I’m slowly getting caught up on my subscriptions boxes. I hope to have them all caught up before the new round of goodies comes in the mail. This post will focus on the January 2021 Alien3D UFO subscription box. This cool subscription box includes four sample filaments and a small electronics projects each month.
Contents of the box
As always, this month’s UFO included a selection of four easy to print filaments. I’ll go into those further down in this post. I will also go into this month’s project further down in the post; which I used the filament samples to make.
The bonus item with this month’s box is a bag of brass inserts. I use these little inserts all the time. They are a great solution for cosplay items that may take a lot of abuse. I use an old soldering iron to heat the inserts up and then put them into the hole in a 3D print. If done properly you will have sturdy nuts to use as a foundation for holding 3D prints together with screws.
Finally I want to mention the inclusion of a Bluetooth module. Last fall one of the UFO boxes included a Bluetooth interface board instead of a Bluetooth module. I didn’t see that as a big deal, I changed the project to utilize a joystick instead. But I thought it was kind of that Josh (the head Alien) went on social media asking who wanted to get the right module after he got the right ones in. The module was included in this box.
As always I printed a temp tower for each filament. I used my Ender 3 Pro with the stock hotend and my Ender 3V2 with direct drive to print the samples. All four filaments printed the towers almost flawlessly. Going from left to right in the picture above I’ll briefly detail each filament.
OpenBuilds Yellow PLA+
Zyltech provided a sample of Yellow PLA+ from OpenBuilds. This PLA+ has a reocmended temp of 205C-225C, with a bed temp of 0C-60C. I printed a temp tower at 205C-225C and can say that all five layers printed almost. The very top portion, at 225C, had a few very small strings. But other than that there was no different in any part of the tower. Later on in the project prints I chose to print at a temp of 215C, and had nothing but good prints.
extrudr Signal Green PLA NX2
Up next is Signal Green PLA NX2 from extrudr. NX2 has improved mechanical properties that apparently makes it better to use for high quality prints that can go fast. The recommended temp range for this filament was 200C-230C, with a bed temp between 20C-60C. The temp tower printed nicely the whole way through. I should note that you will see a little bit of stringing in the project parts printed below with this filament. That was not the fault of this filament. I just happened to switch to Prusa slicer. When setting up the profile for the printer used, I accidently put the wrong retraction settings. Any parts I printed after discovering my mistake had no strings at all. I chose to print at a temp of 215C for the project parts.
GST3D Violet PLA+
GST3D provided a sample of Violet PLA+. You may have seen this filament advertised on Facebook in packs of ten for $10 or $12 a roll. I’ve actually ordered and used quite a bit of this filament. While their spools leave a lot to be desired, the filament prints nicely. The recomended range for this sample was 180C-220C, with the bed temp between 40C-60C. I printed the temp tower between 195C-215C. It printed nicely, although it did leave some very small artifacts on the back of the tower. I chose to print the project parts at 205C and all the parts printed nicely. But then I’ve printed this filament a lot, so I already knew it would do an adequate job printing.
KeeneVillagePlastics Translucent Black
Translucent Black PLA from KeeneVillagePlastics(KVP) is the final filament in this pack. I am always looking for a good translucent filament to use with LEDs. This filament has a recomended range of 195C-215C, with a bed temp between 0C-60C. I printed the temp tower from 195C-215C without any real issues. The top layer (205C) and bottom layer (195C) had some very slight stringing. So, I decided to print test parts at a temp of 205C. I did not print any project parts with this filament. Instead I printed various diffusers to see how well the filament works with LEDs.
I’m not including any pictures of the translucent black prints, since they will be featured in upcoming electronics posts. But here is a short video of me testing the diffusion capability of this filament with a short row of neopixels.
This month’s electronic project centered around an ESP32 Camera with Program Board. The project instructions are here on the Alien3D website. I already had Arduino IDE setup to program ESP32 boards, so I went right to uploading the CameraWebServer to the board. Within minutes the board was up on my network. I really like the ESP32 Camera development board for how easy and fast it is to deploy.
I then 3D printed the files for the project. The project files can be downloaded from the project instructions, or from the Prusa Printers page. As noted above, I used filament samples from this months box to print the parts.
The original plan for this was geared towards FDM printers, and accordingly to mount on an FDM printer. In my case, I was to use this to monitor my resin printer and need to mount it on a shelving unit next to the printer. So I downloaded a G-Clamp from Thingiverse that works with this particular camera mount.
Here is a look at the printed parts with the camera mounted up and pointing at my printer.
This camera is mounted perfectly so I can see from my desk the current status of my resin prints. Unfortunately, I can’t control the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro with a Raspberry Pi running OctoPi like I can my FDM printers.
Here is a look at my web browser looking at the resin printer. It is usually very dark where my resin printer resides. But this nice interface allows me to see the front panel on the printer. I just took a bit of playing with the image settings.
In this case, I can see the print is almost done, and what the current layer looks like. This ended up being a slick way to monitor my resin prints. Going forward I probably will reprint the arm mounting the cam in PETG. I know me, and I know I will bump into that camera many times. I really need to make the case and arm a lot stronger.
This was a handy little project. Plus I found all four filament samples to be good enough quality to put them on my worth buying list. In particular, I am thinking about getting a whole roll of the KVP Translucent Black to use as diffuser PLA. It isn’t as nice as using black acrylic but is cheaper and easier to print.