Solar Pioneers: CoWatt Energy and PowerFunnel

The Lightbulb Moment

When Bill Tolhurst and Cole Brady founded CoWatt Energy in 2013, they shared a passion to become part of the rapidly growing solar power industry, but were looking for a unique opportunity in an already-crowded space. If you have a business then you will probably be looking for some utilities and may need a Utility Bidder, to be more energy efficient. Their big inspiration came from Cole’s background as a 5th generation rancher.

As Bill describes it, there are a lot of innovative things going on in the traditional urban rooftop-mounted space, but almost nothing focused on the unique attributes and needs of rural areas. “Rural customers consume 30% of the total electric power in the US, yet it’s a very underserved market by the solar industry,” he says.

He goes on to explain, “Power is more expensive in rural areas than urban, and usually folks have land. They have the option to put solar on the ground rather than the roof, which is actually the better place for it.” Easier maintenance, no holes or unplanned loads on your roof, and low-risk in the eyes of a firefighter are some of the reasons that ground solar panel installations are more ideal when compared to their roof-mounted counterparts. Many people are starting to buy solar ground mounts to house their panels, if you are unaware as to what these products are, you should check out this guide on the benefits of solar ground mounts.

But ground-mount solar has some long-standing challenges. “We started off doing our deployments the old fashioned way, building everything onsite,” Bill recounts. “It takes a long time and it’s messy – think drilling holes in the ground, cutting steel, and pouring concrete. So rather than being the same guys doing the same thing as everyone else in the space, we started looking for a way that we could be different. “

Bill and Cole began asking themselves the question, how much of the solar deployment process can we move from the field to the factory? Bill uses an analogy to demonstrate the near-absurdity of the way solar is typically done, and how CoWatt is poised to change that.

“Imagine a car manufacturer trying to build your car in your driveway. It doesn’t make sense. The more efficient way is to build the car in a factory and deliver it to you ready to drive. This is the way CoWatt does solar.”

CoWatt’s flagship product, PowerFunnel™, is a factory-assembled and tested ground-mount solar unit that arrives onsite at the customer ready to go. The product is designed so that they nest and stack during transit much like shopping carts, serving the dual purpose of both maximizing space-efficiency during shipping as well as protecting the panels en-route.

“Instead of having to take thousands of individual pieces and put your power system together in the field like a giant erector set, PowerFunnel comes ready to deploy out of the gate.”

PowerFunnel Prototyping

With a solid concept of their product, Bill and Cole started looking for a way to begin the initial prototyping and design of PowerFunnel.

“We were working on a budget, but we also needed something that could produce a fairly sizeable volume.”

With dimensions of four to five feet in certain spots, Bill explained that they chose Gigabot because they can do up to 1/3 scale versions of PowerFunnel, using the same design file they use for the final scale product.

“We used Gigabot to do early iterations, to quickly determine if there were early issues with the design, and to make refinements and improvements along the way. Gigabot allowed us to keep this iterative design process in-house, enabling us to refine and improve our product much quicker than if we had tried to drive it directly into production early.”

Before Gigabot, their prototyping process was much slower and more expensive. They first worked with a third-party company to do full plywood mockups of PowerFunnel.

“The benefit was that they were making us a full-scale prototype, but it was expensive and didn’t allow for rapid design cycles,” says Bill. “We realized we didn’t really need all our prototypes to be full scale, but we did need to be able to take feedback from one iteration and pour it directly into the next to have a continuous improvement loop. Having Gigabot at our office and available immediately rather than going to a service bureau for prototyping meant we could do this very quickly.”

Speed to market was important for CoWatt, and the time savings of using Gigabot made it a no-brainer for them. “It was a weeks-to-days comparison,” explains Bill. “A couple weeks to get a prototype made externally versus a couple days internally.”

But it was the cost side that was even more compelling for them.

“The quotes that we were getting to do a ¼ or even 1/8 scale prototype meant that approach was cost prohibitive if we were going to do multiple iterations,” Bill explains. “The service bureau approach would’ve taken a lot more time and a great deal more money. Gigabot has more than paid for itself just in iterations on the first product.”

And while there are certain aspects of owning a 3D printer that one doesn’t have to deal with when going the third-party route, Bill felt that they were worth it for CoWatt.

