Week 6 : 5.4mm and 3D Printing

Week 6 : 5.4mm and 3D Printing
Apr 18 2021

I have been thinking about buying a 3D printer for a while, a long while, back when there was pretty much nothing under 2000$. I could obviously not justify spending that much on a hobby, even worst maybe a hobby that would keep me busy a couple of days or weeks and then I would just switch to something else like I did with my drone (another 2000$ thing back when I bought it).

Monday I got to 5.5mm using the ear stretching tapers and knitting needles. I think at this point the limiting factor is no longer the opening of the foreskin but the actual urethra. Those tapers are way too long and you can't get your foreskin to the final size of each taper unless you also let it go into your urethra. I was safe using them until some size as I know an endoscope is about 5mm - 5.5mm at least. But for 6mm I am starting to worry about it. Even if that one works, then there will be a lot of sizes in between 6mm to 14mm. 14mm is the first size of the silicon rings that you can actually manage to squeeze into a heart shape in a fashing that the squeezed shape is not larger than it's unsqueezed shape. So I'll need something else obviously, just not yet sure what. But I told my girlfriend I would be talking about buying one this week to prepare the rest of the family (I have been talking that money is tight latelly) and asked her to agree with me or at the bare minimum not disagree too strongly with the idea. So for a couple of days every time someone was mentioning any sort of problem I would says "you know with a 3D printer I could print a thing that would solve that".

Wednesday I got to 5.5mm using a trimmed knitting needle. My step-father is into woodworking. I showed him plans for a mostly printed CNC machine which he loved. So I told him if he would buy the parts, I would buy the 3D printer and that could be something cool for us to work together. He has not been working for months due to a work related accident and he has been bored ever since as my mother is not very active and I am always working. His days are very long and boring so he was enchanted with the idea and agreed. So I went to amazon and ordered a Creality Ender 3, the best rated budget 3D printer. I was amazed at how much the prices went down and was not expecting to get any quality product at about 285$.

Thursday my girlfriend had a doctor appointment in the nearest big city which is about a 2 hours drive from here. I had to drive her as she can't drive right now. When we do go to the city (where we used to live about a year ago) we also try to combine the trip with some other family members visits and shopping for ethnic groceries which are rare in our area. So we went for her medical appointment then to see my father and then to see her parents and the day was almost over. Due to Covid curfews we had to leave before 6pm in order to make sure to be off the road by 8pm. I had no taper inserted all day and at 5.5mm, none of my fingers fit to even do manual stretches during the day here and there. I can't wear the stretchers unless I am sitting and not expected to walk or do any physical work. For one it rubs against my underwear and it's really unconfortable. Other times it will catch on my underwear seams and would get pulled out. Or even worst in the middle of dinner get half out and get stuck between the glans and the foreskin and then while trying to move a bit to remove the pain, will get pushed even further. True story. I had an idea though a few days ago, I have been wearing my underwear in reverse to avoid having the stitches in the front. My girlfriend found it very funny but it does work a little bit. I have been dessing that way for about a week now. Anyway at the end of the day, with all possible efforts I could only get back to 4mm and kept that for the night.

Friday I got my 3D printer, I was happy to get it friday because deliveries are rare on weekends here. I knew it was coming today so before it came I was search google for anything related to 3d printing and phimosis. Surprisingly there where not a lot of useful things. The one that cought my attention was the Dolphin, some sort of inverted clothespin that has two half-circular prongs on one end and a place to place an elastic band on the other end to allow for hands-free stretching of any size. Basically, as opposed to pliers, when you squeeze one end, it expands the other end. I really liked the idea and downloaded the model and all the required software. I was also looking at a lot of introduction videos about 3D prining right until my package showed up. Assembling the printer took 2-3 hours and it said "some" assembly required. It is an hobbyist model and also made to not cost much money so I was expecting that. What I was not expecting was the amount of fine-tuning needed for getting barelly proper printing to work out. Bed adhesion on this model is a bit of a challenge and you really need to get the bed perfectly level on all corners and the gap between the head and the bed needs to be perfect within 0.1mm or the first layer would be simply inexistant or not stick to the bed and make a big plastic whool ball. It took me the rest of the day to get it right and print a few samples. The other thing that really surprised me is how slow 3D printing is. The Dolphin tool I want to print will take 4-5 hours to print. I fired up that print late when everyone was already in bed to avoid questions about what this thing is. So the night was short. It's only when that print was over that I noticed but the two half-cylinders that form the prongs when joined measure 12mm, nowhere near what I can insert now. I simply went to bed as I was soo tired, but I though I could scale the model down and reprint it.

