Saying ‘I Do!’ To 3D Printing For A Wedding

It’s that lovely time of year again where love is all amongst us as weddings are galore! More than a handful of our teammates have utilized the power of 3D printing with Gigabot to create wedding decor that reduces costs while optimizing creative expression & personalization… so we thought we’d share their applications in hopes to inspire 3D printing for your special day.

4 Ways To Utilize 3D Printing For A Wedding (& Why You Should)

3D Printed Wall Decor Lighting Up The Dance Floor 

Jeric 3D printed and assembled an LED sign for his sister’s wedding. The printed parts took 14 hours in total to make using a combination of PLA & PETG – PETG for the front, translucent part of the sign and PLA for everything else. He used super glue and hot glue to hold everything together. He also installed LEDs throughout the inside – the LEDs are RGB and have a transmitter connected, so they can use a remote to control the color and light-up patterns. Check out the photos from the full build process in this album.

Why use 3D printing?

“3D printing gave me amazing flexibility in the design, but also let me quickly build a functional 3D design.”
Jeric Bautista

The 3D Printed Icing On Top of the Cake: 3D Printed Wedding Toppers

Alessandra designed & 3D printed ‘Mr&Mrs’ wedding cake toppers and table decorations for Samantha Snabes’ sister’s wedding. They took about 1 hour to design and model for each print and the wedding cake topper took approximately 1 hour to print while the table decoration took about 43 hours to print using silver PLA. The prints were then spraypainted with gold. Access the wedding topper designs for free here on our Sketchfab

Why use 3D printing?

"Weddings are expensive but custom wedding items are extremely expensive. With 3D printing, you can literally shape your dreams without having to go bankrupt. Time-wise, I was able to get a specific picture from the customer's Pinterest and generate a 3D model under 1 hour. Even if one of the models takes 43 hours to print, you can leave Gigabot in charge while you go home, watch series and take a nap, so you virtually save those 43 hours of possible manual work.”
Alessandra Montano
3D Printed Wedding Cake Topper

A Trove of Treasures In A 3D Printed Chest: 3D Printing Gifts

Mike B. 3D printed a Zelda treasure chest for a Zelda themed wedding. The chest had a slot at the top to drop in gift cards. He also 3D scans newlyweds when he goes to weddings and ships them print-outs of themselves a few months later. For the Zelda treasure chest, he used hinges from the hardware store, a bit of Bondo to give a wood texture, acrylic paint, and a clear coat. The design took 2 hours, and Mike kept changing it to look more authentic to the game. The portraits were printed in white PLA and scanned with a Structure Sensor. Scans were cleaned up a bit in MeshMixer.

Why use 3D printing?

"For many fabricated items, the materials inform the design but with 3D printing, you can make virtually anything if you can model it. A treasure chest would traditionally be made with wood and metal. You can mimic lots of different fabrication methods all with the same two tools, a CAD program, and a Gigabot. The Zelda treasure chest needed to look cartoony so in this case, it was actually easier to prime/paint than a metal/wood fabrication would have been. 3D printing is indispensable for prop design! For the scans, someone would have had to sculpt them; this was more of a portrait captured at the moment which I think is special.”
Mike Battaglia

3D Printed Accessories: A Life-Sized Diamond Isn’t Tough

Tammie 3D printed a diamond to be a light within a large diamond ring to further accessorize the wedding. She used natural PLA and it took 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the print using Gigabot and didn’t do any post-processing work on the prints.

Why use 3D printing?

“I would have never found a diamond this large to display for the day! Thankfully for the size of Gigabot and the versatility of 3D printing, it was made possible.”
Tammie Vargas

There you have it! Four special 3D printing applications for very special days. Don’t forget to check out the pics above and free downloads on our Sketchfab! Also, we’d love to know – what have you printed for weddings & special occasions? Don’t hesitate to share on our forum! Until then…happy printing ever after 🙂

