First things first, getting things together for a Proton Pack is quite a task in and of itself. With all the little parts you need it's quite the task. so I've started an excel sheet with every part I've identified by looking through Stefan Otto's plans and started listing off whether or not I want to 3D print each part or build it by some other means or just buy it outright.
Even though I haven't figured out how to tackle every single part, there are a bunch I already know I am going to 3D print. These are largely parts that will fit on the bed of my Ender 3, and I've started to print off a couple with the plan to print out one part each day if I can make the time for it. I've taken the time to get my printer all set for fire safety (I've outlined some of the stuff I did for fire safety on my Ender 3 in this reddit comment if anyone is interested) so that I can run it for long periods of time to get this massive amount of 3D printing done even when I can't be sitting right next to my printer. Definitely recommend that people do things like install a fire alarm over the printer, get a fire extinguisher and put it in the room with the 3D printer, make sure the printer isn't on a flammable surface and is clear of any hanging/dangling objects that might get caught up in it, etc. I've even set up a way to remotely monitor the printer, as well as a way to remotely shut it off if I need to. Safety first and all that.
For several items in the proton pack build I'm thinking I'm going to go with found objects to avoid having to 3D print some of the really big things, or to avoid "reinventing the wheel" on stuff like tubes, dowels, etc. For example:
- Cyclotron - This seems to make a lot of sense, to me, to use a 9" x 2" cake pan to make. I could then print out a little "skirt" for it to cover up the rim and make it as close to Stefan Otto's dimensions as possible.
- Power Cell Injectors - With a 1.5" diameter I am curious if there is something out there that would be around that size. Having to print out a cylinder seems a bit much with how many common dowels/pipes/etc out there would fit the bill
- Booster Tube - Again, like with the Power Cell injectors, seems like this is something that could be found instead of having to be printed
- Ion Arm skinny cylinders - at a quarter inch diameter, seems pretty simple, right?
- Main body of the HGA - Slightly wider diameter than the Booster Tube
A note on 3D printed part post-processing: So I've found a process I REALLY like for 3D printed objects. If I'd like to have something that is going to be visible and needs to be smooth, I've found that printing out the object at about 0.8 mm layer height allows me to spray it with this Filler and Primer and get a really nice finish mostly without having to do any sanding. If after the primer is dry some of the surfaces are not quite as smooth as I'd like (especially angled surfaces) I sand it AFTER using the filler and primer with a 400 grit wet sandpaper. Once the layer lines are mostly not visible after a light sanding, I hit it again with the filler and primer and it's basically done. The downside is it takes longer to print at 0.08 mm than at the much more common 0.2 mm, but the amount of time I don't have to spend sanding is totally worth it to me. Here's a shot of a crank I had just printed and then coated with the filler/primer and done some VERY light sanding on (though a 1000 grit piece of sandpaper is in the shot, I used 400 grit in this case):
Looks great, and another coat of the filler/primer will make it perfect. Then I just paint it black and it's good to go.