Printing – What I Have Learned

Many years ago, I had an HP Printer and it worked great.  It sat there quietly just waiting for someone to send it a print job.  Once it received an order, it printed the document with no issues.  The only things I had to check were; did the printer have paper in it, was the correct paper in the printer, and was printer turned on.  HP made this printer so well it lasted for more than a dozen years.  I had to stop using the printer and purchase a new one because HP tried to encourage the owners to buy a new printer by no longer making a printer driver for it.  

My current printer is a Epson Photo Printer.  The more the industry makes printers easier for the general public to use, the more complicated they make it for us who want to print impressive items.

There were two projects that I was trying to print.  One was a photo I edited with Corel Photo-Paint and the other was my Christmas Cards.  Challenge one: Printing the photo on metallic paper.  Challenge two: Printing the cards on high quality paper.

Color Management

  1. Make sure the color conversion is being done by the program, not the printer nor the default computer driver.  The printed colors may be different from what you intended.

2. For a better print, you may need to designate a color profile.  I used the Premium Luster for the Metallic Paper.

3. Select the correct paper type.  Select “High” Quality for detailed work.  And, turn 2-sided Printing “Off” because we want to give the front side time to dry completely before printing the reverse side.

Thick Paper

Yes, I was dealing with thick paper.  I learned after my prints were smearing, that envelopes are considered “thick”.  If an envelope is thick, maybe I should consider most paper, such as card stock, photo paper, and envelopes as thick.  There is a setting on the computer to tell the printer you are using thick paper.  Basically, it slows the printing down to allow the ink to dry.

I did a web search to find the “Thick Paper” setting.  It was little help.  I found it by looking at all the settings. It is located under the “Maintenance” tab under “Extended Settings”.

Select the check box next Thick Paper and Envelopes.  Epson only recommends turning it on if the prints are smearing, because it slows the printing down.

Smearing Prints

If your prints have smeared, you probably need to clean the inside of the printer.  Yes, the printer is designed where you can not take it apart and use a cloth to clean the inside.

To clean the inside:  Do not place any document on the scanner part of the printer.  Press Copy on the printer and make blank copies until the paper comes out clean.  For me, this was about 10 copies.

For smeared prints, you may want to slow down the printing speed to give the ink time to dry to produce a higher quality.  To do this, turn off “High Speed” by removing the check.

After all the smearing of ink, I decided it was best to clean the print nozzle before I attempted to print anything else.  This is done directly on the printer.

Success!  I got 20 prints with no smearing.


My father-in-law has shown very interested in the 3D printing.  Asking questions about how it works and what can it print.  Before Father’s Day, I sat down in from of the computer and said “What can I print for my father-in-law?  He plays dominoes every Friday!  I can do that!”

I looked up the dimensions for Dominoes; design the dominoes; and created the case to look like a domino.


His own personalized dominoes.  I also printed a set for my dad for Father’s Day with his last name on them.

The .stl files can be downloaded from

Tinkercad – the free, online 3D CAD app

3D Print – Two Story House

My 3D printed house. It was fun to design and a challenge to print. Instead of printing it in six sections, the next time I believe I will be printing it in four sections and if I want it in multiple colors, I will paint it.. The six sections were; foundation, 1st floor, balcony, 2nd floor, roof, and roof siding.

The roof siding fit into it designed location without much effort.


The next house I will print on normal print vs. fast print.  Even if the sections take 11 hours each or more to print.  With the details in the house, I believe it is needed.


I do not know why the corner next to the steps appears to be melted.  Maybe some oils from my fingers were on the build plate that prevented proper adhesion.


The roof came out great. And, the railing printed nicely.  Whoops, it looks like I didn’t remove some of railing structure before taking the pictures.


The house was designed using; link Two Story House.

Object Size (W, D, H): 161.19, 133.06, 112.14 mm  (approximately)


Tinkercad – the free, online 3D CAD app

3d Print – Flowers

In an earlier post, I talked about printing a vase.  Once I had the vase, I decided it needed some flowers.  Instead of putting real flowers in the vase, I decided to design and print 3d flowers.

The first flower’s petals had the shape of a sunflower.


It was necessary to print the flowers with the supports or the petals and leaves would have collapse while printing.  Yes, I learned this from trail and error.


