Week 36, 2015 – September Acquisitions

Well, let’s see here…  First of all I got a replacement part for my computer chair, because the bloody thing basically broke in half a week or so prior… I actually found a reinforced one on Amazon with Prime shipping, and had it overnighted for the extra four bucks!  But we’re not here to talk about that.

I got a whole lot of cool stuff, some of it very important. Details after the jump! (Pictures are coming)

Simplify3D — (Simplify3D.com $149)

I bit the bullet.  It took a huge chunk of my cash for the month– more than I had, in fact; my family pitched in for a third of it –but it simply had to be done. Honor demanded it. (Also, updates are nice.)

I’m not gonna lie, for the last 3-4 months– out of the seven I’ve had my 3D printer –I’ve been using a pirated copy of Simplify3D that I found in the depths of the Russian darknet.  I mean, it’s their own damn fault for not offering a demo… I knew immediately I had to have it, but holy hell was it going to be hard to afford…it costs like a third what my printer does!  Anyway, the 3.0 update was the tipping point where I said “Okay, next chance I get, buying a license!” because I needed those features, desperately.

So now, I have a Simplify3D license in the name “John Pfeiffer, Evil Genius!”– because of course I do –and I’m finding that not only are all the new features just as amazing as they promised and more, but a ton of the little things that annoyed me about 2.1.0 or whatever the hell it was I had were also just right now!

I’ll do a full review later, but for those who don’t know, I’ll simply explain; Simplify3D is currently the best software out there for running a 3D printer. (And it has a price to match.)

iGaging 0-1″ Digital Electronic Micrometer Inch/Metric — ($39.99 – Amazon)

I got this so I could get accurate readings of filament diameters, since Simplify3D can take the ‘actual diameter’ and use that to fine-tune various extrusion settings.

This is truly a thing of beauty!  I thought my non-electronic ‘digital’ micrometer from Shars was fantastic, but wow!  First of all, unlike my digital calipers, this will keep its zero forever unless I recalibrate it, and so I don’t have to keep zeroing it.  Because of that, it has a simple one-touch function to switch between incremental and absolute measurements.  Can’t say as I like the knobs on the back as much as the graduated metal ones on my other micrometer, but since that thing is just a regular full-analog one with the additional numerical readout and this one is mostly custom-made as an electronic instrument, it’s understandable.  It also has a serial port that you can get a USB cable for, which allows capture of measurements to immediately be sent to a spreadsheet or your CAD application, via keyboard emulation. (Of course they want twice as much as I paid for the micrometer for the cable.  Nope.)  It came in a snazzy smoke-gray transparent case with a wrench, battery, and a ‘ball attachment’ which I don’t quite have figured out yet. (At first I thought it was a calibration standard.)

Its specs are also pretty amazing, for the price:

  • Metric/Imperial Units display, on a large LCD
  • Absolute and Incremental measurement modes
  • Accuracy +/- 0.00016″
  • Range 0-1″
  • Resolution 0.00005″/0.001mm
  • Carbide Measuring Surfaces

Next, I’m going to have to get the matching caliper… (Even though I have literally a half dozen 6″ calipers already, and one 12″)

X-ACTO Standard Knife Set (X5083) — (Amazon – $31.79)

I’ve got plenty of X-ACTO knives… I mean, who doesn’t?  My dad’s got a large set with the #1, #2, and #5 handles, a bunch of blades, and various other tools… It’s the woodworking/carving set.  Now, this one isn’t anywhere near that size, but it makes up for quantity in quality; it has a #6 handle.  That’s the all-aluminium ‘heavy-duty’ handle.  It feels so good in your hand, much more ergonomic than the plastic handle.

Only thing I don’t like about them are the vacuum-formed styrene inserts… They’re garbage.  Everything fits horribly.  I want to 3D print some new snap-in racks, which will have room for at least twice as many #1 and #2 handles, and the lid will hold dispensers for the most common blades, and 5-count tubes of all the others.

Excel 100-Piece Double Honed #11 Blade — (Amazon – $21.33)

I needed more #11 blades– for those not well-versed in the minutiae of ‘hobby knives’, that’s the standard X-ACTO knife blade –and I was going to buy X-ACTO brand blades, but all the reviews on Amazon were horrible…even for the expensive ones like the X-Life or the zirconium-nitride edged Z-Series…  Broken or bent tips, chipped edges, dull quickly…if they were even sharp to begin with…  So, I decided to give Excel’s double-honed blades a try… They were cheaper anyway!  Holy hell was that a good call!  Just as the name implies, the blade has a double-honed edge.  The regular hone, and then the very edge has a second honing.  You can see this when you look at it under a light; light glints off that extra-sharp edge like a damn laser.  And boy are they sharp! I took one to the lid of a 2×2 chipboard giftbox, and it just slid right through the heavy chipboard, even going right through the edge without even catching, cleanest cut imaginable!

