Free Humidifier in Winter - Towel Over Heat Vent

When the furnace in our house runs it always seems to blow dry air.  Even when i turn up the furnace mounted humidifier, the air coming out upstairs is dry.  That means that in the winter, when the furnace runs overnight, everyone's nose and throat drys out and get more susceptible to getting sick.

Free Humidifier for Bedroom


We do have a small humidifier in our bedroom and our son's bedroom.  But the problem with that is we are trying to combat the dry air with humid air.

A free solution to that problem is something i learned while working out of town and staying in hotel rooms.  When we had an in-the-room heater that blew hot dry air, we would put a wet towel over the vent.  That would force the dry air through the wet towel, and it made a huge difference.  So i decided to try that at home.  Instead of just putting the wet towel right on top of the floor heat vent, i decided to use a milk crate.
free humidifier, wet towel on heat vent, milk crate, winter, air, blow

That way i would get more surface area for the air to blow through and also get the wet towel up off the floor.  We also have hard wood floors in both bedrooms.  If you are doing this in a room with carpet you might want to put some sort of plastic garbage bag down first.  Because you want the towel to be very wet, pretty much to the point of slowly dripping.

8 hours later, the next morning the towel is dry as a bone.  When we lift it off the milk crate the towel keeps its square shape.
dry air furnace, blowing, vent, wet towel, bedroom, humidifier

I have definitely noticed a difference and know in the morning when i forget to wet the towel.

It's just a cheap (free actually) way of keeping a room in your house humid through the winter months.

3D Printer Setup - Monoprice MP Select Mini

Previously i wrote about why the Monoprice MP Select Mini is a great first 3D printer. 3D printers haven't been around on the consumer level for very long, so most people that own them are considered beginners. The MP Select Mini is a great combination of simplicity, quality, and at a low entry level cost.
monoprice select mini, mp select, malyan m200, 3d printer, beginner printer

Monoprice Select Mini - 3D Printer Setup - First Print


More 3D printing blog posts and video's i've done or will do:
1 - Introduction to 3D Printing 1 - Introduction to 3D Printing
2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer 2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer

So if you are someone who just bought this printer and are looking to see how i set it up for my first print, here's what i did.
MP Select Mini, amazon, price, $200, best, review
First take it out of the box, remove all the tape and plug in the power supply.
setup 3d printer, first print

Then snap in the filament support arm.
metal filament arm, holder, simple, attach

I'm not really happy with the design of the metal filament arm, i made an improved design that mounts the filament parallel to the printer rather than 90 degrees, which allows it to feed much smoother.
make adjustable wood filament arm, spool holder, basic, easy, print, 3d print, pvc

I will make a blog post and upload a video later about this filament arm.  Here's some plans i drew up on AutoCAD.
autocad plans for filament holder, 3d print, spool, roll, bearing

Here's what it looked like when it when i was mocking it up.
connect filament to 3d printer, pla, roll, spool

To load the filament (either a 1kg roll you bought or the free sample they provide) squeeze the spring arm and feed the end of the filament through the hole, along the metal wheel, and through the other hole into the plastic tube. Continue feeding the filament until it comes to a stop down by the extruder. Now it's time to level the bed and for this you will have to turn the printer on. But before you do that i would recommend checking that there are no loose connectors. I had the problem initially where the Z-axis switch connector was loose. When i pressed the home button the nozzle went to home and then kept going into the bed. There was a terrible grinding noise and i had to turn the printer off. After an hour of trouble shooting i realized that the Z-axis switch (visible on the far left of the machine between the metal supports) wasn't in all the way. It is a crappy loose connection. So i recommend you check that it's pushed in tightly.
mp select mini, z axis switch, connection, button, x axis, y axis

Also you should check that the fan shroud is centered on the heat sync. If it's shifted to the left then this will also cause terrible grinding because it will hit against the metal upright before the X-axis switch is pressed.
printing on glass bed, 3d print, adhesion, pla, mp select mini

