D&D Helps Kids Level Up Their Social Skills

“But will you guys be mad at me if I don’t?”

That earnest and open-hearted question was posed by a student participating in D&D@CLCE, an after-school skills group at Clear Lake City Elementary School (CLCE) in Houston, TX. They were role-playing a situation with a difficult choice: should I give up something I own and care about in order for the whole group to benefit? As the student contemplated his decision, his peers, in turn, responded with how they felt. This form of social skills group therapy has been around a long time, aiding those who struggle socially to learn and develop those skills in a safe and moderated group setting. Kari Euker, the Counselor at CLCE debuted a program this year to combine skills training with the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Those unfamiliar with D&D may have seen it recently reflected in pop culture on the TV shows Stranger Things or The Big Bang Theory. In a nutshell, one plays by gathering a group of people who then create characters with certain sets of skills, be they wizards or rogues or fighters, and together they explore an imaginary world narrated by the game’s lead storyteller and referee, the dungeon master. It’s improvisational storytelling on steroids.

In the case of the student’s conundrum, he wasn’t mulling over the consequences of keeping a football to himself in the schoolyard, he was trying to decide whether to give up a sparkling magic crystal by placing it on a wall with crystals belonging to the rest of his adventuring party. If he placed his crystal, the wall would absorb the crystals and open a portal leading the team onto a new escapade. If he kept it to himself, the magic wouldn’t take hold, the team would be stuck, but he’d still have that beautiful crystal. What to do?

Ms. Euker didn’t discover D&D on her own. It was her high-school aged son Christopher and his friends who caught her on to the idea. Christopher’s enthusiasm for D&D opened Ms. Euker to the possibility that D&D could provide a fun and imaginative setting in which to practice life skills in a low consequence environment. As she wasn’t an expert in playing the game, they worked together using the older boys’ experience with D&D and Ms. Euker’s knowledge of skills training to craft artful scenarios where the CLCE students could flex those social skills muscles. The older boys served as dungeon masters, the younger kids were the explorers, and Ms. Euker was there to facilitate each session. What they discovered is that the fantasy elements of their role-playing helped the kids contemplate the consequences of their actions from a safe distance and therefore allowed for critical thinking and deep conversations that are hard to achieve in real-life scenarios.

Ms. Euker approached re:3D about helping the students’ characters come to life, and re:3D was more than happy to support the team’s innovative problem-solving. In D&D, dungeon masters will often use real maps and tokens to help keep track of where adventurers and their foes exist in relationship to each other. The students designed minifigures in Hero Forge, selecting the race, armor, weapons and accessories that best fit their whimsical characters. re:3D took those 3D models, and with a little bit of slicing manipulation and custom supports, printed out the whole group of minifigures in one batch.

Though we at re:3D are known to Dream Big, Print HUGE, in this instance we made an exception. Utilizing Gigabot’s highest resolution of 0.1510 mm layer height, we printed these tiny 48 mm tall figures, miniscule accessories and all, with PLA and water soluble PVA supports. After an overnight bath, these creative creations were ready to join the fray.

The older boys were so invested in this project that they took the time to paint the minifigures by hand, and the CLCE students were thrilled to see their hard work rewarded with a physical representation of the character they built from their imagination. And the kid who was hesitant to give up his treasured crystal? He listened to his peers and then chose to add the crystal to the wall. Away they journeyed, onward to the next adventure.

*This project was supported through re:3D Houston’s Community Engagement Team. Are you a school or non-profit with a passion to explore 3D printing? Reach out to us at discover@re3d.org to schedule a tour or workshop!*

FFF1: Our FFF1rst Polymer Derby

On April 9, 2019 re:3D hosted the first annual FFF1: Polymer Derby!  You may be wracking your brain trying to figure out what we are talking about here, so let me explain:

We challenged each other to a gravity car racing competition.  Quite similar to a Pinewood Derby (in fact we borrowed a pinewood derby track from local Cub Scout Pack 595) – each competitor designed a car, printed it on Gigabot, attached some wheels – and we were off to the races on derby day!

As a distributed team, with competitors in Houston, Austin, Puerto Rico, and New York – we established a rule from the start that you must design your own car  and if you require help with your design (since not everyone is a 3D design wizz) you had to reach out to someone in a different location from your home office.

We thought this was a great opportunity to not only get everyone designing and printing in 3D – but to also make sure that our distributed team members interacted with someone from a different office on something fun that wasn’t just work related.

