Jun 12, 2016

New Cura 2.1.2 is out!

New Cura software in version 2.1.2.is released. As all releases it has some interesting new features:

Select Multiple Objects
You now have the freedom to select and manipulate multiple objects at the same time.

You can now group objects together to make it easier to manipulate multiple objects.

You can now undo and redo your actions, like moving an object or scaling.

Setting Profiles
The new GUI allows custom profiles to load easily and intuitively, directly from Cura.

3MF File Loading Support
We’re happy to report we now support loading 3MF files. This is a new file format similar to AMF, but freely available.

Intuitive Cut-Off Object Bottom
Added a feature that allows you to move objects below the build plate. You can either correct a model with a rough bottom, or print only a part of an object. Please note that the implementation greatly differs from the old one where it was a setting.

64-bit Windows Builds
An optimized 64-bit Windows Cura version is now available. This allows loading larger model files.

Automatic calculations
Cura allows to set a number of lines/layers instead of millimeters. The engine automatically calculates the right settings.

Per-Object Settings
Per-object settings allow you to override individual profile settings per object.

Line width settings added per feature
Global, Walls, Top/Bottom, Infill, Skirt, Support.

Pattern settings improved per feature
Top/Bottom, Infill, Support.


  • Alternate Skin Rotation: helps to combat the pillowing problem on top layers.
  • Alternate Extra Wall: for better infill adhesion.
  • Horizontal Expansion: allows to compensate model x,y-size to get a 1:1 result.


  • (Combing) Avoid Printed Parts: when moving to the next part to print, avoid collisions between the nozzle and other parts which are already printed.


  • Stair step height: Sets the balance between sturdy and hard to remove support. By setting steps of the stair-like bottom of the support resting on the model.
  • ZigZag: a new, infill type that’s easily breakable, introduced specially for support.
  • Support Roofs: a new sub-feature to reduce scars the support leaves on overhangs.
  • Support Towers: specialized support for tiny overhang areas.

Special Modes

  • Surface Mode: this mode will print the surface of the mesh instead of the enclosed volume. This used to be called ‘Only follow mesh surface’. In addition to the ‘surface mode’ and ‘normal’, a ‘both’ mode has now been added. This ensures all closed volumes are printed as normal and all loose geometry as single walls.


  • Conical Support: a filament cost-reduction feature for support.
  • Draft Shield: prints a protective wall at a set distance around the object that prevents air from hitting the print, reducing warping.
  • Fuzzy Skin: prints the outer walls with a jittering motion to give your object a diffuse finish.
  • Wire Printing: the object is printed with a mid-air / net-like structure, following the mesh surface. The build plate will move up and down during diagonal segments. Though not visible in layer view, you can view the result in other software, such as Repetier Host or http://chilipeppr.com/tinyg.

Mac OSX 10.7 or Higher
Windows Vista or Higher
Ubuntu 14.04 or Higher - Only 64-bit versions
Cura requires a video card that supports OpenGL 2 or higher.

By Ultimaker: Ultimaker Original (no dual extrusion support), Ultimaker Original+, Ultimaker 2 Family, Ultimaker 2+ Family.
By 3rd parties: BQ Prusa i3, BQ Witbox, 3D Maker Starter, RigidBot, Malyan M180, German RepRap Neo.
There is no dual extrusion support in Cura 2.1.2 yet. Users with an Ultimaker Original who installed the dual extrusion upgrade kit, can use Cura 15.04.



  • Top/Bottom Thickness: can now be changed separately!
  • Extra Skin Wall Count: add extra walls to the top and bottom layers to improve roofs that start on infill material.
  • Remove Overlapping Inner Wall Parts: remove narrow pieces that cause over extrusion on prints.
  • Compensate Wall Overlaps: compensate narrow pieces causing over extrusion on prints.
  • Fill Gaps Between Walls: fills the tiny gaps on narrow prints pieces.
  • Z Seam Alignment: allows you to choose the z-seam location.
  • Ignore Small Z gaps: if unchecked, fixes small Z gaps.
  • Infill Wipe Distance: allows you to increase infill overlap without over extrusion on the shell.
  • Infill Layer Thickness: choose a separate layer thickness for the infill to save time on prints.
  • Material
  • Retraction Extra Prima Amount: allows you to compensate for oozed material after a travel move.
  • Speed
  • Number of Slower Layers: sets the first layer(s) speeds to increase build plate adhesion.


  • Coasting: prevents oozing by replacing the end of print paths with a short travel move.


  • Regular/Maximum Fan Speed Threshold: Allows you to set the time a layer must take to linearly go from Regular fan speed to Maximum fan speed.


  • Stair Step Height: allows the support to lie tightly on top of objects, increasing support stability.
  • Join Distance: allows supports to become one, increasing support stability.
  • Horizontal Expansion: adds extra support to the x,y-directions, increasing support stability.
  • Area Smoothing: smooths the outside contour of support structures to minimize resonation of the print head.

