Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts by the team at Machine Eye. These blogs will cover different topics sharing an insight into some of the exciting things that are going on in Machine Eye from different team members. We hope it gives an insight to the projects we have going on and to share some knowledge along the way. We hope you enjoy them!

Machine Eye are fortunate to be supported by Solidworks for Entrepreneurs who have provided us with software and training. We have also been provided 1-1 training courses through South West College to which have focused on improving our team’s 3D printing and Solidworks skills.

At Machine Eye we use 3D printing for both rapid prototyping and functional parts due to the advancements in precision, reliability, and material range available for printing. All of the parts manufactured are 3D printed in-house on a Creality Ender. Models of the parts are designed using Solidworks CAD software where the manufacturing processes, materials and features are taken into consideration to produce the highest quality parts.

3D printed dust covers, just a few of the functional 3D printed parts we use

Our Design Engineer Julie shares her top 3D printing design tips: "One of the most common problems that people encounter with 3D printing is the elephant foot. This happens when the first layer flares outside the print due to compression from the other layers. It won't ruin the model but can be quite unsightly, so to prevent this you should add a 0.4/0.5mm 45 degree chamfer along the edge of the face which will be on the print bed.

Much like anything, 3D printing is a skill that you will improve at the more you do it and you definitely learn from your mistakes!

To reduce the need for support (and therefore the amount of material used), chamfers should be added to internal corners where there is a 90 degree angle to another surface. This provides a more gradual route for the printer nozzle to travel over and provides support from lower levels without the need to have to remove support in tricky places when the print is finished, leaving you with good quality prints. The size of the chamfer depends on the size of the print."

Julie says: “Our 3D printer is a great tool for quickly prototyping complex parts, to verify and reiterate designs  in house while keeping lead times and overheads low, while also cutting down on wastage of supply.”

"For good quality printing of the walls of a part, the walls should be at least 2 times the nozzle diameter and when you're increasing wall widths it should be calculated by adding on the nozzle diameter. This way the whole nozzle will be able to pass through the wall and will make the part stronger.

Some prints go better than others... The bed temperature was too low for the filament to stick. Nozzle and bed temperature being correct for the material you're using is also key to good prints.

Much like anything, 3D printing is a skill that you will improve at the more you do it and you definitely learn from your mistakes! There are great communities of 3D printing enthusiasts online, so people are there for support and advice if you can't figure out what is going wrong as well."