You can see here that the fan shroud is lined up correctly on the mount.
3d printer alignment, how to, bed level
But you will know everything is ok if you go into the menu, click on Home and the nozzle goes to 0,0,0 fairly quietly.
3d printer menu, how to, mp select mini, temp, heat, bed
Once you do that it's time to check the level. Using an ordinary piece of paper, (some people use a business card) slide it between the nozzle and print bed. There should be a tiny amount of friction, not too tight but a small amount of force to slide it. Adjust the screws with the provided allen wrench. A tiny amount of adjustment makes a big difference.
3d printer, easy bed level, adjust

Use a standard piece of paper to get the thickness.  You want the first layer of filament to be sort of "smushed" to the build plate.

paper spacing, 3d printer, level bed, nozzle
Then slide the bed back to check the back left corner. Then to check the other side of the bed, click on the X-axis button in the menu and turn the dial until the nozzle is at the other end. Then repeat the steps for front and back to check the level. You will have to then go back to the left side and check those again as well. It also doesn't hurt to check at the center of the print bed. Once that's done you are ready to print. A quick explanation of the menu's. The left menu is the file and print menu. This is where it shows you what's on your MicroSD card.
print menu, 3d print, .gcode, .stl, .obj, file
Clicking (by pushing in button) the file will go to the printing menu. Note: you have to load .gcode files directly to card, cannot be in a separate folder on the card or it won't print. The file will not start printing until the specified temperatures are reached, so don't get worried if it doesn't start right away.
mp select mini, print menu, extruder, pause, cancel, preheat, platform, set speed
The middle menu deals with the temperatures for the extruder and bed. I always like to preheat the extruder and bed before any print. It's not necessary but good practice to get everything warmed up to check that the filament is flowing before just jumping right into printing.
preheat 3d printer, best results, how to
The right menu is the navigation, home and extrude menu.
navigation menu, best 3d printer menu, home, axis, x, y, z, extruder
This is where you can move the nozzle to home, move in the X, Y, and Z direction. Also you can manually feed the filament through the nozzle, but remember that you have to preheat the extruder first or else it will just make a grinding noise as it tries to push it through. If this is your first ever print you should feed some filament through at 210 degC to make sure there's no blockages. Now the specifications for this printer say that it is a touch screen...it is not. It would be nice if it was, but it's not a huge deal. Although the button is a real pain to use. I recommend 3D printing a new thicker/raised button.
3d print new button for 3d printer, mp select mini, monoprice
It's a little tricky to replace but a good tip is to use a toothpick to push dental floss behind the button, then slowly work it around while lifting up. It takes some time but eventually pops off. Another thing it says is that the printer has WiFi...it does not. However it is possible to add WiFi to it by flashing the firmware. I have no reason to want to print using WiFi, i'm fine with the MicroSD card, but you can install new software which allows you to control it with your phone or laptop.
The printer comes with a 256Mb MicroSD card, but it can be a pain only being able to have 5 or 10 files on it at once. So if you see a good deal, like $5, i would recommend getting a 1Gb or 2Gb card.
micro sd card that comes with monoprice select mini
Or you can buy a 6" cable that that has a MicroSD Male end and SD female end. This way you can use a regular SD card and probably don't have to buy one. I ended up buying a MicroSD to MicroSD cable.
You can also hook the printer up to your computer directly and send the prints directly from your slicer program, like Cura. But again, i'm ok with using the card, plus if your computer freezes up for any reason, your print can get screwed up. Using the card seems like the most stable process.
card slot, monoprice, select
Now you are ready to print. For a first print it's probably a good idea to print one of the two .gcode files that is already on the MicroSD card. Later on you can learn about converting 3D .stl or .obj files you download online into .gcode using design software and slicer programs like Cura, Slic3r, Simplify3D, or KissSlicer.
cura settings, basic, advanced, baseline, preset, pla, petg