Gigabot X Gets NSF SBIR Phase II Funded

We are thrilled to share that re:3D has received the NSF SBIR Phase II grant to further commercialize Gigabot X! You can view the official award here for more details on this $749,111.00 grant and also check out the latest video update on Gigabot X published last week (a complementary blog post is coming your way very soon as well to showcase these features). But for now, we just wanted to share the good news along with our deepest gratitude for each and every one of you out there who was an integral part of our journey to this milestone. Below you’ll find the official press release or you can download the PDF version of it here re:3d NSF SBIR Phase II Awardee Press Release.

re:3D Inc. Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

America’s Seed Fund Powered by NSF Provides Funding for R&D; Helps small businesses move innovations out of the lab and into the market

Houston, Texas April 30, 2019 –  re:3D Inc. has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant for $749,111 to commercialize innovative technology by conducting research and development (R&D) work on increasing maker manufacturing through 3D printing with reclaimed plastic.

re:3D manufactures large-scale, affordable 3D printers and most recently, printers printing from multiple types of plastic waste as made possible with the support of NSF SBIR. With headquarters in Texas and Puerto Rico, re:3D has 20+ employees who serve their customers in 55+ countries in industries such as healthcare, defense, manufacturing, art and more. Beyond creating 3D printers, re:3D also offers 3D printing contract services, design, education, consulting and custom 3D printer manufacturing in pursuit of decimating and cost and scale barriers to 3D printing while simultaneously transforming traditional supply chains and empowering more circular economies.

NSF SBIR support of this proposal is justified for the technology’s far-reaching potential. The two main impacts of such hardware are environmental: for the technologies’ potential to upcycle otherwise discarded post manufacturing or post-consumer waste, reduction in on-demand inventory holding, and condensed supply chains, and societal: for the technologies’ potential to create new jobs and enterprises along with the 3D printing ecosystem by enabling locally driven manufacturing, thus bringing jobs back to America.

“The National Science Foundation supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

“We are incredibly humbled to receive support from the NSF to continue our research to commercialize a full suite of affordable technologies that can enable 3D printing from virgin & reclaimed regrind and pellets,” said re:3D’s Co-Founder and Catalyst, Samantha Snabes. “During our Phase I grant we were able to create a prototype printer, now being sold in beta. Phase II will allow us to evolve the printer as a full-scale commercial offering, along with a grinding and drying system. We are eager to share our findings with the community as we Dream Big and Print Huge from Recyclables!”

Small businesses can receive up to $1.5 million in funding from NSF. Companies must first have received a Phase I award (up to $225,000) to become eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000) to further develop and commercialize the technology. Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions and commercial potential across almost all areas of technology are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. NSF’s deadlines for Phase I small business proposals occur twice annually, in June and December.

To learn more about the NSF SBIR/STTR program, visit: seedfund.nsf.gov and see more information on re:3D’s Phase II Award here.

About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards nearly $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.4 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

About re:3D® Inc. is committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. After pioneering the world’s first affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D is now enabling 3D printing directly from reclaimed plastic pellets or flake. Beyond creating the world’s largest, most affordable 3D printers, re:3D also offers 3D printing services including contract printing, design, education, custom 3D printers and consulting. Launched in 2013 by for NASA contractor technologists, re:3D now has a scaling workforce of 20+ employees with offices in Houston, Austin, and San Juan, Puerto Rico and service customers in 55+ countries who are solving problems across industries such as health, manufacturing, education, and more. For more info, visit www.re3D.org.

For more press inquiries, send me an email at cat@re3D.org

3D Printing Sustainable Energy Solutions After Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria left nearly all people in Puerto Rico without power for months, some places never to have access again and others on a minimum of a five-year timeline before reconnecting to the grid. It also exposed an even deeper problem – the lack of renewable energy alternatives fueling the island with less than 1% of all power coming from renewable sources. A particularly troubling statistic considering Puerto Rico is a place that sees sun and wind all year round. A problem that manifested itself as people waited in 18-22 hour lines at gas stations for Diesel fuel for their generators, cars, and homes to reboot their energy essentials. And for those without generators, lack of power meant lack of refrigeration for necessities like insulin, a major contributor to the 3,000 casualties of Hurricane Maria. The only silver lining is that this tragedy has motivated new renewable energy legislation in Puerto Rico announced this week.

