Gigabot Engineering Updates – February 2021

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2021 is going to be an exciting year for re:3D, and we have multiple product releases in the works for you. First, however, we want to update you on upgrades to our current offerings as well as highlight some new products now available from re:3D. As of January 1, 2021, re:3D 3D printers will ship with some great new enhancements. Current Gigabot®, Gigabot® X, and Terabot®, owners can order these as replacement parts that are upgradable from previous versions.

New Products

New Parts

Gigabot® X

  • Extruder Cover – covers and protects extruder area of GBX
  • Hopper Gantry – puts the hopper on a mobile gantry system which improves pellet flow 
  • For additional details on GBX Updates, see our Forum Post

Fit and Strength Part Adjustments

The below parts have had geometry changes or other additions to make them stronger or fit more precisely.

Gigabot® X

  • [11384] Thrust Bearing Plate – Improved fit with extruder body 
  • Extruder Body – Improved material feeding
  • Feed Throat – Improved material feeding
  • Feed Tube – Revised for compatibility with new gantry
  • Hopper – Revised for compatibility with new gantry
  • Motor Spacer – Revised for compatibility with new extruder cover

Terabot®

  • Viki Enclosure – Improved wire routing to electrical box

Firmware

Gigabot® X

  • Adjusted Change Pellet Routine extrusion speed and resolved bug
  • Fixed build chamber dimensions for XL and XLT sizes
  • Updated preheat temperature options
  • Added capability for ditto printing with a motorized auger as a second extruder
  • Firmware installation instructions are available in our Knowledge Base

Check out additional update on our Forum. Want to chat with an engineer to share feedback on your Gigabot & re:3D design priorities? Email info@re3d.org.

Happy Printing!

~Your Gigabot Engineering Team

ISS Mimic: a Link to the International Space Station here on Earth

When computer programmer Dallas Kidd was growing up, she wanted to be an astronomer.

“But I realized as a kid,” she said, “that I didn’t know what that meant, because I didn’t know any astronomers. So I decided I couldn’t do that.”

In high school computer programming classes, when other students were creating financial programs for banks, she again felt discouraged. She thought, “I didn’t know how to do that, so I guess I can’t have a career in this.” It took a long, circuitous journey to get where she is now. “I spent years figuring out what I wanted to do, and if someone had just been there to say, ‘Hey! I’m an astronomer,’ or ‘Hey, I’m a computer programmer. You can do this and here’s how!’ to make it real. I would have done this forever ago.”

Now an engineer at Skylark Wireless, LLC, Kidd is committed to offering those opportunities to students. Recently, she joined a special project that offers eager young learners hands-on experience in applied computer science, electrical engineering, 3d printing and mechatronics and encourages them to focus on space innovation: the ISS Mimic.

Five years ago, on the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence on the International Space Station (ISS), Boeing engineer Bryan Murphy proposed a STEM outreach project to his colleagues who work on the real space station. The idea: to create a 1% scale model of the ISS, complete with moving parts, that mimics in real-time the telemetry data of the space station that circles the earth every 90 minutes.

A poster with the title "ISS Mimic Physical Model Replicating ISS Real Time." A flowchart is labeled "Actual ISS," arrow "Live ISS data pulled from web," arrow "Cheap embedded processing & I/O," arrow "Interactive display," arrow "articulating model of ISS," arrow "Elements illustrate when crew wakes, sleep, perform tasks," arrow "Projection of earth behind model," arrow "Motors rotate 12 joints to match real-time ISS."
A poster created by Bryan Murphy explaining the ISS Mimic project.

Murphy wasn’t the only one in the group who had discovered that NASA was constantly broadcasting live, publicly available data from ISS back to earth via ISS Live. The vast collection of data, including details on battery levels, solar array rotations, air lock pressure, and much more was available for anyone to use. Murphy and his teammates figured: why not bring the station down to earth in a desk-sized model that anyone could interact with? They decided to go for it.

Boeing is the prime contractor for the ISS. For over two decades, Boeing’s ISS team has provided round-the-clock operational support, ensuring that the full value of the world’s most unique and capable research laboratory is available to NASA, its international partners, other U.S. government agencies and private companies. So, for three and a half years following the conception of the ISS Mimic, the off-hours project progressed slowly alongside the engineers’ work supporting the space station and the mind-blowing scientific achievements emerging onboard. The primary project goals were keeping cost and complexity down to be educator friendly while maintaining the essence of ISS.

"...that was the major obstacle that inspired us to either give up the project or fight with everything, with all of our arsenal, to get it refunded."
Sam Treadgold

ISS Mimic steadily took shape, but it wasn’t until February of 2019 before they felt it was ready for public demonstration. They took ISS Mimic to a local high school to show students the moving model. But something was wrong. The live data stream – that important information ISS Mimic relied on to represent its big sister in the sky – had disappeared. “Everything worked until we got there[to the school], and we were like, ‘what’s going on?,’” recalled Craig Stanton, Murphy’s fellow Boeing engineer and ISS Mimic teammate. Without the data, they couldn’t demonstrate the live syncing, but could still show off the mechanics, control screen, LEDs, and 3D printed parts, so in true fail-forward fashion, they pressed on.