News release:




May 15, 2016

3D Printed DIY Battery Packs from Old Laptop Batteries

I found two old discarded batteries from HP and Lenovo laptops I owned which did not hold the charge and I was wandering what to do with them. I googled and found that they may actually hold 18650 battery cells that are still in working order. If the internal battery management system detects that even one of usually six cells is not in line with working parameters it will probably shut down the entire battery.

"Dead" laptop batteries. Used force and screwdriver to open them. Watch your fingers, you will need them trough entire life. You can see the 18650 LiPo modules in blue and green.

I discovered that there a hundreds of projects using the same refurbished module ranging from simple cell phone power packs to large solar system batteries.

Here is a tutorial on how to make a replacement hand drill battery pack with 3d printer and 18650 modules from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1042761:

Here is a tutorial on how to create a larger battery pack with 3d printed frame modules for storage of solar power that can be used in small electric vehicles:

Thingiverse page:


There is large number of 3d printed projects with 18650 battery modules:


Also take a look at: http://www.instructables.com/howto/18650/

Do keep in mind that you will have to test each module and that there will be some that are just dead and can not be used.

Since you can make battery of any size, you can literally make a Tesla powerwall equivalent for a fraction of the originals 3500+ USD price. This guy made a DIY Tesla powerwall for some 300 USD:

Think about it: a battery for your entire house for just 300 USD made from junk old laptop batteries. You will probably have many many questions so I strongly recommend checking the entire content on Jehu Garcia YT channel. This guy is a battery guru!

Soon I'm going to visit our regional electronic waste processing company in town of Slavonski Brod to see if they can give me more old laptop batteries to salvage the 18650 modules.

Do you have any experiences with 18650 batteries or any projects you made? Let me know in the comments!

Precious Plastic DIY Plastic Recycling Machinery

Dave Hakkens developed a great set of open sourced DIY machines for recycling plastic. There are several machines including a 3d printing filament extruder. Every device is well documented with manuals, open sourced and uses simple and easy to find components. There is a shredder, extruder, injection molding machine and compression forming chamber.

here is the promotional video:

You can learn something about many types of plastics, which are everywhere! Like difference between thermoplastics and thermoset plastics:

3D printing filament extruder demo:

Here is a video explaining how you build it:

Here are some things you can make with recycled plastic, ranging from lamp shades to building blocs:

Project homepage where you can learn how to build each machine and about the plastics as a material:


You can find all the documentation on:


Now, recycling plastics is great idea and useful skill to have, but will it decrease the usage of plastics in general? I do not have the data, but i have strong doubts that it will not. There is a something called Jevons paradox that notes that the more efficiently we use a resource, the rate of a consumption of that resource will increase.  Think about it ....

BTW: Dave is a very cool guy, do check his youtube channel: https://youtube.com/user/hakopdetak

Here is his pro-tip video on how to get organized as a DIY / Hacker / Maker guy with industrial plastic crates:

May 14, 2016

Prusa I3 Mk2 released!!!

Prusa I3 Mk2 was just released and it looks great! Many new improvements in a proven design!

Here is a presentation by Josef Prusa:

New key features in Mk2:
  • 31% bigger build volume - 10500 cm3 (25 x 21 x 20 cm)
  • Open frame design for easy use
  • Integrated LCD and SD card controller (8GB included)
  • Up to 40% faster printing thanks to the geniune E3D V6 Full hotend
  • 0,4mm nozzle (easily changeable) for 1,75 mm filament
  • Layer height from 50 microns
  • Automatic mesh bed levelling
  • Heated print bed for warpless 3D printing from any material
  • Hassle free PEI print surface - no glass, no glue, no ABS juice
  • Supported materials – PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, Flex PP, Ninjaflex, Laywood, Laybrick, Nylon, Bamboofill, Bronzefill, ASA, T-Glase, Carbon-fibers enhanced filaments, Polycarbonates...
  • Easy multicolor printing
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) PLA filament included
  • Average power consumption 50 W (printing PLA) or 90 W (printing ABS), exterior dimensions 42 x 42 x 38 cm (16.5 x 16.5 x 15 inches), weight 6,5 kg (14 lbs), CE certification
  • Specially optimized firmware for quiet printing
  • Slicer support includes Windows 10
I like it! Probably my next purchase! 

Prusa I3 Mk2 homepage news release with more information:

You can pre-order it here:

May 13, 2016

DICE: small, fast and strong!

Rene Jurack developed the DICE, a small surprise among all the simillar designs of new machines. It is compact, very rigid and very fast featuring many interesting solutions.