There's tons of different settings to learn.  You learn as you print more, then try to fix the mistakes.  Some settings are very important, others are for making minor tweaks.  
how to use cura, simplify 3d, settings, part, bed, size, temp
If i remember there was this little alien guy and an elephant. If you only have the sample filament you can only print the alien guy. So go into the left menu, click on that file and it will go to the printing menu. Again, it will take some time before printing, until the target temperature is reached for the extruder and heated bed. Once everything's reached temperature the printing will start. Now the first row is critical to get good adhesion with the print bed. It should be printing a Brim around the object, so have some needle nose pliers or long tweezers ready, and if the filament clumps up or gets stringy, it's ok if you have to pull pieces off. Just get everything set so when the actual part starts printer it's all good.
how to get good bed adhesion, 3d printer, glass, nozzle
Here is the brim being printed, the outer layer away from the actual part.
brim settings, 3d printer, layer, glass bed
For more on the tools and tips to getting a good first layer check out my other post and video:
tools and materials needed for 3d printer, 3d printing, tape, pliers, glue, acetone
This is one of my first glass beds i used. I will record a video and make a blog post about using a glass bed on the MP Select Mini.
adding glass print bed to mp select mini, monoprice, how to
Hopefully everything goes well, it finishes printing and looks ok. The more you print, the more you will learn about settings and techniques and all the little things to get better and better prints.


What is the Best Beginner 3D Printer to Buy

3D printers have come a long way in the past few years. You can now buy a pre-built 3D printer for under $200 that you can take out of the box and start printing with, something perfect for beginners.

Best Beginner 3D Printer - What to Look For


More 3D printing blog posts and video's i've done or will do:
1 - Introduction to 3D Printing1 - Introduction to 3D Printing
2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer
3 - Monoprice MP Select Mini - Printer Setup3 - Monoprice MP Select Mini - Printer Setup
4 - Things I Learned as Beginner4 - Things I Learned as Beginner
5 - What are my Gcode & Cura Settings5 - What are my Gcode & Cura Settings
6 - Make Filament Spool Holder6 - Make Filament Spool Holder
7 - Different Filament Explained7 - Different Filament Explained
8 - 3D Printer Enclosure8 - 3D Printer Enclosure
9 - Filament Dry Box9 - Filament Dry Box
10 - Glass Print Bed & Z Spacer10 - Glass Print Bed & Z Spacer
11 - Granite & Marble Print Bed11 - Granite & Marble Print Bed
12 - Fix Clog in Extruder & Nozzle12 - Fix Clog in Extruder & Nozzle
13 - Insulate Hot End - Prevent Clog13 - Insulate Hot End - Prevent Clog
14 - Install 50mm Fan and Shroud14 - Install 50mm Fan and Shroud
15 - Insulate Print Bed15 - Insulate Print Bed
16 - Drawing/Modify 3D Parts - Best Program16 - Drawing/Modify 3D Parts - Best Program
17 - Install New V6 Hotend17 - Install New V6 Hotend
18 - MOSFET Hot End Replace - Main Board18 - MOSFET Hot End Replace - Main Board

F1 - Filastruder - spool.works E3D EdgeF1 - Filastruder - spool.works E3D Edge
F2 - colorFabb - NGENF2 - colorFabb - NGEN
F3 - Monofilament Direct - PLAF3 - Monofilament Direct - PLA
F4 - 3D Universe - PLAF4 - 3D Universe - PLA
F5 - FormFutura - HDglass & EasyFil PLAF5 - FormFutura - HDglass & EasyFil PLA

In the early 2000's they were home-built kits that you had to assemble yourself, work out all the bugs, spend thousands of dollars, and still there was no guarantee of getting it to work properly.
original 3d printer, basic 3d printer, makerbot, 3d kit

But since then there have been many more companies getting into the rapid prototyping services, which has lowered the cost to you. So how much does a 3D printer cost? Well you can definitely still spend in the $1,500 range, but now there are a lot more 3D printers that are also in the $200 - $600 range.
high end 3d printer, best 3d printer, expensive 3d printer, cost of 3d printer
One of the most popular 3D printers today is the Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer, which cost $200. It was the most popular 3D printer bought on Amazon in 2016.
monoprice select mini 3d printer amazon, cost, reviews

And it has been a huge part of the Monoprice 3D printer market as well.
mp select mini 3d printer reviews, monoprice, best, beginner, how to

Monoprice did not come up with the design themselves, i believe they bought the rights or use from an existing printer and began selling it through their company.
malyan m200 3d printer, monoprice select mini, reviews, cost, compare, better, basic, beginner