Almost immediately after announcing the competition, (in mid-January) we had questions, everyone wanted to know the rules, which admittedly didn’t yet exist, and our engineers were particularly interested in finding loopholes in said rules so that they could cheat the system.  I promised the team that I would write-up an entire tome of rules and got to work, we started with the basic size parameters (borrowed from the pinewood derby to fit their track), and then added layer upon layer of bureaucracy and ridiculousness on top of what should be a relatively straightforward idea (I will post rules examples at the very end of this post).

The cars had to:

  • Weigh no more than 5.00 oz
  • Length shall not exceed 7 in
  • Width shall not exceed 2.75 in
  • Car must have 5/16″ clearance underneath
  • Wheels must be unmodified (we gave everyone a standard set of wheels)

Ultimately the designs were up to each individual’s creativity.

Come derby day, there was an amazing diversity in designs.  The track was setup in the front showroom of our Houston HQ.  We had an official weigh-in and measurement period to check that all cars conformed to the rules.  We made up t-shirts to memorialize the day.  And then we started the competition.

Each competitor chose a number from a hat – to get randomly assigned a place on our competition bracket.  We then competed best out of 3 heats, with racers switching sides (there were only 2 racers at a time) after each heat. As the day went on, the biggest determining factor in the fastest cars was the weight.  Any racer that was below 5.00 oz was at a distinct disadvantage, and all of the cars in the quarter-finals and beyond were at the target weight exactly.

When all was said and done we had a winner! Technically we had two winners – the Fastest Car – won the racing piece of the competition.  The Flyest Ride – was voted as the best looking car by all of the competitors.   Congratulations to Samantha (fastest car) and Mitch (flyest ride).

Stay tuned for more Polymer Derby fun, as this will definitely become an annual event at re:3D, and perhaps across the world?!  Sign-up for our newsletter to always be up-to-date on what’s happening at re:3D.

Looking forward to next year's competition!

International Polymer Derby Congress Rules & Regulations (These are just a small sampling of the rules for this competition):

  1. Cars shall be 3D printed – in any material that is currently able to be 3D printed.
  2. The majority of the car shall be printed on an FFF/FDM style 3D printer, but does not have to be printed in one piece.
  3. The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting or propulsion devices

Inspections:

The day of the race, while style voting and race seeding is taking place, race officials will open the Inspection Zone:

  1. Cars will be Inspected individually for conformity to all rules of the IPDC and the Polymer Derby Championship Racing Series (PDCRS).
  2. Each car will be weighed (see weight requirements Sec. 1.2 A-I. above)
  3. Each car will be measured for length, width, ground clearance, and wheel clearance (Sec. 1.2B – I-IV).
  4. Each car will be thoroughly inspected for any potential safety or hazard violations
  5. Each car’s wheels will be gone over with a fine tooth comb, as modification of stock wheels is strictly prohibited (In accordance with Sec. 1.2 C – I & II)
    1. Any car found to have illegal modifications to the wheels is subject to being gleefully smashed with a hammer by a race official (viewer discretion is advised)

Failed Inspections:

  1. Any competitor’s car that is found to not pass inspection will have an opportunity to adjust/fix their vehicle and have it re-inspected. An explanation of why the car failed inspection will be given to each competitor and the racer will have 10 minutes to make the proper adjustments to bring their vehicle into conformity with the race rules.
  2. If the racer fails to bring their car into conformity within 10 minutes, fails to present their car for re-inspection before the 10 minute time period is up, OR fails the inspection for a second time – the car is no longer eligible for the Fastest or Flyest awards (Sec. 8 Subsec I-III.), but is eligible for the Junker award (Sec. 8 Subsec. IV.).
    1. Cars that fail the secondary inspection may still participate in the tournament for fun, but will not be eligible to win.
    2. If you make illegal modifications that go undetected by the judges, but manage to make your first run before judges take notice, you may continue using your illegal car without reprimand. Gamble at your own risk.

Style Voting:

While the fastest car down the track is the ultimate winner – there will be style points given out for the car that looks the best.

  1. Subjective voting will take place by each competitor at the beginning of the competition.
  2. The voters/competitors may use any method of determining the best “looking” car that they see fit.
  3. Each competitor will fill out a secret ballot to determine their favorite car.
  4. Each competitor will vote only once and can not vote for themselves
  5. Bribes for style votes, while not illegal, are harshly discouraged.

Grievances:

Official grievances may be filed.

