re: 3D Printing Furniture

My first attempt at 3d printing furniture went pretty well. The stool I designed (now available on Sketchfab) and later printed on the Gigabot ended up on-stage with Samantha Snabes, Co-Founder of re:3D, presenting to 5,000+ attendees at Web Summit in Ireland. Somehow along the way, Prime Minister Enda Kenny struck a pose with it. What an honor!

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re:3D won 2nd place out of the Beta Pitch group and the 3D printed stool made it into several of the pictures that ensued; very exciting to watch the twitter streams.

slsmakewin

benchaward

Here’s one that I don’t quite understand, but I like it!

menonbench

For my next project, the goal was to create a piece that combined 3d printing with existing materials. I had been saving a slab of walnut purchased from eBay and thought, why not turn it into a bench? It was a pleasant challenge designing the base to follow the feel and flow of the live-edge slab. I wanted technology and nature to seemingly merge. It’s a beautiful slab and I needed to do it justice! There’s a great book out there about how loads are distributed in nature which helped to inspire the bench; it’s called “Design in Nature: Learning from Trees” by Claus Mattheck.

benchinprocess

The piece required a two-part print due to the large size so it was split it at an inconspicuous angle down the middle. The base was designed with pocket-screw holes and once lined up, was secured to the live-edge slab with pocket-screws. While the print itself was structurally sound, I coated the entire bench in clear epoxy just for some added strength. The gloss finish on the base was sanded back down to satin using 200 grit sandpaper. The indicators on the bench represented spots that I had missed with epoxy; they pointed out where I had to touch up on a second coat.

I was very pleased with the result and honored to have been included in Big Medium’s Austin East alongside many other great artworks.  Even Google’s self driving car stopped by to see what’s up. I think they look good together.

googleselfdrivingcarwithbech

Having access to a Gigabot has opened up so many more doors due to it’s scale and precision. Can’t wait to start my next project which I will be sure to post about in the next couple of months.

Happy Printing!

~Mike

 

 

How I 3D Printed RWBY’s Crescent Rose

For a long time, my best friend Mason has been bugging me to watch Rooster Teeth’s animated show RWBY. Don’t get me wrong, I love anime, but I was already watching too many shows, and kept putting it off. Then, one day, re:3D’s cosplay enthusiast Rebecca asked if there was some way we could print the Crescent Rose (the instantly recognizable, 6ft tall scythe from RWBY). I immediately said yes, which made me finally binge-watch volumes 1 and 2 of RWBY on Netflix. Much to Mason’s delight, I loved it! I was super excited to make the scythe, not just because of my inner fangirl, but for the creative challenge of creating a 6 foot tall 3 foot wide scythe!
Rebecca and I debated for many hours about how to go about the design for the scythe. As you all might know, the Crescent Rose has the ability to transform into a more compact gun. We discussed the viability of this option ,and ultimately decided that because of the plastic we would be using and the laws of physics, that we should pursue making the best possible scythe-version of the Crescent Rose, and not worry about it transforming.

So, I threw myself into research. I spent many hours pausing the show and sketching, as well as staring at various other interpretations of the scythe on google images. I finally decided on a plan of action, and started modeling the scythe in Onshape, a beta CAD software.

When using a 3d printer, it’s important to keep in mind how your piece is going to be printed. 3D printers start to print from a base layer up, and use supports for overhanging parts. Therefore, I modeled most of the scythe to be easily printed from a flat bottom. Although I could have modeled the piece completely true to the show, I gave up some minor design features so that my prints would be faster and use as little supports as needed. The Gigabot, because of its large print size of 8 cubic feet, allowed me to make the individual pieces much larger and easily create a life sized model of the scythe.

Scythe Model

I made the model into 11 different pieces that could be assembled after they were pulled off the printer. I then printed these pieces using PLA on a Gigabot. I used different infills and layers for different pieces, 2-3 layers depending on how much strength I was going to need from that piece and ranged 5-20% infill depending on if I need the piece to be light or not. I usually heat the plastic at around 195-200 degrees Fahrenheit.

When assembling plastic pieces, together keep in mind in order in which you want to paint your piece, and the different bond strength of the glues or tapes you are using. For the Crescent Rose, I mainly used just basic Gorilla Glue super glue. For more stress intensive pieces, I used Gorilla Glue epoxy and clear caulk to give joints a more uniform look.  

