Printing pin badges on a Prusa i3 MK3S


This last week I was in Sheffield for a little bit of a break, and while I was looking around I saw a huge number of these enamel pin badges. Their popularity only seems to be increasing. So I was thinking, how could you manufacture pin badges using a 3D printer? 

A finished printed pin.

Of course you can simply buy the pin backs and adhere them to a printed badge, but what if you wanted something that looked a little cleaner? Something where it looked like the pin was part of the badge itself, much like the enamel pins?

I found that using a raft that is taller than the pins you are using, and printing the badges pin side towards the bed, you can encapsulate the pin back in a printed badge, all you need to do is programme a pause at the correct layer height, insert the pin back and resume the print. 

I downloaded a simple badge from Thingiverse, The Star Trek Voyager Communicator from 4ndreas which can be found here, and modified it to accept a pin back, in Fusion 360 I simply sketched and extruded a pocket on the back of the badge to be a little larger than the pin backs that I bought, of course leaving a hole for the pin to go through. 

After exporting that part as an .stl file and importing it into my slicer of choice (PrusaSlicer) I set a number of raft layers (in my case 33) to give enough room for the pin, I also identified which layer I would need to pause at in order to insert the pin (in my case 46) I used this set of G-code in the 'After layer change G-code' section in order to pause and resume the print.

{if layer_num == 46}
M300 ;ACTIVATE BEEPER
G1 X10.000 Y200.000 E0; parking position
M1; user stop
G28 Y; Home Y axis
M105; return to current temp
{endif}

Just replace the number '46' with the layer number that you want to pause after.

The pin file being sliced, notice the pocket where the pin will go.

Then just slice and export that as you normally would, once printing wait for the print to pause and insert the pin, it can be a little bit challenging to get the pin in properly, just give it a very gentle tap with a small hammer or similar in order to seat the pin properly, you can also use a tiny dab of superglue in the pocket to help the pin stay seated. Then once it's finished printing carefully remove the supports and voilĂ  one 3D printed pin badge. 

Print that has just come off the bed.

Print with the supports removed, prior to proper cleanup.
 

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