ShopTalk Sunday: 3D Printer Blunder, Spring Workout

Ah, the Country Life Yessir, if you live in the Big City, it’s a dream.  Why, just imagine! Eating fresh food out of your own garden.  Pure country air.  No traffic noises. Low stress.  Ultimately relaxing and rewarding….

Well, no.  Not exactly.

During our ShopTalk Sunday adventures will tell you the upside – and the downsides of life in the East Texas Outback.  Sure, taxes are low – totally low.  But, we’re a gen-u-ine USDA farm numbered place out here. We raise trees that your printers may eat.

Lots to go over today, so let’s start with the 3D…

Printer Debacle

With spring definitely here (we hit 80F at wine-time Saturday) it was time to roll along pending projects out in the “personal wild-man prototyping shop.”  Time to take the dust covers off the 3D printer line…

All winter, Ure has been pecking away at “specials” on filament sales on the Zon.  Figuring between my old tool restorations and new projects for around here, to say nothing of light crown and speed crown changes, it would be marvelous to start printing the future.

The printer I use most is a large bed (12″ x 12″ x 15″h) Creality 10 V2.  It has been reliable and simple enough for even an old man to deal with.

The workflow is simple:  Sketch something up over on  A little work will allow you to drag and drop shapes that, in turn, can be placed, moved, grouped, extruded, and all that.  Which can then be downloaded to your PC.  Where you can whip them into Ultimaker CURA where the .STL (stereolithography file) you just downloaded from TinkerCAD is “Sliced” into something your printer can “eat”.

The idea is when properly fed, anything you can think can be resolved into an object out here in the nominal real world.

There’s just one problem.

Printing is Slow

Which drove me to pop for a $75 super-cool sounding new “Spider” printing
hot end.  Step over to the printer and I’ll show you the moveable box (blue) which squirts out the molten plastic while it moves side to side.  Over a table that moves back and forth.

Inside the blue box what happens is the printer filament comes into the top of the blue box through what’s called a Bowden tube.  Which is pressed by a feed mechanism off to the side, down into the “Hot End” of the printhead.

The Spider 3 allows you higher temperatures (Oh boy! Printing carbon fiber!  Yee haw!) and speeds that are considerably faster.

Like a Damn Idiot…

I began to follow directions. Remove the printhead assembly by unscrewing 3 inaccessible (from the front) screws holding the printhead onto this plate on the gantry.  While you’re considering this, a round of applause would be nice because Printer Alley at Ure’s place was built so I could walk around behind the printers to address maintenance issues like this one:

After unscrewing things (Allen wrench screws galore) you eventually get the printhead opened up:

At the top of the assembly (on the left, since it’s laying down, right?) you can see where the Bowden tube feed comes into the heating element. Then, after gap on the right at the bottom of the finned metal part, you see the heating assembly which also has a thermistor in it.  This is what controls the print temperature.  (PLA likes to print about 220C and ABS more in the 240C range.)

Confidence was spilling all over the place by now as I open the box and set the new hot end by the old one.  Just a quiet voice telling me “Save the confidence for later…

WTF!!! They don’t have the same form factor!

“Aw shit.”

Literally, now that I had the printhead disassembled, I had no idea (other than printing a new, different style of printhead, on the smaller Ender 3.  But, no.  For $75-bucks, I wasn’t going to screw with it.  Time is money and at some point (even in flying) you get down to “decision altitude.”  This was “decision altitude” on this project.

“One hour penalty, replay the down!”

A shout-out and “thank-you” to Martin in Amazon Customer Support.  Justin, my UPS dude should be by with a call tag for the non-fitting part Monday.

Lessons?  Sure.  Will I follow any of my own sound advice in the future.?  Probably not.  So, I won’t bore you with it.