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After we had finished printing all the pieces, the next step was to remove all the support material. Then, I sanded down and fixed the smaller print errors such as place where there is a slight over-extrusion on corners or small print-shifts. Finally, I started painting! A timelapse of the process is available below.

I used a basic white primer spray paint that sticks to plastic. This created a good base layer on the models that I could paint other layers of spray paints and acrylic on top of. For the majority of the scythe, I used red and chrome spray paints and then used black and red acrylics and a paint brush to finish detailing.

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It’s starting to look good!

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It’s Finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


My Crescent Rose actually ended up being a little too big, finishing at 6’10” tall and 4’4” wide. I had the outstanding luck to get to bring my scythe to the Rooster Teeth offices and, who should happen to walk by but the voice of Ruby, the very character who wields the Crescent Rose– Lindsey Jones!

its finshiedRUBYOMG
Everything was not all roses and sunshine though. I had some large problems throughout the course of making this scythe. Some pieces ended up being more fragile than I would have wanted, and broke a few times. The overall size and shape of the scythe creates its own unique problem. Even though the material is fairly lightweight, the scythe acts as a natural lever where the fulcrum is where the staff meets the blade, causing a large amount of pressure and tension right at the joint. My solution to this problem was more gorilla glue and wooden and metal rods drilled into the plastic and hammered through to help support the weight.

BrokenFixing
Another huge problem that occurred during the print of one of the pieces completely failed on us. The head of the Gigabot extruder got clogged 48 hours into the 55 hour print. Fortunately, when a print fails, the print usually has a flat layer at the point of failure. I was able to measure the print, and edit my model accordingly so, so I could print only what was missing. The end result looks just like a filament swap mid-print. I credit the ease of this fix to the great usability of OnShape.

filamentswapfix
Finally, the last and probably worst problem I ran into was the Texas Summer Sun… This is a problem that is unique to people in the south who use 3D printers. Even though the plastic melts at roughly 200 degrees fahrenheit, your print will warp if left in your car or your backyard too long. This happened on the largest piece of the scythe and caused my really nice print fix to be extremely noticeable. I had to reheat my piece and to try and warp it back to a usable condition– with limited success. I decided at the end that the condition of the piece after I re-warped it was good enough to merit not reprinting 55 hours worth of plastic.

In order to save you some work modeling, I posted the files on re:3D’s Sketchfab account, where you can download the stl for free. I also made them public on Onshape so that you can print RWBY’s Crescent Rose too!

I’m unveiling the files at RTX at the re:3D booth prior to our Panel today (Aug 8th) on 3D printing & cosplay. You can check out the panel at 1pm at the JW Marriott, Room 303.

You can find me on twitter @jacobelehmann or email me at jacob.e.lehmann@re3d.org to discuss the process in more detail.

Below are the sources I used to help me create my model.

  • http://i.ytimg.com/vi/rST5VxiZ_gE/maxresdefault.jpg
  • http://goo.gl/9XzVMq
  • http://goo.gl/SsO63J
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RWBY
  • http://goo.gl/r6x12t

Thanks for reading!

~Jacob

3D Printing A Surfboard Fin

Akshay Prakash is designing and 3D printing a full-sized, functional surfboard for his summer internship.  In his own words, he describes his design process:

I just wanted to write this post to let you all know that the 3D printed surfboard project is going smoothly. I have finished the CAD modeling of the final product (video below) and hopefully will be printing the full scale model later in July. But for now, I am very excited to say that I have successfully finished the printing of an important part of the surfboard, the fin or skeg. The main function of the fin is to provide lateral resistance against the water such that, when turning, the tail end of the board does not slip out from underneath the surfer. In addition it allows the surfer to travel more easily in the direction in which he/she wants to move in.

Anyways, one of the concerns that I had coming into this project was the waterproof or tightness of 3D printed models, as well as their relative buoyancy when compared to the standard design of surfboards which is fiberglass encasing a foam core. What I was delighted to find out, after some tests with the fin that I had printed, was that 3D printed models with a 20% honeycomb infill with two solid layers on either side not only exhibits a similar mass to volume ratio as that of the fiberglass boards, but also is watertight without any post-production modifications.

AkshaysFin

Moreover, this, I hope, will have somewhat of an impact on the surfing industry. The current methods being used, i.e. the fiberglass and foam surfboards, often result in a large amount of harmful waste that is detrimental to the environment, whereas with 3D printing there is minimal waste, as you are only making the parts that you need, and in addition any excess can be burned off cleanly thanks to the properties of PLA. Furthermore, 3D printing paves the way for new levels of customization and experimentation allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to design and implement their own fin, strap mount, or any other part they desire to alter based on their own wants and experiences.