Our team in Puerto Rico decided that Gigabot and 3D printing could get started on making a dent on this problem and set out to 3D print a portable wind turbine with the gusto to charge a cellphone. re:3D hired local maker we met through the Parallel 18 community, a 3D printing enthusiast, founder of MadEra and former Ice Blast HVAC technician, Jean-Yves Auguste Chapiteau, with the knowledge and the know-how to design and 3D print a solution to this challenge.

An Initial Drawing of the 3D Printed Wind Turbine

After 5 months, this 3D printable wind turbine takes 200 hours to print with PLA and costs $200-300 including the electrical components, a cost that is 70-80% less than similar sized turbines on the market. Not to mention, it’s designed for easy installation, it doesn’t require maintenance, and its unique vertical axis design optimizes for capturing omnidirectional wind flow and unpredictable wind patterns common to Puerto Rico. It has the power the power up things such as a tablet, cell phone, and small devices.

This 3D printed wind turbine takes 200 hours to print with PLA and costs $200-300 including the electrical components, a cost that is 70-80% less than similar sized turbines on the market.

While still portable, Gigabot’s large format, human-scale 3D printing capabilities expanded this wind turbine’s boundaries of what was possible to be created and empowered the creation of a bigger, more powerful wind turbine.

Watch the wind turbine in action!

Compared to his past experience 3D printing with desktop printers, Jean shared it was an impactful difference to print with such bigger parameters which led to bigger opportunities to 3D print not just a bigger solution, but a better solution for a difficult problem. But as Jean says, “There’s no difficult job if you have the right tools”.

“There’s no difficult job if you have the right tools”.
Jean Auguste Chapiteau

Convening Global Community: Thank You CES 2019

CES 2019 was jam-packed with activities and innovations that sprawled throughout Las Vegas with over 180,000 attendees, exhibitors, and speakers. The conference and exhibition activates across giant venues in Las Vegas including The Venetian, Sands Expo Center including startup innovation arena Eureka Park, and the Las Vegas Convention Center. Companies and innovators on the spectrum of industries and size exhibited their latest work, from life-size drone helicopters, robots beating humans in ping pong, pretty much anything “smart” you can imagine or yours truly, showing our large scale 3D printer printing from plastic waste. We posted some insights on our schedule and first day at CES and here is the remainder of our insights, adventures, and recap of our first CES experience. All in all, CES was about convening community from around the world to showcase and connect over their latest innovations and we wanted to write a recap and thank you note to our community who have supported ours.

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Gigabot X @ CES

Our debut at CES 2019 wouldn’t have been possible without instrumental partners who gave us platforms to exhibit our new technology, Gigabot X. Gigabot X is a large scale (or large format if you prefer), affordable 3D printer printing from pellet or flake plastic. Pellet printing in and of itself drastically lowers the cost to 3D printing 10 times and prints up to 13 times faster than other printers. Even more so, after various peer-reviewed research with Michigan Technological University – Gigabot X has been validated printing from multiple types of plastic waste in pellet and flake form. To showcase these developments almost exactly a year after we won the WeWork Creator Award and received funding from the NSF SBIR Phase I grant as well as launched Gigabot X on Kickstarter, it was a huge privilege to have our hard work on display to the global community who convenes at CES – meeting industry leaders, makers, fellow creators, and enthusiasts from all over.

3D printing Caribbean coral on Gigabot X at CES

We also exhibited some Gigabot X and Gigabot  prints such as 3D printed coral (straight from 3D scans of the Caribbean), a skateboard 3D printed from recycled plastic, vases, trashcans, architectural pieces, our infill educational tool, 3D printed medical devices, coffee picking baskets, prosthetics, replacement parts and more real-world examples of the innovations around the world, across industry, all with the commonality of solving problems utilizing Gigabot and 3D printing technology . While we’re putting the final touches on Gigabot X before it’s commercially available, the positive feedback, inquiries, and pre-orders of Gigabot X were a major accomplishment of our time during CES. However, as a community-driven organization, this latest accomplishment wouldn’t have been made possible without a world of supporters (yourself included) and some of the major supporters who have gotten us to where we are today. This gratitude was proudly broadcasted across Gigabot X’s headboard (see below photo). Beyond that, we wanted to write a recap and thank you note to CES and those who made it possible for us to be at CES, get to CES and showcase our vision.

