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. I have also posted the .stl file for free on Sketchfab on re:3D’s account: https://sketchfab.com/models/06af3cf73bde417e9118aa1535afb820

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.

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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).

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And after I finished polishing and sanding the piece.

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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.

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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!

~Jake

  • Twitter: @jacobelehmann

re: thinking Buoyancy – Hanging 10 on a 4pc PLA Surfboard

The Big Idea

Like most start-ups intent on exploring the intersection of tech and sheer awesomeness, the vision to 3D print a surfboard was cast over beer, at a co-working space (Capital Factory), subsequent to a lack of sleep. Disregard the fact the nobody physically present at our Q2 re:treat had actually surfed, we were still proudly penny-pinching, and had few Gigabots available for extended personal print marathons. Instead, Marketing Co-Leads Katy and I corroborated with our Gigabot Ambassadors Rebecca, Morgan and Todd to develop a list of “use cases” to demonstrate functional 3D printing to be executed by a cadre of summer interns. Buoyancy made the shortlist, and a surfboard was an obvious case study.

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Q2 re:treat with @Marvin_3D

Our leadership team cultivated job descriptions, which Katy hosted under a tab she designed at re3d.org/careers. The response to our unpaid internship postings were higher than anticipated, and ultimately we selected Akshay as our 2015 Design Intern focused on 3D Printing a surfboard. Despite still being in High School, his confidence, professionalism and experience modeling through his high school FIRST Robotics team convinced me he was up for the challenge. He also had a glowing recommendation from his coach Norman.

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Brainstorming over Amy's Ice Cream w/Matthew, Annabelle & Akshay

The Design

Within just a couple weeks of on-boarding and conducting research on surfboard 3D printing, Akshay presented his concept. He had identified others who had been successful including a Father & Son, as well as professional 3D printed surfboard companies. Those that have gone before had done an amazing job curating surfboard designs that truly exhibit the benefits of 3D printing, whether it be enabling custom designs or geometries not easily produced in traditional manufacturing. However, due to the small volume of many affordable printers, we noticed multiple parts were required to later be stitched together like a jigsaw puzzle or they depended on expensive SLS printers to produce a monocoque body.

Endless Sinter SLS Surfboards
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ABS Jigsaw Surfboard

Knowing that we had the benefit of leveraging one of the largest affordable industrial printers at our disposal, we set out with Akshay to investigate if we could make a FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) design in the fewest pieces possible. We also wanted to challenge notions of material strength. Akshay’ s research unveiled that our desktop 3D printing peers used ABS, a plastic despised by many for its stinky smell during printing, but stronger than it’s as readily accessible counterpart PLA. Being bootstrapped, we work from a small office, so we decided to use PLA to print our board to see if the sweet smelling, accessible filament could support the weight of a human in the ocean repeatedly, thus challenging the assumptions of PLA’s limited value in functional, life-sized 3D prints. You see, we didn’t choose PLA because we thought it SHOULD be the material of choice, rather we wondered if it  COULD be used in a functional application.

And if it worked (even limitedly), we wondered…..what other applications would you and other members of the open-source community cultivate that could expand on our buoyancy experiment?

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Akshay dialed into Katy's Design Tag

To develop the initial concept, Akshay paired up with our Summer Stand-up Paddleboard Design Intern Evan, who was also exploring the possibility of supporting a load on water.  During Katy’s Thursday Design meetings they evaluated each other’s models in Solidworks, discussed stress points, and analyzed the best way to join components. They also ran a series of experiments to deduce not only if PLA floated, but also if it could be water tight. While they initially pursued similar concepts involving a series of rods conjoining dense pieces, they later opted for separate methods. The stand-up paddleboard included a series of hollow segments, filled with Great Stuff, bound with Gorilla Glue, and fiber wrapped.  The surfboard, Akshay decided, would be four, 6% honeycomb-filled segments held together by a series of 50% infill 3D printed bricks. Like Evan, his instrument of choice for sealant included copious amounts of Gorilla Glue.

This was our first foray into a “formalized” summer intern program and the weeks flew by. We learned a ton about setting deadlines, procurement delays, accounting for R&D or marketing inventory in our budgeting & bookkeeping, and how to better mitigate bottlenecks in Gigabot availability for multiple, multi-day crazy prints.

As June turned to July, the scaled-models and sketches transformed to full-scale experiments. Katy’s design meetings became increasingly important as the group collected feedback from the team and data from real-world tests which influenced model adjustments.

