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Print Ear Saver Hooks on Your Silhouette Alta

3d printing silhouette 3d software silhouette alta Apr 06, 2020

Since we are all experiencing a “Stay At Home” Order, here in Virginia (like many of you) — I am finding myself finally able to check off some of the things on my “I Want to Do” List! One of those things is learn how to use my Silhouette Alta!  I have had this machine in the box longer than I care to admit — and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set up & create my first print!

As a new Alta owner,  the first thing I would recommend that you do is to watch the “3D Printing Basics – Silhouette 101” Video — with Kelly Wayment!   She does such a great job of explaining unboxing & set up – -step by step — there is just no need for me to re-invent the wheel!  I unboxed & set up my Alta along with Kelly — and it all went just as she said!   You will need to download the 3D Software from Silhouette America, as part of this set up.

After loading the filament – the next thing you need to do is select a design to print.  I would recommend printing one from the Silhouette Design Store — since there are a lot of 3D Designs there – just select 3D in the filter.   You get 25 FREE designs with your machine that automatically show up in your 3D software – once the machine is plugged in.   My first design was an Easter Egg cookie cutter that is in the Silhouette Design Store  (Design #267554)  — Super easy & print out great!  (Did take almost 2 hours — but you can certainly do other things while it prints!)

he cookie cutter was fun, and I was looking for other things to print – when I began seeing posts on Facebook about people printing S hooks to hold the elastic for face masks.  For those that need to wear masks for up to 12 hours – the elastic begins chafing & wearing on their ears!   So these S hooks hold the elastic on the back of the head — and keep it off the ears!  The beauty of the 3D printed hooks is that they are somewhat flexible & can form around the back of the head.   (If they are a little stiff, they can be heated with a hair dryer – just a little — and gently bent to form a soft curve.)

Originally, I downloaded a file that someone had shared, but I was having trouble with it printing well — so I decided to go into Silhouette Studio & create my own!  This is not a full software tutorial – but I wanted to share with you how you can easily create shapes in Silhouette Studio — and turn them into 3D shapes.

Once the file was completed – the printing began!  It takes 39 minutes to print two of these –and you do need to be connected to your computer while they print.   However, I discovered that you can also run your Cameo at the same time that the Alta is printing — so its a great way to multitask!   My Alta has been running non-stop over the weekend!  I’ve already run through the Platform tape that came with the Alta, so I’m now working with painters tape until my order from Silhouette America arrives this week!   I may or may not have ordered a ton of the new Filament colors! )

A few tips I’ve learned!

  • Be sure to calibrate your machine – like Kelly shared in the video.    After working for hours, I found my filament was not sticking to the platform.  I checked Calibration again & it was super tight — so re-calibrating worked like a charm!  I’m back in business!
  • Not all filament is created equal.   I was using a filament I ordered on Amazon — and getting a loud knocking noise when the Alta was printing.  I consulted with my “expert” (aka Kelly Wayment of “Finding Time to Create”) – and she suggested the noise was the feeding gears not gripping the filament well.  So I went back to Silhouette filament –and again, back in business!  (With the current sale, I have stocked up on the beautiful new colors of filament — just waiting for my order to arrive!)
  • For the original Alta (which I have)  – a small fan will help cool the filament.   Leave the door open while printing & point the fan on the platform.  I have ordered this cute pink fan – with a USB connection!    The new Alta Plus has a built in fan — which I have heard is awesome!
  • You need a sharp instrument to remove the prints from the platform.   My friend, Lycia Evanoff of “Caught by Design”, recommended My Scotty Peeler!  So – that is also on its way from Amazon!  Lycia says it will be “life changing”!
  • When you run out of platform tape (again waiting on that shipment from Silhouette!) – you can use painters tape.  However, don’t overlap – as you want the platform to be as flat as possible!

I’ve started receiving so many requests from nurses and other healthcare workers asking for these hooks!  So my Alta will be working overtime this week!!   You can help!!  I have loaded the Free 3D File here — so that you can download & begin printing!

If you would like to help & are  printing these hooks — and need a place to send them — please contact me at [email protected] — and I will be sure that they get to the people that need them!  I am receiving Facebook messages & emails from people that want them!   I have a bunch going out today!  We can all do our part!

Also, if you or a family member, are a healthcare worker — and in need of these hooks – please email me at [email protected].   I will do my best to get them to you!  We appreciate so much what you are doing – and this is a small way to help!

The mask I used in these pictures is from the Silhouette Design Store – Design 317969.    The full tutorial on making the mask can be found at the Silhouette Blog!

If you are in need of Alta filament and supplies — or think you might like to buy an Alta – -now is a great time.   Silhouette America has a 40% discount on all consumables, including the new colors of filament.   And free shipping over $50.   Just use my code TERRI at checkout to receive the savings in your cart!

I hope & pray that you are all doing well!  I know this is hard – but we can do this together!   There are so many ways to help others — I am sooo loving what I see the crafting community doing as we come together — Remember we are #Silhouettestrong!