Read our blog for all the latest in the world of 3D printing
posted 08 December 2016 at 11:46:16
You’ve collected the parts, built your sleek, white Vector 3 and have, at your
disposal, 110 issues of 3D Create & Print magazine to refer to for advice
and step-by-step tuition as you continue your 3D print journey.
been our pleasure to introduce you to the world of 3D printing and to help you build
and start using your V3.
our last blog post, but the archives and downloadable Design Files will remain
online, and don’t forget that you can also order any missing issues
and purchase additional parts for your V3 via our online shop.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed and learned from the
series and that you continue to have fun with this constantly evolving
the only limit is your imagination.
posted 06 December 2016 at 22:09:46
The creative potential of 3D printing has
no boundaries. Literally. In December 2016, the world’s first 3D printed space
art will be created by NASA contractor Made in Space. Dubbed #Laugh, this
crowdsourced art project aims to visualise the human laugh in sculptural form
and then print it onboard the International Space Station, using its
zero-gravity 3D printer.
Anyone can submit a laugh (this is no joke)
all you have to do is download the #Laugh app from www.laugh.ai/#intro and record, visualise
and share your laugh online as a 3D model – or a ‘laugh star’, as the organizers
like to call it. The laugh star that gets the most online likes will then be
printed and jettisoned into outer space.
According to the #Laugh website, people
from all around the world can record themselves chortling, tittering, guffawing
and sniggering (OK, those are our words…). The laughter with the most likes
after one month will be sent to the ISS to be 3D printed and the sculpture
subsequently released into eternal orbit.
Israeli digital artist Eyal Gever – best
known for his lifelike digital simulations of catastrophic events, such as
tsunamis and bus crashes – is in charge of the competition. He will send the
winning laugh from his Tel Aviv studio to NASA’s Operations Support Centre in
Alabama, USA. From there, it will be transmitted to the ISS via satellite. The
laugh star will then be 3D printed and sent spinning into the ether, no doubt
to the complete bewilderment of any alien life that happens to be passing.
‘The earliest cave paintings were of human
hands,’ explains Gever, ‘which were a way of proclaiming and celebrating the
presence of humanity. #Laugh will be the 21st century version of that – a
mathematically accurate encapsulation of human laughter, simply floating
through space, waiting to be discovered.’
Made in Space describes the event as
fundamental to the forthcoming Space Age. ‘If humanity is one day soon to
thrive in space, then creating art and culture in space is equally as important
as sending out people and the technology to support them.’
What are you waiting for? Download the
#Laugh app today and in a month’s time your 3D printed laughter could be
chortling its way across the cosmos.
Check out Eyal Gever’s video at www.laugh.ai/#bio
posted 01 December 2016 at 15:25:57
Daniel Noree, who features often in the
Design Files pages of 3D Create & Print (in fact, he has a design in Issue
110 – our final issue) has just unveiled his latest OpenR/C creation – a third
generation 3D printed Formula 1 racer that you can print in PLA (car body) and
Ninjaflex (tires) – along with assembly instructions that you can download
How’s that for a going away present from us?
The Swedish designer’s OpenR/C race have had a big fanbase since 2012, when he published his first design online. His latest is a 1:10 scale F1 car that requires just two plastics, plus a $220 electronics pack that contains all the motors and radio equipment you need to get it moving (or you can put together your own electronics, if you’re savvy that way). Find out more about the packs at http://danielnoree.com.
Watch Daniel build the car in a time lapse video here:
You can download the 38 STL files free from Thingiverse (www.thingiverse.com/thing:1193309). Daniel recommends a 10-15%
infill and 0.2mm layer height for most of the car parts, while the chassis
plates will require a 35% infill. More than 50 3D print fans have already
successfully printed the car, while others have customized Daniel’s designs.
See the car in action here:
Image: © Daniel Norée (danielnoree.com)
posted 28 November 2016 at 15:39:20
Walking along the beach one day, a teacher from Tasmania
found himself tut-tutting at the amount of discarded old rope he found strewn
around the coastline of Western Australia – much of it small bits of plastic
rope from fishing industries.