Fin Design

Throughout the summer, the surfboard fin underwent as significant an evolution as our scaling team using input from experts, the open source community, and our own failures. Askhay’s first design included two tabs to be glued into the frame, which floated and appeared to have the infill & form required to be successful based on our initial tests. However, after delving into the minutia of surfboard design, Akshay discovered that most fins are supported via a T-slot in the surfboard body. For this reason, he later designed a fin to be inserted into a groove. Unfortunately, we later learned we needed screws holes on either side to mount into the T- nuts. Mike responded to the challenge and mocked the final design, which included the re:3D logo as well as fixtures for the screws to mount into Akshay’s conceived T-nut slot. Mike also suggested that the fin be printed in black to complement Akshay’s silver board.

Final Construction

By the time the 1.5 long week print was ready for the final piece, July had morphed into August and Akshay had to return to high school.  A couple of weeks into September we attempted to resume the project and he modeled the 4th piece using feedback I relayed remotely. Despite my best efforts, the measurements provided were a little off and the 4th piece wouldn’t align. Both Jeric and Mike supported a redesign and during a long weekend, Mike ultimately generated the final component to Akshay’s vision as well as some much needed “deckholes” our research revealed was required for a surfboard leash, which we purchased from SUP ATX as we figured the extra length on stand-up paddleboard leashes offered might be needed later. With the body complete, we encountered a new set of challenges. During a commute between our Houston and Austin offices, our almost finished 3d printed surfboard took a tumble on our high-strength 3D printed bicycle designed by Patrick, leaving a rather impressive hole. Determined to make it work, I filled the  crevice with silicon prior to using Bondo to level the uneven Gorilla Glue texture.

Jeric did a stellar job capturing a time-lapse of the final piece!

The Test

While touring an untested BETA experiment 7000 miles might sound crazy, for our team it made perfect sense. We had won 2nd place at Websummit last year for pitching our vision to 3D print from trash and 1st at their US event, Collision which granted us free passes for our team to return to Ireland. It therefore seemed natural to transport a untested ambitious print across the sea in front of thousands of media & startups in the name of challenging assumptions around 3D printing.  Upon reflection on the flight to Ireland, it became evident that our success to date and win at Collision, was truly a testament to community support. For this reason, we decided it would be an honor to recruit as many stickers as possible from Web Summit attendees willing to affix their brand to our untested experiment. We humbly collected 150+ logos, including StickerMule, a popular vendor.

Shaun the Sheep

If you followed us or Web Summit/Surf Summit on social media in the past month, you might be a little confused by the multiple references to sheep, Shaun, Gigabot, Irish shepherdesses, and surfing sheep.

The idea to 3D Print Shaun the Sheep was conceived by a female Sheppard & blanket maker named Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland. Suzanna maintains an active community via social media (@ZwartblesIE) and during our flight over suggested #Gigabot could #3dprint a #sheep in #ireland. The initial Tweet inspired a lively conversation and I found myself Googling open-source sheep stls while flying past Iceland. When Katy & I landed, Matthew suggested this Wooly Sheep by pmoews  to test out on Gigabot, which had been created using a 123D Catch scan of a garden ornament. Three days of continuous sheep printing and ewe puns soon began. Katy christened the first small-scale sheep as Dolly before making a larger 14 hour sheep. The downside of running large prints is that Gigabot has to work throughout the night. The 3rd shift security team had the pleasure of watching our biggest sheep complete and informed us one morning that they had named him Shaun. It wasn’t until later the next day that we learned Shaun referred to a popular show titled Shaun the Sheep. Shaun quickly garnered a small fan club, and we decided to take him to Sligo, Ireland for Surf Summit as the prize for the 1st surfer to successfully catch a wave on the surfboard.

Surf Summit: The Moment of Truth

As soon as Web Summit concluded, we crated Gigabot for the return to Texas, them scrambled to pack our bags, the surfboard, and sheep for the bus ride to Sligo, the host of Surf Summit. Surf Summit is an incredible post-summit event to cultivate friendships while experiencing the Irish countryside. As the video reveals, it was a breathtaking experience- our only regret being Matthew couldn’t attend in leu of a customer he committed to visiting in the UK. As complete surf novices, Surf Summit provided the perfect proving group for the surfboard test as several surf pros were in attendance to share their experience & wet suits!

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Shaun, Katy, the surfboard & I board the bus

Prior to surfing, we attended the kickoff festivities and allowed Shaun to circulate with the attendees before (he hoped) he would be gifted to a deserving surfer.

Session 1

The next morning we loaded the board, attached the fin, crossed our fingers for good luck and took off to Streedagh Beach. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a team of instructors from Surf World Bundoran, who helped us wax the board and taught birthday girl Katy & I to surf for our first time. The experience was unforgettable.

