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themaninthesuitcase 3D printed TLJ build

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Ahh man devastating news to stifle your great progress. Hope your part turn up soon, hope you ordered a few of them.

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I’ve ordered a whole new hot end to speed things up. Also picked up a replacement heat break to repair the original hot end in case this happens in future. 

E3D are only about 30ish miles away and normally I’d just go and pick it up as I’m in a hurry but the Rona means no customer collections.

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Parts arrived from E3D today, complete new hot end kit and a titanium heat break.  Will be rebuilding tomorrow with a 0.4 nozzle as my Prusa 2.5S upgrade kit is arriving Monday and I'll need to print the parts for that which need a 0.4.  Once those are done I will reattempt to swap to the 0.6 :wacko:


I also received some shiny faux leather cycle shorts for the under suit, £8 after a discount though post was about £3.




Hoping these are OKd by my GML, and I hope they will be fine for Lvl2+

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We wont know until you are kitted up and posting an application thread, but if they are shiny and black, then they seem to fit the brief.

Now you have your printer parts I expect to see some good progress over the weekend :P

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And we're back in acton!




Rebuilt with a Titanium heat break to help prevent future mishaps.  Not surprised the old one broke, it took a lot of ignorance to get the old nozzle out of the heat block. The other half of the heat sink is very stuck in the heat sink, not sure how I'll get that out but it's not a big deal if I can't.  For reference E3D are good people, and were very helpful with my screw ups.


First print was meant to be the end of one of the yoke arms but the supports just were not sticking.  Turns out the bed seems to have developed a bit of a warp, but nothing a couple of hours calibrating couldn't fix but blew out the available print time for the day.


Back on with the back/yoke tomorrow.  My Mk2.5S comes Monday so I'll probably swap to getting the upgrade parts for that once I get the back parts cranked out and swap out the warped bed.

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I used a similar pair of shorts, saved spending hundreds of dollars on a all in one setup ;) 

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Back plate is coming along nicely.




There is 1 issue I need to fix however.  As I scaled in only 2 planes, the O in OII is oval.  I have a plan to fix this but I'll come to that another time.


Also one thing I would do differently next time.  As it is I cut things neatly into a grid essentially:




Next time I will cut more like "a brick wall".  Not only should this make things stronger as there are less long straight cracks, it will also make lining stuff up easier as you can use the overlap part as a reference.  I would still use fibreglass to reinforce things but it wouldn't need to work as hard.


Also one back part (top row above) had some big over hangs using a lot of support, almost as much as the part.  So I have split one into 2 to allow me to re position it reducing the support need but adding 1 more seam to glue and weld.

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The upgrade is complete!  A few issues needed overcoming, annoyingly I suspect these could have been avoided if I had done an extruder calibration before I printed the upgrade parts.  I was only printing 94% of the material I was asking for so everything is a shade small, meaning holes are a tad loose.  Managed to work round them all and it's working so I'll leave alone for now but I'll need to reprint a fair amount of parts and rebuild at some point.  The part fan is getting a bit loud which may force my hand at some point, so I'll start getting some of the parts I need in stock as time allows.




Loving the new quiet cooling fan as well as the flex bed and filament sensor.  Really should have done this when it first came out.


Also swapped to the 0.6mm nozzle which should speed stuff up a reasonable amount,


First on the print bed was a size test for the helmet.  Basically take a slice of the helmet around the eyes and print it and see if it will fit or not.  Printing on 0.35mm layers, fast with 5% infill to really smash them out.  Don't need to be pretty just exist so I can try them on.



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I'm not happy with the print quality since the rebuild.




I've upped the contrast and clarity to really show the mess in this image.


Taking the time needed to close down on the issues.  I've already fixed some of them and am working on the general surface now.  


I had printed the entire chest plate, 0.6 is sooooo much faster, but once I'm happy I'll probably re-do it as it will save a ton of time in finish work, even if it does mean I wasted most a roll of filament.

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I literally went through a 1000ml bottle of resin just perfecting prints, even then my machines go nutty from time to time, frustrating.