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Gigabot prints at the U.S. Government Startup Connection booth

Thanks to National Science Foundation, Small Business Innovation Research, and Small Business Association not only for making the NSF SBIR grants available like the Phase 1 grant that helped make Gigabot X a reality but also for the support and partnership to showcase Gigabot X at the U.S. Government Startup connection booth in Eureka Park and ongoing support. We also got to meet other amazing organizations co-exhibiting in the U.S. Government Startup Connection booth like Ampaire on a mission to provide the world with all-electric powered commercial flights that are affordable, quiet and environmentally conscious, and Hivemapper, Learn With Socrates, and Gen X Comm. Despite the government shutdown which created some curveballs, our partners at NSF and SBIR were integral to our CES presence and getting to debut Gigabot X to the community. Thanks to USPTO for being there!

Gigabot X's headboard thanking WeWork, Bunker Labs, MassChallenge, Alice, Chase, SBA, SBIR, Unreasonable, USAA, Startup Chile, PRSTR Trust, Parallel18, NSF, America Makes, Kickstarter & others who made it possible!

Connecting with WeWork and their Senior Construction Partner, Brian Ringley, at CES was another major milestone. The one year anniversary from when we won the $1M WeWork Global Creator Award occurred during CES and on the same day at CES, Brian met his new Gigabot X heading his way, one of the first to be delivered to Kickstarter backers from the successful launch last year. It was an amazing time to connect with Brian and celebrate this full circle collaboration: from winning the WeWork Creator Award to launching the Gigabot X prototype on Kickstarter to working together on Gigabot X’s the evolution from a beta bot to delivering it in person on perhaps one of the biggest platforms and convenings for electronics. We also got some great snapshots with Brian’s first print and his kickflips on our 3D printed skateboard from recycled plastic!

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Samantha Snabes pitches at the Extreme Tech Challenge Finals

Taking the stage as a top 10 finalist in Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge was another major highlight of our CES experience. We have so much gratitude and admiration for Richard Branson, the other companies in this competition, the judges who gave us feedback, and the team from Extreme Tech and Actai who have supported us along the way. Making the top 10 of this global competition was a huge honor for us and we extend a huge congratulations to the top 3 winners from Lynq, Elevian, and Active Protective who won a trip to Necker Island as well as other semi finalists who received a surprise invite to Necker along with us! We look forward to future collaborations with this community and grateful for the stage and the setting to share our vision and demo Gigabot X.

Judges: Dave Hagan, CTA; Lisa Andrews, Ignite Alliance; Veronica Serra, Pacific Investimentos & Innova Capital; Shankar Chandra, Samsung Catalyst Fund; Larry O'Connor, OWC. #XTC2019 Companies: re:3D, Last of Ours, We Walk, Liven, Nyx Technologies, Active Protective, Elevian, Lynq, Einride, Bitlumens, Civic Eagle

Techstars likewise gave us a great platform on their #StartupStage to share our innovations in the robotics pitch competition in Eureka Park. After being selected as a top 10 from a number of applicants, we competed with a 60 second pitch and were humbled to take home 1st place and meet creators of cutting edge robotics and judges from Misty Robotics and Lynq.

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re:3D wins 1st prize at Techstars Robotics Pitch Competition!

If you know our story, you know it begins with Kickstarter – and Kickstarter continues to be a key community partner and powerful platform that supports us as we launch new evolutions of the Gigabot family such as Gigabot X last year to its first beta users. We were grateful to meet with the Kickstarter team, like Clarissa, and community at some amazing meetups after hours with a global network of creators and partners like Hackster and Dragon Innovation.

We are forever grateful for our friends and supporters who have gotten to where we are today! Arguably one of the proudest highlights of CES was reuniting with one of the first Gigabot owners, Doug Mockett of Mockett, who came to say hi to us at CES from California. Still to this day, their two Gigabots run around the clock and they lovingly call them their “workhorses”. We met up with some other customers (like one using Gigabot to 3D print entire life size inventory robots) and even suppliers like LDO Motors.