Please share any suggestions for improvement!

~Akshay

  •  Email: akshay.prakash@re3d.org
  • Twitter: @akshay_1prakash

3D Printed Recorder: Flute-Folk Whistle

Pranathi Peri is developing a set of 3D printed, playable musical instruments for her summer internship. In her own words, she describes her design process:

When I was 5 years old, I remember walking into the music store, and immediately seeing hundreds of different instruments that were all foreign to me at the time. I had learnt a bit about music Here before visiting the music store but I didn’t have much knowledge about pianos. My Mother talked to the manager about purchasing a piano, while I explored all of the different instruments, getting a feel for each one individually. In that moment, I decided that instruments were something that I really found a natural passion for. This is the reason why I now play not only the piano, but also the guitar, and violin, and am self-taught in various other instruments as well. For this reason, I jumped at the opportunity to 3D print instruments.

As I explored the idea of designing my first 3D printed instrument, I had many questions and doubts. How do I alter the size to compensate for the material? Will the characteristics of a normally constructed instrument translate directly to that of a 3D printed instrument? Would it even work?

I took all of those questions into consideration, and through extensive research, I decided to design and print the most simple, straight forward instrument possible: a recorder. You can download & print the recorder on Sketchfab here.

recorderonsketchfab

Recorders date back to the early 18th century, and are still used today in elementary schools all over the nation. Do you remember playing “Hot Cross Buns” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on that small plastic flute? There’s your classic recorder. Traditional medieval and baroque recorders are carved out of wood by a skilled luthier, but are now mass produced in factories, usually being made out of a plastic alloy. 3D printing an instrument, is in a way, a bridge between traditional production, and factory production. It allows for the precision and quality produced by a luthier to be expressed, while truncating the large time and labor-intensive factors that factory production targets.

I looked at how the acoustics transmitted inside the recorder, and how various holes produced different tones, and decided that I would mesh these characteristics with that of a whistle. I was also inspired by the recorder design of Cymon on thingiverse.com. (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:12301)

The final product that I created, is a combination of a recorder, folk whistle, and flute. Its tones and overall shape come from the recorder, the fact that it’s produced in one piece only (thanks to the GigaBot) and its various hole sizes are derived from the folk whistle, and its long, slender form, originates from the flute.

Recorder

It works fairly well, being able to play “Hot Cross Buns,” and “Jingle Bells,” but with a few small upgrades and changes, it will be able to play louder, produce a more clear tone, and have a wider range of tone, as opposed to the more muffled, and slightly flat tone it produces now.

3D printing instruments like recorders, violins, guitars, and other instruments can be very helpful to our musical society. It allows for instruments that must be created one at a time by skilled luthiers, to be created by these precise 3D printers, while still being able to produce the same great sound. The amount of potential associated with the ability to 3D print instruments at home is unmeasurable. Not only does it reduce the amount of time taken to produce, (being built by a luthier versus being 3D printed) but it also opens the doors to a revolution in instrument material. Materials that could not be used by a luthier to make an instrument could be integrated into a 3D printer to create new, unique sounds that a traditionally produced instrument is not capable of making.

I learned, while creating this recorder, that there are many different variables and outside factors that go into making an instrument. Rather than tackling them all at once, it is both easier, and more efficient to start with implementing the most basic characteristics, and then working your way up.

Because of these lessons I learned, I’ve ventured into designing and printing a ukulele more confidently, and having less questions and doubts than before. 🙂

Pranathi’s Research Links:

I’d love to hear your feedback!

~Pranathi

  • Email: pranathi.peri@re3d.org
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004462757466&fref=ts
  • Twitter: @PranathiPeri

Gigabot & Prosthetics: Introducing E-NABLE and 3DMulp

Two new customers have been unpacking and assembling their Gigabots this fall. They are miles apart from each other, yet they share the same dream of using creative new technologies to improve peoples’ lives. They are both using Gigabots in conjunction with other technologies to print open-source prosthetic hands.

Both were also contestants in last summer’s Great Big Gigabot Giveaway

 

Giveaway1Logo

From Bogota, Colombia Francisco “Pacho” Posada, has started a company called Manatí Lab.  He is developing a robotic hand prototype called 3DMulp, which uses myoelectric technology.