Keep up the great work Chris

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Make sure belts are not too tight, machine vibration can be a factor if they are.

Power fluctuation is also a probable cause of step out on 3D printers.

Re-calibrate your steppers  on your X and Y axis

Make sure all parts that secure your print head are secure and tight. check these while the machine is stone cold due to heat expansion.

I cant think of anything else off hand but printers are rather finicky at the best of times.


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I think I figured it out, it's to do with the infill lines.  It was too regular and the same on all parts and something felt odd.  I'm not ruling out mechanical fwiw, I do want to tighten the Y belt a notch or so as well I think but that's a bear of a job involving flipping the printer over and potentially skewing it etc.




The front is the "updated" settings back is old.  The changes where to Linear Advance K factor and infill %.


Linear Advance is clever maths that slows the extruder down near corners to prevent over shoot.  But you have to tell it by how much, the K factor.  My filament setting was hard coded ages a got to K30.  But that was for a 0.4 nozzle.  Now I am using a 0.6 which needs to back off differently, so it's K18.  These values can be worked out but I just use the defaults provided by Prusa.  So the change I made was to copy the programatic GCode generation from a Prusa PLA to mine and now it can work out what K to use based on the nozzle (and printer and if it has a bowden.


That fixes the pit marks on the Z seam, which are random as I have it set to random Z seam to prevent a big line on a part.


The infill? I was using 5% to keep weight down.  Infill, to an extent, doesn't make a part stronger the perimeters do.  CNC Kitchen on youtube did a great video on this.  The problem is infill does effect the surface finish.  And as 0.6 puts down way more filament it's more visible.  I went back and looked at the project file I kept for the part and the large band matched the infill exactly where it was joining the exterior walls. 


So the new part is running at 15% which still has some visible flaws but far less.  I also feel the orientation seems to matter, not sure why so I am running the next part with the outside facing away from the controls to test this.


For this part 10% means about 10g more weight.  Doesn't sound like much but that now adds something like 120-150g to chest plate alone.  So whilst I can no print faster with the 0.6 I am forced to add weight, which will probably be about 1kg in the end (or £20-25 as that's all filament)


Whilst the finish is still not perfect, it's close enough for sanding which needs to happen anyway.  I'll worry more about perfect when I swap back to the 0.4 after the main parts are done and I need to re-do my upgrade parts.

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Progress report!


I have figured out the quality issue. Short story long: it was the 0.6 nozzle. 


After a fleet of benchy's and other test/calibration prints I just went and swapped back to the 0.4.  And lo, the quality was back.




So in the interest of saving hard work at post processing, I am going to take longer with the prints.  Sort of how if I was able to print all night I'd print all this at 0.1mm layers instead of 0.2.


This keeps the surface quality up and means I can keep infill and thus weight low.  Just means a 20-30% ish longer print time.  I'll cope.


I was looking at the CRL again.  Specifically the chest section, and discovered I am an idiot.




Whilst I know my pills are a weird shape, I was going to fill them and reshape with drill bits as a mould, I missed that they punch all the way through.  Had I done so I would have asked for a file mod, now I am half way through a reprint of the chest and don't really fancy a 3rd.


Power tools it is.




Rough plan is to Dremel off the back lump, plate over with some 1.5mm HIPS I have, and then drill, shape and fill as needed for the new holes.  It's going to be a mess, and a pain but I have at least 1, possibly 2, spare copies of this part.  Also at 5% infill there's not a lot of it in the way to drag drills off line etc.  Fun times ahead.

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Good luck with that little mod Chris, take your time and hopefully it works without hiccup.

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So one step forwards, two back.






Basically, I dropped it.  This was the 1st part I printed and the temperature wasn't hot enough, and I am pretty sure under extruded.  So it broke.  As infuriating as this was last night it was always going to break, just a case of when.  At least I've not done much assembly and finishing on it.  


I double checked some things this morning, like extrusion width and also destructively tested some of the chest parts I won't be using.  I am pretty happy that with current settings the replacement will be up to snuff.  