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Startup Chile fellow entrepreneurs Waverly Labs exhibits at CES

We got to catch up with friends from former accelerators like Waverly Labs from Startup Chile, our first accelerator we joined when we launched in 2013. We met up with one of our mentors from Parallel 18, Alicia Syrett. We also said hi to fellow Unreasonable Impact alumni on a mission to create solutions and jobs in the green economy such as the teams from Heatworks and Breezometer exhibiting in Sands Halls.

We spent one morning getting to tour the local Afwerx office in Las Vegas, an organization creating innovative and crowdsourced solutions for the most critical problems affecting those in our Air Force and an organization especially close to our heart with two teammates Samantha and Kara actively involved in the military and Air Force. We also got to see our partners at IEEE and Finn Partners at an evening event, some great partners who share aligned values with their mission to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity.

A huge thank you as well to partners and press who acknowledged us in their pieces, we can’t say enough how grateful we are for your recognition. Alice’s Elizabeth Gore included us in an Inc article with a major announcement on the bright future of diversity in tech, Jean Baptiste Su noted us in Forbes top 22 innovative technology startups to watch at CES and Beau Jackson’s 3D printing round-up at CES in 3D Printing Industry gave us a nod. Thanks for these platforms and writers for sharing our story! We hope to continue to share more on our developments, diversity, and problem solvers around the world breaking limitations with 3D printing.

Read Elizabeth Gore's Inc article
Read Elizabeth Gore's Inc article
Read Jean Baptiste Su's Forbes article

We are so grateful to CES for giving us a big platform to jump off of in 2019 as we dive into a year filled with new innovations, stories and leaps forward toward a world empowered by sustainable and locally driven manufacturing. Thank you and stay tuned for some more updates and footage coming your way. Don’t forget: #ReduceReuseRe3D

p.s. If you were following our road trip to CES and are curious about the adventures of re:3D after official CES festivities, we packed up Gigabot X in our beloved Uhaul and headed back to Texas the way we came: 1,500 mile road trip. We traversed from Las Vegas to Tucson, then on to El Paso where w dropped off a Gigabot at the University of Texas El Paso's W.M. Keck Center for (extremely rad) 3D Innovation in partnership with America Makes. We then took a break to rock climb at McKelligan Canyon in El Paso before heading back to Houston, Austin & San Antonio.

Insights & Adventures From CES: Day 1

The first 24 hours in Vegas have been a thrill and day 1 at #CES2019 has been full of adventures.

3 years ago… re:3D co-founders kick it with founder of Zappos Tony Hsieh at his Downtown Container Park.

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The Eve of CES, our heroic quartet of re:3Ders who road tripped from Houston to Vegas rolled in and brought Gigabot X straight to the founder of Zappos Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Container Park, Bin 702 for Gigabot X’s  Las Vegas debut over a small dinner and drinks (and occasional background ambience of Downtown Park’s epic fire breathing praying mantis). Amazingly, this location Matthew & Samantha met Tony 3  years ago when the vision of Gigabot X is still in its beginnings.

CES Kicks Off… Gigabot X at Sands Expo Eureka Park Booth #51510

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Gigabot X 3D printing from trash!

Day 1 kicked off with an early load in to Sands Expo and getting Gigabot X to our booth at Eureka Park (meet us at #51510!) – where we are co-exhibiting at the U.S. Government Startup Connection booth in thanks to our partnership with National Science Foundation and Small Business Administration after receiving the NSF SBIR Phase 1 grant last year. This grant was instrumental in making Gigabot X a reality. There are also so many partners and supporters we owe huge gratitude to for making Gigabot X come to life and we’re proud Gigabot X’s top panel displays all their logos (more high res photos coming soon =).

Gigabot X – our large scale, affordable 3D printer that is printing from multiple types of plastic waste – is exhibiting in Eureka Park, Sands Hall G Floor 1 Tech West Booth #51510 [view on floor plan]. After receiving the NSF SBIR Phase 1 grant this year, we were privileged to be invited as one of a handful of startups to co-exhibit at the U.S. Government startup connection booth. That said, the recent government shutdown has shaken a few things up and though our friends from NSF and SBA can’t be here, we’re still here and printing – so tell your friends to drop by!