3dmulphand

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Coinciding with Pacho’s delivery,  Jon Schull of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) also received a gigabot kit.  Jon is the leader of E-NABLING THE FUTURE, a network of passionate volunteers using 3D printing to give the World a “Helping Hand”.

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In future posts, I shall be following their stories. Stay tuned for more!

– Sunny : Intern.obj

Photos Courtesy of:

https://3dmulp.wordpress.com/

http://enablingthefuture.org/2014/08/26/re3d-gifts-a-gigabot-to-e-nable-the-development-of-3d-printed-arm-designs/

 

Want to chat? Email me at sunny@re3d.org.

Q&A With the re:3D Team (The Original Gigabots)

Recently, our Resident Blogger Sunny took the time to interview a few folk at re:3D. Below is what they had to say.


 

Lara

Lara Jeremko, FinanceBot

Three words to describe yourself.

optimistic, goal-oriented, resourceful

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

NY fashion week runway prints

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)
A hospital & medical equipment

What is your filament of choice?

Ninja Flex

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

I would give a Gigabot to build bio domes on Mars!


saminsantiago

Samantha Snabes, Catalyst 

Three words to describe yourself.

Work In Progress

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

Printing a urinal for a slum in Chile in 2013

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)

Temporary housing for refugees

What is your filament of choice?

Plastic trash and food waste (especially pineapple!)

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Henry Ford- would love to get his feedback and see how it might have further influenced manufacturing in Detroit


Matthew

Matthew Fielder, Chief Hacker

Three words to describe yourself.

Working Working Working

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

Printing check sockets for lower limb amputee

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)

Rainwater collection barrels

What is your filament of choice?

High strength and blended materials

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Mother Teresa


Erik

Erik Hausmann, Technology Innovation Officer (Innovation Ninja)

Three words to describe yourself.

Passionate. Fun. Pineapple.

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

My favorite 3D printing project was printing a large rendition of the front face of the Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral in Reims, France for Disney Imagineering. My second favorite was a fully working printed-as-one-piece foot-wide planetary gearset. I then broke the gearset by demonstrating its durability by dropping it on concrete 20+ times from head height at Engadget Live. Luckily, I just printed another one.

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000?

Given that size, I’d say printing a football field would be a nice start. After that, I’d probably print a spaceship.

What is your filament of choice? (3mm PLA, string cheese…does not have to be realistic)

Unicorns.

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Sam Snabes. She started the company and still doesn’t have one yet.  After Sam, probably Norman Borlaug in 1937. He saved about a billion people by creating dwarf wheat. I think he’d probably be able to save a lot more with a 3D printer. Oh yeah, and once he found Texas in 1984, he never left.


Katy

Katy Jeremko, Creative Director

Three words to describe yourself.

Curious, insightful, zany.

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

Our first project on Gigabot – a series of 3D printed vases. They demonstrated the limitations and advantages of printing at a large scale and it was exciting to see something bigger than a breadbox made before our eyes. That was an exciting time for us and gave us the opportunity to explore, plant nuggets of inspiration, and easily distribute design.

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)

Without fail, a new space shuttle for Virgin Airlines, SpaceX, and NASA. Exploration is what keeps us going forward — and we can’t let failure hold us back.

What is your filament of choice?

Copper Alloys are some of the most precious and interesting materials on our planet. They exhibit a high resistance to corrosion, are highly conductive, make delightful music, are natural anti-septics, and have a shine like no-other. That is an ideal material I would be honored to design with on Gigabot someday.

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Well, if we’re speaking hypothetically and involving time machines, Walt Disney himself. The man was a true visionary and has helped us believe bigger for generations. At the heart of it, we’re all still kids and we all still want to experience magic. 3D printing has that potential for entire communities.


Patrick

Patrick Finucane, R+D

Three words to describe yourself.

Mr. Squeaker’s best friend

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

Printing a new printer on an old printer

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)

A 35ft statue of Mr Squeakers to put in my front yard

What is your filament of choice?

PLA-  my wife has a nose for ABS and outlawed it…

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Someone in need


mikedone

Mike Battaglia, Customer Support Manager

Three words to describe yourself.

excited, resourceful, creative

What is your favorite 3D printing project that you’ve done or seen done in the past?

Extremely inspired by the 3d printed backyard castle from Andrey Rudenko. His next step is to design and print a contemporary home. Hope to one day be a part of 3d printed housing myself.