A big fan of 3D printing, Marcos Gogolin dedicated the next
five years to working out a method of converting old rope into usable 3D
After a few disappointments involving hot glue guns, Marcos,
enthusiastically assisted by his pupils at TasTAFE school, created a DIY
filament maker that could actually convert melted marine rope into usable
plastic for 3D print. Although he describes his cobbled together machine as
"all a bit dodgy", the entrepreneurial teacher is working on a
business plan and hopes to get some engineers interested in further developing
the filament maker.
'There is too much plastic being produced, it's crazy, it's
completely out of hand', says Marcos. 'I think it has to come to a point where
to produce new plastic is so expensive, it's not viable any more and people
will start to value the resource of the waste.'
This is a terrific step towards not only making the oceans
safer for birds and marine life, but also reducing the amount of plastic
landfill clogging up the planet. A great example of 3D print technology and
environmental awareness working in harmony and involving the next generation
into the bargain. Well done and good luck, Sir!
Image: © Thinkstock/iStock/Francesco Scatena
posted 21 November 2016 at 15:33:47
We’ll be featuring Australian open-source
inventor AbilityMate’s ingenious wheelchair toggles in Issue 106 of 3D Create
& Print. AbilityMate’s designers, carers, occupational therapists and users
collaborate to create 3D printed solutions that make the lives of people with
disabilities that bit easier.
The company’s latest innovation is 3D
printed ankle and foot orthoses (AFOs) – or ‘Magic Shoes’, as they like to call
them – for children who have problems with walking.
Traditional orthoses manufacturing methods
involve taking a plaster cast of the child’s leg, which can be a stressful
exercise for all concerned, then manually fabricating the mobility aid, which
can take many weeks. AbilityMate’s solution is to non-intrusively digital scan
the foot in just a few seconds, ensuring a perfect custom fit for each client,
then 3D print the orthoses in as little as 48 hours.
The company launched a kickstarter campaign
recently on Dreamstarter and received pledges amounting to $40,000 in just 24
hours. The goal is to reach $80,000 and, with those funds, AbilityMate will
conduct material testing and user trials of 3D printed AFOs for children with
disabilities; get 3D printed AFOs medically approved and, initially, start
making them available to Australian children, while sharing their information
with the world and open-sourcing their research, designs and manufacturing
We’ve seen these Magic Shoes in action and
they really do make a difference. If you want to help or find out more, visit: www.campaigns.ingdirect.com.au/Dreamstarter/Projects/3D-Printed-Equipment-for-Kids-with-Disabilities
Image: © Ability Mate/abilitymate.com
posted 15 November 2016 at 23:16:21
The world's driest regions have a new saviour at hand in the
form of 'Dewdrop' – a 3D printed compact atmospheric water generator (AWG)
that can create fresh drinking water from thin air.
Designed by 22 year-old engineering student Jawwad Patel
from Hyderabad in India, the self-filling Dewdrop can turn humid air into 2
litres of water in just an hour. In drier environments, 1.2 litres can be
squeezed out of the atmosphere in the same amount of time. It even has a
hot/cold option, so it works in colder climates, too.
Dewdrop's battery-powered system of electric fans harnesses
condensation, turning vapour into water and collecting it in a vessel below the
AWG's working parts. UV filters keep out nasties, such as dust, dirt and any
toxic gases or chemicals in the air, so the water is mineralised and perfectly
His invention, which is portable, has won Jawwad numerous
award nominations in his native country, but it's just one of this prolific
young inventor's designs. So far, he has created a smart helmet that won't let
you drive when drunk, a solar powered car, smart drones and many more
incredible and useful inventions.
'I want to invent things according to the problems and
situations people are facing currently,' says Jawwad. 'I also have strong plans
to make the youth aware of various innovative possibilities, especially the
rural population [of India] about technology and the vast fields they can
contribute in. All of my projects and innovations are supposed to be helpful
for our national integrity and I would love to continue to prove myself as a
resourceful individual in the development of our nation.'
We think Jawwad Patel is a tremendous ambassador for his
country and a remarkable young man.
You can check our Jawwad's own website at www.jawwadpatel.com
and see videos of his Dewdrop invention at www.jawwadpatel.com/p/videos.html
Image: © Jawwad Patel
posted 04 November 2016 at 18:21:16
NASA is poised to blast the world's first 3D printed
satellite into space on March 16, 2017 – a full year ahead of schedule.