  1. For a grievance about a particular heat/race the grievance will only be valid if:
    1. Filed within 180 seconds of the race ending, in written form, adhering to the following parameters:
      1. Printed, in landscape orientation, on standard sized paper (8.5”x11”)
      2. Comic sans font
        1. font size = 17.5pt.
      3. The grievance must follow the standard limerick format
        1. Five lines – 2 long, 2 short, 1 long,
        2. Rhyme scheme AABBA
      4. Sent via USPS standard mail, postage paid to:

International Polymer Derby Congress
Department of Rules, Grievances, and Dispute Resolution
re:3D, Inc
1100 Hercules Ave, Suite 220
Houston, TX 77058

Or hand delivered, with a bow/curtsey, directly to the Rules Czarina or Czarina designate for an immediate ruling

Awards:

  1. Fastest: Fastest car to win the final race, wins the Polymer Derby Champion Award
  2. Flyest: Top vote getting car for style wins the “Best-in-Show” – Flyest Car award
  3. Little Miss Fly-Ride Should the top style car and top speed car be one in the same – the title of “Champion of Champions” or “Little Miss Fly-Ride” will be bestowed upon the winner along with lavish praise and an award of at least one but not to exceed 100 cheap beers.
  4. Junker: The “Junker” award goes to any car that fails to make it down the track, or breaks at any point during the competition.  It is quite embarrassing.
  5. Flunker: The “Flunker” award goes to any car that fails the pre-race inspection, and is not eligible to win awards I-III of this section.

Hurricane Maria forces Parknet to Pivot, Gigabot Lowers Risk

Antonio Ramos takes a deep breath. “It was really depressing.”

A native Puerto Rican, he was living in San Juan when Hurricane Maria hit. He described the sentiment on the island when the storm was forecasted: Irma had just passed by with little effect, and the general feeling was that Maria would also spare them. The island is used to storms, he explains, and they usually bounced back after big ones in a couple weeks.

But this one turned out to be different.

He remembers seeing the radar images of the vastness of the tempest bearing down on them, their island dwarfed next to it. The dire situation quickly became apparent. Antonio recalls his reaction: “Okay, we’re screwed.”

It wasn’t just Antonio that had to weather the storm – he had a company to tend to as well.

From Capstone Project to Company

Antonio and his cofounder, Alan Lopez, started Parknet when they were still engineering students in university. They used the idea for their Capstone Project, building a controller that could connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi or SIM cards and control a boom barrier or electromagnetic gate – “really anything that could be activated,” Antonio explains.

They approached a local company with their idea, proposing to them that they could reprogram their controller in real time.

“They actually challenged us,” recounts Antonio. “They told us, ‘Hey, that can’t be done.’” The company said the only way to reprogram it was to go into a computer, use their software, and reprogram the whole controller.

Antonio didn’t balk. “I told them, ‘No, we can actually hack your controller.’” The company didn’t budge.

“So, it was a challenge,” says Antonio. “And challenge accepted. Something that we’ve learned is that you never challenge an engineer and say that they can’t do something, because they will do it.”

Six months later, Antonio and Alan demoed for the company their “unhackable” controller working as they had originally pitched. Parknet was born.

Maria's Arrival

Parknet makes cloud-based controlled access systems which provide facility administrators the ability to control access points – think entry doors or parking gates – in real-time, through the use of a web-based app accessible from any device with an internet connection.

Antonio and Alan explored different routes for how to market their system in Puerto Rico.

“At first, we wanted to use it for a parking lot payment system. But we found a bit of resistance here from the parking administrators,” Alan explains. They shifted their focus to gated communities and apartment complexes.

They joined the Generation Four cohort of Puerto Rican incubator program Parallel18 in August. And then, in September, Maria arrived.

“After the hurricane, we had no cell phone communication, we had no Internet, no power. It was really depressing,” Antonio recounts. “Our business needs Internet. It’s an Internet of Things device, so it needs Internet to operate and it needs power. So we were kind of stuck there.”

They pivoted yet again, strategizing how to stay afloat and retain their employees.

“We had to survive,” Antonio says. “The sales cycle for gated communities and apartment complexes can be from four to six months. It takes a lot of time and a lot of meetings and convincing.” But they found that with commercial spaces, the process was faster. “We started selling to co-working places and offices.” One such customer is Parallel18 itself.

Antonio stopped paying himself in order to keep his team on payroll. “We were in survival mode,” he explains. He began working in generator repairs, a service in high demand on the island following Maria.