As our lesson concluded, SurfWorld Instructor Tony volunteered to take our stickered print out on the water. We grabbed our cameras and huddled with our new start-up friends from The Outdoor Journal to capture a mini photo shoot before take-off. The tension was palpable and we all lingered a moment discussing the project, for fear that the board was soon break or worse, sink, taking with it the evidence of so many peers who had supported the endeavor.

Tony proceeded with caution, first testing the buoyancy in shallow waters near the beach, then gradually paddling out further. After a few minutes, he headed out to see if he could catch a break. It wasn’t long before a series of rolling waves emerged and, as luck would have it, he was able to ride one in!

After Tony broke the seal, two other brave instructors also offered to take the surfboard out, despite loosing a fin!

Session 2

Wanting to optimize our wave catching, we headed back to the hotel, then caught a cab to Strandhill beach to join another surf instruction course after lunch. There we met the crew at iSurfIreland who agreed to try her out and broke personal records in distance traveled (which complicated picture taking)! Four surfers tested the board, and gave us valuable improvement ideas.

Feedback

In total 7 instructors braved the board. The advice we received was pretty consistent:

  • The current board is too thick
    • In the future it should be thinner and consideration should be given to reducing weight
  • The curve is not ideal
    • The board should bow more at the top
  • We could have better leveraged the benefit of 3D printing
    • The current design mirrors current manufacturing aesthetics and could have been sexier
    • Surfers appreciate custom features (holds for cameras, grips, personalized lettering)
  • The absence of a durable fin made it hard to maneuver
    • I should have printed the fin flat so it couldn’t delaminate, and/or used honeycomb for more density
  • A three or multiple fin design would be ideal
    • Ours had only a single fin
  • Stickers made the board more slick, albeit cool!
  • Everyone seems optimistic that 3D printed has great potential in watersports, especially wakeboards and body boards
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Photo by Katy Jeremko

One Month Later

Currently the surfboard resides in our Austin office and we’ve begun uploading the files to our Sketchfab account. What began as an idea, transformed into a internship, that took us 7000mi and introduced us to new friends around the world. As we reflect on the people we met through Akshay, sheep printing, sticker collecting, and trial by water we are struck by the creativity & vision that the community shared. We hope this is the first of many use cases that will expand our perspective on what is possible through affordable, life – size 3D printing. We welcome your ideas on where we go from here!

Happy Printing,

Samantha

~Special Thanks to: our Intern Akshay, Coach Norman, Mike Battaglia, Jeric Bautista, the makers of Gorilla Glue, SUP ATX, WakeBoard Graphics Austin, Sail & Ski Austin, to the ENTIRE Web Summit/ Surf Summit Staff, all the StartUps that shared their stickers, The Outdoor Journal, The city of Sligo, IDA Ireland for the rad T shirts, isurfIreland, Surf World, and our staff who all had a hand in this crazy adventure!

~~We’re still catching up on post-summit sleep. It’s possible I missed a credit or left a typo. Feel free to submit additional pictures, corrections, comments, or questions to @samanthasnabes

My Great Big Gigabot Summer at re:3D

While applying for summer internships last spring, I did not imagine I would be as involved or as integrated into the company team as I was during my time at re:3D. This past summer, I got to explore and expand upon some of my own passions while taking on the role as the project lead for re:3D’s Great Big Gigabot Giveaway.

As I read the job description for film/social media intern position, I was excited that I would be able further explore my interest in creating videos. This is exactly what I did! This summer I worked with a video editing software called Adobe Premiere Pro CC for re:3D. Having prior experience with only Apple’s iMovie and Windows Movie Maker, I was eager to learn a more versatile software. My role as a summer intern soon evolved to specifically revolve around the second giveaway competition. re:3D was approaching the milestone of shipping out its 300th Gigabot, and the tradition of celebrating such a memorable moment is to give back to the community by giving away one of their industrial 3D printers to some with a vision to make a difference through 3D printing. You watch this year’s announcement video that I developed to announce the contest here.

I had the opportunity to work closely with Samantha and so many other amazing individuals through helping organize this competition. We recruited several amazing judges and in-kind sponsors, and I was astounded by the amount of support we got to help make this project possible. Even members of Tunapanda, the recipient of last year’s giveaway Gigabot, were happy to judge and sponsor this year’s competition. Check out all of this year’s judges and sponsors here if you haven’t already!