What would you print with super large-format Gigabot+10,000? (10m cubed–it’s bigger than a football field)

Replace the slums of india with safe and modular 3d printed housing!

What is your filament of choice?

Bamboo!

It’s the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway Time Machine Edition–if you could give the 1000th Gigabot to anyone in any epoch, who would you give it to and why?

Leonardo Davinci – Can’t imagine what he could have designed with the ability to rapidly iterate.

Know Your Filament : How to identify filament overhead

Ever thought about offering contract prints with your Gigabot, but struggled to identify a way to quote filament costs? 

Inspired by frequent requests, our Chief Hacker designed this helpful tool to figure out filament overhead.  By simply entering the true filament diameter (you’ll need calipers for this step), cost of the spool (don’t forget to include shipping!) and the amount of filament used, you’ll get a rough total cost.

knowyourfilament

You may also want to consider potential design time and opportunity loss during printing when Gigabot is occupied. However, by calculating the material costs you’ll be one step closer to gauging overall costs per print.

Want to give it a shot?

Check out the link and instructions located on our Wiki here! 

Feedback? Email engineering@re3d.org

Spotlight on Gigabot @ The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

I mentioned before that I interned at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago over the summer. The Field got its Gigabot in December, 2013. The Field’s Gigabot can be found in the Regenstein Laboratory, which is nestled within the bowels of the Traveling the Pacific exhibition. A huge glass window connects this realm of science to the world of museum-goers. This was where the party was at during my summer internship.

How was the Gigabot put together in the Regenstein?

We made this cool video of our team doing a Gigabot Assembly!

Where is the Regenstein?

“Start at the palm tree, go past the volcano, cross the coral atoll, sneak along one side of the genuine Micronesian canoe, and there you are.”

CT Scans to Gigabot

At the Field, a CT (computed tomography) Scan is one starting point for 3D printing. I’ve seen CT scans of a variety of human and animal mummies, historical musical instruments, and more. The CT scan then must be segmented (I did some of this!). This means that someone needs to work with the scan in a computer program to distinguish all the various material components of the object. For example, I had to separate bone from different layers of wrappings into separate regions of interest in a mummy cat.

The Field also gets creative with 3D models before any printing happens. For example, in the “Opening the Vaults” Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair” exhibit there was a giant touch screen table that showed an interactive 3D model of a mummy. Museum-goers can manipulate the mummy to swivel in any direction, unwrap the mummy, and reveal its cross-sectional layers.

In the exhibit, “The Machine Inside: Biomechanics,” there is a life size cheetah frozen in mid-run. The Biomechanics exhibit that travels internationally, however, uses a cutaway cheetah that was made using a 3D printed skeleton. The skeleton is a model based on photogrammetry of the cheetah taxidermy in the Field Biomechanics exhibit and a CT scan of a preserved cheetah body. Moving a real cheetah body around all over the world involves high risks of damaging it, but using a 3D model is much safer and more cost-efficient. The cheetah bones could be printed on site at these various locations. Gigabot was used to make smaller test prints of the cheetah bones back at home in the Field. Check out the photos below to see examples of final prints of the cheetah bones used in exhibits, and for additional information, visit http://www.materialise.com/blog/mummies-cheetahs-3d-printing/ and http://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/blog/mummies-and-cheetahs-3d.

3D Photogrammetry to Gigabot

3D Photogrammetry is the precise art of taking still photos–many photos from many different angles—of an object, and then combining these photos to create a 3D computer model of said object, which then can be printed out in 3D. I helped Regenstein Conservator JP Brown take hundreds of photos of a tiny wood-boring bivalve in the round at 10 degree increments. The lighting had to be just right—we tried dozens of various lighting setups in order to find out how much detail the 3D photogrammetry technique can produce.

A practice print of the shell in question:

 

shell

Xbox Kinect Sensor to Gigabot

The clever people at the Regenstein also adapted an Xbox Kinect Sensor, which can sense movements of video game players, into a tool for generating 3D scans. Say, for example, I desired a 3D self-portrait of myself with which to admire my strikingly good looks. I would sit on the Regenstein’s very own makeshift spinning stool (it has its own motor and foot pedal and everything) while the sensor scanned all 360 degrees of my head. Voila! There is now a 3D computer model of my head, which can be now printed.

Jp heads

 

More Examples of Field Museum 3D Printed Projects

– replication of a proxy of a Chinese oracle bone for mount makers

– reproduction of Chinese Mingqi horse

– replication of skulls of animals

– production of 3D designs for education workshops

– reproduction of scans of ceramics from mummies.