They weathered the monster storm and its lingering aftermath, and several months later the company was back on its feet. As Parknet started demanding more from Antonio, he wrapped up his generator repair work and went back to it full time.

3D Printing Before Moving to Manufacturing

In the Parallel18 program, Parknet crossed paths with re:3D.

They began using Gigabot to 3D print enclosures for their printed circuit boards, or PCBs. “We can build a box in like, two hours, and we can test it before we send it to the manufacturer,” Antonio explains. “The manufacturer had a minimum of 10 boxes, and if it didn’t work correctly, we were going to waste 10 boxes.”

Once they finalized the enclosure design, they moved to a sheet metal forming process, but they continued to turn back to Gigabot for custom requests. “One of the advantages is that we can offer a customer a custom design,” Antonio says. “If they want a diamond shaped scanner, we can build it for them. If they want it embedded into a gypsum board, we can also do that.”

One Parknet customer in San Juan who has requested a diamond-shaped scanner is El Almacén, a speakeasy-style bar tucked away just off the buzzing square of La Placita.

They’re using Parknet’s technology to text message patrons digital keys and grant them entry to the bar with the swipe of a phone. The door unlocks and the e-key-holder descends into an old-timey themed lounge.

It also gives the bar the marketing opportunity to track and quantify their marketing. They can compare how many people the text message key was sent to and how many people used it, rather than their old method, which was a post on their Facebook page with the password for the night. There is also the location-based aspect of it – if a patron gets within a certain radius of the bar, their phone will remind them that they have a key to the nearby locale.

Moving Forward Post-Maria

It’s just past the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall.

Puerto Rico has recovered fairly well given the incredible destruction of the storm. The land itself looks lush and green, and the people I spoke with are propelled by a resilient spirit and a desire to rebuild and strengthen their island for the future.

Antonio is one of those very people. Parknet came out the other side of Maria arguably a stronger company, with more applications and a wider customer base than he and Alan had originally imagined. It’s been a big cycle for them that has taken them through multiple major pivots in the company’s lifespan.

After the trials of Maria, Parknet is now focused back on gated communities and apartment complexes and is ready to tackle their original vision of parking lots.

Learn more about Parknet: https://site.xubo.io/

Learn more about Parallel18: https://www.parallel18.com/

Catch Us at SXSW 2017!

SXSW prep is in full swing and we can’t wait to see you!

You can connect with re:3D and Gigabot at the events below:

Do you have a request for another event Gigabot should visit?

~Email info@re3d.org with your tips!

Show Us Your Print!

Customer Badge Campaign

Receive cool swag & recognition for your print milestones!

We’re awarding digital & physical patches to commemorate your 3D printing milestones on Gigabot in 2017! Simply email info@re3d.org with a link to your YouTube and/or Vimeo timelapse or a picture of your Viki & final print!

Winners will be announced on our forum (including the current record holder:)

Happy Printing!

~Samantha

THE GIGAPRIZE: 2016

I’m going to be forthcoming in this introduction and tell you that I have no background in 3D printing. In fact, working with the community during this year’s Gigabot Giveaway was my initiation into this world and network, and it has been nothing short of inspiring. My name is Beth Eanelli. You may know me as the community manager of the New Year’s Gigaprize: 2016 and I possibly sent you an email or asked to use one of your photos in a social media post.

As I mentioned, this was my introduction into 3D Printing, and I have been simultaneously humbled and overwhelmed by the innovation in the field. I had heard of 3D printing, read about it in magazines and articles, but as I was graduating University, I remember the first 3D printer coming to the Engineering Department, but I never had a chance to see the machine, or to watch it come to life.

My background is in public health and international development and I have dabbled in social impact, though never in the tech realm. I returned just in time for the holidays in 2015 after spending two years living and working as a health volunteer with the Peace Corps in a little country called The Gambia. The village I lived had no electricity and no running water, and health issues like Malaria and diarrhea still run rampant. In short, there were minimal resources and with the capital being across the country and transit towns having sporadic electricity and no consistency with products sold, managing projects and creating programs required constant rescheduling and a lesson in being a true MacGyver.