Print Time:2 hours 35 minutes
Filament: PLA – 3.93 meters 31 grams
Layer height: 0.1 mm
Shell Thickness: 0.8

Object Size (W, D, H): 77.728, 122.481, 24.834 mm

The second flower.  Not really sure what it is modeled after.  But, I did put more detail into the leaves.  They are in the shape of hearts.



Print Time:3 hours 53 minutes
Filament: PLA – 6.05 meters 48 grams
Layer height: 0.1 mm
Shell Thickness: 0.8

Object Size (W, D, H): 101.001, 137.788, 24.86 mm

3d printed flowers in vase.


3D Print – Tablet Holder

I take a lot of pictures of different objects.  My tablets protective case holds it at an angle that is not very suited for taking pictures.  I designed a tablet holder that would hold my tablet at a slight angle which was needed to keep it from falling forward.

This is my first attempt.

It came out pretty good.   But, there was one main issue.  There was no way to plug the micro-USB power cable into it.  I do not want the tablet to die during a video shoot. It needed a hole on the bottom of the stand.  Also, it was printed without the support structure, so there was strings of plastic on the stand.


Second attempt:  Better – however, the hole for the micro-USB cable could be a little larger and when I placed the “holes” for the dish part overlapped in the printing part.  There are still some plastic strings hanging down.



Third attempt: Success!








Print Time: 12 hours 37 minutes
Filament: PLA – 7.32 meters 60 grams
Layer height: 0.1 mm
Shell Thickness: 0.8

Object Size (W, D, H): 125.087, 102.268, 95.598 mm

Published on


3D Print – Holy Family Shrine

I’ve learned that I could take a .jpeg file and load it into the Cura software that came with the 3d printer (Ultimaker 2) and it would add depth to the picture.    I had the option of letting either the dark or light colors to have depth.

I selected one of my pictures that I took at the Holy Family Shrine.

I had to scale down the image to 4″ x 6″ in the Cura software because 1101.3 x 1468.5 mm (43.35 x 57.81 inches) was too big for the printer.

I believe the results were amazing.





3D Print – Something Wearable

The next item I created with Tinkercad and printed was a 3D bracelet.  The first version was too small for my wrist and quit printing before it was completed.


So I enlarged the bracelet, and this time I made sure that the gcode file was completed written to the SD card before I tried to print the item.



Print Time: 2 hours 12 minutes
Filament: PLA – 1.32 meters 10 grams
Layer height: 0.1 mm
Shell Thickness: 0.8

Object Size (W, D, H): 70.07, 70.07, 18.721 mm

3D Print – Something Tall

After loading several objects into the Cura software, it told me ‘Info:  Print one object at a time disabled. Object too tall.”  During my research of this issue, I learned the object was not too large for the printer, it was just too large for printing multiple objects.  Now, I had to print something tall.

On I found a vase that I just had to print.


Print Time: 12 hours 29 minutes
Filament: PLA – 6.35 meters 50 grams
Layer height: 0.1 mm
Shell Thickness: 0.8

Object Size (W, D, H): 200, 76.3, 76.3 mm

200 mm is almost 8 inches tall.


Yes, the vase is spiral.







Now I just need to figure out what is causing the strings inside the spirals.

3D Print – My First Failure

I designed a vase in Tinkercad using several of the techniques I learned through the lessons on the website.  I used the workplace feature to place the stars and circles on the vase.  I used the hole feature to hollow out the inside of the vase.


In the end, I thought I had a good result for my first vase attempt.  I saved the object as an .STL file and loaded into Cura and created the .gcode file.


Into the first hour of printing, I noticed that I had a bit of a problem.  One of the holes I had put in the vase had cause the bottom of the base to become unstable.


Examining it carefully, I determine at this stage, the vase would still hold water, so I let the printer continue.


Three hours into printing the vase, the printer stopped.


There were no mechanical problems with the printer, it just though the print was finished.


Researching this problem, I found out it was not a unique problem.  It happens when the .gcode file is not completely created.  Steps to take to make sure the .gcode is created correctly are: 1) Wait until the object completely loads into the software package (Cura).  2) Do not print through the USB cable this may interfere with the printing.  3) Make sure the .gcode file is saved to the SD Card.  4)  Always eject the SD Card from computer before removing the SD Card.

I did not attempt to reprint the vase.  I need to tweak it first and other design have capture my attention.