Pre-planning the competition with Jones Dilworth
Pre-planning the competition with JDI

Out of all the things I experienced during my summer at re:3D, my favorite was probably being one of the first to see the applicant submissions for the competition. Even though the applicants were very diverse in their backgrounds and ideas, I realized that they all had one key aspect in common: the passion to positively influence their communities. One thing I wish I could go back and change about the competition structure is the length of the submission period. We had several people with great ideas start their applications, but not as many people complete them. It was awesome to see all the people who put forth the effort to create a video to enter into the contest.  We also were honored to see the story posted on several industry blogs: 3Dprinting Industry, 3Dprint.com, and techfortrade.

The purpose of the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway was to give back to the community by supporting an idea to impact society, and well, the 3D printing community certainly has a far reach. The recipient of the 300th Gigabot is Tochukwu, the man who is behind 3D Nigeria. This project plans to inspire a new generation of makers in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. Tochukwu and his team of makers hope to unleash the creative potential of these individuals and create value for consumers.

A big congratulations again to the winner and the runners up, Ability Maker and The Creator Program. You can view the incredible ideas of the entrants in the winner announcement video here or below:

All-in-all, I learned a lot this summer at re:3D from being directly involved on a project I could call my own. More importantly, however, I can definitely say that the best take-away was meeting such extraordinary people and cultivating those relationships. Looking forward to working on another project with re:3D in the future!

~Sanchana Vasikaran: @v_sanchana

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!

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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.

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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 Musical Instruments: The Ukulele

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:

Have you ever wanted to 3D print your own ukulele? Well now uke can! For the second instrument of my 3D printing internship, I decided to design and print a ukulele. After all, who didn’t trawl the internet looking for the best acoustic guitars under 300, and then end up with a ukele anyway because it was cheaper? They have such a charming aesthetic, and it’s that student living nostalgia that I wanted to try and tap back into. It also dramatically simplifies the process of choosing an acoustic guitar for your child, you can just print one instead now. Although, we have to admit, perhaps it won’t have the same charm.

The history of the good ol’ uke goes way back. During the late 1800s they were first introduced as instruments in Hawaii, where its name literally meant “jumping flea.” Well-known songs like I’m Yours, by Jason Mraz, Riptide, by Vance Joy, and Imagine, by John Lennon have familiar ukulele riffs which have contributed to the popularization of the instrument, yet these bands use the ukulele in maybe one to two of their songs, and then proceed to abandon it.

I know what you’re thinking; why would I want to design such an uncommonly played instrument?

Although the ukulele is not a widely sought-after instrument like the electric guitar, and piano, I decided to design and print it because it combines the aspects of many popular, commercialized instruments. For example, the ukulele is compact, like the violin, but is not as susceptible to external factors that may may warp the acoustics. It retains the same resonance as the acoustic guitar like the Yamaha FGX800c, but within a smaller body. It has strings that can be tuned, just like a piano, but rather than 236 strings, each with their own unique thickness and reverberation, it has 4 which are tuned to C, E, G, and A . For these reasons, and many more, I figured that a ukulele would be relatively easy to design and print, while still containing key aspects of various other basic instruments.

During the process of actually printing the ukulele, I learned many things about designing the instrument itself. One of which being, SAVE YOUR SOLIDWORKS MODELS EVERY 5 MINUTES. There is nothing more traumatic than losing a solidworks file which you had just finished after 1 solid week of work.

ukesolidworks

However, the portion of this project in which my learning fared most, was the printing, and post-processing of the instrument. Failed prints were rather frequent in the first stages of printing. During our first attempt at printing the body, we decided to orient the body to stand at a 45 degree angle, in order to print it all in one piece. Little did I know that what would be printed would look something like a bird’s nest. Because of some issues with the fan near hot-end of the bot, the print shifted, and proceeded to print midair. Although printing the body in one piece was possible, we decided to go the easier route of printing it in two separate, flat pieces.

ukebody1

ukebody2

Fast-forwarding to when the ukulele was half-assembled, I stumbled upon some valuable learning experiences. In case you didn’t already know this, GORILLA GLUE SUPER GLUE STICKS VERY WELL. Always use gloves when handling super glue. (I may or may not have learned that the hard way.)

midwayuke1midwayuke2midwayuke3

The fretboard took several prints, but I had already expected this when I was designing the ukulele. In order to get the placement, and height of the frets just right, it would require some trial and error. This is why I made the neck and frets separate pieces in my model. The first fretboard I printed was way too thick, causing the strings to collide with the higher-up frets. This ended up producing not-so-pleasant vibrations. The fret placement was also a little bit off, causing all the notes to be disturbingly sharp.

The second fretboard was more successful, not only because the black filament made the ukulele look more sassy, but because the fretboard was skinnier, (eliminating the unpleasant vibrations) the frets were taller, (facilitating the playability) and the fret placement was shifted, but wasn’t shifted down quite far enough.