The first time I met Samantha was at Unreasonable Impact, a program created with Barclays, which brings together entrepreneurs working towards social impact and change to build community, create jobs and help the entrepreneurs maximize their influence (blog to follow). In her introduction to re:3D, Samantha described the printers as having the ability to be mini factories in countries with little to no resources. Having seen the possibilities of what 3D printers could bring to communities such as the one I lived in, I was hooked, and Samantha and I spoke at length about what re:3D had and continues to accomplish. I imagined my community with a 3D printer, the nearest town with continuous access to a makerspace, and couldn’t believe this was a reality in some places because of re:3D. I learned of re:3D’s 1 Gigabot 3D printer donation for 100 sales during one of many conversations with Samantha and we connected right after the program. Shortly afterwards, I was asked to be the 2016 Community Manager for what was formally called The Great Big Gigabot Giveaway, renamed the Gigaprize due to Unreasonable mentor feedback that the opportunity should not be framed as a handout, rather recognition for global citizens doing extraordinary things to improve society.

I’m going to be honest and tell you that I watched each Giveaway entry video with an open jaw. And while many of you know that 3D printers can be used to print prostheses and create Makerspaces, I was learning along the way, consumed by the novelty. Some of our Gigaprize: 2016 applicants are impacting their communities by printing prostheses for low income families, using plastic waste to create clean energy, using makerspaces as a learning tool in schools and libraries and to keep students in school. There are entrepreneurs among us using plastic bottle tops as filament and creating jobs for those who are unemployed in the industry. Each applicant is a catalyst, an innovator and an inspiration and I am looking forward to the chance to see what everyone continues to do.

The most difficult part of the Giveaway was choosing just one winner to receive a Gigabot 3+ kit. Each person and group is contributing to their community in a profound way, so choosing just one entry isn’t easy. Emergency Floor, the winner this year, has an amazing story. They’re using the Gigabot to prototype flooring to be placed in refugee camps, providing refugees living in these camps warmer, safer and more hygienic. Amazing, right?

I also want to express my gratitude to the judges who helped us make this difficult decision, and brought their vast knowledge and range of expertise to the table. We could not have made this Gigabot giveaway possible without each of these individuals.

Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to the applicants and the 3D printing community for your ideas and innovation, your drive and passion, and for allowing me insight into this world. I also want to that the thousands that voted to share their support for such phenomenal idea. If you didn’t have a chance to watch the entries as they were live, you can still do so here. Want be introduced to one the amazing applicants? Feel free to send me a request!

Happy Printing!

~Beth

  • beth@re3d.org

PS- you can be the first to hear about Gigaprize : 2017 by signing up for the re:3D newsletter. Simply enter your email at the bottom of re3d.org 🙂

Pitching for a Circular Economy: Why We Went to Hello Tomorrow in Paris

With the momentum of the Bunker Austin win behind us, Matthew & I flew to Paris and grudgingly paid the shipping for Gigabot to meet us in the gamble that either we would either 1) Get a selfie with Mr. Bloomberg (and much needed press) 2) meet someone willing to cover the bond & buy the ‘bot in France, or 3) we’d win our pitching track & return net positive.

It was a huge risk that our company really couldn’t afford in addition to our discounted flights and a shared hotel room (thankfully Matthew has a very supportive girlfriend with access to deals!). But as Matthew & I firmly believe printing from reclaimed plastics takes an ecosystem of problem solvers, which frankly needs more support, we felt that we had to attend once we were notified that we were pitching finalists.

We also were also intrigued by the premise of Hello Tomorrow, which unites technologists, academics, and corporations to solve the grand challenges facing humanity. 3D printing from trash appeared to be a perfect fit, and Gigabot had to be there. With the promise that we would print a kickass logo during the event, the incredibly kind Hello Tomorrow staff agreed to find space for Gigabot.

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Matthew arrived in Paris first from Houston, and greeted the oversized crate while I gave a talk on the social potential of 3D printing at Singularity University in effort to be considered as a speaker and then flew out from San Francisco.

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As we had witnessed at other events this winter, Gigabot arrived in perfect condition & was up & printing without any calibration. Jet lagged but determined to give it our all, we stayed up late practicing for the pitch competition the next day.

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The day kicked off with an outstanding keynote by Imogen Heap, who demoed her novel gloves to give more dimension to sound. Afterwards, we were humbled when she visited Gigabot and mused with us re: the intersections of community, technology & creativity. We (err….I) shamelessly asked to take a pic in return for a print.

Matthew unfortunately had caught a terrible cold from the travel & lost his voice, but powered through the day, ensuring Gigabot was tended to, I ate some food and we were set up for success at the competition.  We weren’t the only team committed to (or perhaps delusional about) our cause. The other startups were just as hungry to further their passion by building connections with other attendees, and meet corporations in order to foster partnerships. Even the Hello Tomorrow staff exemplified commitment to curating an ecosystem of problem solvers & pioneers, with a teammate receiving a Hello Tomorrow tattoo on stage live!

