2019-05-14 21:49:03 (edited by livrobo 2019-05-14 21:50:26)

Hi,

I'm curious if any of you have messed around with a 3D printer. I know that we wouldn't be able to create models to print. I'm more curious about the software responsible for sending the model to and interacting with the printer.
There's also the maintenance of the printer to consider.


I guess I don't have any specific questions at the moment; I just wanted to see if you guys own one and how usable it is.

If a helicopter falls in the field and no one's around, it doesn't make a sound.

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2019-05-14 22:06:35

I've actually been looking into them as well. I've done some reading about how they work, and I've been very curious about how accessible they are to use and maintain. Of course, it wouldn't be hard at all to find models online instead of creating them yourself, but there's still the issue of the software. I'm not entirely sure what I would want to use one for, but it's been interesting to look into at least. People have come up with some amazing projects that might be worth exploring at some point. I'd be glad to know if anyone has had any experience.

Close your eyes and let the words paint a thousand pictures.

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2019-05-14 22:06:49

Hi.
Well, this is a multipart question.
1.  Well I'd imagine that if you used windows paint to open a picture file or something, you could print it in the usual way.
However things like gimp and a few other image programs are not accessible.
2.  maintaining the printer.
There are 2 parts to this, software and hardware.
Firstly I don't even touch the laser printer I have on the network.
If it jams or if its cartredge needs replacing due to dalacate bits, I just don't touch anything.
For the system itself, the system uses a touchscreen a lot do and that is completely inaccessible.
Now saying that once its connected to the net either via lan or wireless you can use it.
The software may be accessible or it may not you don't know if it is or not, most hp and brother stuff is at least to the point where you need to bother with it.
Linking to the cloud google or other account will need sighted help to complete on the printer.
Any apps may or may not be accessible on smart phone.
The web management interface is usually quite accessible.
More over its an exact mirror of your touch screen control panel.
Some interffaces are more complex than others, but once its in the network its in the network.
Now excluding laser, for the blind, an ink jet is probably better, the carts can be accessed easily enough if you know where.
Not sure about the tanks.
The 3d printer is just a printer with different types of ink and output abilities and materials.
They probably can print standard stuff to I'd imagine.

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2019-05-14 22:20:36

I have a 3D printing club at my college, I am the president of this club.
I have used a 3D printer myself and I am totally blind.
It is possible to send over the file but that is just it.
It can not be maintained easily because the parts are either very small or very hot, it is no possible to know when it has cooled down.
In order to print the model must be totally level and must be setup properly in order to fit.
You basically need to fit the model in to the virtual volume in the software.
You can not do this without sight, I hope some people can find a way.
Thank you for your time.

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2019-05-14 22:37:24

@3 what the bloody hell is this tripe. This is one of those instances when if you don't know what you're talking about, then don't talk about it, especially when it is someone looking for information. 3D printers most assuredly do not take ink or toner, and cannot print pictures (which are 2D). They require a 3D model, which is not a picture, to print off of. They then go through a program called a slicer. The slicer is the program that you import the model into, and can arrange it on the build platform which will be translated into instructions to the printer. This is in the form of G code which is originally for CNC machines. Other printers have proprietary instruction sets. You can import models onto the platform, and arrange them in such a way that you can print multiple things at once, or duplicate a model and set it up so you run off multiple copies in one print job. This is the part that would be hard or impossible to do without sight, because you can rotate the model on all 3 axes, and move it anywhere within the virtual build platform. You also have access to controls for the printer, such as how much in fill and support material to print, how hot to make the extruding end, and how hot to make the bed if it is equipped with a heated bed. You can set the resolution of the print and the speed of it.

As to actually using one or owning one, I cannot speak to that as I have done neither. All the information I gave comes from multiple videos I've watched on the subject. I could see some challenges though. First, the slicing software, is it even accessible, I sort of doubt that. Secondly, when you import the model, does it start in a way that makes sense. I mean, if you're say, printing a figurine of a soldier, you don't want to print it with the thing's arm being on the build platform and building at a weird angle, in case some of the filament gets stringy and runs down. I'd imagine you'd want to print it vertically, how it would sit, or have it laid down, like in a prone position, and print it that way. So, if the model imports in a weird orientation, that's gonna ruin your print. That's many hours and material wasted. Then, if the printer jams, how would you know, it just keeps going but nothing comes out and it bloops over, I've seen this happen in YT vids. Then there's pealing the print off the bed. If the bed is heated, not as big a problem, if it isn't, it needs to be covered in painter's tape, and still, pealed very carefully so you don't damage it. You then need to take the honeycomb support material off, if it was needed for overhanging bits. Often then, there is cleanup that needs done, like filing and the like.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-05-14 23:09:23

@5
I believe the information in post 3 is likely just refering to regular printers. (likely having confused the two) Nothing to get upset about.