“There is a learning curve, but we didn’t find it extraordinary. We didn’t have any prior 3D printing experience. Gigabot uses software tools and components that are well-proven and have a strong support and user community behind them. Overall it was a well-balanced trade-off on just our first product, and now we have the capability to do continuous innovation quickly and inexpensively in-house rather than absorb the lost time and expense of using a service bureau.”

A New Member of the Team

Having Gigabot as what Bill describes as a “captive resource” has proven to be valuable in more ways than just prototyping for CoWatt.

“PowerFunnel is a very visual product: the light bulb goes on when people see it. Being a young company with a brand new product, we needed a way to show it off to people while we were still working on it.”

Rather than relying on PowerPoint presentations and rotating 3D computer models to communicate their product to investors, they used Gigabot to print small, scaled-down versions of PowerFunnel.

“I think that being able to see the product, even scaled down, allowed us to clinch sales and investments,” Bill says. “Gigabot serves the great role of validating ideas quickly and then being able to present them easily to the marketplace and to investors at an early stage when having something tangible can make all the difference in the world of communicating your idea.”

And beyond the investment stage, Gigabot has come into play in yet another new way.

“As we started to go to market, the general public was very intrigued by these small models. We started building 1/16 scale PowerFunnels and using them as handouts for marketing purposes. It gave people a very immediate sense of what the product was about and served as a great physical takeaway.”

Gigabot continues to be an asset as CoWatt, and they see a long-term path for it with the company moving forward.

“This is an industry that moves rapidly, and we’re going to continue to evolve the product to improve performance, so Gigabot has an ongoing role with us,” explains Bill. “Now that we’ve launched the first generation of our product, Gigabot will be a part of the continuous feedback loop.”

A Bright Future

CoWatt announced PowerFunnel in late February, began delivering in late March, and is putting things in place to grow rapidly.

“We have them in everything from ex-urban community acreage homes to hardcore ranching and farming applications,” Bill comments.

“But it’s not only where PowerFunnel is being used, it’s how it’s being used that surprises and delights us.” Bills muses. “Our customers constantly come up with new ways to use our product that we had never imagined.”

One such application not originally on their radar is military.

“The number one cause of injuries and fatalities for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is not front line combat, it’s in the transport of water and fuel,” explains Bill. “The ability to generate power without fuel, thereby reducing the risk to our troops – it’s very compelling.”

Since PowerFunnel is a completely integrated solar appliance, one could easily imagine loading 40 units in cargo plane and delivering them to a military outpost, disaster area, or a village in sub-Saharan Africa to start generating power in a couple of hours.

CoWatt is now actively pursuing leads both within the military as well as with international and relief agencies.

More about the PowerFunnel: http://www.powerfunnel.com/

Morgan Hamel

Blog Post Author

DIY Gigahacking: 4 Knob Bed Leveling Kit

The printed parts can be found HERE. Pieces must be printed using ABS except for the knobs which can be PLA or ABS, The arms should use 3 perimeters and 40% infill. The rest of the parts can have 2 perimeters and 30 percent infill.

Let’s walk through the steps to retrofit your Gigabot to use the new knob system. Note: the knobs will be installed in the 4 corners of your Gigabot. The picture shows one centered knob in the back but this is for an early revision of Open GB.

4 Knob Leveling Install

Hardware

  • 1/2 inch-20 bolt (4)
  • 1/2 inch-20 nut (4)
  • Arm (4)
arm
  • Bed Pad (4)
boltcap
  • Bolt Cap (4)
knob
  • Knob (4)
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Additional Materials used

Building the assembly

  • Put a dab of GO2 glue on the sides of a ½ inch nut
  • Drop the nut into the leveling arm so that the hole lines up with the hole for the nut.
  • Add some more glue into the recess just for good measure.
  • Put some glue under the head of the ½ inch bolt and insert the bolt into the knob so that the head hides in the hex hole; make sure it’s pushed in all the way.
  • Add a little more glue on the other side along the sides of the cutout.
  • Glue the cap on the other end of the bolt.
  • Glue sets in 30 min, cures in 24 hours

Preparing for installation

  • Loosen the bolts holding the bed rails. Lower all bed rails to the bottom of the slotted holes and re-tighten the bolts.
  • Remove the adjustment bolts/springs in all 4 corners.
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  • Lower the locknuts on all 4 L-bracket spring assemblies. This will provide the bed with the travel it needs. It’s easier to perform this step before putting on the build surface so that you have access to the head of the bolts.
  • Make sure that the rails are generally level with the bottom motors. The one that I installed these on was a decent amount off.
  • IMPORTANT: Adjust the Z height so that the natural state of the bed is about ½ cm or a little less than ¼ inch from the nozzle. Apply another nut to the underside of the Z limit switch bolt as this adjustment will no longer be used and should remain in place.