Spring Sprung

Long as we’re in show and tell mode:  Another victim of the ice storm came down out by the road this week.  Here’s a one man, one tractor, one saw half-day of work to get down to the burn pile:

Don’t tell me “That doesn’t look so big.”  Because I’d be inclined to snarf that “Yee of little sawyering knoweth not of which you blow…”  Those posts in the foreground are on 8-foot centers to help you scale it. And the tree base is 20-25 feet back from there… go easy, cowboy.

Yes, cutting up a tree like this is work if you have to cut it into smaller lengths and drag it a block or two to the burn pile.  Age is not a factor.  This is a raw “time on task” project.  Toss in writing a column and usual household chores, yeah…burns another day.

Burn Pile Central

Buddy up the hill from me has not two but a total of 9 HUGE burn piles similar to mine in size.

He dropped by this week, and we roughed out “mutual aid” plans for burning. He’s got a rig lashed up so he can fill 1,000 gallons of water from the creek and coupled it to a 10-horse (or so) big-ass trash pump.  “Tell you what, bubba: I can put an inch and a half solid line of water out 75-100 feet to that pine over there…”  Kick-ass rig.

Not that I’d move 4-tons of water with a pickup, but in the Outback, it works.

By the way – gave him one of those “handee clamp” whizzies.  Since he works on machinery at the local poultry processing plant – everything is stainless – says it will be a great help.  The magnetic “finger” whizzy is good, too.  Just not worth a damn on good stainless.  Handee Clamp is metal-agnostic.  Working on ATVs, though, magnetic finger is dandy.

Solar Rework

Planning on 2 or 3 days to fix this rannygaboo*:

[*Rannygaboo is the firehouse pronunciation of rannygazoo which is too old-school, even for us out here on the pogey.]

See how the 2nd and 3rd panels in from the right side are sagging?  What happened is one of the rails I had welded on top of T-Posts finally failed.  Considering I tossed it all together over 2 manic days back in 2008?  Lemme think: that’s 15-years and a single weld break.  But, gotta be fixed. Cheap rebar or not.

This is where spring is headed.  I’m still trying to “Tom Sawyer” Elaine into “enjoying the riding mower.”  Got the cranky carb/starting issue resolved, now we’re back to the cranky operator problem.

(Elaine doesn’t understand my occasionally calling her Huck.)


Let me get out the list – a lot to go over today.

Speaking of Mowing:  Leave your old mower blades on in the Fall.  I know, lots of home handy bastards want to put on new blades and wax the mower up to get the year off to a good start.  Unfortunately, that’s all bullshit.  The first mow of the season is when you’re going to hit every twig and pinecone Ma Nature has puked into the yard over the winter.  F**k that.  Use the old blades.  After two mowing’s, bury anyone you’ve run over, sell the scrap metal you’ve hit, and THEN put the new blades on.  You’ll have a better yard by mid July, I swear. No forensic evidence is a bonus.

Annual Gas Mix Debate Finals:  We’ve got them scheduled for late April. Ure’s house blend is a simple mix of Ethanol-free (Murphy stations at Wal-Mart, blue handle pumps) and a shot of StarTron.  My buddy The Major runs Tru-Gas (or other ethanol free) and then he adds Sta-BIL, Lucas Upper Cylinder Cleaner, and Marvel Mystery Oil. Says the Sta-BIL can be omitted if you are storing 4-months, or less.  Mix 5-gallon amounts of each into a single 5-gallon jug.

To his credit, the “Major’s Secret Formula” kept the inside of his 1990 Husqvarna chainsaw going from 1990 to this year.  And the tech was amazed at the condition of it.  Reason he’s not still using it?  Husqvarna no longer makes parts for it.

I tried MMO in our plane for a few tanks, but didn’t notice any change in performance.  My (late) CFI pal put it in his Mooney Ranger and swore by it.  I – being a contrary cuss – did the research and went with AvBlend in our old Beechcrate.  Aircraft Owners website has a definitive no BS article over here to take a look at: Airframe and Powerplant – AOPA,

Oil is as big a factor in long engine life, so we tend toward Royal Purple or a top synthetic and then add CamGuard to that.

