Each month, Dave releases a new captivating project, pushing the boundaries of 3D printing and showing his remarkable skills. But it’s not just a showcase — you can join in on the fun and create the same designs as Dave at home so long as you have the right equipment, which, in Dave's case, was the Elegoo Saturn 2 Resin 3D Printer. You'll learn how to print new fun things each month, and develop the skills to create your own designs along the way!
In this month's project, Dave created cat toys. By snapping two 3D Printed pieces together, you're able to make a ball. You can stick some bells, treats, or other goodies inside to keep your bundle of joy entertained. Dave's cat wasn't too entertained by the balls - but yet again, Dave's cat has seen him make all kinds of goodies, including one of our personal favorites, a very cool wicker boat.
What was used to create the 3D-printed cat toys:
- Elegoo Saturn 2 3D Printer
- Modeling Program: Onshape for CAD
- nTopology for the textured surfaces
- Elegoo Standard 8k Resin (space grey)
Preparing to print
For this project, Dave was hoping to expand his knowledge of supports and how to use them effectively. The goal was to test dimensional accuracy using the Elegoo Saturn 2 and the Elegoo Standard 8k Resin. A lot of trials went into making the curve on the toys, but Dave got it eventually by creating two separate parts so something small (treats, bells, etc.) could go in the center.
When printing, Dave tested different mathematical surfaces and printer orientations to see if the printer would struggle. He also wanted to test the resin's low shrinkage and non-brittle properties. Let's see how he got on...
Testing the dimensional accuracy
One of the goals of this project was to test the dimensional accuracy of the Elegoo Saturn 2 and the Elegoo standard 8k resin. Dave wanted to compare the accuracy of the finished project to the OnShape model. In resin 3D printing, laser point size can make a difference in how small something can be. Also, variations in temperature, machine calibration, and material inconsistencies can all affect dimensional accuracy.
So, Dave tested with 3 prints, changing the machine calibration in each one by using different mathematical surfaces and printer orientations to see which toy would be the most dimensionally accurate. Each print involved creating two separate curved parts so the cat toy can clip together as a ball that can be taken apart to put treats, bells, or other goodies in the center.
A lot of trial and error went into making the curved clasps, but the main issue Dave experienced was with the supports. For example, in the second cat toy, the diamond surface clasp did not fit together perfectly because of pores left on the clasp from the supports. The clasp needed to be accurate in tension and dimension, for both parts to clip together without any errors.
In the end, all three designs were functional but designs one and three were the best. Find out how Dave created and tested the printer’s ability to handle mathematical surfaces at different orientations below.
Printing using different orientations
Dave tested different orientations and mathematical surfaces while printing. In addition, he wanted to test the pause feature on the Saturn 2. It seemed to work well, allowing him to check the progress of the print.
When using resin, it's often difficult to see the print due to the resin covering the build plate - so the pause feature came in very useful.
Despite this, there was a failure on the build plate. Only one part of the model was printed on the other side and the part did not stick to the build plate. Upon examination, Dave realized this happened because the plate was not leveled correctly — once fixed, it worked properly and printed with no issues.
Once the printing issues were fixed, Dave went on to print the remaining cat toys. For each of the three cat toys, Dave used different orientations. The first print was with the clasp facing up so the supports would be on the back of the print. This one came out with excellent dimensional accuracy — the parts fit together perfectly. However, there was one slight issue — the supports on the high-detail face ended up creating some flaws on the top surface. However, very minimal detail was lost. So overall, a success.
The second print (and the second cat toy), had an orientation where the clasps were facing the buildplate. This print was also successful. The only issue was the diamond surface clasp area caused issues with the clasp fitting together — this was because of pores left on the clasp from the supports. It’s still functional but didn’t provide the satisfying “snap” that the other orientations achieved.
Finally, the third cat toy had the least amount of support compared to the other two orientations. At first, Dave was worried these wouldn’t make it but they ended up being successful, too. The last orientation is the split P which was printed on the side. With minimal supports and divots, the clasp area was the most dimensionally accurate of all three. The toy snapped together nicely and wasn’t too difficult to pull apart.
Check out a video of the final cat toys below:
Insights and conclusions
Dave tested the dimensional accuracy of the Elegoo Saturn 2 3D Printer with three prints for each cat toy and, despite a few challenges along the way, the results were successful.
He ended up with 3 functional prints, with one of them — the final print — providing a very satisfying snapping noise when joining the two parts together. It was also the easiest to pull apart — not too easy though, as it was still strong enough to keep the treats or other goodies safe inside. That means the parts not only aligned precisely but also exhibited the desired friction fit, validating the printer's reliability in achieving accurate and functional 3D prints.
If you want to print your own cat toys using Dave’s designs, you can do so here. You’ll need your Elegoo Saturn 2, onshape for CAD, your resin, and the other bits mentioned above. Let’s hope your cat enjoys the toys more than Dave’s.