That said, that right angle is a bit of a stress raiser so will reinforce it either by welding it or fibreglass.  Also I'll try not to drop it again, especially as the price of filament has gone way up due to demand.


Butt plate is almost done.  The main sections are pretty large and more or less maxed the Z axis.  Size seems good just hope it all fits once assembled!  I'll be doing some of this before I get too ahead with the chest plate incase I need to make any changes.




I also managed to get hold of an older copy of the chest plate file, which has holes!  They are still the wrong shape so I have knocked up a "fixer" in fusion 360 that I will use to correct them. Once the part is printed I can measure the holes and update the parameters in the fusion file and print that.  Once that's done I can carefully file the chest plate until the fixer fits and then fill all the remaining gaps and smooth it all.



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I had a lot of success with split using gorilla super glue gel and a kicker spray, once that spray gets in it welds like metal. 

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20 hours ago, gmrhodes13 said:

I had a lot of success with split using gorilla super glue gel and a kicker spray, once that spray gets in it welds like metal. 

Thats more or less how I've been joining the parts, then going back and "welding" them with a soldering iron and filament filler.  


Sadly this went at a weak spot.  It was a very early print and I've changed a lot of how I print since, so I plan to reprint. That said I will repair this too so who knows, I need to fibre glass some bits anyway and maybe that will save this part?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't overlook the awesomeness of baking soda and CA glue to make CA cement as a filler.  Have you tried it yet?  It cures the CA glue almost instantly and fills, resulting in a weld stronger than the parts themselves.  And it sands like a dream.  I applied a small bead of glue to the inside edges of the parts, then apply another more liberal bead to the inside (hidden) surface areas when you hold the parts together.  Typically I would tape off the outer areas to help keep the parts lined up and to reduce oozing on the outside of the part.  Once the liberal bead of CA glue is applied, then generously sprinkle the baking soda all over the bead while holding the pieces together.  I apply enough so that I can smoosh it down with my finger (wearing gloves) and along the bead line, pushing the baking soda into the joints a little bit.  It really works nicely.  :)   

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As I mentioned I was given an older copy of the chest which had holes.  However I didn't really like the thickness of the plate as it was uneven and I generally preferred the newer version.  Seeing as even the old file needed a fix I went back to the file I started with, and printed the whole thing.

To update this to lvl3 I started with the template piece I showed before but made the tubes taller and their walls thicker.  I printed a couple of these as they didn't take long.  By keeping the base plate thin they are able to flex and conform to the shape of the chest plate.


To do the fix the first step was to remove the big lump behind the pills.  This was a messy job using a dremel and a sanding drum.  The PLA+ doesn't really sand well and sort of melts off rather than sand, but I got there in the end.


This was then filled with P38 (same thing as Bondo), took a couple of passes rough sanding with the dremel each time then finishing off with some 120 by hand.


I next marked out the dimensions of the hole I needed to fit the replacement. This initial hole ended up being too narrow as I forgot to account for the curve splaying the repair.


I drilled a 6mm hole through from the front, roughly cental but exact placement doesn't matter.  I then cut close to the line with a coping saw and then used files to get the hole to final size.  As I mentioned this actually needed to be a shade wider.  I broke the 1st piece trying to get it in, but I had 2 so it wasn't a problem.


You may notice I've changed the angle slightly as the hole angled up slightly.  I checked reference and it should be horizontal.  With a few measurements I verified the angle was wrong and then measured to correct.


The part was superglued in from the back, then sealed around the edge with a bit more glue and accelerator.


The gaps now needed filling.  I did think about using P38 but this seemed like a lot of effort to not fill the pill holes.  So I opted to pour in some resin.

I chose Smooth-On Smoothcast 66D as; first I had some from a complete project and no longer had a need for, it had a slightly longer pot life and being semi rigid was less likely to crack later.  This turned out to be a terrible idea.

The resin had gone bad and foamed up when curing.  Not a huge issue as such, but there was air bubbles that needed filling.  What was more of an issue was the fact it's semi rigid.  This made it harder to sand as it would flex a bit and so resists the abrasion.  I should have used the 325 which I picked up at first but decided against.  300 would have been better still but I don't have any at the moment.


