and motors are specifically designed for their respective purposes, but a small electric motor is a small electric generator.

Clogged hotend for Ender 5 S1

Before we moved, I had a bunch of electronics junk that contained a couple of little motors, among other things. But now I have to go buy another one to test this project, and while I’ve located one in town, I haven’t bothered yet to get it.

Instead, I started printing elements from that wind-energy storage model. I got the base printed, but the gear I tried to print was only half complete because the hotend clogged. I spent a few minutes clearing the clog and resetting the plastic and ran the print again. And again, the gear was only half-complete when the printer clogged again.

It was about this time I realized that I had been using low-temp plastic at high-temp plastic settings and it had melted too high up in the throat. I wasn’t able to dislodge it, so that was the end of hot end number two. This time when I ordered a replacement, I ordered two.


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