Shop A/C Service:  On this weekend’s list here is the annual pressure washing of the two window mounted air conditioning units in the shop and office.  Idea is to get the leaves (*and other shit) out before cooling season shows up.  If I get it on this weekend’s list, it should be complete by, er,, sometime in May…

Green-Friendly BBQing

Last note for the morning:  Told you about our new outdoor Broiler.  Still “just” $199 at the Zon.

Been cooking up a storm on it, but forgot to sing its praises about fuel efficiency.  I figure this broiler will cut our overall propane costs by more than 50 percent.

See, with the broiler, it gets hotter’n hell in less than a minute.  Starting steaks on top and moving then down an inch or two and even Elaine’s M/W steaks are done in 6-minutes and charred all “Big City Classy-like.”  Mine are done more like 4 minutes – 2 on a side. Resting time is as long as cooking time.  If I’m not hungry, lol.

That’s a hell of a lot better fuel proposition than a 20-30 minute warmup on a BBQ grill.  Don’t get me wrong, we like the TruInfrared and all.  But, until I axed the factory regulator and put in an adjustable, flamethrower grade regulator, it would NEVER get to 500F hood temps when it was 30F outside.

I still like the BBQ GRILL OK, don’t get me wrong.  Hard to rotisserie in the broiler (I’ve been noodling on that).  But wowzers,  Makes instant steaks just fine.

HELP WANTED:  There is always “just one thing” in such brilliant solutions.  When I spray the stainless grills with EVO prior to broiling, they get this dark “goo” baked on.  Probably wouldn’t hurt to leave it there.  We’ve tried a little bit of everything to get it off.  409 and a ScotchBrite pad is one way.  80-grit on a palm sander (and a hand wash after) works, too.

But if you have found the “silver bullet” for removing baked on stains from stainless grills, please feel free to reply.  Doesn’t make a big difference, but just an appearance item on my checklist.

I’m the guy who always had the perfectly coiled mooring lines, in our sailing days.  OCD is good because it’s the source of energy to get you somewhere in life.

Write when the speed crown kicks in,  (can you tell?)

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

41 thoughts on “ShopTalk Sunday: 3D Printer Blunder, Spring Workout”

  1. I keep thinking I would like to try a printer.. I would want one that can do metal.. to.. my fear is as a novice I would need a program that would walk me though the steps until I caught on to the techy part of it..Not knowing a thing about it or the processes is a down side..
    I am pretty handy though and love to dribble through a problem to come up with how the pieces float together..
    here is a cute story from the scmp LOL LOL LOL…
    I can only imagine their surprise LOL LOL LOL LOL
    of course they have in the life section a cooking section that I love to visit.. they have WAFFLES in the stories today.. so I happen to still have some really really delicious maple syrup that waffles and syrup sounds pretty good for breakfast..
    where would one look for a beginners program for three d printing.. I believe I would start out with something simple..still have to convince the boss why I would need one.. she knows how I am.. ;
    It took me forever to convince her we needed a backup generator …

    • This is but one of dozens (if not hundreds) of sites dedicated to 3D printing, but it has helped me a lot in my understanding of the process.
      If you want a machine that will also do metal, you’re entering a whole new universe price-wise and process-wise. Best to learn on something cheap and available, then progress to bigger and better.

      • My thinking here is when a project requires metal:
        Use a plastic printer to get the form factors
        Ram up green sand mold
        Melt some of the 300 pounds of onhand 60510T6 scrap
        Pour in mold, cool
        Finish with metal working tools for edges, hole drill outs to spec etc
        You can get good al casting rig on Amz for $300 ish
        cheaper fastah bettah

    • Cute story? Why on earth do people open their curtains at all unless they are as they wish to be publicly viewed? Don’t they know how many city people have telescopes? Then again, anything seen in the room can be held against them since it’s in view of the public!

