One of the key areas that we strive to improve on in our manufacturing process is with the quality of the 3D prints in the Mill One kits. Our 3D printed part quality is an area that has a lot of room to grow in terms of improving quality. We have worked with our customers and listened to their suggestions to improve print quality, and over the last couple of months, our prints have become stronger, more consistent, and more precise. Making these improvements have involved testing different print settings, nozzle sizes, bed surfaces, and materials.
One other step that we have taken in improving print quality has been to update our printer farm with two new Prusa i3 MK3 printers. This is to increase our print capacity, as well start replacing printers from our aging fleet. One of our longest lasting printers has close to 3000 hours of printing on it.
If you’re familiar with Prusa as a company, they build industry-leading printers known for their consistency and reliability. They are currently being used to print the ACME nut mounts and the angle mounts, which are parts that require good layer adhesion to provide high strength. Based on our initial tests with the ACME nut mounts, it appears that these new mounts are stronger and less prone to cracking than mounts made by other printers. We have one printer that has been working fairly reliably but still need to fix some things on the other Prusa to have it up and running properly.
Here are some other things that we have improved over the last couple months:
- Reduce Z banding on the electronics holder and cover
- Improve bed adhesion for the angle mounts
- Adjust tolerances on the nut catches on the ACME nut mounts
- Switch from using the Cetus printers for printing the ACME nut mounts over to the Wanhao i3 or Prusa printers to have a smoother bottom surface (the raft on the Cetus leaves a rough bottom surface)
We’re excited to be using these new printers for creating better parts and continually improving our kit!