3D Printing using Freecad and Prusa Slicer on a Creality Ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 is arguably the best budget printer for 3D printing on the market. I am lucky enough to have one. Here are a set of posts on using Freecad, Prusa Slicer and other tools to produce my own designs. They are here mainly as an aid-memoir for me. But if you find them useful that’s great.

Connecting Pronterface to Ender 3

You can just drive the Ender 3 using an SD-Card. In fact in many ways that is the best solution. But I wanted to do some 3D printing directly from my laptop running Ubuntu. There was a simple problem I needed to overcome to use the USB connection. Here’s how I fixed it.

Connecting Pronterface to Ender 3 3D printer with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Ultra Simple 3D Design from Start to Print

I don’t use the printer every day. So I forget stuff. Simple stuff. It drives me crazy. So I built a set of posts that followed the development of an ultra simple project from beginning to end. Here they are.

  1. A Simple worked example with Freecad, Slic3r and Pronterface.
  2. How to Turn a Simple Freecad Sketch into 3D Object.
  3. Using Prusa Slicer to produce Gcode for a Creality Ender 3.
  4. Printing on Creality Ender 3 with Pronterface USB connection.
A Small Gotcha with setting the font for string shapes in FreeCAD

I encountered a trivially simple but annoying issue when setting up the font path for text strings on FreeCAD for the first time. Here’s what it is and how to get round it.

FreeCAD Font Path Set Up for Text String Shapes

How to Add Printable Text to a 3D Design in FreeCAD

I wanted to embed text into a 3-D design. After getting my knees metaphorically skinned going up the learning curve I then put the project down for a couple of weeks. I promptly forgot everything I’d learned. So next time I wrote it down. This is my post aide-memoire that describes how to add text as a cut through to a 3D design.

Simple FreeCAD Text Example: How to cut 3D Text in a design.

How to add raised text on a 3D design in FreeCad

While the above post cuts text into a slab. This one below does the opposite and extrudes out from a block. Just to make it a little more interesting , instead of a flat slab this used a wedge so the text is at an angle.

Another Simple Freecad Text Example: Raised text at an angle

Using a Lithograph as a printing block

One of my experiments with the Ender 3 is to use it to produce a printing block from a an image. I reckon that if I can make a lithograph out of a two layer images (i.e. a silhouette) then I can produce a printing block for printing that silhouette image onto card/plastic/wood or whatever.

Printing a Lithophane as a Block Engraving on an Ender 3

Ender 3: Is my processor 32 bit? or 8bit? How to tell.

Ender 3 processor type. How to tell if it is 32 bit or 8 bit.

Ender 3: Is it an 8 bit or 32 Bit Motherboard?(more on how to tell)

Ender 3: Why is my auto home off the plate by about 5mm?

My Auto Home is off the plate. Here’s Why.

Freecad: Wedges and Pyramids Explained

I had a nightmare trying to figure out how to use the Wedge in the Prt workbench (it also makes pyramids). Just so I don’t forget again here is an explanation of the parameters to this geometric shape and how to use it.

Freecad: Wedges and Pyramids Explained

Installing the Latest Cura, Slic3r and Prusa-Slic3r on Ubuntu 18.04

While Ubuntu 18.04 is as rock solid as it gets, some of the packages available on it are down-level including Cura, Slic3r and Prusa Slic3r.. But there is a suer easy way of getting the latest packages on Ubuntu 128.04 as all three of these packages come with what is know as an App Image. Installing an App Image couldn’t be simpler. Here’s how:

Installing the Latest Cura and Slic3r on Ubuntu 18.04. Prusa Slic3r too.

Attaching a Glass bed to an Ender 3 without using Spring Clips.

I hate the way you have to use spring clips to hold the glass bed on an Ender 3. Besides looking awful they can (as I can bitterly attest) foul the print head and cause utter mayhem. I looked for a better solution. I (or rather my wife) came up with what looks like a beautifully cheap and effective solution (and no – it’s not painters tape)

Attaching a Glass bed to an Ender 3 without using Spring Clips.

Printing Bigger on an Ender 3

My trusty Ender 3 has an advertised maximum print area of 220 x 220mm. But you can print out this limit. I wanted to find out how much more so I ran a simple test using a circular target. This threw up a number of Gotch’as that can trip you up when printing outside of the advertised area. Here’s what I did:

Printing Bigger on an Ender 3