3D printing glitch

These just came out of the printer this morning and I realized it had been a while since I talked about failure. Thing is, when you manufacture products with 3D printers, it's so common (failure), that after a while you don't really notice it. Kind of like a river smoothing down a river rock. Or a dunescape submitting itself to the wind.

How bad is it? Well, let's just say the idiom "Third time's the charm" becomes a charming language trinket of the past. Thirtieth, would be more like it.

But no, it's not that bad really, unless you're printing something for the first time. Or trying out a new printer. Because once you figure out how to print a part for a particular printer for a particular material, by a particular manufacturer, for a particular color, for a particular arrangement on the printer bed, it's smooth sailing. The problem shown in this image, however, has nothing to do with those variables. It's from wear and tear. One of the belts is not registering and allowing itself to slip with every passing printed layer. No way around this one, other than decommissioning the printer until it's repaired.

With all the possible ways things can go wrong, it feels almost miraculous that parts even print correctly. Thankfully, as we gain more experience, it has become more common than not.

But all this is a good reminder that we must make efforts to move toward injection molding. Last week I communicated with the company here in Washington that will be doing the work for us, and we're in the process of trying to figure out file formats and getting our data converted into something they can use. More exciting news on this hopefully in weeks ahead.

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