U.S. Government Startup Connection Booth #51510

re:3D Wins Techstars #StartupStage Robotics Pitch Competition!

Samantha Snabes hit the #StartupStage powered by Techstars for their robotics pitch competition where 8 companies did a 60 second pitch followed by 3 minutes of Q&A from Karina Costa of Lynq, Ian Bernstein of Misty Robotics, Silas Adekunle of Reach Robotics and Tyler Mantel of Watch Tower Robotics.

re:3D Wins Techstars #StartupStage Robotics Pitch Competition!  (note: not all re:3D teammates included in photo)

The line up was fueled by entrepreneurs with amazing entrepreneurs and innovations in robotics, but Samantha and Gigabot X took gold with 1st place! Thanks Techstars for inviting us to this pitch competition and we were excited to snap a pic with Karina who is a fellow finalist for Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge where the finals will commence on Thursday at the Venetian Bellini Ballroom 2003-2006 from 12-3pm (come see Gigabot X product demo from 12-1pm)

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Extreme Tech Challenge Finalists Samantha & Karina after re:3D Wins Techstars Robotics Pitch Competition

A Giga Reunion with Doug Mockett of Mockett & Friends

Long Time Gigabot Owner Doug Mockett of Mockett

We were overjoyed to catch up with one of our first customers and long-time Gigabot owner, Doug Mockett of Mockett, who stopped by from California to say hi and meet Gigabot X. We love nothing more than to connect with our customers in over 55 countries, if you’re at CES – come find us!

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Gigabot Team Around Vegas after CES

After official CES activities closed at 6 pm, we headed to Tao Restaurant to meet with our friends at Finn Partners who partner with IEEE to share amazing stories of technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Samantha and Matthew bring their diverse expertise, talents, knowledge, and know-how as technical experts!

After official CES activities closed at 6 pm, we headed to Tao Restaurant to meet with our friends at Finn Partners who partner with IEEE to share amazing stories of technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Samantha and Matthew bring their diverse expertise, talents, knowledge, and know-how as technical experts!

Making A World Record & Having Some Fun Escap-ades at Escapology

Our troop of 13 re:3D teammates headed to Escapology after CES festivities to divide and conquer two different escape rooms. Team Knotnauts set a world record escaping the Under Pressure room in 40 minutes and 56 seconds. Team Awesome followed close behind, finishing (the arguably harder 😉 Budapest Express in 45 minutes. Let’s be real though, in this fun scenario, everyone won =).

Team Knotnauts Pose For Paparazzi After Setting Escapology World Record

And with that, Day 1 is a wrap! Tune in tomorrow for a recap of CES Day 2 adventures and don’t forget to follow along with our schedule for the week and our real-time activities on social media @re3Dprinting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget, #ReduceReuseRe3D !

The Power of Printing With PETG

We’re excited to now sell PETG at re:3D! Why do you ask? I sat down with Co-Founder and Head of Technology, Matthew Fiedler, for some Q&A on the power of 3D printing with PETG. Read below, check out some video footage of how we are using PETG at re:3D and tune into our inaugural Meet with a 3D Printing Engineer live session next week no matter where in the world you are to chat with our 3D printing engineers live and bring any questions you may have.

Why is re:3D releasing and deciding to sell PETG now?

“Polyethylene terephthalate Glycol is an interesting material for FFF AM because of the enhanced material properties compared to the most common filament, PLA. PETG exhibits high layer to layer bonding strength, slightly elevated Tg of 80C over PLA which has a Tg of around 55C. PETG also allows better light transmission which can be a great benefit for parts that require visible light to pass through them.”

What do people use it for?

“PETG is most commonly known as the plastic used in water bottle and soft drinks containers. In 3D printing, it makes an excellent breakaway support material for parts printed in PLA. The opposite is also true where you can use PLA as breakaway support material for parts made in PETG.”

What are some unique advantages of PETG?

“Parts printed in PETG are also slightly more flexible than those made from PLA.“

What have engineers done with it at re:3D to date?

“We show several videos on our YouTube channel how well it works as support and raft material (like this video). In pellet form, we use PETG with Gigabot X to produce skateboards, decorative interior design pieces and a basket for coffee pickers in Puerto Rico. (You can watch Gigabot X 3D printing a vase with PETG here.)”