As you can see I wasn't the tidiest!  The Smooth-On semi-rigid range has a slow cure profile.  Basically this means rather than curing suddenly like most resins, it transitions slowly through a gel like state.  I used this stage to drip in a bit more resin to try and fill above the surface slightly to reduce the need to fill. This was when it started to foam a little and so just ended up making a bit of a mess.

To clean this mess up I resorted to files.  Initially a small 6" file but swapped to the big boys to speed stuff up.  I started with a saw-rasp, think 10 saw blades joined together, on it's fine side then moved to a fine cut metal file.  The saw-rasp is brilliant and removes a lot of material fast but in a controlled manner. Once this was more or less down to the surface I swapped to some 120 wrapped round a sanding sponge.


The foaming left some air bubbles in the surface.  These were filled with some 3M acryl filler and sanded back again.  This isn't perfect but the rest I'll do when I assemble the chest as that will need a lot of filling.


I also have fixed the oval hole in the OII of the back plate.  I started by making a plug the size I wanted the final hole to be.  This was a simple 3D part with an M4 hole on the back so I could add a screw as a handle.  Before use this was waxed so that it would pull free from the filler once it cured.  I used some Smooth-On mould wax I had lying about but something like vaseline would work just the same.

Ideally the plug would be centred as that would be correctly fixing the skew.  However it's easier to just pick one side to redice the amount of fixing needed, and act as a guide for the edge profile.  Before filling I drilled a few 3mm holes to give the filler something to grip to.  With the plug clamped in place some P38 was pressed in to fill the remaining gap.


Once the P38 was cured I used the M4 screw to pull the plug out.  The wax stops it sticking and it comes out pretty easily.  There was some filler under the plug but this can be sanded out later.


I've done a quick smoothing pass to remove the excess, I've not yet corrected what should be a round over.  This will be done later once I've made a template to guide me.  I am sure that will also need some more filling.

Finally the TD uses a TFA style end piece.  My initial plan to modle a full replacement core was a bust due to how the model is designed so I had to print it as is initially.  I used a hack saw to carefully remove the sticking out section.  This went pretty well and didn't require as much filling as I expected.


That lip was also carfully removed with the saw and some careful pulling at the layers.  This was then filled with a couple passes of P38.  Still not perfect but I can address this next time I am using the filler.

The TLJ end cap will need to be 3D modelled and glued on.  The new part needs to be about 30mm tall, but a paint can cap is about the right diameter so I used one to mock up the look.


At some point I may go back and try create a "lose" core style one like seen in the Premier photos but this will do for now.  I'll just make sure that the TD can be removed in future and replaced should I chose to.

Print progress wise I have completed:

  • The abdomen (still broken but I will repair this, using suggestions from above and some fibreglass)
  • The back plate for the TD
  • The TD
  • Chest plate
  • Back and yoke
  • Posterior
  • Cod
  • All of the Ab boxes
  • Made a start on some of the helmet

I have also printed out some rings from the left forearm and biecp to test for fit and sizing.  I need to add some card to space these to size.  Once that's done I'll grab an undersuit and get some photos for size checks, I have a feeling I'll need to go up a little the same as the armour.

On order is a bubble visor for the helmet. I already did a size test for this and used the eye section deliberately so I could measure for the lense.  I'll share the supplier and my review of quality once it comes.

Current printing focus will be the helmet until I confirm the arm sizing and I will swap to those.  I also need to make a start on assembely soon to try age start getting a better idea of the core fit and comfort.

Edited by themaninthesuitcase
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Just did a quick mock up of the left are using some small rings roughly printed.  The idea as before is purely to get size quickly and using as little filament as possible.




The size seems, I would like a bit more at the wrist so I am probably going to upscale to the same size as I did for the body.  This will give me about 15mm (5/8ths ish) all around at the gasket joints.  This seems a reasonable gap to allow for the gaskets and still have room to move in.  Any guidance from more experienced builders would be appreciated here.

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