(Thank you Regenstein Conservator JP Brown for sharing this list of projects and, many of the photos!)

 

 

bracelet

Thanks to Gigabot’s size, these bracelets could be mass produced to hand out for educational purposes.

More fun with the Gigabot is available here!

Snapshots from 3D-scanning and printing the Cheetah:

bones in boxes

 

 

photogrammetry 1

CT scan mosaic

CT cheetah

 

[CT scanning the cheetah]

[black and white computer model]

computer model

[Blue and yellow Cura computer model]

bones

[Bones on blue background]

For more information check out this blog

Thanks for reading! Go home and print something now.

Sunny
Intern: Intern.obj
sunny@re3d.org

 

Meet Sunny : re:3D’s newest team member!

Hello three dimensional world!

I am Intern.obj, aka Sunny, a new intern at re:3D. Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work with a Gigabot this summer while I was interning at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. 3D printing was such an amazing experience that I knew I had to get involved–so here I am at re:3D!

I am a first year at Grinnell College and an intended Biology or Physics major. I have a special interest in how 3D printing is applicable to science in addition to my general interest in using large-format 3D printing ANYWHERE!

Stay tuned: I will be blogging every week to explore the wide world of 3D printing applications by following the amazing projects of Gigabot owners from all over the world!

Find me, Sunny Zhao, on Twitter and LinkedIn. Feel free to email me with questions and comments at sunny@re3d.org .

It’s time to get printing!

Sunny

 

Customer Story : Anything You Can Dream Of

Hi folks, I’m Dave Sanders of protatypical.com and  I’d like to introduce you to the “Flyfish” or at least that’s what it’s called for now and it’s my first project with a 3D printer.

This is just one of many proof concept prototypes that I’ve wanted to make but didn’t really have a good means to do so until now thanks to my Gigabot. The Gigabot’s large build capacity and ease of use allowed this model to be produced successfully as a second draft. As a matter of fact it was one month to the day after I received my machine that the first draft was done in grey (as seen above).

It is a testament to how straight forward re:3D’s assembly instructions are and how easy it is to install and use the software if you consider that I had absolutely zero experience with 3D printing. In the past my greatest design considerations when developing a prototype “what kind of materials can I use to get the desired attributes and how to design the model so that it can be fabricated out of those materials”. Now that I can make any shape I can think of out of plastic it is now possible to get the desired properties out of the design itself. For example the strength to weight necessary for a wing can be designed in through the use of thin skin and walls and an inner honeycomb. Previous prototypes had to be designed around the material used and often required external reinforcements which usually did not enhance the aesthetics of the model.

(A video produced for the patent examiner of this concept vehicle in a flight simulator can be seen here: http://youtu.be/zalwY5rkbKk)

With this new design approach it soon dawned on me that the caveat is that the parts have to be “designed to be printed”. For example the Flyfish which was the easiest of my prototypes to attempt because of its simplicity.

The rudder is a tube shape and when I first ran a print it came into Netfab on its side and then Slic3r layered it that way so the print did work but it wasn’t very good. Once it was rotated to a flat side in Netfab and then sliced that way it printed beautifully. So then it became obvious that the other parts would also need to be “designed to be printed”. The bottom part of the hull could be printed in halves which would lend itself to a good lay up and then glued together however they would need support material added in certain places.

The top piece, “the seat with the top of the shroud and handle bars” because of the overhangs would do best if  layed up longitudinally from front to back however it would also need a “printing stand” designed into the piece itself in order to do that. On the first draft you can see from the previous pictures the stand wasn’t really set up to cut off very smoothly so on the second draft that was taken into consideration as you can see in the images above.

Apparently the need to design the “build stand” into the piece may be unnecessary with this new software that Matthew at re:3D was telling me about called “Simplify3D”. I can’t wait to try it out because it is supposed to allow the user to customize the support material much more readily.

As for future projects the vertical flight capable aircraft is definitely on the list, but the next one on the burner is another concept vehicle that I’ve wanted to build for a long time and now can, have a look:

After that there is a design that I already have a model for in a 3d graphics program that was used to produce posters but would make an excellent show piece for a 3d printing portfolio. One of them will have to be imported into Solidworks, corrected with collision detection, modified to be assembled and then exported part by part to be printed. So sometime down the road when I have the different color plastics to make one it should be fun.

 Want to connect with Dave? Check him out at http://protatypical.com/