The interest from teachers and students was palpable. Though they’d done some small in-house show-and-tells, “it was the first time for us to take it anywhere,” shared Murphy. “For me, it was very motivational to finally be out there.” The team knew they wanted to move forward and get ISS Mimic in the hands of more teachers and students, but what had happened to the data from ISS Live?

ISS Mimic, a 100th scale model of ISS, sits on a table. You can see 3d printed tubes, wires connecting to motors and large, foil covered solar arrays.
The ISS Mimic model includes 3D printed modules and motorized solar arrays. Not pictured is the Raspberry Pi interactive display screen. Photo curtesy of Bryan Murphy.

The team went searching for answers, and the news was not good. Sam Treadgold of Boeing’s ISS team phrased it succinctly, “ISS Live got defunded – the public NASA telemetry suddenly shut down, and that was the major obstacle that inspired us to either give up the project or fight with everything, with all of our arsenal, to get it refunded.”

They thought the project was toast. It would have taken a major decision from NASA leadership to reverse the funding decision, but the tenacious team wasn’t ready to give up. They contacted everyone they knew who had vested interest in the STEM engagement and outreach benefits of the now defunct program. After a string of touches with decision makers, a fateful meeting with William Harris, the CEO of Space Center Houston, the public visitor center next to NASA-Johnson Space Center, brought forth Harris’ support, and the collective efforts were enough to get the funding restored. The data stream turned back on.

ISS Mimic uses real-time data from the International Space Station to control its movements. Photo by Estefannie https://www.youtube.com/user/estefanniegg

“Once we passed that hurdle, it was like the floodgates opened. Let’s go. Let’s do it!” shared Susan Freeman, who also supports Boeing’s space station program. ISS’s 20th anniversary was approaching, and NASA was interested in promoting the project to encourage public interest in ISS. The ISS Mimic itself was in a development state that it could visualize interesting changes on ISS in real time. “One of the data values is the pressure in the U.S. airlock. We monitor that data so our program can recognize when a spacewalk is happening,” said Treadgold, “ Last year, when a hole formed in one of the Russian vehicles, the pressure in the whole ISS started dropping, and our lights started flashing [on ISS Mimic]. There wasn’t a spacewalk going on, and we were aware of the leak.”

“That’s not usually publicly known when that’s happening. It’s usually announced a few days later when NASA makes the public report,” shared Stanton, “but this way, you’re looking at the live data stream, and all of a sudden, you’re just as in the know as the people in the operations room. How cool is that for people and kids at home!”

re:3D donated highly detailed 3D prints of the ISS Mimic solar arrays for the project. The solar arrays are printed with PLA on Gigabot using a 0.25mm nozzle.

And it was becoming more than just an outreach project, they were discovering that this scale model was helping them understand the work they were doing on the real space station with more insight and more collaborative understanding of the challenges and quirks of the flying football-field sized spacecraft. “ISS is massive,” said Freeman, “I know only these tiny little pieces. That in itself is a humbling thing, to realize and accept that I’m not expected to know all of this vehicle. There is so much work done on ISS, and a lot of time you’re so focused on your little, tiny detail, that you don’t necessarily know what else is going on around you.”

Boeing’s Chen Deng, whose day job focuses on supporting the experiments on ISS, explained looking at ISS Mimic helped cut through misunderstanding about thermal needs of payloads. “By looking at [ISS Mimic], we realized it was at an angle where the payload was not getting any of the sunlight needed to keep its warmth or input from the station itself, and that really helped.”

Six people, four men and two women stand in front of a display of the earth with the ISS floating above their heads. All of them are wearing tshirts that read "ISS20"
Some of the ISS Mimic team posing inside of Space Center Houston. From left: Doug Kimble, Craig Stanton, Bryan Murphy, Sam Treadgold, Susan Freeman, Chen Deng. Photo by Estefannie https://www.youtube.com/user/estefanniegg

The ISS Mimic team is in the process of building a second model for Boeing’s internal team in charge of “pointing” the solar arrays. The ISS Mimic can rotate its solar arrays 60 time faster than the actual space station, allowing the engineers to test and visualize their code before using it on the real thing. ISS Mimic can also “replay” previously collected data engineers use to assess and understand anomalies. “This is better than numbers on a screen or even CAD animations,” reflected Treadgold. “You see this and know exactly what’s happening.”

But beyond the functional model, of which they’ve replicated 80-90% of ISS, the team wants to use ISS Mimic to make the interface intuitive, easy to understand and exciting to build for students. To make it so easy to pick up that it’s like a LEGO build, and so inviting that it draws people in to an interest in science or space. “The hardest part to get right is STEM outreach,“ shared Doug Kimble of Boeing’s ISS team. “We need to get more students involved and excited about ISS. We need future astronauts; we need future female astronauts. We need more kids excited about STEM, and science and math, and this is one of the ways we can do it.” Showing students that the robots they’re crashing into each other in competitions use the same encoders, the same programming, the same motor drivers that are on the ISS Mimic makes it accessible and reinforces for students their own capabilities.

“We want these ISS Mimic models everywhere, in every airport, in every museum, in every school. Big dream,” declares Freeman.