The MP Select Mini is popular because it is cheap, but also because it is easy to setup and also produces decent quality prints. It is geared toward the person just starting out in 3D printing. Cool looking delta printers like this are good for people that have already gone through the learning process with a basic printer and are ready for something more advanced.
cool compact delta printer, 3d printer, tall, kit, setup, orion

The size of the print bed is 120mm x 120mm x 120mm. Which isn't as large as some of the more expensive 3D printers, but most of the stuff you will be printing when you are just starting out is small. For example your third print isn't going to be a life size Iron Man head that takes 29 hours to print. Usually your first few prints are upgrades to the printer itself. Like this, here's a new dial button i printed and installed.
mp select mini upgrades, how to, parts, .stl, button
And here's a filament guide to help align the filament coming from the spool.
filament alignment, modification, 3d printer
As you learn and get better you will modify this little printer, get clogs and learn to unclog the hot end, and slowly over time learn exactly how it works.
monoprice select mini 3d printer, best beginner 3d printer

The 3D printer objects you will be printing will be small stuff you download off Thingiverse.
thingiverse, download 3d print, best files, popular prints, 3d

But here are some reasons to look for if you are buying a 3D printer, and why i think that the MP Select Mini is a good choice.

It's solid. Made of metal, not plastic. This printer is super solid. Some other, more expensive printers i've seen have lots of plastic parts and look wobbly. This has a solid metal frame and solid frame rails. If there are wobbly parts, there are 3D printable upgrades that you can modify.
what makes the monoprice select 3d printer good for a beginner

It's simple. The software on this is basic but does a great job and is easy to follow. Same with the movement in the X, Y, and Z axis. Everything is simplified and straightforward. I've seen other printers with super complicated menu systems and all different types of movements. More complicated sometimes means more places for it to break or be confusing to repair. When this printer breaks it is easy to track down the culprit.
best 3d printer, cost of 3d printer, cheap 3d printer

Again you can see that if you are having issues with a delta printer, the solution might not be that easy to diagnose.
best 3d printer kit, new 3d printer, where to buy a 3d printer
It's easy. In 10 minutes you can take this out of the box, plug it in, insert the microSD card, load the filament and press print and it will work. Sure there's lots more to learn and do but just the fact that it works out of the box is huge at getting people interested and engaged, rather then trouble-shooting issues. It has all the elements you need for a good 3D printer, but in the most basic form possible.
what to look for when buying a 3d printer

It's cheap. At $200 it's an inexpensive and cheap 3D printer to start out with. If you find out it's not for you, well then you haven't wasted $1,500. $200 is a good price point for a lot of people to start the hobby. It's popular. That's not always a reason for something to be good, but it does mean that there's loads of support online. Every time i had a problem with something it was easy to search and find a solution because someone before me has already gone through it. Also it means that there's lots of 3D parts that you can download and upgrade/modify your printer, like new knobs, rollers, and glass print bed adapters.

Reddit - Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer Owners Page
Facebook - Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer Owners Page
Google+ - Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer Owners Page

MP Mini - Print Replacement Parts
MP Mini - Manual
So if you are looking to buy a cheap 3D printing, but you are afraid of spending too much, or don't know what a 3D printer cost, and you are not sure if you will like it, then the MP Select Mini is a great beginner 3D printer.

Intro to 3D Printing - A Series

My blog and youtube channel has always been about things i'm interested in, things i build, and things i fix around the house.  And a few months ago i got a new 3D printer.  So i thought it would be a great thing to write about and record video's about.