      The other question is how can folks of our age get a job washing windows in a high rise in China? It seems like a good retirement racket, and perhaps a way to secure a Chinese work(and play) visa. China is quite OK with discriminating against those over 35.

      • “Don’t they know how many city people have telescopes? ”

        when I was in DC and we had just gotten in the newest and best lens you could get at the time.. we checked it out.. and then went up on top of the baracks .. and got a plane landing at national airport. LOL LOL LOL we focused on the captain picking his nose as they landed LOL LOL LOL it was so much fun..

  2. Considering neopixel rgb leds, which can come in long strings that can be turned in to a loop and worn like a Tierra under microcontroller control. Would that sort of light source be appropriate for the various light crowns ?

  3. snork, Green Acres is where I live :0)

    ATL: have a helper coming by to do some appliance moving / flooring removal and then carpentry (splicing in chunks of 1/2″bathroom floor decking then 3/4″ subfloor then 3/16″ underlayment). Mrs. Egor scheduled a flooring install next week and I’m busily lowering the quote by 20%+/- subject to “change orders” when the inevitable happens.

    Watch news feeds for some CB “happy talk” before Asia opens.

    This current batch of FedGovs and SecTreas are too egghead academic vs. (as would be handy now) bankers. ZIRP should have been reeled back in when it would have been easy, sorta painless. instead they are stuck raising aggressively into the teeth of (not transitory) inflation and a rolling recession. Inflation could have been less but recession is now, sadly, the cure. Too much hubris. Now we are totally stuck looking for the Goldilocks solution.

    Rate rises are part and parcel the current bank dilemma. This is the 3rd weekend in a row where CB heads and staff are burning midnight oil trying to source and deploy liquidity in the right amounts and right places. I get the quiet confident public persona but policy is off tempo, reactive. The bond market led a pokey Fed into higher rates and … now signals they went too far, must prep to turn about, lower Fed funds. Besides being needed, the turn, it would salve the underlying portfolio loss at banks.

    Something rarely mentioned is US debt interest cost is spiking (up 29% YoY). We didn’t just crater rates. We did it and went short duration on our debt. That was great during the ZIRP decade. Not so handy now. Even if the Fed takes a knee it won’t help stop that cost spiral through a generation of maturities.

    This Fed (and Treas) didn’t just take the punch bowl away. They broke it
    We aren’t doomed but need be nimble ~~/)/) ~ Egor

    ps – none of my remarks are meant to cast shade at either party. blame game is counterproductive and, there’s plenty to smear around looking both left and right this Admin and the Last …

    • “snork, Green Acres is where I live”

      My butt. I know within 50-100 miles, where you live. Being both a weather nerd and a storm spotter, I watch radar intently every day, and you’ve been living in “white acres…” ;-)

      “Something rarely mentioned is US debt interest cost is spiking (up 29% YoY).”

      I heard it postulated some years back (when our rate was nearly zero), that given the amount of U.S. debt held by other countries, a 2 to 2.5% increase in prime rate would effectively bankrupt us, as the gummint (and Federal Reserve, mentioned separately because it’s neither) would not be able to pay the interest on it. Now, I don’t know what our debt service is, and I’m also not sure even John Williams could compute and reconstitute the numbers, but I suspect someone is moving decimal points in a computer, every single month since the Fed started bumping things. Am I wrong WRT this suspicion?

  4. has anyone listened to the Why Files? video about the gateway? Someone suggested that if you had a covid vaccine that you cannot return to the Absolute when you die, therefore you absolutely die when you die. The Mnra changed your DNA making you no longer part of the All.

    What do you think? I can’t quite wrap my head around this. It’s a bigger topic than it seems on the surface.

