Got a better handle on the resources and the capabilities of the my 3D printers. Had some issues with the printing the Prusa shield bottom piece and opted to swap in a thicker version. Spent a bit more money on getting PETG filament on the way and elastic bands. Our local hospital called me back and they are assessing whether or not they want to fund the resources for getting these shields. I did some cleaning and added more monitoring to the print farm. Heat generation seems to be an issue, and fumes from some of the PETG is pretty nasty.
Sorry if this post seems rushed. I'm pretty busy in general right now between working from home and making shields.
Shield Part Swap
While printing the Prusa Shields RC3.1 I found that the wall thickness of the bottom piece was too thin and de-laminated easily with some filaments. I swapped out for a remixed thicker version that allows for more perimeters. The bands themselves look like they will work well, but the Ender3 has way more stringing than expected (Due to the bowden setup). I will probably just have to treat these with a heat shrink gun to remove the strings.
I see there is an American version of the shield they released recently to take advantage for 11x8.5 inch sheets. I might swap to these if a source of sheets becomes apparent for less money than the ones I have already sourced.
So at this point the name of the game is getting stuff so that I can keep making the shields.
My immediate concern is that the PETG spools I have were set aside for a reason and there isn't much of it. See the "Heat and Fumes" below. I managed to secure a few sources of PETG. The next delivery should be this Saturday with an Amazon basics pack of 5KG, which was all I could find in stock that would get here sooner rather than later. I have another 8KG of Sunlu PETG that should be coming for the 21st. My brother also has a spool of clear Hatchbox PETG he cant use anymore, but I need to travel an hour south to get it at some point.
I have ordered what I believe is decent amount of elastic bands. I think the three of these could cover 200 shields potentially and seem to be readily available still.
The Plastic sheets I ordered seem to be readily available but cost a bit of money (for me). I am hoping the hospital decides to fund getting more of these made and buys the sheets. If that happens I could make hundreds of these and provide them directly to the hospital. Again, the first 30 are promised to a local hospice group. I now have two promised to my grandparents, and the remaining 28 will end up with hospital if they will take them.
I did some more work and now have all three printers using their own Raspberry pi for hosted printing. I happened to have enough of these and cameras in storage to get them running independently. I have also started using the OCTOFARM webpage.. thing.. to manage all my printers at once. This will help me keep track of the prints remotely when I have to return to my workplace next week. I am currently alternating weeks with another IT technician on our one man skeleton crew.
I cleaned the back room so I could actually move around. The farm area was never really intended for being a print farm, but I needed somewhere the printers wont keep me up at night. I still need to install the new (and last) blind I bought for it now that the window is accessible.
The Prusa is the only printer I have with filament run-out and should be able to lead one spool into the next. This will help with all these quarter spools and keeping large batches running.
Heat and Fumes
The PETG I have in storage had been majorly abandoned for two reasons. Print quality and fumes. I wont mention brands because its not important at the moment, but these spools would only print well at super low speeds, and printing would make me sick to my stomach. Like... make me feel like drinking my coffee would make me puke. Luckily I now have a hepa/carbon filter unit and a room that is not connected to the central air system I no longer have. I have also opted to only print this on my worst printer (Di3+) and the needed slower speeds. I also have mixed filament on hand and should be able to keep things going until the new filament show up on Saturday. After that it will be as a fallback option only.
I will admit I have been feeling a little sick to my stomach, but nothing like before I realized the filament was causing it over a year ago.
I have never used three printers simultaneously.. and they generate enough to keep half the house warm. Because of the fumes, the back room has to be closed though. Thank goodness for octoprint and octofarm. I will probably have to buy a free standing AC unit for ~300 dollars. This sucks, but Ill be able to use this after everything is over anyway. Its not an immediate concern because the outside temps are still pretty low in general, but it will be soon.
Doing the thing because I'm in a position to help. I know there isn't really any way of knowing, but every little bit potentially saves lives. I need to get the CNC machine running so I can either cut the sheets directly or make a jig to cut the sheets by hand. Get my hands on an AC unit.