Saturday I spend most of the day designing some new "plugs" for stretching. My design goals is that the plug holds hands-free, is easy to get in and out, and stretches only the foreskin and not the urethra. So I made a short tapered tube that has part of a sphere before the end and ends with a rounded cone to just get it centered in the beginning of the urethra without getting in too much. The goal is that the thing does not move around and strays in one place, I can move the opening of my foreskin around my glans so I don't want the plug to scratch agains my glans all day. I made the model parametric so I can change one value to generate various sizes without having to rebuild the whole model. I used Thinkercad as it was in a list of recommended simple CAD solutions for 3D printing modeling. It was designed for beginners and is very simplified, I miss AutoCAD which I used to know quite well many many years ago. But it did get the job done simply. It's only at the end of the day when everyone was in bed that I could start printing. I printed the Dolphin "reverse pliers" at 1/4 scale which made the tip 3mm wide, it was unusable due to the middle joint not fitting so I reprinted it at 1/3 scale making it 4mm and that design did fit together without too much trouble, I sanded the tip to a very smooth finish (3D printing does leave some layer lines on the surface and I was scared to hurt something). I lubricated the tip using a little bit of steroid cream and it went in very smoothly. I then squeezed the handles lighly and I do really feel the stretching effect, this might be my new favorite tool. I started printing the newly designed plugs in 0.5mm increments. While that was printing I had one more issue to figure out, using that scaled down Dolphin pliers hands-free. The full scale version accepts an elastic band for hands-free usage, but this scaled down design almost lost all the material in those pins made to stretch an elastic band. So I wrapped the smallest elastic band I could find around the handles instead of the pins. I had to double down the elastic a couple of times for it to hold on the handles and then it was way too strong, I would hurt myself. I though about it for a while and then though about something, instead of using a rubber elastic band I grabbed some elastics for sewing. My girlfriend is into sewing and when she is into something she get's all possible accessories. I went though her drawers and found all kind of sizes, she bouth that to make masks but then could not find the rest of required materials as there are a lot of back-ordered stuff because everyone and his cousin is sewing masks now. I got her some specs and she built built me a weaker but wider band that fits perfectly on the Dolphin handles. I can insert it and let go and it provides just a gentle stretch. It's perfect. The only thing is that I can't wear this discretelly, I can only use this perfectly still at my desk. There is also no way I would sleep with that in, I could turn around and things could really go bad. Later my plugs prints where done and I gave them a try. The ball shape in the middle really did well keeping them in place, it takes just a bit of force to get in and then the ball snaps inside and the plug won't get out by itself, it also needs a tiny bit of pulling force to get the plug out. The tip does get in the urethra, strangely, it's not unbearable but it is a bit less confortable than the previous objects that went in far more. my theory is that it ends up being at some angle instead of perfectly straight as it does not get in much. But it goes in enough for the plug to not move raround and scratch my grans. This was a great day, I was happy and went to bed with a 5mm of my new design.

Sunday the plug I was wearing all night fell off. My guess is that I either grew or the I moved in some way that pulled it off. After putting it back in, I was feeling it took way less force to insert and remove it, so I guess it did stretch, great! But maybe the ration between the cylinder and the sphere portion diameters need to be a tiny bit greater to prevent it from falling without a few hours. I tried some tiny variations on the design. It's really a trial an error process but I varied the overall lenght, the ratio between the cylinder diameter and the spere diameter, different lenghts and widths of the end cone, etc. I queued all that up to print in the evening and saved a version of each file, I also put that version number on each plug as an indent so I could later go back to the file to keep. I had to wait until late evening to fire up the prints again but then tried them and picked my best of each variation. A bit wider and longer tip was more confortable than and slim short one, the new ratio was also better so I had to remix two versions, did that and then printed 5 of them at 0.2mm increments instead I though I am currently progressing at that rate per day according to the size I started at, the number of days I have been stretching and the size I am at now.

In summary this week I grew from 5mm to 5.4mm and I own a 3D printer to build myself any custom tools my brain can come up with to help me stretch. It is also the 6th week. Officially that is the end of the time I should be using the steroid cream. I am happy with current progress but I am nowhere near completion. 6 weeks is what came out from official scientific reports in children phimosis. My though is that the only side-effects I could find only about over-usage of topical steroids would be easily visible. The main concern is that it thins the skin, now in my opinion this is actually a beneficial side-effect in this particular use-case. My forskin certainly does not feel thin at all, quite the opposite. Also I saw other usages of the same product for other conditions that indicated usage for 8-10 weeks in adults. So as I can't see my doctor right now I took the decision to continue, I still have about 1/3 of the cream in it's container, if I don't see any side-effects I will use it until my next doctor appointment but keeping an eye out for side-effects. At this point in time I am more scared of looseing all progress by stopping this marvelous cream at just 5.4mm.