Installing the leveling assemblies

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  • Insert 4 magic t-nuts (or regular t-nuts if you’re building it from scratch) along the top recess of the front bed rail. Make sure the nuts are inserted in between the L bracket/springs. Note: The locknut needs to be lower than the one in the image; ignore that.
  • Insert 2 t-nuts into each corner of the top recess of the back bed rail. Make sure they go into the side that is front facing. All leveling arms point towards the front of the machine.
  • Use M5 x 10 screws to bolt the arm assemblies into the t-nuts in the top rail.
  • Push the left arm snug against the left L-bracket and the Right snug against the right L bracket. The back arm will sit just left of the cable tray. Give it about a half inch clearance on the right.
  • Put a line of silicone on the flat side of each of the 3 bed pads.
  • Lower all knobs so that the nubs are almost touching the top of the arms, manually lift the bed and slip the bed pads over the nubs trying not to make a mess with the silicone in the process.
  • Raise the knobs and straighten out the pads. The pads should self-align to the nubs but just make sure the pads look visually straight to the edge of the bed and the rail.
  • Put a bead of silicone around each pad and then removed any excess by smearing it with my finger.

Leveling the bed

mikedone
  • Position the nozzle above the left knob and turn clockwise to raise the bed in that corner. Raise so that it’s almost touching. Do the same for the right side.
  • Raise the back knob so that the nozzle is almost touching the bed.
  • Go back to the front left and use a sheet of paper to keep between the bed and the nozzle. Turn the knob clockwise until you can feel slight friction on the paper. Do the same for the right side, and then do the same in the back 2 knobs.
  • Move the nozzle around the bed and try the paper trick to make sure all is flat. If it sticks anywhere, recheck your 4 points.

COMPLETE!!!

Happy Printing!

Mike Battaglia

Blog Post Author

@mikebattaglia

Made in America: 3D Printing Prototypes for Stump Armour Molds

Meet Travis: A Texan, father, entrepreneur, warrior, and inventor.

re:3D first met Travis in Austin last winter as he was prototyping his second version of Stump Armour: an affordable, accessible device he pioneered in order to expand mobility options for bilateral amputees.

As a combat-wounded Marine, Travis is uniquely qualified to inspire solutions to increase maneuverability for other double amputees while reducing back strain that traditional prosthetics can create. By using himself as the test subject and leveraging business insights he acquired in the 100 Entrepreneurs Project and the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV), Travis launched Stump Armour on indiegogo this week.

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Stump Armour Mod 1

About Stump Armour

Stump Armour is a round design that connects to traditional sockets to allow for constant surface contact from any angle. Pressure can be directly applied to a terrain without changing position, allowing amputees to roll themselves up independently when preforming activities close to the ground.  Since the round shape can grab from nearly any position, it works great on uneven/irregular surfaces, so the amputee doesn’t need to focus as much concentration on limb placement when compared to other devices.  Travis doesn’t feel Stump Armour is intended to replace full leg or knee prosthetics. Rather, it’s meant to increase functionality with specific tasks.

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Keeping Costs Low

A key tenant of the Stump Armor’s mission is to make devices as affordable as possible worldwide. For this reason, Travis contracted Mike Battaglia & I last January to see if we could 3D print his vision for a Stump Armour’s Modification. Using Simplify3D we were able to generate a raft & support that could easily break off. The completed PLA prototypes printed great and we were excited to give them to Travis, who planned to use the prints to create a mold to scale Stump Armor globally.