Close your eyes and let the words paint a thousand pictures.

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2019-05-14 23:34:38

Thanks for the information everyone.
Ironcross, you brought up a number of points that I hadn't considered. It sounds like I'm going to have to wait for this technology to mature before playing with it.

If a helicopter falls in the field and no one's around, it doesn't make a sound.

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2019-05-15 00:09:54 (edited by magurp244 2019-05-15 06:09:42)

There are many different kinds of 3D printer, but the most common ones use PLA or ABS plastic spools or varying types. Some more exotic ones print metal or other materials, though those can be very expensive.

Personally, i'm using an Anet A8, which was fairly affordable, though the trade off is you have to assemble it yourself, and get a little, ah, creative with some of the parts. If yougo with the same model, some assistance may be required. I've looked quite a bit into 3D printer accessibility, and can say that it is reasonably possible to use one, though maintence may be a bit tricky at times. For example, with the Anet A8, at least how its currently configured, the extruder fan will not turn on unless the extruder is above 50 degrees, so if you listen carefully for the fans getting quieter, you'll know the extruders safe to touch. Bed leveling and ensuring the print sticks can be a frequently troublesome issue, though proper maintence can usually mitigate that.

I've evaluated a few types of controller and slicer software, and found [Pronsole] to be a screen reader accessible 3D printer command line interface, its a bit janky at times, but you can hook your 3D printer up to your PC and connect to it with it. Pronsole also comes with Slic3er, which can be used on the command line to convert 3D models to printer code, the visual GUI is also screen reader accessible, though loading models is a bit tricky. When you load the gui, press left, then tab to go to the display windows 3D toggle, then move right until it gets to layers, then hit tab again, and press right, that will select the "add" button which allows you to add a model for slicing, after that everything should alright. Convoluted I know, the only downside is that there's no way to view the position of the model on the bed, though there are a few ways to work around that.

To make 3D models, you can use OpenSCAD, which allows users to create models using text based scripting. I created a tool called AudiMesh3D that allows users to load 3D STL files and view the models as a sonified depthmap, which when combined with OpenSCAD can allow you to view and create 3D models. So you can script a 3D model in OpenSCAD, then export it as an STL, and view it in AudiMesh3D as a sonified 3D mesh. The viewer can also be used to checkout the default position of the model as its loaded into the slicer, so it can give at least some idea of what its position may be on the bed.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2019-05-15 01:30:29

@6 one of my pet peeves is people talking about stuff they don't know about and giving disinformation to others. Note that if I am unsure of a point when explaining, I make dang sure that's made clear. I don't just run off whole cloth and say yep its this or yep its that. A 3D printer can be costly, so people really should know what they're getting in for, and if they choose to buy one, they should have all the information they can get first.

@8 failing that, or with one that doesn't have a fan or something, they do make talking thermometers, I think even the infrared kind that you just point at an area. Scripting a model though, hmm, interesting, that might be fun to try.

I felt the wind of your passing
        is preferable to
I felt the passing of your wind

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2019-05-15 06:09:53 (edited by magurp244 2019-05-15 06:10:04)

@9
Oops, actually Pronsole also lets you remotely check the current and set extruder and bed temperatures on the command line, along with print progress. 3D printers all typically have heat sensors to prevent thermal runaway, so the software taps into that.

-BrushTone v1.3.3: Accessible Paint Tool
-AudiMesh3D v1.0.0: Accessible 3D Model Viewer

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2019-05-15 09:30:21

Hi.
@magurp244: Wow, thanks for some very useful information.

Best regards SLJ.
If you like the post, then please give it a thumps up.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Happy gaming... :D

2019-05-15 23:42:35

@Magurp244, thanks for that info. I'm glad to hear that I may be able to use one, at least partially.

If a helicopter falls in the field and no one's around, it doesn't make a sound.

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