I’m definitely going to be buying all my replacement blades from Excel, these are much higher quality than actual X-ACTO brand blades… They sure went downhill after being bought out.

1Qt (2LBS) Blue Indicating Silica Gel Desiccant Beads — (Amazon – $15.99)

Anyone who 3D prints knows the importance of keeping their filament dry…  This is part of a project I’ll reveal later this month.  Not much else I can say about it.  It’s silica gel beads, it’s indicating– meaning it changes from blue to pink when its become saturated with moisture and needs to be changed –and it’s reusable, meaning you can spread the used beads on a baking sheet and heat them at like 245°F for 3.5 hours, and it’s good as new.

Stanley 50-Pack Heavy Duty Utility Blades w/Dispenser — (Amazon – $5.98)
LENOX Gold Titanium Edge Utility Knife Blade, 5 Pack — (Amazon – $2.79)

These were both Add-On items, I needed a new blade for my Gerber EAB, and I’m sure all the utility knives around the house haven’t had their blades replaced in at least 10-15 years.

The LENOX Gold blades are nice and sharp, and they make my EAB even more sharp-looking than usual.

Whitmor 6060-267 Supreme 5-Tier Shelves, Chrome — (Amazon – $74.51)

This is the tenth set of these shelves I’ve bought now, nine of which are in my room/workshop, the other being out by the silkscreening setup in the kitchen.

Now we’re on to the cool stuff: 3D Printer filament!

INTSERVO (3D Printer Filament)
eSUN ePC (PolyCarbonate) Filament 0.5kg Spool — (INTSERVO – $24.99)

Polycarbonate is a really tough needle to thread for 3D printing… It warps like crazy and is basically unusable for hobby-level printing. The genius folks at eSUN think they’ve taken care of that with their ‘Enhanced Polycarbonate’ or ‘ePC’, and judging from the sample that I got from William at INTSERVO a while back, they have.  I still experienced a little warping on one of my test prints, but no more than I would with ABS…and the part was solid. I could not break it with my bare hands, and I tried.  So I decided I was going to get a whole spool. I’ve even got a project coming up especially with the ePC in mind…but I’ll talk about that another time.  It’s also fire-retardant, and has a relatively high heat resistance!

eSUN PVA Filament 1.75mm Natural 0.5kg Spool — (INTSERVO – $35.95)

PVA, or Polyvinyl Alcohol, is a water-soluble filament commonly used to print dissolving support structures for PLA prints.  Since I’m finally going to replace the left extruder’s thermocouple, and I’ve got Simplify3D, it might be time to think about doing some real dual-extrusion prints.

eSUN Conductive Filament 1.75mm Black 0.5kg Spool — (INTSERVO – N/A)

This is very cool.  I’d expressed an interest in eSUN’s conductive filament– which isn’t available for sale stateside yet –while talking to William at INTSERVO, and he told me that he actually had a bunch here in the states but was cautioned against selling them currently (Edit 09/16: it seems they’ve got a reformulated improved version on the way.) so he said the next time I order from his store, he’ll send me a spool of the conductive for free, to see what I can do with it.

Push Plastic (3D Printer Filament)

I’d had Push Plastic recommended to me before on /r/3DPrinting, when I was talking about what colors I’d like to see in filament.  They looked great, but the price was just a tiny bit high for me. (I’m too spoiled by inexpensive filament.)  So, when I saw in the subreddit last week that they were having a 25% off sale, I had to get the colors I was interested in!

(Prices listed don’t include the 25% off, all told I saved $35.75 and got free shipping.)

Earth Tones 3-Pack PLA Filament — (Push Plastic – $85.00)

Chavant Brown, Fatigue Green, and Desert Tan.  Fantastic colors. The brown replicates the look of Chavant brand plasteline modeling clay. (As does the green, actually.) But I was really happy to get the green and tan, especially if I want to 3D print airsoft gun accessories, or model guns.

Silver Metallic PLA Filament — (Push Plastic – $29.00)

I’m always on the lookout for a good metallic silver filament.  This certainly seems to be more consistently and thoroughly metallic than the Hatchbox ABS I already had.

Grey PLA Filament — (Push Plastic – $29.00)

I have a really dark grey from eSUN, but I wanted a more medium grey….just something darker enough than white that finished prints would photograph better. This fits the bill!

And now some miscellaneous bits and bobs…

Mouser Electronics Order — ($53.77)

Just some various parts I needed for– among other things –some PWM fan controllers, for my SANYO Denki San Ace 120 fans.  Some 555 chips, some diodes, some MOSFETS and power transistors, potentiometers, you name it. And of course, the 4-pin PWM fan connectors.

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