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3D printed Stump Armour Mods 3 (left) and Mod 4 (right) cast at SureCast

Prints in hand, Travis partnered with local foundries who guided him through the process of making his own custom mold to cast multiple sets of Stump Armour.  This week we interviewed Travis to learn more about the process he used to create a mold from a print by working with Stevens Art. Below are the steps that he described:

stumparmourmold
  • From a 3d printed prototype made on Gigabot, a silicone rubber mold was created.
  • The print was covered in an releasing agent that was then covered in silicone, leaving an inlet for wax to be poured in later.
  • After the silicone cured, a 2 piece plaster shell was made.
  • Once completed, the silicone was carefully cut with a razor along where the plaster shells come together so it would come apart into 2 pieces.
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  • The shells were clamped together and hot wax was then poured into the inlet.
  • When the wax hardened, the wax casting of the original print was removed.
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  • The wax cast was then dipped in a a ceramic slurry and power coat until a hard shell formed.
  • This shell was fired in an oven to harden the cast melt the wax out.
  • Metal was poured in and the ceramic shell was broken off after it cooled.
  • A metal replica of the original 3d print was then ready for finishing!
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Stump Armour Mod 2

Using lost wax casting, Travis was able to do his first production run of Stump Armour, which is now available to other amputees on the Stump Armour indiegogo campaign. You can support Stump Armour’s next production run and Stump Armour donations at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stump-armour#/  until July 1st.

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Want to learn more?
  • Email: info@stumparmour.com
  • Web: http://www.stumparmour.com/
  • YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsObkfi6W6x2B6dpZ89_CGg/videos?sort=dd&view=0&shelf_id=0
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Greens-Machines-LLC-716439551739895/
  • Google: https://plus.google.com/u/2/b/106145756742784523319/106145756742784523319/posts
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10602419trk=tyah&trkInfo=clickedVertical%3Acompany%2CclickedEntityId%3A10602419%2Cidx%3A2-1-2%2CtarId%3A1464716547152%2Ctas%3Agreens%20machines

Samantha snabes

Blog Post Author

April Puzzler Solution Revealed!

Below is the solution to the Monthly Puzzler Chief Hacker presented in our April Newsletter. Want to play? You can sign up to receive our monthly publication by submitting your email address in the sign up at the bottom of re:3D.org. Proposed answers are presented on our forum at: https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206262336-April-Puzzler

The Question

The April puzzler is another print quality mystery. Take a look at the below pictures of an oversized auger screw originally designed for an automated pet feeder. On one side of the auger there is a blemish in the print yet from another view the print shows an excellent surface finish. What is causing the poor print quality on one spot only?

The Solution

The winning answer was presented by whosawhatsis who stated both reasons for the problem.

  1. Uneven cooling
  2. Steep overhang with no support

Great job to everyone and keep an eye out for an improved 360 degree cooling feature for the GB3 hot end to give even better printing capabilities!

Happy Printing!

Matthew Fiedler

Blog Post Author

Drones & Open Source: Partnering with Local Motors

Below is a re-post of content MicheleAbbate hosted on the Local Motors Blog at: https://localmotors.com/MicheleAbbate/lmdrones-re3d-gigabot/

LMDRONES: re:3D Gigabot 

As part of the LMDRONES projects that you can find on Local Motors, we want to welcome re:3D and their Gigabot 3D printer as they join our LM Drone efforts!

lmre3dunite

May 7th was International Drone Day and the Local Motors Teams, from both Vegas and Chandler, paired up with Matthew Fiedler, Co-Founder and Chief Engineer at re:3D, to bring their Gigabot 3D printer to the world’s first drone port, the Eldorado Droneport, in Boulder City, NV.

mfdronedemo

The all day event included open tuning, demonstrations, races, and freestyle flying.  Matt Jackson, Alaric Egli, and Alex Palmer of Local Motors brought a variety of different drones to take part  in the event.  Matthew began printing with the re:3D Gigabot as soon as it arrived, showing it’s potential and usability for creating parts, wings, and even a full size Wing FPV.

fpvdemo

Stayed tuned for what’s next with the re:3D Gigabot which just made its successful journey from Nevada to Chandler, AZ at the Local Motors Headquarters!

gigabotarriveslmchandler

Gigabot arrives at Local Motors Phoenix facility after participating in the International Drone day festivities at Aerodrome near Las Vegas, Nevada. Engineers at Local Motors are excited to train on the Gigabot and start running their first prints!

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re:3D Gigabot can now be found at the Local Motors’ headquarters in Chandler AZ!

#Road2Collision Take 2 & a Southeastern Roadtrip to Digital Now!