After witnessing one of the other finalists, Tridom, bring their impressively large robot to the stage, we seized the opportunity to roll Gigabot over as well, leaving the poor Hello Tomorrow staff with little space, and lengthy power chords to manage. However it was worth the inconvenience as our respective machines found love at first print & the selfies of Gigabot & Madeline were adorable.

Tensions mounted as each co-founder took the stage and presented the benefits our ideas offer society. The competition was fierce. Each company had significant traction, an impressive technology, and solid teams. Further adding to my nervousness was the realization that not only was this strongest cohort we had ever pitched against, but the judges were tough!  With Matthew manning Gigabot, I stumbled through slides & questioning. The judges challenged the market for 3D printing as whole as well as the profitability of printing from waste & thus eliminating the feedstock from what largely is a blade & razor model today. While I could certainly have done better, I did my best to build upon lessons learned from Atech in Aruba. I shared the promise of the growing industrial 3D printer segment, the opportunities to increase the market by enabling more people to fabricate onsite, and upside that direct drive pellet extrusion expands the library of printable materials while decreasing print times. Stepping off the stage I was sweaty, shaky, and confident we had lost. I apologized to Matthew, congratulated the team I thought had won and set our sights on the meetings we had arranged with L’Oreal, Michelin, and Airbus.

The afternoon flew by. We gave out all of the flyers we brought, and pitched several blue chip companies to give us access to their post-manufacturing waste. Gigabot had a blast 3D printing Hello Tomorrow logos for the staff & we found that while we likely hadn’t won our track, an unexpected gain from the event was that we had found our tribe.

The attendees were just like us: problem solvers spanning hard science, technology & impact. We met nonprofits such Claire from MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and academics from around the world that challenged us with their questions & feedback. Aside from the criticism we fielded from the pitch judges, we found the Hello Tomorrow community truly understood our vision & was incredibly supportive. Our only regret from the event was not having more time & resources to stay in Europe with Gigabot to follow-up on the multiple insightful conversations we had (or in Matthew’s case had pantomimed).

Tired, but encouraged & full of great French cuisine we caught a few more hours of sleep and dug out any remaining flyers we could scrounge up for a possible meeting with Mr. Bloomberg the following morning. We also stole an hour to sample French food- my taste buds were blown away!

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Meeting the former mayor of NY turned out to be a challenge as he was a popular man, and despite our best efforts we were unable to wrangle a selfie. We did however manage to meet a number of amazing people and took the time to visit the other exhibit booths. Before we knew it, the time had come to join the audience at the big stage and learn who had won the event.

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Coincidentally Matthew & I ended up sitting next to the team from Haelexia, which I was convinced had won. We argued about who was about to take home 15K euros until the programming began, and our track was announced first. To my utter surprise our name was called, and I wished I had taken the time to touch up my makeup, & brush my exhibit – day hair & coffee stained teeth while stumbling over legs and the sea of people between us & the stage.

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I arrived on stage with watery eyes and speechless as we received a hug & trophy from Airbus. You can imagine my consternation when I was then handed a microphone and told we had the next two minutes to pitch two rows of judges for 100K. Feeling ill prepared, I gave everything I had left in an enthusiastic and emotional appeal. While 15K would fund our prototype within a year, 100K could bring what we see as inherently right to commercialization. I did my best and knew that while willing the Grand Prize was a long shot, I was humbled to share our passion with such an amazing group. I also secretly hoped that Michael Bloomberg was watching from the sidelines and would offer our much sought after selfie.

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The best part of the night however, was backstage. As each other track winner joined us, we were blown away by their technologies and the awesomeness of each team. We also noted a curious fact: half of the track winners were pitched by females and/or also came from gender co-lead teams like us. We quickly assembled a cheering squad to celebrate the other winners as they joined us backstage and sponsor Chivas ensured there were plenty of drinks for the multiple toasts that ensued.

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After all had joined, we headed out to join a big band for the announcement of the Grand Prize winner, Lilium. Although the money would have provided what we desperately need to scale our vision to 3D print from waste globally, we were thrilled for their team!

We joined Gigabot & all for the after party and then rushed to pack up Gigabot before security threw us out.

