The white whale of 3D printing

Late last night I succeeded at something that I have been obsessing over for almost a year: printing City Hall.

City Hall
Thar she blows!

Last year, when I really started to get into printing on Hive76’s Makerbot 3D–PO, someone suggested printing Philadelphia’s grand City Hall. It took me many months of casual attempts before I was able to clean up the model I downloaded form Google’s 3D warehouse for printing. Once I had something that wasn’t full of holes, I dived in. After just a few attempts, I successfully printed City Hall in blue PLA and posted the whole thing to Thingiverse.

Shitty Hall
Shitty Hall

Since then I have been trying to replicate my succes in other materials. Some combination of the continuously–breaking Makerbot, the black PLA and my fledgling skills produced a monumental pile of failure I like to call Shitty Hall. The extruder would jam, the heated build platform would cool down, the X or Y axis would lose steps; everything went wrong repeatedly. I had enough failed prints that I clamped and welded them together to form the tallest shitty print ever printed at Hive76. After tweaking, greasing, cleaning, and learning just exactly every way that a Cupcake CNC can break, I gave it a shot in ABS. Once the first few critical layers went down well and the material was feeding properly from above, I relaxed. Two and a half hours later, I had my prize: a 3D printed City Hall in white ABS. Here’s a picture of the whole City Hall family, including Jordan’s successful first attempt at 1.5x. Now I need to print it again!

City Halls
City Halls

3 thoughts on “The white whale of 3D printing

  1. Congrats, I know you’ve been working on that for a while. I would have given up by now. Cupcake is… less than ideal.

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