“So people can see that they’re capable of this,” explains Murphy, “and have a real chance to play in this domain. It’s a means to let every disadvantaged kid know they can do this stuff, tinker in this field and see if they may want to turn this into more than a hobby one day.” It circles back to Kidd’s experience with a lack of role models. If the team can introduce the ISS Mimic to a student who hadn’t been exposed to the space program before, they might spark an interest the student didn’t even know was there. It might just set them on a path to a career which, for the members of the ISS Mimic team, is challenging, thrilling, and celebrates humanity’s greatest collaboration.

The ISS Mimic team includes:
Chen Deng
Susan Freeman
Dallas Kidd
Doug Kimble
Bryan Murphy
Craig Stanton
Sam Treadgold

Want to volunteer? ISS Mimic is looking for programmers, 3D modelers & educators to join the team! Reach out to them at:
email: iss.mimic@gmail.com
fb: https://www.facebook.com/ISS.mimic/
ig: https://www.instagram.com/iss_mimic/
twitter: https://twitter.com/ISS_Mimic
discord: https://discord.gg/34ftfJe

re:3D offers 3D printed ISS Mimic parts available at shop.re3d.org

Gigabot Engineering Updates – October 2020

re:3D’s Research and Development team never stands still, and while we’re developing the next generation of your Gigabot® and Gigabot® X 3D Printers, we’re continually looking for ways to refine the current iteration’s user experience, precision, and quality. As of October 1, 2020, all new Gigabot® 3+, Terabot and Gigabot® X 3D printers ship with the below enhancements. Current Gigabot® owners can order these as replacement parts that are fully compatible with previous versions.

New 3D Printed Parts

All Models

  • [12007] Fan Filter Base, [12008] Fan Filter Attachment,  [12074] Filter – Prevents buildup of dust in electrical box 

Gigabot® X

  • [12077] GBX Feed Tube Mount – Reduces slack in feed tube for better feedstock flow

Fit and Strength Part Adjustments

The below parts have had geometry changes or other additions to make them stronger or fit more precisely.

Gigabot® X and Gigabot® 3+

  • [11158] Gigabox Magnet Bracket 4 – Revised for better fit with linear rails
  • [11352] GBX Motor Driver Enclosure & [11354] GBX Motor Driver Enclosure Lid – Revised fit for easier assembly
  • [11336] GBX Feed Throat & [11986] GBX feed Throat Stopper – Improved pellet flow
  • [11484] GBX Hopper & [11529] GBX Hopper Lid – Improved seal and durability

Check out additional update on our Forum. Want to chat with an engineer to share feedback on your Gigabot & re:3D design priorities? Email info@re3d.org.

Happy Printing!

~Your Gigabot Engineering Team

re:3D, Inc. honored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce as Community Support and Leadership Award Finalist 

US Chamber of Commerce. The Dream Big Awards presented by Chase for Business

re:3D, Inc. honored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce as Community Support and Leadership Award Finalist 

Finalists To Be Recognized During Annual Small Business Awards Program

HOUSTON, TX — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced re:3D Inc. from Houston, Texas as one of the finalists for its annual Dream Big Awards. The Awards, presented by Chase for Business with support from MetLife, celebrate the achievements of small businesses and honor their contributions to America’s economic growth. 

“Over the last several months, small business owners have faced challenge after challenge.  Yet, despite these challenges small business owners never stop innovating, pivoting, taking risks, working hard, and dreaming big,” said Tom Sullivan, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Small Business Policy.  “Small businesses are a critical and vibrant sector of the U.S. economy. The U.S. Chamber is proud to celebrate the very best in American small business through our Dream Big Awards.” 

The Dream Big Awards program includes Business Achievement Awards to recognize excellence in eight categories and reflect the leading businesses in each of the following areas: community support and leadership, emerging, green/sustainable, minority-owned, veteran-owned, woman-owned, young entrepreneur, and small business of the year. This year’s finalists were selected from a record of over 700 applicants.  

The Community Support and Leadership Award recognizes the success of one small business and honors its contributions to the growth and diversity of the American economy. This award recognizes a small business that has demonstrated an exemplary level of leadership and community engagement to assist the needs of its community, and to service the needs of its customers, employees, and neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic. re:3D has provided free prototyping of life saving devices, produced PPE for their community and supported their customer’s and partners similar efforts in response to the pandemic. The company manufactures large scale, affordable 3D printers that can 3D print from plastic waste as well as traditional feedstock and gives away one 3D printer for every one-hundred that they sell to someone making a difference in their community.

“The dire needs created by the pandemic have illustrated that local, small scale manufacturing, whether in your home or in small factories around the world, can be a means to serve your communities. We are grateful to the open source 3D printing community for banding together to create solutions for PPE shortages, and were honored to work alongside our fellow makers, customers and first responders to solve this challenge,” shared re:3D Community Ambassador, Charlotte Craff.

Award winners will be announced at the virtual Dream Big Awards program on Thursday, October 15 at 2:00pm ET.

