Saturday, October 10, 2015

Failed Attempts of 3D Printing a Hydroxy Gas Generator End Cap

I have been experimenting with a lot of hydroxy (a.k. a. Brown’s Gas) generator in my past. Back then, before I acquired a 3D printer, the only possible design was plate-based build, tubular designs are a little bit harder to build as at that moment of building it, I could not find a proper material to seal water leaks.

The versatility of the printer motivates me to revisit my design. I sketched it using both SketchUp and 123D Design CAD program. I uploaded the stl file to Thingiverse to those who interested. Bear in mind the design are far from perfect. I sketch it just to stress-test my printer and the ABS filament.
The print took around seven hours to complete. Unfortunately, all of my attempts failed.
The failure includes broken spacers, dimension error, severe water leak and bad prints (especially bridges).

The first attempt was designed with a male-fitting so that a pipe could slide into it easily. As visible in the pictures, the print failed as my settings are not optimized to print bridges.
So I redesign it, this time, using BST threaded (awesome Nut Job Customizer from Thingiverse!) hole, to accommodate a typical water filter plastic fitting. Again, even with print-support enabled, the printed thread is just not usable.

Some pictures:
2nd design, with plastic fitting. The end cap with orange tube attached.

Top view: After all of the tubes assembled.

Side view: Notice the anode lead in red.

Before tubes getting installed.

1st design, with printed exit tube on top left corner.

On all of my prints, tube spacers are very fragile and can be easily broke in the z-direction.
After tinkering with it long enough, I decided that it is my ABS filament being the culprit.

My adventure stops here for now. Printing with ABS is very challenging, even with heated bed used, the warping is inevitable. Not to mention my questionable ABS filament quality, the optimum extruder temperature is at 200 degree celcius, any higher will cause the surface finish to suffer and the print becomes brittle.  I will revisit this in the future, this time, I might use a better quality PETG filament instead.  

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