I found this great model by fletcherdurant on Thingiverse that I instantly knew was what I needed. It had no love from the community, being far simpler than other designs, but I knew I'd be able to use it for my planned book press project as well as for a simple book display on by bookshelf.
Grabbing the model is simple, it's just one STL file. It loads perfectly into my Anycubic profile in Ultimaker Cura. You absolutely need a big 3D printer for this open, unless you just want to display tiny books. It might be possible to print on its side using supports if you have a smaller printer bed (to utilize the total volume of your printer better), but that's one of the reasons I like my Anycubic Kobra Plus so much (it's a great size).
I decided to flip the STL file in Cura so that the book cradle printed from its flat base up. This would introduce some small issues depending on the infill I used, but I wanted it to print without any external supports.
|Wall thickness||Wall line count||Horizontal expansion|
I opted for baseline settings for my wall thickness. Looking back, I'd actually increase this slightly, specifically because of the type of infill I used. I might recommend a 2mm wall thickness for your print, which will increase printing time but make the whole thing a little stronger. That said, 1.2mm works fine.
|Top/Bottom thickness||Top thickness||Top layers||Bottom thickness||Bottom layers|
Again, I went with default thickness for these options, and I'm perfectly happy with this. This design's innate physics mean that it will hold up well to pressure (certainly the pressure of just a book), so the base settings are fine.
|Infill density||Infill pattern|
The infill turned out to be the hardest choice for this project. Go with something geometric and very stable, but add a lot of material waste and printing time, or take a risk and try my new favorite setting?
Let me tell you: the Lightning infill setting in Ultimaker Cura is absolutely incredible. While inherently less sturdy than other infill methods, it was perfect for a project like this, saving me a huge amount of time and material.
The recommendation for Lightning infill is closer to 30%, but Cura kept hanging up during slicing at 30%. I took a risk and halved that, and at 15% the lightning infill still turned out beautifully.
|Print speed||Top/Bottom speed|
|70.0 mm/s||35 mm/s|
This will be dependent on your printer, and the type of filament you use. My Anycubic Plus, using ABS filament, did well at these settings.
|Enable retraction||Z Hop when retracted|
I find that enabling retraction when the nozzle is moving can be helpful, especially when I print with ABS. This is a setting you should play around with on a smaller print, to see how it changes things.
|Enable print cooling||Fan speed||Initial fan speed||Regular fan speed at layer|
This is another setting that will change depending on the type of printer you have and the type of filament you use. Basically, what my setting did is tell the fan to kick in on max only at layer 7.
|Generate support||Build plate adhesion type|
With ABS, a brim can really help by adding an extra layer of plastic that keeps your print attached to the print bed. ABS is notorious from pulling up at the edges as it cools, and I wanted to avoid that. I didn't need supports for this print, and unless you're printing it on an edge, you shouldn't either.
Once you've got the print sliced up and loaded into your 3D printer, you'll want to keep a close eye on things for the first eight to twelve layers to make sure it's going as it should. If you see a lot of warping (especially when printing with ABS), it might be worth it to scrap things and start over. For something like a book cradle, it's important that the base is flat and solid.
As you can see, the walls and lightning infill are printing fantastically. I did end up getting a little pull on one corner, but it was very slight, and the brim kept the ABS from contracting took much overall. I don't have an enclosure and the room I print in has good air exchange, so that's going to affect how a temperamental plastic like ABS turns out.
Printing turned out a little rough in a couple of surface areas, likely due to my use of ABS and the very well-ventilated room. I chose ABS because I wanted something durable to go along with the lightning infill, but it's a harder plastic to get right. A little gentle sanding made things look great, however.
There was also the issue of my power dying in the middle of the print! My Anycubic Kobra Plus handled that beautifully, restarting the print without any problems, but it did create a temperature difference in the layers of plastic. Some weakness, but no splitting, so I'm happy!
I'm so happy with how this project turned out, and it's going to be ideal for my larger goal of creating a simple DIY book press for capturing my books in digital format. However, even as just a display for my bookshelf, this little cradle will do fine, and it's going to become a staple part of my display collection.
Did you try this project? Share your results with us in the comments or on Twitter!.
Interested in more 3D printed projects? Check out the best 3D printed Raspberry Pi cases!