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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Thank Goodness for Fusion 360's Document Recovery!

I start work pretty early this morning, 6AM to be precise.  
Coffee..  The "Go-Juice to start
any day.

That means I usually get up around 4:30, get dressed, and make a little coffee to prime the pumps, so to speak. 

If I have time, I read a little news on the computer before jumping in the car and braving the Los Angeles traffic. 

This morning, I my laptop announced that Windows needed to install an update and restart.  Just as I was leaving for work, I told Windows to go ahead run through the update process. 

I knew I had saved all my documents... Including that Fusion 360 part I had been working on the night before.  Of course I saved....  right????  RIGHT???
Sure enough.  At lunch, I open up Fusion 360  to take a look at my part.  I'm going to bathe in the the power of the cloud and all the power of accessibility it grants me! 

And I see a blank screen when I open my document.  That part I was so sure I had saved???? I hadn't.  

I mentally shrug and accept that I'll have to redraw the part.  It wasn't complicated and it will only take a few minutes to recreate.  But still, the CAD version of "Groundhog Day" is never fun. 

Once I get home, I opened up Fusion 360, considering recreating my geometry, and with the voice of angels, the document recovery screen appears. 

And it includes the part I had forgotten to save! 

The File Recovery screen. Note this image doesn't contain
the filename for my recovered file. In my excitement, I had already recovered it.
I didn't have the courage to try to re-break it to see if it would recover again.
All I had to do was right click, choose open, and bask in the joyful joy-ness of File Recovery.  

File Recovery pops up when there are files auto-saved on your computer.  It's a handy reminder there is potential data that can be salvaged. 

It can also be manually by choosing the "Recover Documents" option from the File pulldown. 

Locating the "Recover Documents" screen manually

Regardless whether or not it's access at startup, or manually from the pulldown, it can be a great way to recover lost work in case of computer/software crash, or if, as in my case, a forgotten file save!

Boy am I glad I didn't have to rebuild this geometry!
(note the part name states its "Recovered"


Additional Photo Credits

photo credit: wuestenigel What's the worst thing that could happen? via photopin (license)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Painting PLA 3D Printed Plastic.

The valve body part I use for everything from machine
calibration to well, paint tests! 
One of my newer endeavors is running the 3D printer at work.  And with any new journey, it's got is rewarding victories, and frustrating setbacks. 

My most recent "let me figure that out" moment came when printing a "presentation" part, meant to give an idea of shape and volume.

I printed the company logo into the part, because that's just good marketing right there.  But then came the suggestion....

"Can we paint the logo to make it pop?  Do we have an white out anywhere?" 

After a build lasting 22 hours, I wasn't willing to roll the dice with white out.  But while home sick, recovering from the flu, I had an idea (fever dream?) to go to the local crafts store and see what they had for paint. 

So once recovered, I wandered off to the crafts store and found a paint pen.  Not willing to try my first attempt on the part at work, I tried it on another PLA part I had. 

The results for a first attempt weren't too bad.  We're they perfect?  No. but it'll do for what we're currently after, and if I do say so myself, not bad for a first attempt.

The "paint pen" and its willing test piece

Have you got any suggestions for painting PLA?  I've heard acrylic and spray paint work well, but haven't tried it myself.  For that matter, has anyone tried the good old fashioned whiteout?  Maybe I'm being a little elitist and it really is a good choice!


Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Revisiting My Old Friend Fusion 360. And Searching for Documents in the Data Panel

My beacon many a night
A few months ago, I took a brief hiatus on blogging to concentrate on studying for my FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Airframe and Powerplant tests.  As many of us encounter, there are only so many hours in the day, and the body will only tolerate so much caffeine.

I'm proud to say that those tests have been passed now, and it is quite a thrill, and yes, a relief too.

But that means that my evenings are free to pursue other endeavors, and some of those evenings will involve building a few models in Fusion 360.

I don't expect I'll get too crazy with parts, my time is still somewhat limited.  But I'll share my adventures here as I learn new things.

So what's the first thing I (re)learned?

How to search for a file I saved to the wrong location!

That's right!  I'm diligent about saving my files!  What I don't always do, is remember to make sure I save to the correct location! 

However, Fusion 360 does have a way to fix that!

First, locate the search "magnifying glass" on the Fusion 360 data panel.


Once the magnifying glass is selected, the data panel shows  a search window.  All there is to do is type the name of the document you're searching for, and click the search icon.

It helps me when I misplace my files. Perhaps it can help you too!

Good luck!  I hope this helps!

Additional Credits

photo credit: bryan... 星巴克, 慶州, 徐羅伐, 韓國, 南韓, 大韓民國, Starbucks, Gyeongju, South Korea, Republic of Korea, ROK, Daehan Minguk, 경주시, 대한민국 via photopin (license)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Improvising Dry Storage for 3D Printing Filament with Help From my Cat

A little less than a year ago, I found myself learning how to use the 3D printer at work.  It's a Fusion3 F400, and it's been a pretty good machine so far.  I've learned a lot from it!

Samples of a valve body I use for calibration.  From left to right, PLA, PETG, and Nylon

One of the things I've learned is that many 3D printing filaments are "hydroscopic". That is, they absorb water from the atmosphere.  After absorbing water, the part finish will deteriorate as the en-trained water boils as it leaves the print head.

That means finding a way to keep filament dry.

Some methods include:

  • Keep filament stored in it's shipping bags until just before use.  That reduces the time that filament is exposed to the atmosphere.
  • Store filament in containers with a desiccant. 
  • Use a filament dryer, if you have one, such as this one from PrintDry.
Over time, I found I had several spools of partially used filament with no place to put them, and I didn't have access to a filament dryer.  

That left me with the option of trying to find a good way to store several spools of filament in a container with desiccant.  

The answer came as I was sitting on the couch, scratching the ears of my cat, "Runtley the Runtling".  
The Runtley seems interested in his potential contribution
to the 3D printing industry.
I had an empty 35 lb cat litter container!  It's free with the purchase of 35 lbs of cat litter, it's big enough to hold 4 or five spools of filament, and airtight enough to keep cat litter dry, and that's designed to absorb liquid!

This can be a dry storage container!

So after being emptied and thoroughly rinsed to make sure there was no lingering dust, the container made its way to work.  

It now resides at my desk with a few bags of desiccant and a few spools of printer filament inside.

The container at work

Add a few desiccant packets

Mix in a few spools of filamnet

Tag it so it doesn't get thrown out by the cleaning crew! 

 Hopefully this soles my filament storage issues!

Do you have a clever way of dry storing your filament?  Leave a comment! 

And thank you Runtley the Runtling for your donation! 

In true cat form, Runtley is unimpressed.