Researchers from the Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho,
USA, began developing the tiny 10 x 10 x 11.35cm CubeSat satellite two and a
half years ago. Progress was so rapid that NASA changed its launch schedules in
order to send the satellite, named MakerSat, into space next spring, at the
same time as its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
satellite, which provides weather alerts and warnings. The cube-shaped MakerSat
will orbit the Earth at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour, completing a full
orbit every 100 minutes for the next ten years.
This latest 3D printed project is a crucial step in NASA's
programme to better understand how 3D printing and 3D printed tools could play
a crucial role in space exploration in the future. Its mission objectives are
to demonstrate space additive manufacturing and assembly on the International
Space Station; multi-user, multi-project satellite architecture; to determine
how and at what speed 3D printed materials such as ABS, ULTEM and nylon break
down and decay in space; and to capture images of Earth.
The ultimate goal is to 3D print a structure or spacecraft
in space. 3D printing really is at the forefront in the race to explore and
conquer new frontiers.
Images: © NASA (top); Northwest Nazarene University
posted 28 October 2016 at 09:53:25
It's not just big companies with huge development budgets
that come up with the most dynamic 3D print ideas. Very often it's the guy
sitting at home, experimenting with his own desktop 3D printer.
Meet Yousif Ashoor. Yousif is a great fan of the video game
Deus Ex and he decided it would be cool to create some auto-retractable
sunglasses, similar to those worn by the mechanically augmented character Adam
Jensen in the game. So that's what he did.
He used a Zortax M200 printer and a modified Solidoodle
printer to 3D print the parts (which are free to download from thingiverse) and
just ordinary plastic filament. Yousif hasn't yet shared the secret of what
sensors and electronics he incorporated to make the lenses snap shut
automatically in response to increased UV light, but if he plans to market
these any time soon, that's understandable.
Whether or not the sunglasses will catch on is anyone's
guess, but it just goes to show what a little ingenuity and a 3D printer can
Image: © imgur.com/Annoyingguest
posted 19 October 2016 at 20:28:55
What would happen if you gave a 3D printer a 'brain'? Or
rather, what would happen if you equipped a robot with artificial intelligence
(AI) and a 3D printer?
Ai Build, a London-based start-up company, has put the
question to the test by retro-fitting giant industrial robots with 3D printing
guns and AI algorithms. And their tests seem to show that the outcome is machines
that see, create and learn from their mistakes.
The company's CEO and founder, former architecture student
Daghan Cam, attached foam 3D printing guns to the robotic arms of KUKA
industrial robots and then programmed them to create intricate structures. They
instantly discovered that the process was painfully slow.
'Our robots were blind. They take instructions from a
computer and blindly execute them,' says Cam. 'If there's any problem, they
don't notice and can't adapt.'
Cam and his team solved the problem by adding cameras to the
robots and using machine vision algorithms to check the structures as they were
'The goal was to create a feedback loop between the physical
environment and the digital environment,' says Cam. The robots could now spot
defects and compensate for them in subsequent layers during printing. This sped
up the process and print time was cut in half, saving material and cutting
Prior to carrying out the experiment, Cam had asked a
competitor who didn't use AI to quote for the same 3D print job. The
competition quoted a price of £25,500. Cam's 3D print gun-wielding AI robot
completed it for just £150 and printed the structure as a single piece, rather
than in multiple sections that would have had to be assembled after printing.
That was just the start. In Amsterdam last week, the company
unveiled its 'Daedalus Pavilion' (pictured), a 5m x 5m x 4.5m structure that weighs 160kg
and is 3D printed in 48 sections. Partnering Arup Engineers, Ai Build's pavilion
took just 15 days to print using the Ai robot and its 3D print gun and cost £29,250.
the stunning pavilion proves what Ai Build's technology can achieve, Cam now wants
to focus on revolutionizing large-scale construction projects through 3D print.
This is yet another very exciting development in the future of construction via
You can watch the KUKA robot in action at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpl6EPlCF2E
Image: © Ai Build (www.ai-build.com)
posted 12 October 2016 at 22:36:12
While huge advances have been made in the world of 3D
printing in the last decade, it still has been difficult for non-programmers to
create objects made of multi-materials, or mixtures of materials, due to a lack
of user-friendly interfaces. This week, a brainy team from MIT's Computer Science and
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled 'Foundry', which is billed
as a more intuitive system that allows you to custom-design a variety of 3D
printed objects in multiple materials.