  5. Burn Piles? You lucky bastard! When my YUGE Lychee tree split in half in the last storm, my friend and I went to work with the chain saw, cutting branches into pickup bed lengths and truck sized piles around the yard. The local waste transfer station will take green waste only three days a week. So on the appointed day we loaded the truck and drove five miles to the green waste transfer station. We found from the attendant we were only allowed ONE truckload per day, and would have to wait until tomorrow for another truckload, OR…. Drive 25 miles to the facility in Hilo. Two days later and many long trips, we offloaded FIVE truckloads of compressed branches, and ate lots of Tylenol. The bigger wood pieces are sectioned up for firewood. That truckload awaits hauling to a brother’s place who has a meat smoker on his farm. Lychee wood is prized for making smoked meat here.

    Old mower blades? After mulching up the leaves and twigs residue, if it still works, leave it on the mower. You gotta understand my ‘lawn’ is about an inch or two of organic matter over a lava low. Striking (and ejecting) lava rocks is a common hazard for the mower blades here at the Volcano Ranch.


    • “Striking (and ejecting) lava rocks is a common hazard for the mower blades here at the Volcano Ranch.”

      You know, if you aim for the pumice, those blades become self-sharpening…

      • NOW YOU DID IT JC…..
        You shared that video link.. I watched it and got the hankering for some GRITS.. and not a grit in the house LOL LOL LOL LOL
        Ok so when they said.. you drink coffee your gonna die a slow painful death.. its going to make you heart beat so fast that you cannot stand it it will seize up and your gonna just fall over dead..
        ( that is why you never buy green banana’s..heck.. what if you don’t live long enough to eat all of them.. the same with eggs.. you could just be standing there.. then gone.. and all of that would go to waste.. you would think they would cut a dozen eggs down into smaller amounts.. around the wastelands.. they cut a dozen eggs in half.. and for those worried that they are going to get to fat.. from eggs.. they sell dove eggs..)
        Anyway.. I have been drinking coffee even though the MSM said it was bad.. if the good lord is going to take me.. he will anyway.. LOL LOL LOL LOL just being funny this morning.. I loved that movie my cousin Vinney

        • Coffee is bad for you? Again? For the last forty years the stories about coffee have been comical. A study says it’s good, a little time passes, it’s bad, then good, rinse and repeat.

          Sylvester Stallone says to get in shape for Rocky III, lean with extremely low body fat percentage, his diet was very low carbs, high protein, and twenty cups of coffee a day. Without carbs he needed a lot of caffeine.

  6. “I still like the BBQ GRILL OK, don’t get me wrong. Hard to rotisserie in the broiler (I’ve been noodling on that). But wowzers, Makes instant steaks just fine.”

    that is like me and this air fryer that the kids got me for xmas a couple years back.. or the instapot.. dam want a great roast put it in the instapot.. ( it is just a pressure cooker..) but dam.. easy set it and forget it.. I haven’t tried coffee bean roasting yet in the air fryer.. but totally want to.. double crack is where I like it.. not a light coffee but a medium.. tripple and four crack is dark roast..
    Did ya hear… drinking coffee is good for ya again LOL LOL I never stopped.. grew up with it and never quit.. unfortunately I have grandkids that love to have a cup with grandpa.. and a grand daughter that bakes me cookies for our coffee LOL LOL ( she makes the absolute dreamiest chocolate chip cookies to..) she made some cup cakes.. a week ago with a cookie bottom that was to die for. she said try one.. we ate four.. LOL LOL..
    the simple pleasures of being on the SEE FOOD DIET at my age I don’t have anyone I want to impress..

    • The best cookies for coffee are almond windmill cookies. Try ’em sometime — dunked. You might like them. The best came from a little bakery in Michigan which sold all over the Midwest. Voortman’s makes a creditable almond windmill, but it’s not close to the cookies from my childhood. I have tried to copy, but can’t seem to get the ginger or molasses right…

  7. George,
    You wrote: …(or other ethanol free) and then he adds Sta-BIL, Lucas Upper Cylinder Cleaner, and Marvel Mystery Oil. Says the Sta-BIL can be omitted if you are storing 4-months, or less. Mix 5-gallon amounts of each into a single 5-gallon jug.
    Great ingredients for sure. Here’s a tip if you don’t do this already.
    Put those ingredients into the container before you fill it and they will be already pretty mixed in by the gas pump. Hope it helps.