Which leads us to the third fretboard–perfection. That wrapped up project uke once and for all–or so I thought.

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fretboard2 (deleted 9b5bda760cdb26142c8f9938dbf3203c)

My crowning achievement was playing a funky ukuleke riff for the first time. Then I did something very, very, VERY stupid. I left the 100% completed ukulele in the car for no more than 45 minutes, and by the time I came back, the ukulele had completely warped. Because the body of the ukulele was so thin, it had actually folded in on itself, and left the bridge, shattered.

warpeduke1

This didn’t upset me though; I thought of it as a way to make improvements to ukulele 2.0, that I had missed in the original. For example, I could combine the frets and neck, to eliminate the number of parts I had to super-glue together. I also had the chance to make an awesome video for the re:3D What NOT to do 101 When 3D Printing You Tube Channel!

However, after exploring this option, I realized with support material the model is still best split with the fretboard separate so I re-printed it just in time for an interview with foundry.net!

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I’ve uploaded the pieces on the re:3D Sketchfab account. I can’t wait to see you print them yourself and share your experiences!

Over-all, printing this ukulele definitely gave me more insight into the musical world. Not only did it open up a new door of opportunity for gigabot, but it also taught me the process of trial and error, and that things rarely ever work out the first time. Another interesting thing I learned about the acoustics of the instrument, was that the PLA filament body actually had a stronger, and more vibrant resonance, as opposed to the wooden ukulele.

I hope to use this new knowledge to lead me into my next project–an electric guitar!

References:

You can find me on:

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

Enabling the Future: Gigabot & Open Source Prosthetics

Jon Schull of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is the leader of a global volunteer network called e-NABLE. Volunteers build prosthetic hands out of 3D printed parts for young children all over the world, or send the parts so kids and parents can take part in the building themselves. The network really does “enable” people by giving them a “helping hand”.

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From e-NABLE Prosthetists Meet Printers Event Album

e-NABLE has developed quite a few wrist-activated prosthetic designs, but recently, they have added a mechanically driven arm design to their collection—the RIT Arm, developed by RIT. E-NABLE’s design collection is always growing so it can accommodate a diversity of situations. However, the new arm-activated prosthetics have larger parts than wrist-activated prosthetics, and it so happens that the print beds of the desktop 3D printers that had been in use were too small for some of the parts.

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 e-NABLE Prosthetic Recipients

re:3D got wind of the news when several chapters of e-NABLE applied to the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway last summer. Not long after, re:3D’s Catalyst, Samantha Snabes, visited Frankie Flood at the University of Wisconsin and David Levin over the net, while re:3D’s Chief Hacker Matthew Fiedler visited the first e-NABLE conference, also the  first event re:3D ever sponsored. Before long, re:3D had donated a Gigabot kit to e-NABLE.

Jon Schull comments, “With their generous donation, Gigabot is helping create a world in which global communities can turn bigger ideas into bigger and more empowering realities. Sometimes bigger really is better!”

e-NABLE will be putting their Gigabot to good use right away:

“There will be a team of 4-5 students working on this design at the MAGIC ACT lab at RIT this fall and having access to this printer [Gigabot] will make their research and development, prototyping and print times much faster and more efficient.”

(From: http://enablingthefuture.org/2014/08/26/re3d-gifts-a-gigabot-to-e-nable-the-development-of-3d-printed-arm-designs/#more-1305 )

RITArm

RIT Arm

 

e-NABLE uses a variety of technology, such as exoskeletons and myo-electric engineering. However, mechanically driven prosthetics such as the RIT Arm prosthetic requires no electricity to operate. In situations where recipients have difficulty affording or maintaining devices with higher technological developments, or live in high-risk areas where expensive electronic parts are liable to be stolen, a mechanical arm would be invaluable.

In addition to the RIT Arm, e-NABLE‘s growing collection of prosthetic devices help address a wide array of specific needs. Other devices include:

  • The Raptor Hand
  • The Cyborg Beast
  • The Talon hand 2.X
  • The Odysseus Hand
  • The Second Degree Hand
  • The Owen Partial Finger Replacement
  • And more

 

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e-NABLE Prosthetic Recipients

 

For full descriptions visit: http://enablingthefuture.org/upper-limb-prosthetics/

Sources:

http://enablingthefuture.org/

http://enablingthefuture.org/2014/08/26/re3d-gifts-a-gigabot-to-e-nable-the-development-of-3d-printed-arm-designs/#more-1305

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“Erik in the Penalty Box” –during Gigabot assembly, Erik Freeman, a student working with Jon Schull at RIT

– Sunny : Intern.obj

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