What are some of your favorite prints or examples of 3D printing with PETG?

“My two favorite are Gigabot X produced interior design vase because of the stunning visual and light qualities of PETG and the coffee harvest basket for the coffee farm in Puerto Rico.” 

Any additional context or pre-emptive answers to questions people may ask about materials?

“You can purchase 5lb and 15lb spools of PETG in our online store. You can print PETG on your Gigabot with a nozzle temp of 235C and bed temp of 60C. A thin coating of Elmer’s X-treme glue stick on the PRINTinZ surface will provide excellent adhesion. You can use the same print speed and layer heights as PLA. We have created a special Simplify3D profile for using PETG and PLA together. You can download it from our Wiki here.”

Have more questions for Matthew on 3D printing wit PETG? Tune into Meet with a 3D Printing Engineer next week via Facebook for a live session with him. Also, if you’re as excited as we are about 3D printing with PETG – watch videos on our YouTube and buy PETG online at shop.re3D.org!

Buy PETG online at shop.re3D.org!

Medical Models For Disaster Response: Why We Designed and 3D Printed Flexible Vaginas

Nearly a year ago, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico with its Category 5  power. The entire electrical grid was destroyed, water systems were inoperable, 95% of cellular sites were broken and 400 miles of Puerto Rico’s 16,700 miles of roads were too damaged to drive on causing thousands of people and communities isolated from communications and disaster relief. 

While the island experienced many problems, many problem solvers stepped up to respond and local grassroots relief and recovery efforts formed immediately. One local organization, Colectiva Feminista en Construccion – a political organization advocating for women’s rights and protesting capitalistic and patriarchal oppression– opened up a fund and set up a center in an abandoned building in San Juan to distribute supplies to the community. But they didn’t stop there.“We don’t want to be just a band-aid,” shared one of the organizers, Maricarmen Rodriguez, “We want to help everyone and create a more inclusive society. Hurricane Maria cleared the makeup that was covering up problems that were already in Puerto Rico.” 

One of those problems surfaced while providing feminine hygiene products and realizing the need for medical models to teach about aspects of the vagina and how to use products like Diva Cups. More than that, Maricarmen wanted to find a way to talk about menstrual cups and sexual education that is often taboo in society. 

Could 3D printed vaginas be a tool for more grassroots sexual education?

When you look for your typical sex ed class medical models, they can cost hundreds per piece and the industry is monopolized by a small number of manufacturers. These models are made from unforgiving plastics that lack usability and plasticity to use to demonstrate with products like Diva Cups. Not to mention, in post-hurricane conditions, importing products like these would have been nearly impossible and taken months to arrive.

So Maricarmen reached out to re:3D in Puerto Rico and our teammate Alessandra set out to 3D print vaginas.

Right now, there are no open source vagina medical models so Alessandra started from scratch by creating a 2D picture by tracing from a medical book. She then used Rhino to create a 3D model.

The 3D printed vaginas – printed from flexible materials such as Ninjaflex and semi Flex making them more durable and less likely to break – provide more realistic and life-like medical models.

These 3D printed medical models have the ability to be just as realistic with attention to detail at a fraction of the cost: only $20-30 per print. The prints took about 3 hours on Gigabot – making body parts accessible nearly on demand.

This opens up new possibilities for schools, hospitals, and grassroots organizations to have access to affordable teaching tools – before a disaster and to aid in recovery and education after and beyond. 

Watch the 1-minute video of Alessandra explaining the 3D printed vaginas

re:3D had a #HurricaneStrong year in 2017 – our Houston team was hit by Harvey and our team in Puerto Rico withstood Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. June 1st marks the official beginning of hurricane season in Puerto Rico and in this series, we are highlighting stories of impact and insight to encourage #3DPrintedPreparedness this year.

And The Winner Is… Results of the Fast Furniture Challenge

As you may have seen, we launched a global 3D printing contest this summer in pursuit of finding a 3D printed solution to quickly assemble furniture in preparation for this year’s hurricane season. Called the “Fast Furniture Challenge”, we opened up this problem to our global community in exchange for a $250 cash prize.