About re:3D
re:3D consists of a group of explorers committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. Having pioneered the world’s first and most affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D likewise is creating large scale, affordable 3D printers printing from pellets, regrind, and flake plastic waste. Beyond creating 3D printers for customers in over 50 countries, re:3D offers 3D printing contract services, consulting, design and education services. For more information on re:3D, visit www.re3d.org.

Barclays and Unreasonable Group select re:3D to receive $100,000 Grant in support of COVID-19 related work

Barclays and Unreasonable Group select re:3D to receive $100,000 Grant in support of COVID-19 related work

Barclays and Unreasonable Group launch second $1,000,000 fund for entrepreneurial solutions addressing challenges resulting from the global pandemic

September 22, 2020 – LONDON – re:3D has been awarded a $100,000 grant in recognition of the exceptional work being undertaken in addressing the immediate and long term challenges resulting from the effects of the global pandemic.
The grant is designed to support and amplify the impact of the work re:3D is doing.

The Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response initiative was launched by Barclays and Unreasonable Group earlier this year and has already supported ten Unreasonable ventures that have pivoted their businesses to combat challenges related to COVID-19.

The initiative was launched as a direct response to the outbreak of COVID19 and is an extension of Unreasonable Impact, the unique multi-year partnership between the two companies supporting growth stage entrepreneurs across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific regions solving many of the world’s most pressing issues.

re:3D was chosen by a selection committee for the meaningful work they are doing to provide PPE to workers in minority and underserved areas who are at greater risk for critical illness from COVID-19. The program, PPE for the People, is fiscally sponsored by Impact Hub Houston, and has donated 3D printed face shields, ear savers and other PPE to help protect restaurant and food pantry workers, as well as organizations and small businesses that seek to reopen safely, like barbershops, nail salons, and veterinary clinics. PPE for the People partners include: Baker Ripley, Creatorspace, West Houston Institute IDEAStudio, Leidos, McDermott, Stand Behind and 3DPPE. “We are actively seeking businesses and organizations looking for this protective equipment. Please share this opportunity with those in need,” said re:3D Community Ambassador, Charlotte Craff.

re:3D Co-Founder and Catalyst, Samantha Snabes and Charlotte Craff will join the 12 other grantees at a virtual event, The Unreasonable Impact COVID19 Response Exclusive Summit, created with Barclays on September 29th, where they will have a chance to share re:3D’s exceptional work with a global audience.

Joe McGrath, Barclays’ Global Head of Banking, commented, “Through Unreasonable Impact we set out to offer advice, expertise, and support to entrepreneurs so that they can more quickly increase the scale and impact of their businesses. These entrepreneurs have been recognized for their ingenious approaches to tackling almost impossible-sounding challenges, especially in some of the most challenged communities across the globe. When COVID-19 took hold this year we knew that Unreasonable Impact entrepreneurs would be among the first to pivot their talent and drive towards responding to the impacts of the pandemic – and we’re in awe of the speed with which they did just that, and of the scale of the positive impact that they have already had. We’re honored to be able to extend our support through the Unreasonable Impact COVID-19 Response Initiative, which provided grants that will help these entrepreneurs to accelerate their work in response to the ongoing pandemic.”

Daniel Epstein, Founder and CEO of Unreasonable Group, added, “Unreasonable Impact was co-created with Barclays with a shared intention to support and scale up entrepreneurial solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The global impact of COVID-19 is unlike any challenge any of us has seen in our lifetimes. Setting up the second COVID-Response to support and amplify even more Unreasonable ventures leveraging business to combat challenges related to the pandemic, is a natural extension of our mission. We are humbled to be supporting the exceptional work of re:3D.”

For more information and to be invited to attend the Exclusive Summit, visit https://bit.ly/3hJsIks
Full list of ventures selected:
75F: Utilizing the Internet of Things and the latest in cloud computing to create systems that predict, monitor and manage the needs of buildings
Aerofarms: Responsibly and sustainably feeding humanity by growing flavorful, safe, and healthy food in the world’s largest indoor vertical farm.
Air Protein: Using microbes to convert elements of air into a sustainable protein product
Cell-Ed: Delivering essential skills training in three-minute lessons on any mobile phone — learners simply call, text, or click to access a world of learning
Green Fuels: The world’s leading supplier of biodiesel processors, producing over 400 million liters of sustainable fuel every year in over 50 countries
LEAF: Bringing safe and hygienic fresh fruits and vegetables to the marketplace by empowering all shareholders in the agricultural value chain.
Livox: The first intelligent alternative communication software for people living with disabilities, helping 20,000 people more easily interact with others
Purpose Works: Enabling sustainability, agility and operational efficiency in global supply chains.
re:3D, Inc.: 3D-printing objects 30 times larger than competing desktop models, at a more affordable cost.
Richcore: Eliminating contamination risks and creating safer medicines with animal origin free (AOF) proteins.
Sure Chill: Disrupting the entire cooling industry with new technology that doesn’t require a constant power source, enabling refrigeration of food products, life-saving vaccines, and more.
WizeNoze: Facilitating access to an easier-to-understand internet for children, teenagers, people with a low level of literacy, immigrants, and the elderly.
Árvore Educação: Improving students’ literacy skills and understanding of local and world events through a digital reading platform

About Unreasonable Impact, created with Barclays
Unreasonable Impact is an innovative multi-year multi-geographic partnership between Barclays and Unreasonable Group to launch the world’s first global network focused on scaling up entrepreneurial solutions that will help employ thousands worldwide in the emerging green economy. To date, the more than 100 ventures that comprise the global cohort operate in more than 180 countries, have raised over $2.1bn USD in funding, have generated over $2bn USD in revenue, and have created more than 30,000 net new jobs since joining Unreasonable Impact. For more information, please visit www.unreasonableimpact.com

About Barclays
Barclays is a British universal bank. The company is diversified by business, by different types of customers and clients, and by geography. Barclays’ businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by their service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group.
For further information about Barclays, please visit www.home.barclays.