Today’s multi-material 3D printers are mostly used for
prototyping, because the materials currently used are not very functional. Designers
typically create preliminary models, make rapid adjustments and then print them
In contrast, Foundry acts as an interface to help create
such objects. To use it, you first design your object in a traditional CAD
package, such as SolidWorks. Once the file is exported, you can determine the
object’s composition by creating an 'operator graph' that can include any of
approximately 100 fine-tuned actions called 'operators'. Operators can
subdivide, remap or assign materials. Some operators cleanly divide an object
into two or more different materials, while others provide more of a gradual
shift from one material to another.
Foundry lets you mix and match any combination of materials
and also assign specific properties to different parts of the object, combining
operators together to make new ones. For example, if you want to make a cube
that is both rigid and elastic, you would assign a 'rigid operator' to make one
part rigid and an 'elastomer operator' to make the other part elastic. A third 'gradient
operator' connects the two and introduces a gradual transition between materials.
Users can also preview their design in real-time, rather
than having to wait until the final steps in the printing process to see what
it will look like. 'In traditional manufacturing, objects made of different
materials are manufactured via separate processes and then assembled with an
adhesive or another binding process,' says PhD Kiril Vidimce, one of the authors
of a paper from CSAIL’s Computational Fabrication Group. 'Even existing
multi-material 3D printers follow a similar workflow: parts are designed in
traditional CAD systems one at a time and then the print software allows the
user to assign a single material to each part.'
In contrast, Foundry allows users to vary the material
properties at a very fine resolution that, until now, hasn’t been possible.
'It’s like Photoshop for 3D materials, allowing you to
design objects made of new composite materials that have the optimal
mechanical, thermal and conductive properties that you need for a given task,'
says Vidimce. 'You are only constrained by your creativity and your ideas on
how to combine materials in novel ways.'
To demonstrate, the team designed and fabricated a ping-pong
paddle, skis with retro-reflective surfaces, a tricycle wheel, a helmet and
even a bone that may, some day, be used for surgical planning. Redesigning multi-material objects in existing design tools takes
experienced engineers and designers many days and some designs still prove
unworkable. With Foundry, claim its inventors, you can create these designs in
'3D printing is about more than just clicking a button and
seeing the product,' says Vidimce. 'It’s about printing things that can’t
currently be made with traditional manufacturing.' To test Foundry, the team tried the system on non-designers.
They were given three different objects to reproduce: a teddy bear, a bone
structure and an integrated 'tweel' (tyre and wheel). With just an hour's
explanation, users could design the bone, tyre wheel, and teddy bear in an
average of 56, 48 and 26 minutes, respectively.
In addition to the user study, the team also fabricated a
custom wheel for a toddler's tricycle. The wheel had an improved structure to
maximise lateral strength and a foam outer wheel for improved suspension.
Using Foundry to exploit the full capabilities of the 3D
printing platform could enable many practical applications in medicine and more,
claims the MIT team. Surgeons could create high-quality replicas of objects, such
as bones, to practice on, while dentists could develop more comfortable
dentures and other products that would benefit from having both soft and rigid
Vidimce’s ultimate dream is for Foundry to create a
community of designers who can share new operators with each other, to expand
the possibilities of what can be produced. He also hopes to integrate Foundry
into the workflow of existing CAD systems. 'The user should be able to iterate on the material
composition in a similar manner to how they iterate on the geometry of the part
being designed,' says Vidimce. 'Integrating physics simulations to predict the
behavior of the part will allow rapid iteration on the final design.'
The paper’s co-authors include MIT professor Wojciech
Matusik and students from his Computational Fabrication Group: PhD student
Alexandre Kaspar and former graduate student Ye Wang. The paper will be
presented later this week at the Association for Computing Machinery’s User
Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST) in Tokyo. The research was
supported by the National Science Foundation.
Click on the YouTube link at the top of this blog to watch Foundry in action.
Images: © Kiril Vimidce/MITCSAIL