The next day we caught a train and headed outside of Paris to meet a local Gigabot owner. At re:3D we try to visit customers when on the road as it not only provides valuable business intelligence but also is an incredibly rewarding opportunity to connect with the customers personally. We had a blast, and were super honored when they blessed us with a guided tour of the city on the way home and drove us to the Eiffel Tower. We couldn’t go up the monument due to the tools in our backpack, but we were fortunate to walk around the legs and stare into the impressive infrastructure for several minutes.

After pausing to reflect on the engineering & creativity above us, we grabbed dinner & prepped to leave.

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On the flight home my mind was filled with lights, relationships, and next steps. To all who made Hello Tomorrow and my first trip to France a success: thank you. Thank you for believing in bootstrapped underdogs, and for giving us a platform & resources to make the impossible slightly more tangible!

Happy Printing!

~Samantha

  • @samanthasnabes
  • samantha@re3d.org
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Pitching for a Circular Economy: Part 2- Why We Presented our Big Idea to Bunker Labs Austin

Sharing our Vision to 3D Print from Reclaimed Plastic in Texas

After reflecting on Aruba at Atech2016, Matthew and  I were convinced that our vision to 3D print from reclaimed plastic, albeit premature, was a passion we were compelled to continue sharing. We also felt it was imperative that in addition to casting our vision overseas, it was just as important that we pitch the opportunity to join our cause to our colleagues in Texas.  For this reason, I took a break from travel to join Mike Strong, Gigabot and Todd at the 2016 Austin Bunker Muster, a short walk…err roll….down the street from our Austin office.

We arrived a little sweaty, but stoked to assist our friends at Austin Bunker Labs in setting up for their annual fundraising event. Mike & Todd volunteered to help with setup & lighting while I paced around the block, practicing for the pitch competition that evening. The Muster in Austin was a unique event that brought together participants and partners for a day-long event of veteran entrepreneurs pitching their businesses, an Idea Lab for speakers, and a marketplace to buy products from veteran-owned small businesses. As a veteran employer & owned company, our entire team was humbled to support the festivities.

The day flew by as we listened to talks, demoed Gigabot, and chatted with old friends such as Marcus from Vthreat.  We also made new relationships, including JP Morgan Chase, re:3D’s new banker!

As the evening drew a close, I found myself incredibly nervous as we prepared to pitch against 20 peers. Unlike past competitions, this time we took the stage in front of friends, not strangers. These contestants were heroes we revered, who had sacrificed time & limbs for opportunity. Taking the stage with them was perhaps the greatest honored of my life. Normalized with stage-fright and determined to support our buddies, we celebrated each other and our companies’ successes to date.

During the event, I struggled to convey our strategy for repurposing post-manufacturing waste into 3D printers in less than 90 seconds. Further adding to the anxiety was the realization that without winning, we would not have the resources to begin explore 3D printing from recyclables in Q1 2017.  It was only by leveraging the encouragement from friends like Travis from Stump Armour we presented our desire to 3D print from trash. With so many outstanding competitors, we were stunned to learned the community had honored us with $5K to make our idea a reality!

Where do we go next?

With $5K in hand we re:3D received much-needed affirmation that 3D printing from recyclables was not only something inherently right, but offered benefit for our neighbors. Taking a selfie with Austin Mayor Steve Adler gave us certainty that Austin & the Bunker community could incubate our audacious idea!

~Happy Printing!

Samantha

Testing Fiberlogy HD 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. 
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MATERIAL TESTED: HD PLA

Manufacturer: Fiberlogy

Filament Diameter: 2.850 mm Normative, 2.851 Real Ave Diameter, +/- 0.02mm

Color Tested: Red

Date Tested: 11/15/2016

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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 displayed a pleasing red tone with an incredible sheen!

Size consistency: Awesome, less than 0.1mm within the roll, the filament measured 2.851mm

Color consistency: Great, consistent throughout the coil.

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SETTINGS

Print temperature: 200-220 C (suggested)/210C 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, 3 and 4 (Logo, Vase, Moai and Benchy Torture Test).