About Unreasonable Group
Bringing together a global network of entrepreneurs, investors, creatives and business leaders, Unreasonable acts as a catalytic platform for entrepreneurs tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges facing us today. From designing highly curated immersive programs, facilitating access to a global network of mentors to operating a private equity fund and providing advanced storytelling and media activities, Unreasonable operates at the highest intersection of business and impact. It is uniquely positioned to support growth stage entrepreneurs solving key global environment and social challenges to scale up through the deployment of knowledge, networks and capital.
For more information about Unreasonable, please visit www.unreasonablegroup.com

About re:3D
re:3D consists of a group of explorers committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. Having pioneered the world’s first and most affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D likewise is creating large scale, affordable 3D printers printing from pellets, regrind, and flake plastic waste. Beyond creating 3D printers for customers in over 50 countries, re:3D offers 3D printing contract services, consulting, design and education services. For more information on re:3D, visit www.re3d.org.

Media Contact
Contact: Charlotte Craff
charlotte@re3D.org
+1.512.730.0033 ext 2
Social: @re3Dprinting

Gigabot Engineering Updates – July 2020

re:3D’s Research and Development team never stands still, and while we’re developing the next generation of your Gigabot® and Gigabot® X 3D Printers, we’re continually looking for ways to refine the current iteration’s user experience, precision, and quality. As of July 1, 2020, all new Gigabot® 3+, Terabot and Gigabot® X 3D printers ship with the below enhancements. Current Gigabot® owners can order these as replacement parts that are fully compatible with previous versions.

New 3D Printed Parts (Polycarbonate unless otherwise indicated)

Gigabot® X

  • [11925] GBX Hopper Hose Clip: To make changing out feedstock less messy.
  • [11948] GBX Motor Coupler Insert (Taulman Nylon 910): more durable than the previous iteration.

Terabot

  • [11914], [11915] Terabot Light Rail End Cap: angled cap for positioning the LED light correctly.
  • Viki Enclosure: Terabot specific VIKI enclosure which takes its size into account.

New Metal Parts

Gigabot® X

  • [11955] GBX Radial Bearing (updated): more durable than previous version

Gigabot® 3+

  • [11953], [11954] GB3+ Hot End 0.25mm nozzle (Optional Part): for those who want finer details while printing big.

Fit and Strength Part Adjustments:

The below parts have had geometry changes or other additions to make them stronger or fit more precisely.

Gigabot® X

  • [11339] GBX Y Slide Bracket
  • [11344], [11342] GBX Belt Mounts
  • [11338] GBX Motor Spacer
  • [11952] GBX Enclosure Bottom Panel

Gigabot® 3+

  • [10880] Viki Mount
  • [Various] Z-axis Threaded Rods now coated for improved corrosion resistance
  • [10257] X Motor Mount
  • [11081], [11136] Left and Right GB3+ Extruder Tensioner
  • [11518] GB3+ Unibody Extruder
  • [10113] GB3+ Dual Extruder Cover

Terabot

  • [11662] Terabot Y Axis Belt Mount
  • [11658] Terabot Y Slide Bracket
  • [11697], [11690] X and Y Motor Mounts
  • [11664] Y Limit Switch Mount
  • [11736] 40×40 Rail End Cap
  • Bed Leveling Knobs Removed and Replaced With Bolts
  • [11504] Full Enclosure

Electrical Updates

  • Improved Viki grounding for all units
  • Electrical Box layout redesigned for Gigabot® 3+

Reassessing Our Mission in the Context of Systemic Racism

Reassessing Our Mission in the Context of Systemic Racism

Over the last week, our hearts have been broken for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and for others who have suffered from police brutality, as well as for their families and the black community as a whole. Like others before us have said, we too say:

Black Lives Matter.

The recent protests have humbled us to revisit our core mission: to democratize manufacturing and empower people to be problem solvers for their communities. A 3D printer is a tool that enables this, and our community has awed us – especially during the COVID-19 crisis – by proving that, when given the means to make anything you can imagine, people will create for others, problem solve for others, and 3D print with purpose.

