Posted on 09/06/2014

Photo taken on September  6, 2014

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Third Time

Third Time
... is hopefully the charm, with 3D printing a faceplate for the dolly controller.

Attempt #1 ended in failure when the printhead clogged halfway through.

Attempt #2 turned out to be about 3mm too wide - which unfortunately couldn't be fixed by shaving a little off either side, since the rightmost button and the display on the left were too close to the edges. Plus, all the holes seemed to be about .5-.7mm smaller than designed - except the 3mm hole for the tiny panel jack for the camera remote, which was about a whole millimeter too large somehow.

Attempt #3 turned out to be nearly perfect. The holes were the right size the first time, apart from the display opening which required just a little cleanup of flash from the printing process. The only rework (apart from sanding the surface down to #600 and waxing and buffing it) was to sand the edges to fit the slightly bowed perimeter of the box, like an old TV screen, something I couldn't readily measure and reproduce in the CAD model.

None of my pictures capture it, but the surface is polished to a dull sheen (not gloss - it's for photography) which reveals the pattern of the 3D printing process as an optical effect akin to woven cloth. This surprised me, as I expected it to be a uniform featureless black once the as-printed surface was polished away. The button at the top right looks a little different because there is a counterbore on the backside to account for the thickness of a washer on the front (this is the start-stop button, so is treated differently from the others) - the optical effect is consequently a little bit different, for reasons not unlike the trick behind a Japanese "magic mirror".