We still can’t believe that a year has passed since Matthew, Katy & I packed up Gigabot and embarked on an unforgettable adventure to Collision in Las Vegas. The week was a milestone for re:3D.

road2collision

Not only were we honored to win PITCH, the same evening at an afterparty we had the chance to share our vision with Local Motors in an elevator (ironic, we know:), which consequently resulted in a tour the next day of the Las Vegas Local Motors Microfactory and several partnership conversations (stay tuned for more details!). We could hardly contain our excitement when the staff allowed us to take the Varrado Electric Drift Trikes out for a spin!

During Collision, we also finalized our acceptance in indie.vc, an inaugural cohort of 8 proudly bootstrapped companies. As the program launch was in San Francisco, just a few days after Collision, we made the real-time decision to continue driving from Las Vegas to Silicon Valley while visiting customers. Safely in San Fran, Matthew flew home while Lara & Morgan joined me & Katy for the indie.vc kickoff, the Bay Area Makerpro Event (thanks to our friends at OATV), and the San Mateo Makerfaire the following weekend. Katy & I then drove quickly back to Houston where I met up with Rebecca & Ernie for 4 days of Cosplay and 3D printing at Comicpolooza.

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It was a crazy season for our team as we collected requests that informed Gigabot Generation 3.0 while actively engaging with the community (which was well overdue!).  We learned a ton and grew a lot internally, while taking in the beauty of natural parks and inspiring Gigabot use cases our customers shared along the way.

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The journey revealed the importance of listening to those outside of our factory, and the value of sharing our experiences with friends & partners who can support our goals. For this reason, we are thrilled to announce a second roadtrip, this time throughout the Southeast United States as we return to Collision, cheer on this year’s winners, and also attend the Digital Now Conference in Orlando. Once again, we’re hoping to squeeze in a few customer visits and parks along the way.  Most importantly, we hope to catch up with new friends & old, and to possibly see you. We’ll be updating the itinerary below as the next two weeks evolve. Please email marketing@re3d.org if you’d like to set up time for coffee, a demo, some soul food or a beer! Also, to anyone looking to hitch a ride post Collision to TX, we’ll have a couple seats available if you don’t mind squeezing in with our large 3D prints!

TX Library Association

  • When: April 19th-22nd
  • Where: Houston, TX
  • More Info: http://www.txla.org/annual-conference
    • (The Austin team is enroute to do setup with Todd now who will remain in Hou with the gang!)
  • Follow Online: #txla16

Digital Now

  • When: April 21-23
  • Where: Orlando FL
    • Samantha Speaks at the Technology Showcase at 4:05pm on 04/21 with a Gigabot demo afterwards
    • A second Gigabot demo will take place at 9:55 on 04/22
  • More Information: https://www.fusionproductions.com/fusionnews/four-extraordinary-association-stories
  • Follow Online: #diginow

Collision

  • When: April 26-28th
  • Where: New Orleans LA
    • Samantha & Matthew exhibit Gigabot live at the START display: April 26 Booth S118
    • Hardware demo time: TBA
    • Matthew & Samantha will also be at the morning jogs and at night summit all week!
  • More information: https://collisionconf.com/
  • Follow online: @collisionHQ, #collisionconf, #road2collision

Forever Humbled,

Samantha, Katy, Matthew and the entire re:3D team

Katy, Sam & Matthew drive from Houston to San Fran demoing Gigabot & visiting customers (and a few national parks)

Testing MakeShaper PLA

Below are our notes that reflect our new open source filament testing. ASTM test samples are being created and in the upcoming months you can anticipate a summary on our website about our adventures in 3D printing material science. 

Material Tested: MakeShaper PLA

Manufacturer: MakeShaper PLA

Filament Diameter: 3.00 mm

Color Tested: Orange

Date Tested: 4/01/2016

OBSERVATIONS

Ease of use: Working with this filament was very enjoyable. It printed easily, was consistent and predictable. No breakage was noticed. The PLA appeared to be of a high quality.

Appearance: The filament exhibited a pleasing orange tone that even the greatest orange pantone haters on our team found appealing. A slight sheen presented when printed.

Size consistency: Awesome, less than 0.1mm within the roll, however the filament measured 2.87mm, not 3mm

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout the coil.