We are using the current dialogue as an opportunity to critically assess how we can better accomplish our core mission to empower people through 3D printing while also taking active steps to include those who have historically been excluded from formalized innovation, entrepreneurship, and education spaces. As a small company with employees from a variety of diverse backgrounds, we recognize that we still skew predominantly white. We are also part of the tech sector, a community whose demographics are changing, but still look predominantly white, male, and monied. We believe active – not passive – inclusion is how we transform these spaces to be more welcoming and equitable for all. And that firmly includes the black community.

re:3D will take the following steps:

We will increase our efforts to amplify the voices of diverse leaders in 3D printing and STEM fields. Not just people who use Gigabots, but people whose work broadens our collective understanding of for whom and what this technology is used. These voices are out there and deserve to be amplified so our youth can see themselves in the faces of leaders.

We will also increase our efforts to give students – especially minorities – access to this technology. We believe in enabling the next generation of change-makers who will move additive manufacturing to the next level. For resources, consider the paper: Making Through the Lens of Culture and Power: Towards Transformative Visions for Educational Equality by Shirin Vossoughi, Paula Hooper, and Meg Escudé, as well as the initiative 0Things by Josh Ajima with DesignMakeTeach.

We will be more intentional in our hiring process. We are a small company in a new field, but we have big dreams, and we want to be a company full of diverse dreamers. By advertising jobs and internships in places where diverse communities live and study, and by having open, honest, and fair interview processes, we can increase the diverse voices in the company. We believe this can only help us grow our mission and broaden our work. If our mission aligns with yours, please visit re3d.org/careers. We’d love to have you.

Internally, we will continue developing company culture to include conversations about diversity, race, privilege, and social justice in order to dismantle our own subconscious prejudices. This is so we go out into the world with a greater understanding, empathy, and sensitivity to racism in our country. We do this work so we can be the allies we want to be, both inside and outside of work.

We are indebted and grateful to the protestors for putting their safety at risk to blast the message of equality towards the forefront of our minds. And when the protests fade from the spotlight, we will not forget how they brought focus to not just recent examples of police brutality, but also to the overarching issues of systemic racism. We don’t want to be just reactionary; we want our efforts to be long-term, with the goal of creating lasting change.

We’d love your feedback and collaboration. Feel free to reach out if you or someone you know is a diverse leader who we can learn from, partner with, and amplify. Send us a message at info@re3d.org.

Announcing PPE for the People

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

re:3D & Impact Hub Houston Partner to Support Small Business Access to PPE

Houston, TX – Today, re:3D – creators of large-scale, affordable industrial 3D printers and most recently, 3D printers printing from multiple types of plastic waste – announces the campaign launch of PPE for the People! This effort seeks to provide 3D printed personal protective equipment (PPE) to essential workers from under-served populations in the Houston area as they continue to carry out food, transportation, social and municipal services for our community. Fiscally sponsored by Impact Hub Houston, the campaign will provide 3D printed face shields, ear savers and other PPE to help protect restaurant and fast food workers, bus and delivery drivers as well as small businesses that seek to reopen safely, like barbershops and nail salons.

The campaign will launch today, Wednesday May 6th. To make the most of the funding for this effort, re:3D will partner with existing community groups for both identification of essential workers in underserved areas and distribution of PPE to said workers. Impact Hub Houston has offered to share their network of community groups in the southeast, south and southwest Houston metropolitan area to bridge connections, and will engage the support of the H-Force network https://thehforce.org/. Additionally, re:3D is an active member of multiple existing volunteer-run grassroots networks working to supply PPE in the Houston area and will take advantage of existing distribution systems to get supplies where they are most needed. The company intends to mobilize existing customers and the greater maker community members to support additional PPE production beyond the funded amount via voluntary 3D printing drives. All designs created will be hosted with instructions in an open way through their website and other relevant file-sharing repositories.

“We are honored to help those who are most vulnerable,” said Community Liaison, Charlotte Craff. “Data from the CDC has shown minority communities are at greater risk of critical illness from COVID-19, and we want to help local small businesses protect their employees as best as possible without it being an added financial burden on already strained industries.”

For more details on the campaign, to sign up for supplies or make donations, visit https://houston.impacthub.net/ppeforthepeople/ or reach out directly to info@re3d.org.

About re:3D

re:3D® Inc. consists of a group of explorers committed to decimating the cost & scale barriers to industrial 3D printing. Having pioneered the world’s first and most affordable, human-scale industrial 3D printer, re:3D likewise is creating large scale, affordable 3D printers printing from pellets, regrind, and flake plastic waste. Beyond creating 3D printers for customers in over 50 countries, re:3D offers 3D printing contract services, consulting, design and education services. For more information on re:3D, visit www.re3d.org.

About Impact Hub Houston

Impact Hub Houston is a locally rooted, globally connected, 501c3 nonprofit organization that inspires, connects and empowers people working to solve social problems in our city and beyond. A member of the Impact Hub global network—the world’s largest community recognized by the United Nations for accelerating entrepreneurial solutions towards measurable and scalable impact—Impact Hub Houston intentionally designs places, platforms and programs to build an inclusive innovation ecosystem and equitably empower diverse changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters to create the change they wish to see in the world.

Rolling Out the re:3D Wind-Up Car

Written by: Brendan J. Towlson

How do we encourage creators to explore new concepts? Give them something to create! When re:3D’s Community Liaison, Charlotte Craff was thinking of ways to spread the message that 3D printing is the future of manufacturing on Manufacturing Day, she came up with the idea of allowing visitors to build something out of 3D printed parts.“We build machines all day; why not provide our guests the opportunity to do so as well?” The wind-up car build was conceived. And the best part: you can print and build it yourself!