Check out the technical specifications, you will be intrigued:

  • casing: 20x20x20cm small 
  • build volume: X90 Y75 Z 80 
  • movable distance: X98 Y75 Z80, so the print head can move beside the print bed, e.g. for anti-ooze-scripts at print start core XY-system 
  • linear movement with high quality linear rails (HIWIN MGN9R) in X, Y, Z full metal hotend E3D-V6 1,75mm in bowdensetup 
  • PEI-coated perma-printbed made out of precision-milled warmcasted aluminium ( EN AW 5083 ) and recessed silicone heater  direct-drive-extruder (MK8) 
  • massive enclosure milled out of 4mm thick akuminium, all bores in DXF included
  • XY-plain is laser cut out of 2mm thick stainless steel sheet, all bores in DXF included 
  • enclosure-sheets are conceived as load-bearing and stiffing parts, but can be dismantled all together without the printer falling apart. 
  • all parts are designed in a way to make adjustings easy and the components inside accessible. 
  • all parts are designed to use only one needed manufacturing technique (lasercutting) and are repeating and symmetrically
  • AZSMZ-mini 32bit-controllerboard with smoothieware firmware 
  • 4x most silent TMC2100 stepperdrivers, passive cooled 
  • despite the small footprint, use of full-fledged NEMA17 steppermotors for sufficient output reserve 
  • heated bed (230V / 60W), with recessed silicone heater 
  • motor supply voltage: 19V 
  • total power input: 230V / 0,65A at max
  • more silent than 40dB in realistical and normal operation (unadorned measures!) 
  • up to 833mm/s travelspeed 
  • up to 12.000mm/s² acceleration 
  • not until 10.000mm/s² acceleration and 100mm/s, ghosting becomes barely visible 
  • junction deviation up to 0,5mm tested 
  • the complete X-carriage (real print-setup) weighs only 160g 
  • the complete X- and Y-carriages with all mounted parts (real print-setup) weighs only 290g 
  • Hotend mounted with 2 screws, fast interchangeable 
  • bowdenlength is only 35cm (complete from MK8 to the thermal barrier in the hotend)

Here are some basic videos showing the DICE working:

Instructables page with extremely detailed build log including step-by-step videos for each segment (German language with english subtitles):

Project homepage:

Price is unknown but detailed BOM exists. 

Epoxy and fiberglass filling for very strong 3D printed parts

"hobbyman" from Turkey made an Instructables guide on how to make a very strong 3d printed part by filling it with epoxy and cut fiberglass. The parts should hold bicycle bags attached firmly to the handlebar.

Here is a short two videos of the process:

And here are photos of part being saturated with fiberglass pieces:

... and here it is finished and very strong final part:

Detailed guide:


May 12, 2016

Ikea Footstool Hacked into a 3D Printer

StefanoG from Genova, Italy, used an Ikea footstool and some Prusa i3 Rework parts an made a 3d printer.

You start with this (BTW: I HATE Ikea furniture)

And you get a 3D printer with wooden frame

Here is a detailed build guide with all the files needed:


Creators homepage:



It is not a first 3d printer made from parts made of Ikea furniture, the first I saw was this Delta:


Using DIY 3D Printer for DIY Orthodontics

Amos Dudley was low on money and he had some crooked teeth. He decided to make his own DIY orthodontic alignment trays with a help of 3d scanner, 3d printer and vacuum forming table and was successful in correcting his teeth.

Here is the process he followed from his project description:

  • The dentist assesses your teeth for suitability for the procedure. Old-school bracket braces can move your teeth in basically any direction or rotation, but plastic aligners can only exert tipping / rotational forces on the teeth. When you put pressure on the crown of a tooth, the crown moves in that direction, and the root moves in the opposite direction (this is known as Begg’s tipping principle). Without being bonded to the tooth, plastic aligners also can’t do extrusion (pulling the tooth down and away from the maxillary arch).
  • The teeth are 3D scanned. This used to be done by taking an impression, making a mold/casting, and then sending the cast to be accurately scanned. Now, there’s in-office tools like iTero that scan the teeth from within the mouth.
  • The 3D model (usually an STL file) is taken into some proprietary orthodontic software, where the teeth are separated into separate objects. A technician plans out a route for the teeth to travel over the course of the procedure, so that they move but dont intersect one another.
  • A series of models is created from the planned route, each representing a step in the motion.
  • These models are 3D printed with high accuracy.
  • Thermoplastic aligner material is vacuum formed over the 3D printed models.
  • The plastic is manually trimmed away and the edges are smoothed, to create a non-irritating aligner.

For 3d printed part he used his own extensive modification of MendelMax 2 the "Minimal Mendel", but he writes that SLA machine would do a much better job.

You can see his work process in detail at:


DIY dentistry is not easy so you better think twice before trying it yourself.

Open Surgery 3D Printed Robot

Frank Kolkman developed a DIY surgical robot made with some off-the shelf electronics and 3d printed parts. It is a home-made version of a 2 million dollar laparoscopic surgery machine made for some 5000 USD.
Naturally, you can not perform real surgeries with it (yet) and it is controlled via PS3 controller, but it is a demonstration of what can be made with simple technology for a low price.

Robot moving:

Here is a Dezeen interview:

Project homepage:


Frank's homepage: