Tips & Tricks Blog
Notes, ideas and general comments on anything related to high-tech.

December 15, 2018

Printing Alloy 910 from

Filed under: 3D Printing

For my first experimental print the nozzle temperature was 250C. That appeared to be the right temperature for printing, but a bit too high for the hotend. It looked like decreasing the temperature a little was possible. The further experiments proved that printing it at 245C works perfectly fine.

The bed was at 60C and covered by PVA. The attempts to print on clean glass at 75C and 90C were not successful.

The filament behavior appears to be similar to PLA. There’s leaking and fan is likely to be needed for printing small details. In the print pictured below the fan was always on at 30% (mostly because I was hoping it will help to keep the upper part of the hotend from overheating).


After making a few more prints the conclusion is that 50mm/s is too fast for this filament and my Makergear hotends. There was obvious insufficient extrusion of the filament in the infill  printed at 50mm/s regardless of fan being turned on or off and regardless of the printing temperature being increased or decreased 5C. Printing everything at the constant speed of 30mm/s immediately improved the results.

The print on the left picture is done at 50mm/s infill, the right at 30mm/s.

20181216_225311 20181216_232040

December 2, 2018

Printing T-glase clear filament

Filed under: 3D Printing

The material prints nicely. It flows and leaves strings like PLA though (perhaps increasing retraction a bit will help).

I used the same slicer settings as for their ( Nvent filament (didn’t play with any settings to make it more transparent). The extruder was at 245C although I think it could be at a bit lower (240-243 C) temperature to help with stringing. The bed was at 75. For small objects (20 x 20 x 10 mm calibration piece) it worked fine with Elmer’s glue, but the large pieces didn’t stick well enough till printed on the clear glass. I had no troubles removing those large pieces after cooling down (they pretty much got loose on their own).

t-glase-printing 20181202_011456

P.S. I forgot to note what was the fan setting and cannot remember it now (I think I kept it off).

October 4, 2018

How Much Lead Can You Get From a Car Battery

Filed under: General

Long story short, I needed to source about 20lb of lead cheaply and decided to take apart an old car-sized marine battery a friend gave me.

If you ever do that (and my advice don’t) just get the contact points and the big chunks that bridge the plates. You can see the latter on the picture inside the battery case.

Getting the lead mesh from the plates is not worth the efforts. There is more junk there than lead.

Baking soda and/or pool’s PH+ chemicals can be used to neutralize it. Borax can be used too. It converts it into boric acid and anhydrous sodium sulfate (neither of which is a nasty stuff, apparently). The process is simple. First, the water is added to dilute the acid (it’s not pure, so 50/50 mix is good enough). Then the neutralizing agent is added slowly (if doing it start with one spoon to see how it reacts). The baking soda and HTH PH+ bubble when added (borax doesn’t). As soon as it stops bubbling when the baking soda or HTH PH+ is added it should be good to dispose of.

It took quite a bit of the stuff to neutralize all the acid in the bucket and its remains in the battery case. I have scavenged and dumped in a pound or two all the above chemicals till it finally stopped bubbling.

20180915_160845 20180915_160854 20180916_3

The final result: 10lb


And after smelting there were only about 6lb left.

The conclusion: a lot of time, efforts and baking soda wasted (borax and PH+ did not count, didn’t need them anyway).

Water Purity Experiment

Filed under: Water

Just for the fun of it I decided to see how different is the residue after evaporating the water coming directly from the well, vs passed through the softener, vs passed through the reverse osmosis filter (iSpring under-the-sink system).

I have filled in 3 glasses, covered them with a napkin and left to evaporate slowly in a secluded corner in the basement.

To my surprise it took a while (about 2-3 months, probably due to high humidity in the basement in the summer).

Here are the results (left-to-right: well, softener, filter). The last row is under microscope (4x magnification):
20181003_231623 20181003_231630
20181003_231638 20181003_231642 20181003_231645
20181003_232125 20181003_23214420181003_232213
20181003_234106 20181003_234326 20181003_234424

The filter has (quote) “… Alkaline mineralization filter cartridge with Mineral Stone, Calcite, and Corosex …”. The content inside is of brown/yellow color, so I guess that’s where the brown crystals come from.

June 26, 2018

Printing with Taulman n-vent from LulzBot

Filed under: 3D Printing

The n-vent filament works well for the large items (like boxes). The 3mm blue roll I’ve got from LulzBot printed nicely at 237C hotend and 75C printing bed temperatures. The bed was a glass plate coated with Elmer’s glue. There’s only Slic3r profile for n-vent in


June 4, 2018

Microsoft OneNote Sign In Fix

Filed under: Web, Windows

After installing the OneNote 2016 PC client it asks you to sign in to the cloud.
If it decides that you have to use a business account (i.e. you are trying to set it up on a PC that is a part of a domain), but you need to use your personal account it is going to complain. It will either say that your email address’ domain isn’t known, your account does not exist/not found or it doesn’t look like work or school e-mail.

The following registry change will make it accept a personal account. First exit OneNote app, then change the value in the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\OneNote\FirstBootStatus key to hexadecimal 2000202.

March 4, 2017

ESXi 6.5 and Ubuntu clipboard

Filed under: ESXi, Linux

Every time I have to set up new ESXi and add Ubuntu machine templates I’m getting into the same troubles, now writing it down to remember…
VmWare tools and clipboard are not working in Ubuntu desktop, so for the recent Ubuntu versions (14.xx, 16.xx):

1. In the ESXi host add the last 2 lines to the config and reboot:
[root@esxi1:~] cat /etc/vmware/config
libdir = “/usr/lib/vmware”
authd.proxy.nfc = “vmware-hostd:ha-nfc”
authd.proxy.nfcssl = “vmware-hostd:ha-nfcssl”
authd.proxy.vpxa-nfcssl = “vmware-vpxa:vpxa-nfcssl”
authd.proxy.vpxa-nfc = “vmware-vpxa:vpxa-nfc”
authd.fullpath = “/sbin/authd””FALSE””FALSE”

2. In the Ubuntu guest instead of installing the tools bundled with ESXi:
sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-desktop

May 1, 2015

Sending WakeOnLan packet from VMWare ESXi

Filed under: ESXi

After a long unsuccessful search for something that would work for making available backup storage (WD Elements 4GB USB HDD) from my MS Windows desktop system to ESXi 6.0 server (as a datastore) ended up using old Dell laptop. It runs Linux, auto-mounts the USB HDD at the boot time and exports the mount point over NFS.

In order to avoid running it all the time, ESXi powers it up by sending wake-on-lan Ethernet packet and shuts down the laptop after backup is done. WD Elements powers on/off automatically when USB connection is up/down.
Attached is the ether-wake tool sources (with minor tweak for sendto() to work) and statically compiled binary runnable under ESXi.

The ESXi firewall has to be turned off for it to send the packet:

esxcli network firewall set --enabled false
./ether-wake 00:11:22:33:44:11
esxcli network firewall set --enabled true


January 25, 2014

RepRap X2V3 Simultaneous Printing from 2 Extruders

Filed under: 3D Printing — Tags: , ,

carriagesAlthough the main purpose of adding multiple extruder feature to the RepRap machines is to allow printing the dissoluble support material, the new RepRap X2V3 dual carriage design opens a few new interesting possibilities.

The machine supports driving each extruder hotend independently on the X axis (”Dual X Drive”, see video here  Its predecessor (RepRap X2) had both hotends fixed on the same carriage (similar to Makerbot’s dual extruder machines) and at relatively close distance of about 20mm. If printing simultaneously from both extruders the machine’s build volume on the X axis would be limited to the distance between the extruders (not quite useful). Because of that I’ve decided not to implement the “follow-me” mode while adding multiple extruder support to Marlin firmware.

Unlike it’s predecessor RepRap X2V3 is free to position the hotends at any distance the size of the machine allows. That makes it possible to  effectively use all the build space (i.e. the build envelope for simultaneous printing on RepRap X2V3 is about 100×200x130mm). Moreover, independent carriage driving allows simultaneous printing of mirrored copy of the object. That is often required when printing parts for the dual extruding machine or any object that has mirror symmetry. These hardware capabilities have convinced me to add the “follow-me” support to the latest (v1.1.0 X2 Beta 1 as of this writing) version of MarlinX2 firmware. The command for turning it on/off is M322. Its description is available in the file. The video below demonstrates the feature in action:

October 29, 2012

Dual extruder PLA printing

Filed under: 3D Printing — Tags:
Dual color X2 whistle

Dual color object

One of the most annoying problems with the dual extruder printing is the plastic leaking from the idle extruder. It is especially noticeable with PLA that flows easier than ABS. Lowering the temperature of the idle extruder while it is not needed and restore it when it is time to start printing with that extruder again helps to deal with leaking. It is tricky though since leaking has to be prevented during the teperature changes.

The technique being used with the current generation of the RepRap X2 printers (S/N: 020*) is to print a “parking space” besides the actual object. That “parking space” serves two purposes, one is to plug the nozzles while the temperature changes and the other is to “prime” the extruders (i.e. establish the consistent flow of plastic) before printing the actual object after the temperature change.

You can see the full size video on YouTube:

The video demostrates the RepRap X2 S/N 0203 (find it on eBay) printing a dual color whistle (pictured above) using the described technique during the tune-up procedure. The STL files used for the print with the parking space object are here:
1. The whistle body (”BASE”, for printing with the extruder 0): Whistle X2 body
2. The text (”INSERT”, for printing with the extruder 1): Whistle X2 text

The special Skeinforge profiles for the X2 printer are needed to generate the G-code. They can be deployed using x2Profile app from the from the X2SW software bundle.

The …0.5C-BASE profile has to be used for slicing the body and …0.5C-INSERT for slicing the text STL of the model. The penultimate G-code generated has to be then merged using the “x2Merge” application (a part of the X2SW software bundle).

The “x2Merge” application merges together the G-code generated for the body and the text STLs. It is merged layer-by-layer. The content from the chosen alteration files for extruder switching is inserted in the places where there is a need to change the extruder. The inserted G-code positions the nozzles above the “parking space” object and changes the active extruder while lowering the temperature of the idle and restoring it for the active hotend before letting the printing continue.

The technique works the best for printing a few layers of color, for example a colored text on the top and bottom of the object. It essentially elliminates the discoloration due to the plastic leaking, but because of the time needed to adjust the temperatures it slows down the print substantially when there are a lot of layers requiring extruder switching.

Note: in order to use the technique X2SW software bundle of at least v1.1.0.4 and X2 firmware of at least v1.0.0b2 are required.

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