For Need of a Tower
As a crafter, I’m a bit wonky. Sure I can do some things and make some interesting bits but I tend to dial it in and hope for the best. I’m referring to things that take construction paper and glue and similar “projects”. In the past I have actually done some good work in building and fabricating. I mean to say, I can’t weld but I can swing a wrench and tighten some bolts.
And yeah, this was a whole introduction that is essentially meaningless. At least for the most part. I guess what I am driving at is I have made dice towers in the past. I have two made from the tubes of old Lay’s flat chips (the ones similar to Pringles). I also used some foam core to build a pretty cool looking dice tower (though if you were to look at that one you would definitely see what I was getting at with the introduction).
Well, one of the things I have been wanting to print for a long time is a dice tower or maybe a rolling tray. My son in law had mostly put together a tray for me when he did the work for my gaming table but we never finished it. At least it was unfinished until a little bit ago. I didn’t stain it or anything like that but I nailed the sides in place to make it a proper tray. It looks nice, crude, but nice.
I also finally bit the bullet. For a while I have been hemming and hawing about printing something. No matter what I looked at I knew it was going to take a bit of time to print and with that it would also eat into the filament stash, you know, the stuff I am using to print off all the other stuff I am printing right now. Decisions must be made. And I did it. It took about four and a half days to get all the pieces finished but I stuck to it and got it done.
The tower actually turned out ok. And there are some issues with it that I might get into. But, for what I wanted, it came out great. I am happy with it. And oddly, I will probably keep it the base color, although, I am considering painting the roof and the top, removable floor. Those pieces are actually there for flavor and don’t serve a function for rolling dice at all.
One of the things I did do for it so far, I glued a few rare earth magnets to connect the roof to the main tower piece. This allows me to remove the roof but also not worry about it sliding off when the tower is on the gaming table. You need to be able to put snipers in place somehow.
Anyway, an issue I noticed with this also gave me some thoughts about the capabilities of my printer. See, there was so much material in the printing of this beast that the residual heat on the bases of each section caused a bit of warpage. The corners on each piece are lifted up a bit. It’s the worst on the first piece I printed because I was attempting to fix it all as each subsequent piece was printing. Alas I wasn’t able to stem the tide of warpage.
It doesn’t necessarily bother me too much other than to know it happened. I was able to work around it and the functionality of the dice tower isn’t affected by it. But ascetically, it isn’t up to snuff. Lesson learned, this printer can produce decent prints most of the time but there are some things that are a bit beyond it or that need extra work arounds.
Which brings us to a weird happenstance. Through a fairly long story I am not going to bore you with, my wife decided she wanted to try out some printing stuff. The problem, I felt like we needed something a bit more reliable (and probably something that doesn’t require an engineering degree to figure out). She told me to pick up another printer.
Now we need a bit of context to understand what I just said. She grumbles anytime I suggest anything computer or tech related. I like to play with odd stuff, I mean, I am a tinkerer. So this was a thing completely unexpected and caught me off guard.
Ended up picking up an Ender 3 Pro. I tend to not go into tech purchases lightly (the first printer was essentially thrust in my lap and looking at it wouldn’t have been my first choice. Mainly because I had never heard of it till I tried putting it together). And yeah, the Creality printers are the more common ones people have now. I knew it would be approachable and easy to get working. And the one thing I really wanted, I knew it would be fairly reliable. For some of the stuff we are going to be doing, I wanted to have something I can count on and know I will get what I am expecting.
I printed off a few of the more important upgrades on my older printer while waiting for the new one to arrive. And it was within a day of receiving it and having it pieced together that I switched over and began not only printing out a few more upgrades but also some other things to test it. Right off the bat I was so much happier with what I had coming off the build plate.
And yeah, I am still using the old printer too. As I write this I have both printers running. I am building a set of storage drawers for the Ender. We’re talking three pieces that would take me about two days to print off if I only had one printer. I did realize I was slowing myself down a bit when I started the longest print. I hadn’t set up the second printer to get the quicker prints down while the base was printing. I got that fixed and will still be finished in less than a day and a half. Gotta love that. I have been thinking for a while now that I wish I had two printers to get stuff done. It makes life so much easier.
Anyway, life is weird. I’m doing some things with 3D printers I never would have thought I would be doing. It’s always good to learn new skills.
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.