SETTINGS

Print temperature: 190-215 C (suggested)/202C was used: nozzle / 60C : bed

Printer Used: Gigabot

Speed: 60 mm/s

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Infill: 15%

Type(s) of print surface used: PRINTnZ

List of test files printed: re:3D’s test files 1, 2, and 3 (logo, vase, and Benchy Torture Test). After April’s UX meeting, it was decided to also print a Moai as a 4th print.

You view watch a video summarizing our testing here:

FINDINGS

Odor: None

Bed adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 5- Great adhesion was achieved with no temperature manipulation.

Stringing (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 5 –No stringing was observed with our settings.

Shrinkage (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 5- The filament extruded and cooled with no shrinkage.

Interlayer adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 5- Perfect!
IMG_2556

NOTES:

  • The community is fortunate to have several PLA vendors to select from, however we’ve heard cautionary tales from many of our customers that all PLA is not created equal. MakeShaper PLA boasts that it is a high quality and dependable PLA.
  • Seeing that we offer a limited color selection in our store, we are always eager to test additional PLA sources in order refer customers to other reputable consumer retailers.
  • This material appears to yield consistent, quality prints.
  • Filament size consistency was excellent and no breakage was evident in the 1 kg roll we examined, suggesting it was well mixed.
  • No curling was observed in any of the 4 prints created.
  • We used the mid point of the temperature range that the manufacture provided (190-225C). No guidance was given for settings aside from temperature, so we used the standard Simplify3D profile on wiki.re3d.org.
  • The unboxing experience was well done and the recommendation sheet was professional.
    • A batch number was provided for traceability.
    • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on the enclosed documentation.

RECCOMENDATIONS:

  • After printing 4 objects in our protocol, I support MakeShaper’s claims that they produce high quality PLA and would recommend it to our customers.
  • Upon review, we would also recommend that we include this filament in our ASTM test sample research.
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Want to chat? Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience!

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206511376-Testing-MakeShaper-PLA

~Happy Printing!

Samantha snabes

Blog Post Author

3D Printing A Superman Hood Emblem

Intern Jacob Lehmann shares on his recent DIY solution to personalize his aging Beetle.

My 3D printed Superman Hood Emblem

By: Jacob Lehmann

I work at re:3D and my job is to figure out and test cool and unique ways to use our 3d printers. I have 2003 VW beetle (and I love it) but some of the aesthetics have been worn and aged poorly over the years. So I had the idea to custom print a rear hood ornament. My amazing bosses thought this was a great idea and helped me to design and realize this idea.

It was hard to pick what exactly I wanted to make for my car. After running through tons of ideas I finally decided that because of the deep sienna blue of my vehicle that a superman logo would look amazing on it. This is a picture of my car after I peeled off the old rusty and broken VW emblem.

First I designed the hood emblem in a free Cad software called Onshape. You can access the tool at this link: https://www.onshape.com/ if you are interested. 

After slicing the file for printing, we put it on the Gigabot and watched it come to life!

And then we tested it on my car.  After looking at it closely, I decided I wasn’t happy with the size and printed a second to fill up the space better.

testingprint

Before we started we knew that the final solution wasn’t going to be in PLA.  In the Texas summer sun, thermoplastics such as PLA warp when left in a car, let alone on the boiling hood. Although this material is perfect for 3d printing because it melts at roughly 190+ Celsius, that very feature makes it hard to use outdoors, inside of engines, or pretty much anywhere that gets hot.

Thankfully our friends at Deep in the Heart Art Foundry (who own some of our Gigabots and use them in their lost wax casting) were more than happy to help us cast an alternative. We originally wanted to cast the piece in bronze and patina it, but they suggested that it would look better and be much lighter to cast it in Stainless steel. You can check out some of their amazing works of art here http://www.deepintheheart.net/. Here is the piece once we got it back (with a little bit of polishing).

unpolished

And after I finished polishing and sanding the piece.

polished

Here is the finished stainless steel piece next to the smaller PLA prototype.

Now all that was left to do was mount it on my vehicle. After cleaning the surface of my rear hood and the backside of the piece with some alcohol, and removing all the dust and grime, I placed some 3m double-sided tape on my car. NOTE: my bosses were concerned for my and other driver’s safety and have since purchased industrial epoxy.

3mtape

And finally, the beautiful hood emblem is complete and placed on my car. Now I can drive around fighting DC supervillains as much as I want.

