51+ hours VR Googles… almost.

51+ hours VR Googles… almost.

A few months ago, I was scanning the models on Thingiverse and came across 3D printable VR Headsets for smartphones. I instantly  knew that I had to make them! I decided that I would print a majority of the parts in black ABS and a few of the smaller parts in red PLA, because that was what I had on-hand. I have done many small prints but this was going to be my biggest (and longest) so far.

I found that using CURA, I can get a fairly accurate estimate for the cost and time it will take to print each part. As you can see from my spreadsheet, it took over 51 hours to print all of the pieces that make up this headset. However, the cost of the filament was only $5.12 USD.


Settings for ABS.
Settings for ABS.

So the first obstacle that I had to overcome was to get the prints to stick to the bed. I had tried using blue painters tape, a glue stick, hair spray and a piece of Plexiglas. All of these had a little success but none of them worked well in the long run. What did work was to turn up the heat for both the extruder and the heated bed. I ended up setting the bed to 245°C/473°F and the extruder to 100°C/212°F. This allowed the ABS to extrude smoothly and stick securely to the bed.

Since some of these prints were over 11 hours long, I couldn’t sit there and nurse each print. However, the one thing I did for each print was to make sure that the first layer was put down correctly. I would make sure that there weren’t many stray pieces of filament being left where openings should go. If a piece fell where there would be more filament printed down, I would usually just leave it since the extruder would be hot enough to blend it in. As you can see below, the first pass isn’t perfect, but it is pretty clean.

The next thing I noticed was that the first layer would not really look great when it was completed. This is because the first layer is a little thicker than the others.

Completed first layer

However, when I was patient and let the print just finish, I would usually get a nice result like the finished piece below.

Finished Print

As I said above, the pieces stuck very nicely to the heated bed. I originally tried to take the pieces off after the bed cooled down. However, I had so much trouble taking them off, I had to heat the bed back up in order to pull them off.

Here is a shot of all of the pieces after 51 hours of printing.

All of the printed pieces

All of these pieces looked good individually. However, once I started assembling them, I noticed multiple issues. The first issue was when I put the lens in their ABS holders and tried to thread them into the red PLA horizontal lens adjustments. Basically, the ABS threads were more rounded than the PLA threads. I have tried to sand the ABS threads in order to make them fit, but I haven’t had much luck.  The second issue I found was the biggest. The ABS parts started to warp once I started assembling them as you can see from these next few images.

Warped Front Pieces do not matchAfter doing some reading, my theory is that ABS was the wrong choice for the large black pieces. Besides the warping, I noticed that the pieces are more brittle than the PLA pieces and they are not as “sharp”.

So, it is back to the drawing board. Yes, I could buy a nice pair of VR goggles for under $20, but what is the fun in that! Stay tuned for an all PLA version 2.0.

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