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Designing & Printing a Taco Train

20160924_124122Designing things in 3d can be not only exciting but also incredibly rewarding. Unfortunately, it can also be beyond frustrating. When I watched THIS VIDEO over from Joel over at the 3d Printing Nerd, I knew I just had to design a taco train. You know, sometimes you spark your own inspiration and other times someone else sparks it for you. So I got to work.

I knew that it needed to be relatively simple and that it needed to be able to print without supports and needed to remain in the parameters of my printer’s build volume (6x9x6). It took about 4 full models before I came to one that seemed to work best. Some things I had to change along the way-

20160924_122940-The first model had the spokes of the wheels going horizontal at the center instead of vertical. Printers often have a hard time or it is fully impossible to print horizontally without supports so I rotated those around.
-The second model I had the wheels only connecting to the train at the top. This, in theory, would work fine, but my concern was that the wheels are relatively thin and risk being knocked over or warping so I extended the length of the wheels at the bottom to connect up with the underside of the train, making it one solid piece.
-The third model I narrowed the box part of the engine so that it lined up with the round section of the engine. This was simply for aesthetic reasons. I thought it looked better that way, plus it used up a little less plastic.
-The final model I enlarged the size of the front stack, it looked so tiny on the original model. So I just scaled it up a bit and removed the word “Tacos” from the back of the engine. I did this because really the train could be used for multiple items, not just tacos, so why label it?20160924_123910

The train turned out great in the end, but in addition to making changes to the model along the way, I also had some insane issues with the printing of the model.
On my first attempt at printing, the nozzle became clogged and the print stopped after ΒΌ”! So I had to unclog the extruder head. Once that was done I attempted the print again and it was going fine until I realized the temperature was too low so I raised it and started again. On the 3rd attempt, the print completed, but apparently, I knocked loose the extruder assembly when I unclogged it because during the print the extruder head dropped down and printed multiple layers right on top of each other and caused the print to look like it was missing layers. So, I had to raise the assembly and start the 4th and final print.

One other thing that I had to do while I was trying to complete the train was, replace the x-axis sensor cable. It had been making a grinding sound for quite a while but if you tapped the sensor cable, it stopped. So Nick and I had just been doing that for a while, but this meant that we couldn’t leave the print alone during the start or finish. Which you wouldn’t really think anything of, except this meant I couldn’t start a print and have it finish while I was sleeping for fear that it would start grinding and burn out the x-axis motor. So finally I decided I would need to replace the cable which turned out to be so much easier than I expected it to be.
Once everything was back up and running, cables replaced, design perfected, the taco train engine and train car both printed perfectly on the first try! So far everyone who has seen it has loved it! I’m so grateful to have such a great response on the times that I’ve printed. I’ve been asked to start selling them by a few people so I will be setting up an Etsy site over the next month. So keep an eye out for that!20160920_185425a

It has also been requested that I add a Guac and Pico “coal car” as well as a Tequila Shooter Caboose. So those will be coming soon. Is there anything you’d like to see me design?

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