Intro to 3D Printing - A Series


More 3D printing blog posts and video's i've done or will do:
1 - Introduction to 3D Printing 1 - Introduction to 3D Printing
2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer 2 - Best Beginner 3D Printer
3 - Monoprice MP Select Mini - Printer Setup 3 - Monoprice MP Select Mini - Printer Setup
4 - Things I Learned as Beginner 4 - Things I Learned as Beginner
5 - What are my Gcode & Cura Settings 5 - What are my Gcode & Cura Settings
6 - Make Filament Spool Holder 6 - Make Filament Spool Holder
7 - Different Filament Explained 7 - Different Filament Explained
8 - 3D Printer Enclosure 8 - 3D Printer Enclosure
9 - Filament Dry Box 9 - Filament Dry Box
10 - Glass Print Bed & Z Spacer 10 - Glass Print Bed & Z Spacer
11 - Granite & Marble Print Bed 11 - Granite & Marble Print Bed
12 - Fix Clog in Extruder & Nozzle 12 - Fix Clog in Extruder & Nozzle
13 - Insulate Hot End - Prevent Clog 13 - Insulate Hot End - Prevent Clog
14 - Install 50mm Fan and Shroud 14 - Install 50mm Fan and Shroud
15 - Insulate Print Bed 15 - Insulate Print Bed
16 - Drawing/Modify 3D Parts - Best Program 16 - Drawing/Modify 3D Parts - Best Program
17 - Install New V6 Hotend 17 - Install New V6 Hotend
18 - MOSFET Hot End Replace - Main Board 18 - MOSFET Hot End Replace - Main Board

F1 - Filastruder - spool.works E3D Edge F1 - Filastruder - spool.works E3D Edge
F2 - colorFabb - NGEN F2 - colorFabb - NGEN
F3 - Monofilament Direct - PLA F3 - Monofilament Direct - PLA
F4 - 3D Universe - PLA F4 - 3D Universe - PLA
F5 - FormFutura - HDglass & EasyFil PLA F5 - FormFutura - HDglass & EasyFil PLA

I highly recommend that if you are someone that loves building and designing, you definitely need to try using a 3D printer.
Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer, Amazon, Price, Malyan 200, series

In past years that meant spending thousands of dollars.  But as more and more people and companies have gotten into 3D printing, the prices have come down.  I will be getting more into things like features and costs, but the printer i have can be purchased for $200.

price of 3D printer, how much does it cost, beginner 3D printer, amazon

I plan on making video's and writing about everything i've learned and built over the past months:
 - How to pick out a beginner 3D Printer
 - My opinion of this Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer
 - Things i've learned in 3D printing
 - Settings
 - Filament Spool Holder
 - 3D Filament Explained
 - Enclosure
 - Dry Box Storage
 - Glass, Marble, Granite Print Bed and Cutting
 - Fix a Clog in Filament

Here's a simple enclosure i made to keep the printer quiet, hold in heat, and light the work surface.
3D printer enclosure, DIY, make, insulate, lighted, box, how to, make, build

Here'e a big pile of all my 3D printing stuff.
tools for 3D printing, what do i need for 3d printing, how to start, beginner

Typical Thingiverse page where you can download all sorts of 3D parts.
filetype for 3d printing, 3d file type, .stl, .obj

Close-up of a 3D print.  I was trying to figure out how to remove those little blobs.  What to adjust in the settings?
settings for 3d printing, cura, simplify3d, slic3r, speed, temp, retraction, how to adjust

Here's the 3D printer i have, the Monoprice Select Mini.
best beginner 3d printer, monoprice select mini, price, cost

A design i did on AutoCAD for a filament spool holder.
plans, design, filament holder, 3d printer, angle, make

This is a close-up of the hotend that comes with the MP Select M
simple 3d printer hot end, extruder, mp select mini, maylan 200

I will be showing you what to look for when buying a 3D printer, how much 3D printers cost, how i built a printer enclosure, how i tested different print beds like glass, marble and granite, how i tested all different filaments and all the settings, tips and tricks to help people just staring out with printing.  I will try to make things short and to the point, focusing on what you need to know and what's important.

I will also be doing Filament Reviews of several different filaments from different companies.
what type of material do you 3d print with, free filament, 3d printing

Right now it's purely a hobby for me.  But it is fun knowing that if i spent more time designing parts in 3 dimensions, that i would be able to print anything i could draw.  I will definitely have to improve my 3D CAD skills, using programs like SketchUp.

Considering that 3D printing is relatively new, I assume that most people are also beginners.  So i would be focusing everything i do toward someone just starting out with 3D printing.

So i hope that this is something that everyone is interest in as well and will enjoy the video's, pictures, and write-ups.