The 3D Printed re:3D Wind-Up Car

Attendees of re:3D’s Manufacturing Day Open House had the opportunity to tour the factory, touch and feel 3D prints from around the world, learn about the different skill sets involved in operating this unique hardware company, and finally take home their very own wind-up car. The challenge, though, was that the cars were not pre-assembled. If visitors wanted a car, they had to put it together themselves.

This wind-up car was designed by Mike Battaglia in Rhinoceros 3D software. It is made entirely of 3D printed parts, which is a difficult feat to get right. There are 21 parts, including four wheels, two axles, a gear system, and a spring with a hand crank. Once printed and assembled, you can crank the spring to store potential energy, and then release the car to watch as it converts potential to kinetic energy, and transfers it through the gears to the wheels that drive the car forward. It is a simple concept, but getting the parts to work together was a test of our 3D printing skills, and Mike spent time adjusting tolerances to get it just right.

Twenty-one 3D-printed parts make up the wind-up car.

The cars printed for Manufacturing Day were made of PLA. We learned a lot about this material while designing the cars. For example, white PLA is very pigment saturated, causing it to behave differently when melting and cooling. Tolerances on each part had to be adjusted accordingly. We used up to six of our Gigabot® 3+ workhorses at a time running 36 hour prints continually over a period of two weeks to complete the prints. In the end, for the Manufacturing Day event, printing 56 complete cars added up to 1,176 total parts, 420 hours of print time, and 28 pounds of material.

Challenging 3D print builds like this produce something that is more than just a toy. “It’s meant to demonstrate that even simple machines are complex, fun and buildable by people of all ages,” Charlotte said, “and it’s meant to inspire young people to look deeper into how machines function.” 3D print your own Wind-up car by downloading the design from Thingiverse or CultsOr buy the kit from us on Etsy

Innovating in The Time of Corona(virus)

The exponential spread of the novel coronavirus across the globe led to overwhelming demand on supply chains and disruptions to traditional manufacturing and distribution systems. Because of societal lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, a dire need quickly arose for locally fabricated, specifically focused and creatively sourced solutions to equipment shortages and emergency supplies. At home and across the globe, designers and engineers quickly mobilized into online, open-source prototyping groups to solve the challenge of a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and medical device accessories. 3D printing and additive manufacturing was an obvious go-to, with the ability to rapidly prototype and iterate on the fly, teams could utilize 3D printers to supply healthcare providers with equipment now, as soon as there were designs to print. The intention and needs were obvious and clear – to aid humanity and fill the gaps in supply chains – however, organizing volunteers and streamlining the process to avoid duplicate efforts was a daunting task.

As a company with a wealth of R&D project experience and long used to working as a distributed team, re:3D put out the call that we would prototype – for free – any life-saving devices or PPE in order to expedite review by medical professionals. We are conscientious contributors to the open source design community for COVID-19 response. We take a First, Do No Harm approach to any design work we do for this effort, meaning that it needs to be designed with input from, and in partnership with, the individuals who will utilize any equipment we prototype. We will not create anything that gives a false sense of security, but is ineffective or harmful. Our medical providers on the front lines are in need, and we are honored to take on the challenge.

Face Shields

In two overlapping efforts, we prototyped a design for a 3D printed face shield with full visor coverage and an adjustable zip tie style latching mechanism. The inquiry started in Puerto Rico. Vicente Gascó, our friend and colleague from Tredé and Engine-4 shared he had a supply of 4000 clear plastic lenses for face shields, but no visor to which they would attach to the head. Armed with only the measurements of the lenses and aided by an idea from assembly guru and NASA technician Andrew Jica in Houston, Brian Duhaime, our mechanical engineer in Austin, and Alessandra Montano, our graphics designer in Puerto Rico, pumped out five different iterations of a face shield in only 48 hours.

Vicente and Luis Torres, co-founder of Engine-4, pulled our Puerto Rico Gigabot out of Parallel-18 and added it to the existing Gigabot at Engine-4. Gigabots in Austin and in Puerto Rico printed out iterations of the designs for testing.

In Houston at the same time, CTO Matthew Fiedler, mechanical engineer Helen Little and community liaison Charlotte Craff were meeting with doctors from a local hospital to discuss their needs for a face shield. Knowing that vetted, open source face shield designs were already available, the group reviewed designs by Prusa, Lazarus3D, Budmen and Professional Plastics. The Houston team 3D printed existing options for the doctors to test, but the designs didn’t meet all of the doctors’ needs:

  • Lightweight, fully closed top
  • Reducing the air gap between lens and chin
  • 180 degree lens coverage
  • Limit number of parts to reduce need to source materials in short supply

Knowing that supply chains were disrupted and very little raw materials were available in a timely manner, re:3D conferred with Professional Plastics and determined that plastic sheeting supplies were well behind schedule, but that there were excess pre-cut face shield lenses available. Again, re:3D opted to prototype to existing, local supplies, keeping stress off of traditional supply chains and getting creative with what was available.

