So to prep for this project, I ordered in a few sheets of ¼ inch cast acrylic, while not expensive I did have a hard time finding a good price for a size that would fit in the 8x12 inch cut area of the Inventables Carvey. The sheets were $6.49 from Inventables and that wasn’t that bad of a price but the shipping adds to that significantly. I ended up ordering a two pack on Amazon for $17.99 shipped. I also needed to have clear filament for the 3D prints but I already had a spool of Atomic Filament Clear PLA, my experience has been that theirs doesn’t have the yellow that a lot of the other brands have so I keep some around.
I originally wanted to 3D print a LanOC logo as well as carve one but once I got into designing it our logo wasn’t really a printable design in that orientation. So I stuck with the designs that Crucial has uploaded online as well as a four part skyline design that I saw pictures of at an event and begged them for the design. I used my SeeeMeCNC Artemis to print everything, it is similar to the Rostock MAX v3 from SeeMeCNC that I reviewed a while back but it has a full metal frame and is much larger.
All of my prints were done at a .2mm layer height and I ended up slowing things down a little due to the taller skyline lightbars to keep them looking a little cleaner. I also printed with supports for the Fnatic, Team Liquid (that I broke), and Ballistix prints. While my printer is relatively tuned, I really need to drop the layer heights down a little more for a cleaner look on all of the prints. Especially the text lightbars. More importantly, because these are all FDM printed, meaning plastic is laid down layer after layer like cake icing, the transparent filament starts to get a translucent look to it. This is from the layers attaching to each other, turning up the heat can help a lot with this but that brings on other issues that will require a lot of cleanup. If you want the cleanest look you really want a resin based printer to print these. This also makes the light a lot harder to travel through for taller prints.
Now the city skyline, on the other hand, is my favorite of all of the designs. For one it is a better design for 3d printing in general. There aren’t too many overhangs that require supports. But the best part is this shows how creative you can get with multiple unique designs. Rather than printing one design four times and all of the memory matches you can add layers. That adds depth and combine that with each memory being able to have different LED colors or even multiple LED zones per stick. The skyline shows that by having different buildings going back like a real city would have. Of course, this would work better if my prints ended up being more transparent for the light to reach up farther into the towers.
I was really excited to have a good use for the Inventables Carvey. Well to be more specific, something that I could do as far as PC customization that was in line with my still low experience with the machine. I designed a basic outline around the LanOC Reviews logo in photoshop using the outline tool and combined that with a screenshot of the side profile of the designs that Crucial has uploaded of the base file to create my basic design. I ran one carve to get a test piece. Well, I actually did multiple carves. To get the detail in the LanOC logo I had to use a 1/32 upcut bit and that would take forever to do the entire thing so I did my first cut with the 1/16 and the 1/32. With my first test carve, I learned a lot, both about my process and my design. It looked great on first look but I found that the L and A wasn’t engraved because they were smaller than the 1/32 bit. My machine was also not calibrated right and cut the engrave deeper than I had planned.
When I did a test fit I found that the ¼ inch material that Crucial suggested did fit but was thicker than the memory could really support. I got it in there but it was pulling the heatspreaders away from the memory.
I made a few changes to my design. For starts, I cut a little material from the bottom in two depths to help add a little one sides dovetail shape. This was to help lock the memory in place. I also added a few more carves to my process. I did three carves with one being with two bits. This allowed me to use a 1/8 upcut bit and a 1/16 upcut for the first round. Then I followed up with the 1/32 to just get the details. I then came back after those with eh 1/8 again to just do the final outline cut. I did this on its own because I didn’t want to break a thinner bit and I wanted to have the engraving done before risking the part breaking loose. The Inventables Easel software doesn’t allow for four carves like that so I had to work around it by creative duplicates down at the bottom for my different carves.
Watching the Carvey was interesting, similar to watching 3d prints but with more noise.
The end result was much better than I expected. Fixing the thickness on the A and L helped bring back most of our logo and more importantly the dovetail cut at the bottom helped the design fit properly into the memory. I even had the holes for the pins to go back in place as well. I uploaded our design as well if anyone wants to use it as a base design or to make LanOC memory. Just let us know, I would love to see what people do with them.
The Acrylic really pops with the lighting on. Because it is more transparent than the printed parts it carries the light up much farther as well with the edges being really lit up.
Now Crucial had a really unique design that they called the candy bar design that they showed off at Computex. This to me is really the best direction to go in most builds. The normal design including what I made is best viewed from the side and a lot of builds don’t really support that. They 3dprinted this design but it is a little more complicated because it has to match the gap between the memory DIMMs and apparently some brands of motherboards are different. What I had in mind for a future design on a project build maybe is to carve the two or four dovetails with a flat top. Then carve the top panel, you can put each dovetail in the memory and then glue it all together with it installed in the system to avoid the chance of it not fitting.