Over the past month, I've been trying to work on how my CAD skills translate to actual printed peices. As most will tell you, it's not as easy as pressing print.
The main problems I've been ncounted have been:
1. Print Orientation:
With lower end PLA and ABS printers, many peices that fit within the dimensions can't be printed as CADed simply because they don't have an orientation that allows for printing with supports, or requires supports in a place where they are cumbersome to remove.
With the printer resolution being what it is, when things get <2mm, they tend to turn out poorly unless they are strictly geometric components oriented normal to the print plane. Bigger tends to be better. It's almost like we're reliving in the grainy-thumbnail-image age of the Internet, but with printing.
3. Filament Feeding
This is a surprisingly frequent error even though it shouldn't be. The spool can sometimes get into a pinched kite-string-nightmare, even if it looks alright at the start of a print. With nothing to monitor tension in the filament feed, I've frustratingly checked up on a few long prints to find a printed layer of empty space and spaghetti on top.
That said, I've had a lot of success and think my successful attempts might have finally overcome my losses, although only with solid parts so far.
I tried a few versions of a ball joint out of interest to some moderate success. I'll try another version next week.
After ball joints, I'm trying hinges.