Over the next week, Helen built on the work done for the Puerto Rico design, integrated the needs of the doctors and iterated ten different versions of the face shield while working from home and rarely getting to hold a print in her hands. The result is a single print, face shield with an adjustable latching mechanism. It’s designed for 180 degrees of protection and comfort without the addition of foam padding.  It has the approval of the hospital’s Infection Control and  is currently available at the National Institutes of Health 3D Print exchange for COVID-19 Response. https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013504

Hands-Free Door Pulls

Eliminating unnecessary shared contact surfaces is imperative, especially in buildings where essential workers are operating to continue necessary services. Our team includes multiple military service members. One of our reservists was activated when she sent out a call back to our team to make some hands-free door pulls to use on the base. Aided by Matthew Fiedler, Mike Battaglia, our designer in Austin, and Brian Duhaime went to work prototyping hands-free door pulls for lever-style and bar-style door handles.

These designs were drafted before we had dimensions for either of the door styles, so had to be modeled in such a way to enable incremental dimensional adjustments while preserving the models’ shapes. During her free time, the service member sent feedback on the first versions via pictures and notes, and Brian and Mike iterated the changes remotely, melding organic shaped and attachment options into single print solutions.

The hands-free door pulls are now successfully in use on base, protecting our military personnel as they work to respond and aid COVID-19 efforts. These models are available for download here https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013825 and here: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/3dpx-013822

From Intubation Box to Drape Stands

As a 3D printer manufacturer, we are understandably advocates of 3D printing use in manufacturing. However, we recognize that not all innovations require, or are best served by, an exclusively 3D printed solution. As we do much of our manufacturing in-house, including machining parts on our CNCs, we can apply rapid prototyping principals to traditional manufacturing methods. Take the example of an aerosol or intubation box:

We were contacted by an anesthesiologist based in Austin about modifying such a box, used to protect doctors and nurses from aerosols released when intubating a patient. The doctor’s main concerns were ability to clean and the need for a “helper” hole. This equipment needed a curved, clear surface rather than sharp corners where germs could hide. We offered to prototype using polycarbonate sheeting and an aluminum framework available in our machine shop.  In this case, the request for aid evolved before we produced a prototype. The anesthesiologist reported that the existing boxes were unwieldy and took up too much space, so instead requested a solution for supporting clear plastic drapes to achieve the same purpose and be easy to store. Matthew Fiedler proposed a combined 3d printed base and a bent aluminum frame for the project. Design work is ongoing and we will update this post as the prototype develops.

Are you a healthcare professional needing a COVID-19 related equipment solution? Please reach out to us at info@re3d.org to begin coordination. Should you wish to purchase any of our COVID-19 designs. They’re available in our online store: https://shop.re3d.org/collections/covid-19

Interested in supporting existing efforts to fight COVID-19? See below for how to help in Austin, Houston and Puerto Rico.

There is a huge maker community that has sprung to action to support the 3D printing of PPE here in Austin and the surrounding areas.  One of the largest efforts is being run by Masks for Docs (masksfordocs.com), who are actively soliciting donated face shield prints, assembling the shield, and distributing them to hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, etc – all around the Austin area.  To help with this effort, re:3D will be collecting donated 3D printed face shields in drop-boxes at two locations, Brew & Brew and the Draught House Pub.
 
If you have a 3D printer at home or work & want to help out in the Austin area, you can access the Face Shield Design here.
 
Recommended Print Settings:
  • PETG is preferred, but PLA is completely acceptable if you don’t have PETG or are not able to print with it.
  • 3-4 solid top/bottom layers
  • .3mm layer height
  • 5 Perimeters (AKA Shells or walls)
  • 0% Infill
 
Drop off boxes can be found at:
 
Brew & Brew
500 San Marcos St #105, Austin, TX 78702
 
The Draught House
4112 Medical Pkwy, Austin, TX 78756
TXRX and the amazing maker-community continue to organize face shield collection around Houston.  We are donating 3D printed face shields as well as hosting a community donation box for makers in the Clear Lake area who are printing the face shields at home.  At our factory, the batches are consolidated and sent to TXRX for assembly and distribution to hospitals and first responders in the Houston area.  To date, over 1600 face shields have been donated from the Clear Lake area –  keep it up!
More information and the design file is available here.
 
The Clear Lake drop off box can be found at:
re:3D, Inc.
1100 Hercules
STE 220
Houston, TX 77058
The maker community, including a few Gigabots have done a fantastic job collaborating in San Juan & beyond. We are currently collecting requests for those in need of PPE and sharing opportunities to connect with Engine-4 and Trede’s efforts in Bayamon and additional efforts. If you live in Mayaguez and would like create face shields to be assembled with sheets that have been donated to Engine-4, a drop off box has been established. A UPRM student has also initiated a Slack channel to share other needs. Email info@re3d.org for access.
 
The Mayaguez drop off box can be found at:

Maker Chris’ house at:
76 Calle Santiago R Palmer E, Mayaguez PR 00680


If you live outside of these areas and/or are seeking ways to contribute, A Form to Volunteer is Available Here. We will be responding to inquiries this weekend and doing our best to facilitate introductions:)