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Happy printing!

Jacob Lehmann

Blog Post Author

@jacobelehmann

You’re Invited: 3D Printing @ Sea!

Recently, one of our customers (and owner of Cruise Planners) invited us to support a 3D printing cruise. We are honored to participate and can’t wait to spend three days with you during this exclusive experience!

3datsea

About the Event

3D at Sea is the first of it’s kind 3D Printing Workshop and Seminar at Sea. This Workshop will feature 3D Printing Experts both teaching and speaking on a variety of relevant topics. There will also be opportunities for community impact work in Cozumel, in addition to general fun and networking!

Whose Invited

Anyone with a passion for 3D printing is welcome to join us on the Carnival Liberty out of Galveston on 10/8/16! Pam, the organizer, is also accepting applications to speak or teach a class until May 5th. You can share your interest on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/3datsea/  or email Pam directly at: pam.stewart@cruiseplanners.com.

See you soon?!

Samantha snabes

Blog Post Author

Filament Testing – Scorpion Flexible Nylon by Black Magic 3D

Below are our notes that respect our new open source filament testing. ASTM test samples are being created and in the upcoming months you can anticipate a summary on our website that reflects our adventures in 3D printing material science. 

Material Tested: Scorpion Flexible Nylon

Manufacturer: Black Magic 3D

Filament Diameter: – 2.85mm

Color Tested: Natural

Date Tested: 4/06/2016

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OBSERVATIONS

Ease of use: Those new to 3D printing may want to budget extra time when printing with Scorpion as it takes a little manipulation to perfect the temperature & retraction settings.

Appearance: The natural filament was clean and consistent. Prints matched filament color & opacity.

Size consistency: Awesome, less than 0.1mm within the roll.

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout the coil.

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SETTINGS

Print temperature: 230-235 C (suggested): nozzle / 60C : bed

Printer Used: Gigabot

Speed: 50 mm/s

Layer Height: 0.3mm

Infill: 15%

Type(s) of print surface used: PRINTnZ with 3M Blue Painter’s Tape and 2 coats of Elmer’s Glue Stick

List of test files printed: re:3D’s test files 1, 2, and 3 (logo, vase, and Benchy Torture Test)

You view watch a video summarizing our testing below:

FINDINGS

Odor: None

Bed adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 4- Great adhesion could be achieved, but required two coats of PVA glue stick, painter’s tape, and the highest heat setting suggested for the bed and nozzle.

Stringing (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 4 -Stringing was observed across lettering, however doubling the retraction settings eliminated the problem.

Shrinkage (1: lots – 5: none!)

  • 4- Some curling was observed on corners of logo after removal. It is suggested that the print be allowed to cool down on the bed before taking it off.

Interlayer adhesion (1: terrible – 5: fabulous!)

  • 5- Perfect!
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NOTES:

  • A flexible nylon offers a lot of possibility to the 3D printing community
    • This filament appears to overcome concerns that both flexible and nylon materials are difficult to use.
    • With the right settings and adhesion hygiene, this material appears to yield consistent, quality prints.
  • NOTE: this filament required 2 coats of Elmer glue stick on Blue Painter’s tape applied over a heated bed, using the max range of bed and nozzle heat settings
  • Filament size consistency was excellent.
  • Curling was observed with only 1 coat of glue stick and was also seen after print removal when the bed was still warm.
    • It is recommended that the bed be allowed to cool before removal to mitigate curling after print completion.
  • The best testing outcomes were observed at the highest temperatures settings (235C -nozzle, 60C- bed) and using the speed (50mm/s) that the manufacture provided. No guidance was given for retraction, which we found we needed to double or standard setting in order to eliminate stringing across lettering.
  • The unboxing experience was well done and the recommendation sheet was very useful. 
    • No date stamp for production was listed, however a batch number was provided for traceability.
    • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on the enclosed documentation.
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RECCOMENDATIONS:

  • This filament is extremely impressive and more than exceeded expectations due to past expereinces working with nylons and flexible materials.
  • Upon review, we would highly recommend that larger, more complex prints be created to further investigate the potential this exotic, and much needed material provides.
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Want to chat? Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience!

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/206375086-Testing-Scorpion-Flexible-Nylon-on-Gigabot

~Happy Printing!

Samantha snabes

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