First Two Weeks of Operations

Since the start of the Lunar New Year on January 28th, Make and Take has produced 73 roosters (first 14 days of operation).  My goal is to produce 2017 roosters over the entire year.  Due to some issues with the printer we have had a few periods of downtime.  I, or is it the machine, am little behind schedule.  The machine should have produced 77 by now (to meet the goal of 2017 roosters in a year the machine needs to produce on average approximately 5.6 roosters per day).  We (the machine and I) have some work to do to catch up. :)  However, I am optimistic that we will catch up.  For this project, I expected some downtime so I have programmed the machine to over produce.  On average, each day the machine is operational we produce 6.4 roosters.  In 3 days of operation we should be back on schedule.  

I expect I am not out of the woods yet with respect to failures and issues.  I am learning everyday about printing under these difficult conditions.  Though these failures, I am learning more and more about the piece and I believe the fixes I am putting in place are making the piece better.  I am becoming a better 3D printer operator in the process.  I really love projects that force me to engineer and produce solutions given tight constraints of time and resources. Containing the solutions as ones that can be implemented on-site force me to be more creative and more innovative than I would probably come up with given more time and less restrictions.  This way of viewing constraints has driven me from the beginning of this project.  I have always wanted to have a clear goal regarding the automation of the piece and number of roosters produced was determined to be a good metric.  This constraint drove many decisions on how the piece was designed and produced.  As such it is a better piece than a piece that say would produce a rooster from time to time without a goal.

It is exceptionally heartening the conversations and feedback I have gotten from the public while working the piece.  The feedback has been very touching (the patience people have shown waiting for the piece, the stories of what people have done with the Roosters after taking them, and in general the interest and support for this type of piece [a piece that part of it is given away free] on the Greenway) and overwhelming positive.  I find the troubleshooting incredibly rewarding from a learning perspective though I have other engineering projects that I must attend to (though I would be welcome other opportunities to produce works of art like this) and I want to push and get the machine to work on its own.  However, the interaction with the public helps fuel me to do my best and continue to reach for my goal.  It is somewhat contradictory then that issues with the machine have lead me to be downtown more than I expected but the interaction with the public has been more rewarding than I expected.  I want the machine to work on its own and step away from it, but the interaction with people drives me to stop in and 'check' on it.  Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and shared their interest in the piece with me.  It is much appreciated.

Challenge of Printing on the Greenway

  • Attempting to automatically print and give away for free more than 2017 Roosters in one year.

  • 1 year = 365 days = 8760 hours

  • To my knowledge, I don’t know of anyone attempting this long on continuous automated printing of the same object.  However, my technique is not new and owes much to the open-source community and individuals who shared techniques to automatically print on these types of machines.

  • The machine will require approximately 40, 2.2 lbs spools (spool change once a week).

  • Total weight of Roosters produced will be 94 lbs.

  • Total length of filament used will be over 46,000 feet or 8.8 miles (8X longer than the Greenway itself)

  • The 3D printer used for this project is one that what taken from the five I currently own so I have lots of spare parts and can replace the entire printer if needed.

  • The printer started this project with 2406 hours of print time.  

  • The enclosure is temperature controlled with a 1500 Watt heater set to maintain 70F

  • The windows are double paned (1” air gap between) and double sealed

  • The 3D printer was tested outside the enclosure from 40F to 120F.  The printer struggles with the higher temperatures more than the colder temperatures.  The 40F tests were completed in Aeronaut Brewery’s hops fridge which is located next to Artisan’s Asylum.

Individual 3D Printed Roosters

The printer uses mostly metric numbers.  I have included imperial in parenthesis as well as brackets of common ways of referencing. “~” denotes approximate or rounded

  • Build time: 3 hours 48 minutes

  • Filament length per rooster: 7.01 m (~23 feet)

  • Plastic volume: 16.87 cubic centimeters (~1 cubic inch)

  • Plastic weight: 21.08 g (0.05 lb)

  • Size: 3” tall (50% scale model from scanned piece)

  • Material: PLA (corn or sugar cane based plastic) / Compostable

  • On Spool Filament Diameter: 1.75mm (~0.07”) [7 hundredths of an inch]

  • Extruded diameter: 0.4mm (~0.016”) [16 thousandths of an inch]

  • Layer Height: 200um or 0.2mm (0.008”) [8 thousandths of an inch]

    • For reference on average a human hair is roughly 4 thousandths of an inch

  • Number of Layers: 385 layers

  • Infill: 20% (the interior of the piece is only 20% filled with plastic in a grid pattern.  80% of the interior is air.  This saves material and allow the part to print faster than would be possible if the piece was solid.  The machine is capable of printing 0 to 100% (solid))

  • Lines of G-code per rooster: 273,373 [over a quarter of million]

  • G-code is the common name for the most widely used programming language for controlling computer controlled machinery such as 3D printers.  G-code is “human readable” and can be stored as plain text.  G-code defines the movement and operation of the printer.  Commands look like “G1 X15.936 Y0.386 E0.0092”.  This is one line of code.  This code is telling the printer to go “G1” to a particular x, y position “X15.936 Y0.386” and extrude this much material “E0.0092”.

  • Size of G-Code: 8.6 MB