  8. Phew.. well it is official .. just getting ready to clarify the apricot peach wine.. I had taste tested a sample of a two hundred dollar bottle of desert wine.. and thought.. well I cannot afford to buy a two hundred dollar bottle of wine.. but I have the taste in my mind.. so.. I put some in the fermenter.. got to it today.. took a sample over to the grand daughter she is my official taste tester..
    and she said.. omg.. that is good.. (nope I didn’t put any lemons in it.. that was hard for me but I didn’t) and yes.. it is tasty.. and it is almost exactly like the two hundred dollar bottle maybe a shade sweeter than the two hundred dollar bottle but dam good.. now.. when I told the boss I was going to make some.. she snuggled real close leaned in seductivly and said.. (OH YUCK) seems her dad tried making some and it wasn’t very good.. wait till she trys this one.. now to make the bottles.. since it is an island type desert wine.. I am going to make bottles with the MOAI on it.. LOL.. can hear the ole dums playing already LOL LOL

  9. What’s wrong with oven cleaner for grills? That is what it is made for.
    Usually my kettle grills get a big load of charcoal to burn off residue, followed with a wire brush and then a rag or paper towel soaked with water and a spoonful of cooking oil held with tongs. Hot enough to sizzle the water out of the towel leaves the grate clean enough to cook on; and nicely oiled to stop sticking.
    My smoker is a problem. After a full season of ribs and pork shoulder it was building up layers of smokey, greasy black baked on drippings. Smokers aren’t run hot enough to burn that off so I used spray on oven cleaner. It took 3 rounds of scrubbing and rinsing but is passably clean. The problem was the “fragrance” they add to the cleaner. It didn’t totally rinse off, but fortunately didn’t make the next batch of ribs unpalatable.
    In the old days people used to take their dirty grills to the car wash and use the degreaser/engine cleaner. Oven cleaner is mostly lye with maybe another solvent added or additional surfactants. Be careful mixing your own; oven cleaner is cheap and easy to get, mixing cleaning solutions is entering the possibly dangerous end of kitchen sink chemistry.
    btw, The broiler sounds great. My new toy is a sam’sbox gas pizza oven on sale. Broke it in Sunday by setting fire to one corner of a pizza, folding the next and totally mangling the last while tossing ingredients onto the burner. Peel skills are hopefully building because 1 1/2 pizzas out of 4 were phenomenally good. Of course, my culinary skills are well above those hacks that merely cook a great meal and don’t have to cut out the bad parts and spend the next day cleaning up the mess.

  10. George,
    Having burned food in the bottom of a pan a few times, I learned a trick that works great for me. I put water in the pan and pour in a LOT of baking soda to cover the burnt on food. Soak overnight and the burnt food wipes right out. Stubborn stains can be removed with a baking powder paste, Baking powder is supposed to be good to clean the oven,too. We use it a lot for cleaning. It can be used to scrub items without damage. Sam’s club sells huge bags real cheap.
    I hope this helps.

  11. Baked-on stains:

    If you have a container large enough to hold the grills and seal tight, you can suspend them in it, fill a cereal bowl half-full of common ammonia, place it in the container with the grills and lock ‘er up tight. No heat, no light, just time…

    Give it at least eight hours to work. Most burnt-on crap will fall off without issue.

    This is also the method used to clean Crock-Pot bases when they foul from spillage.

    I generally leave the ammonia in the Crock-Pot base for 24 hours. I also generally don’t clean the grills (grates?) in my grille because mine are cast iron, and I consider stains as seasoning. The one time I had to (when I remanufactured the grille) they got sauteed, then wire-wheeled (then re-seasoned).

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