Applicants were judged on a set of criteria including print time, cost, materials restrictions, weight load, and ease of assembly. Winning prints had a print time of under 48 hours, cost less than $20 to print, and were easy to assemble and disassemble using only pre-cut wood from Home Depot for the final piece of furniture to hold at least 150 pounds.

Participants submitted .STL files and digital presentation boards and our team judged the designs based on each design’s creativity, presentation board, .STL quality, estimated print time and ability to print without supports. The top designs were then printed and put to the test – the final product was judged on the ability to withstand 150 pounds, how easy it was to assemble and the cost of the print.

We’re excited to announce our winner…drumroll, please…Sylvain Fages!  Sylvain’s design printed a set of joints (4 joints = 1 table) in 12.08 hours, using 1.07 lbs of PLA for a $20.21 material cost. The prints had 15% rectilinear infill and no supports were needed. Also, shout out to the runner-up: Daniel Alvarado from ORION.

Below you’ll see some snapshots and assembly footage from Sylvain’s winning design and the final product our teammate Alessandra put to the test.

Reviewing Design Boards & .STL files

Sylvain submitted two design presentation boards (you can also access the original Sylvain Designs PDF).

Sylvain's Design #1

Design #1 was done in such a way that the weight of the table is resting on the legs and not on the joint. That way, the strength of the table top should define the strength of the table; however, requires a small hole to “clip-in-place” the table top.

Sylvain's Design #2

Design #2 is almost the same as design #1 but without the hole for clipping the top in place. Design #2 was selected for printing as it does not require access to power tools that may not be available to people during emergencies. 

.STL file review & slicing revealed the model was watertight with no errors and can be printed without supports, due to its unique design.

Testing the Joints

After selecting the top designs, we put them to the test by 3D printing them and assembling tables using pre-cut wood from Home Depot to evaluate ease of assembly, their stability and ability to hold up to 150 pounds. Here’s footage from Sylvain’s printed designs:

3D Printed Joints Table Assembly Video: Ease of assembly was an important factor in choosing the winner, watch Alessandra assemble a table w/ Sylvain’s 3D printed joints

Weight Test Video: We also tested that the table could hold up to 150 lbs.

Table Stability Video: Alessandra tested the level of the table’s stability.

Final Product Photos

Here are some snapshots of the joints in action after the table was assembled. Click to view bigger photos. 

Lessons + Insights

As you may have seen in our first post announcing this challenge, this Fast Furniture challenge was inspired by personal experiences our team endured during Hurricane Irma and Maria which we will continue to be sharing in our 3D printing recovery series. We ourselves went through rounds of trial and error to find a 3D printed solution to assemble furniture quickly – which was one of the biggest requests in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. I caught up with our teammate Alessandra who shared some lessons from our experience and learnings from this challenge. Here are her key takeaways:

  • Joints with 3/8″ wall thickness are very resistant to breaking. Previously, we were using 1/8″-1/4″ wall thickness for joints and they weren’t as strong as Sylvain’s. That extra 1/8″ does the trick!
  • The configuration of the joints allows the table top to rest on the wooden legs and not the 3D printed joints, which greatly reduces its probability of breaking.
  • No matter how thick the 3D printed part is, braces are needed for full stability. 
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"Using 3D printers to improve our world and help people - this is my vision of a 3D printer at its best!"
Sylvain Fages

We asked Sylvain his motivation for 3D printing and entering this challenge, he shared, “Since I discovered 3D printing through a blog article about fixing a stroller back in 2014, I have always been fascinated by how much you can do and build! I bought (and built) my first printer in 2015 and have since then always admire the possibilities you have with of 3D printing, especially to fix, recycle, and reuse things. When I heard about this challenge, I could not resist but to participate! Using 3D printers to improve our world and help people – this is my vision of a 3D printer at its best!” You can view more from Sylvain on Instagram and Thingiverse.

If you have more questions, you can tune in to more discussion on 3D printing fast furniture on our forum and stay tuned for future 3D printing contests by following us on social media @re3Dprinting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and sign up for our monthly newsletter for the latest updates and opportunities. What’s a global challenge you want to solve using 3D printing?