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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!
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NOTES:

  • We were first contacted by the Fiberlogy team last fall, who offered to send us a spool of their filament to evaluate on Gigabot. We recognize that the community is fortunate to have several PLA vendors to select from, however as not all PLA is created equal, and were eager to vet a European supplier for our customers accross the pond. Fiberlogy HD PLA boasts that it is a high quality and dependable PLA that has the added benefit of increasing strength when annealed.
  • Seeing that we offer a limited color selection in our store that ships from North America, we are always eager to test additional PLA sources.
  • 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.
  • The packaging and spool design was futuristic, intentional, and of high quality.
  • No curling was observed in any of the 4 prints created.
  • We used the mid point of the temperature range that the manufacture provided (200-220C). No guidance was given for settings aside from temperature, so we used the standard Simplify3D profile on wiki.re3d.org.
  • The unboxing experience was outstanding and highly professional.
    • A batch number was provided for traceability.
    • Manufacturer recommended settings were easily referenced on sticker located on the packaging.

RECCOMENDATIONS:

  • After printing the four objects in our protocol, I support Fiberology’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.
  • Per the guidance on their website , I did attempt to anneal the PLA in my oven at home, however without empirical testing against similar objects printing in ABS, I can not testify to the strength claims Fiberlogy asserts for annealed HD PLA.

Want to chat?

Join our forum where we have initiated a thread about our experience at:

https://re3d.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/255640066-Testing-Fiberology-HD-PLA

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~Happy Printing!

Samantha

On Beer and 3D Printing: Tap Handle Musings Part 1

If you have been following our social media accounts or exploits online, chances are you’ve witnessed multiple references to craft beer & roadtrips. We’ve also been guilty for using a #beerforscale next to our human scale 3D prints.

Chief Hacker shows off his super-sized 3D printed GE engine downloaded from Thingiverse using a Shiner Bock for scale.

As we’ve connected with makers across the globe, we’ve encountered a disproportionate number of other 3D printing enthusiasts who share a passion for home brews. Over stouts & porters (and an occasional hefewiezen), we began to muse with tap masters worldwide on the synergies between the additive manufacturing and brewing cultures, which revealed multiple overlaps.

Below are some similarities we’ve witnessed between our industries:

  • Brewers are makerpros too
    • Many of the tap masters we chatted with shared that their career started out as a hobby. A bucket and oversized pot quickly was upgraded to a small still, which serviced crowdsourced recipe requests for friends and friends-of-friends. Like so many of us now running 3D printing companies, successful breweries are an amalgamation of passion, friends, curiosity and a little hardware hacking.
  • Both movements are changing policy
    • As state and federal law restrict scaling microbreweries, many beer enthusiasts such as Raise Your Pint in Mississippi suddenly found themselves immersed in state politics as they lobbied for deregulation. 3D printing startups sympathize as we struggle to make sense of lack of industry specific export codes, open source policies, debate around the ethical use of 3D printers and the slow realization that the government is unprepared for exporting personal factories worldwide. An artifact of explosive growth, participants in both the craft beer & the 3D movement have accidentally found themselves immersed in policy & regulatory discussions.
  • 3D printing and brewing is as much an art as a science
    • While both of our industries are ultimately contingent on chemistry, whether it be polymers or yeast, little academic rigor has been applied to craft brewing or FFF 3D printing. We therefore depend on instinct and basic scientific probing to ensure consistency & quality.
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  • We’re building factories
    • Whether you’re making a bottle of beer or a Gigabot, once you commit to commercialization (even in limited quantities), you’re forced to stand up shipping, compliance, and production. Within a few months, a small-scale factory emerges, with an impressive infrastructure investment (usually from the founder’s pockets).
  • We need significant capital outlay, that often is accomplished without a VC
    • With the exception of growth stage breweries (e.g. Laganitas), most microbreweries are intentionally small. As non-traditional business owners we chatted with borrowed from their 401K’s, installed the best investment apps uk, and got loans from families to bring their dream to reality. Not surprisingly, most founders we encountered were in their 30’s, 40’ or even 50’s, having accrued a nest egg to overcome the risk and initial expenditures. Breweries, like 3D printing start-ups tend to gravitate to non-dilutive options for initial funding and seemed more concerned with making a sustainable business than posturing for quick acquisition.
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  • Our cultures represent a lifestyle & community is core to our mission
    • Let’s face it.  No one wants to drink alone. Concurrently most hobbyists are only as successful as the last 3D print they shared publicly. Start-ups in both domains have calendars full of events to engage enthusiasts of all levels, because the heart of what we do includes sharing and dialogue. Yoga and trivia nights are no stranger to local breweries. Similarly most 3D printing start-ups host regular meet-up and grass roots efforts to provide education, good WiFi and a place to swap ideas.
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  • Tap handles make a perfect 3D printing project for budding breweries
    • Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Beer & 3D printing series!

~Samantha