June 2, 2023

Westside People

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3D printing blueprints and other wall art

Today, if you want to reproduce a large schematic drawing or mechanical drawing, you just have it print or draw from a CAD model. But the day before, you were drawing on big sheets on a crafting table. How do you make copies? Sure, there were a few large format copiers, but they were very expensive. The most common method was the use of a heliographic copier which, often but not always, resulted in an outline – a blue page with white lines or vice versa. These days, you are most likely to see a chart as wall art hanging, and ever since [Basement Creations] Some wanted, find out how Make it with a 3D printer.

These prints are not actually blueprints. They use the printer as a plotter and deposit white ink onto a blue page. In the video below, he shows a number of ways to use your printer to create an interesting mural, even if you want it to be larger than a print bed. Some wall art uses multiple 3D printed parts, while others use a printer as an illustrator.

To join the printed pieces, he uses a soldering iron to solder them together. We wondered if it would be helpful to make overlapping cuts for the glue which would also help with alignment. Layout is great for making PCBs, of course, and while you can flip the image over and print blue onto white paper, it won’t really look like a layout.

You’d think mounting a pen to the printer was easy, and there are plenty of designs online. However, the stylus needs to be solid, and unless your bed is completely squashed, the stylus needs some ability to move up and down to maintain pressure. The third stand it makes is over-engineered, with a bearing and two rails that allow the stylus to ride up and down. It sounds like a lot, but it also seems to work quite well. The finished wall art is a 3D printed replica of the James Webb Telescope that uses real mirrors to mimic the iconic look of this spaceborne observatory.

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This is one of those projects that isn’t an entirely new idea, but we loved the variety of ideas and tips. Presumably, you can also join the chart sheet to make larger sheets.

This isn’t the first James Webb replica we’ve seen, but the last one with a wooden base. Maybe you could point your telescope copy at a fake moon.