Sep 15, 2014

Prototyping Pi Top DIY laptop with 3d printing

Pi Top is DIY laptop kit based on Raspberry Pi and aimed at education and students. The team used 3d printing to prototype the casing. Maybe they could release the files and open source the project for the people who want to build it completely on their own and not buy it in kit form.

Pi Top features (from the project page):
  • Free Hardware Innovation Lessons: Pi-Top is where it starts. We will be building new content for Pi-Top users.Learn to 3D print, design PCBs and create your own products from start to finish. 
  • No Compromising on Quality: Mobile designs often use Bluetooth keyboards, that took away from the user experience. Enjoy using Raspberry Pi with a fully integrated laptop keyboard and track-pad with extra ports.
  • Easy Component Access: A clear sliding panel allows access to the Raspberry Pi. Kickstarter DAY 1 editionPi-Tops will feature a lazer-etched panel design, as well as the standard clear panel.
  • Raspbian Operating System: Once built your Raspberry Pi is ready to go. Start learning to program on the latest Raspbian OS.
  • 6 - 8 Hour Battery Life & Wifi enabled: Battery time 6+ hours. Wifi enabled out of the box, Pi-Top is truly mobile. 
  • 13.3" Screen: No compromising on screen size. Enjoy using your Raspberry Pi with a 13.3" HD screen.

Pi Top homepage:

Reddit thread where they presented their 3d printed prototype:

They used the following setup:
  • Printer used: Rostock Max V2 kit - with E3D full metal hotend
  • Filament: PLA 1.75mm nozzle: 205 Bed temp: 55 Speed: 70mm/sec
  • Print time: 3 prints total (two pieces together and the two larger pieces seprately) roughly 160 hours of printing
  • Support settings: KISSlicer with medium support, at 45 Degrees with a horizontal gap (from object) of 1mm.
  • De-string Settings: Prime 5.5mm Suck: 5.4mm Wipe:5mm Z-lift: 1mm
  • Notes from the creators: "PLA really keeps its shape well. We had to use floating beams in the STLs to achieve a rigid enough support structure so the model wouldn't wobble after 10 inches tall and ruin the print. We found KISSlicer worked the best in terms of support structure."

Desert 3d printing in Morroco with WASP clay Delta

WASP from Italy is making some big Deltas that 3d print in clay mixtures. Here is a video of them in deserts of Morroco exploring some traditional earth construction buildings and clay mixtures. They make a traditional construction mix from local materials and use it in their machine to make some pottery or construction elements. In the future they will probably enlarge their Delta and 3d print entire homes.

I live in a house that is almost 100 years old and it's made from clay / earth sun dried bricks mixed with hay. Walls are almost one meter thick and it is very well insulated. I would like more application of old techniques in the future. Concrete boxes are just boring and sterile.

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate filament from Stratasys

Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate or ASA is a new FDM filament from Stratasys which is very strong and UV resistant. Could it replace ABS?

ASA is an all-purpose material used for the production of prototypes, manufacturing tools and finished products. Manufacturers in the automotive, electronics, commercial, sporting goods and construction industries will benefit from ASA’s strength and durability. Applications include jigs and fixtures, electrical boxes, recreational vehicles and outdoor tools
Compatible with the Fortus 360mc, 400mc and 900mc 3D Production Systems, ASA thermoplastic surpasses the capabilities of ABS, offering UV resistance so parts will be durable and resist fading even with long-term exposure to direct sunlight. Considered to have the best aesthetics of any FDM material available, ASA offers an exceptional surface finish - details such as printed text and other features are greatly improved by ASA’s matte finish.

I wonder will this new type of filament come to DIY machines...

Here is the tech specs PDF sheet:

And here is ASA vs. ABS PDF paper:

ASA homepage:

Sep 6, 2014

How to make 3d printable functional Pip-Boy 3000

Christopher Hoffman made this working Pip-Boy 3000 he will wear at DragonCon 2014. If you don't know what a PipBoy is, stop reading this post.

It uses 3d printed hand bracelet and embedded smartphone with external battery as an interactive display. I like it.
It is printed in 15 pieces and the print job takes some 25 hours. Well worth it.

It looks like the source model is developed by Yvo de Haas, the same guy who developed Plan B powder 3d printer.

Detailed instructions and files can be found at:

How to make 3d printable Daft Punk helmet

Adafruit people have published a new project. It's a functional, 3d printed in PLA, blinky-LED strips-robot helmet usually worn by some guys who call themselves Daft Punk.

Detailed instructions are on Adafruit learning system:

You can find it on Thingiverse:

On personal note: I hate Daft Punk and childish noises void of any emotion they make and call music ... but if you are a fan, more power to you!

Sep 5, 2014

How to make servo powered 3d printed valves for air or fluid flow control

Mikey77 known for several projects like the conductive printed electronic circuits posted his new work on 3d printable servo powered valves.  The PLA printed valve can be used to menage air or fluid flow for any purpose you need it, the electronics are easy to put together and are controlled by Arduino or Picaxe. Servos used in this project are Futaba S3110 micro-servos.

Here is the 3d printed valve controlling the 3d printed robot muscle with air pressure 

From project description:
The 3D printed valve is actually two valves that are controlled by one micro servo. When the cam (gray) is rotated to center, both valves are closed. From there, either one can be turned on, one at a time. The cam followers (black) push on the silicone tubing to compress it and create simple pinch valves.
The servo is quite efficient in that it is about the same volume of two 12 volt solenoid valves that handle the same pressure. It works efficiently at 20 PSI of air pressure and it has been tested at up to 30 PSI. It has also been motion tested and after more than 4300 on-off cycles it did not show significant signs of wear on the moving parts.
It is also considerably lighter than two solenoid valves and uses much less energy to operate. Once actuated, the valves can be left open or closed without using power.

Detailed construction guide, electronic schematics and files can be found at:

Sep 4, 2014

F3D DIY food 3d printer with integrated halogen oven

F3D is food RepRap derived DIY 3d printer. YES it will print and COOK your food. It uses halogen bulb as a sort of improvised oven. Food in a form of paste is extruded trough a syringe nozzle. The entire device costs in 1200 £ range.

From F3D homepage:
‘F3D’, pronounced ‘fed’, is a prototype RepRap derived automated kitchen. It was developed part-time over 6 months as a third year project by 4 Mechanical Engineering students (Hillel Baderman, Jacob Watfa, Francis Nwobu, and James Clarke) at Imperial College London. The project was supervised by Dr. Connor Myant.
‘F3D’ can print and cook a multi-ingredient meal using food pastes in pre-filled syringes autonomously. The user is required only to insert the syringes into the machine and ‘press print’.

You can get all the details about the F3D in very extensive PDF report:

F3D homepage:

How to 3d scan your prescription eyeglasses lens and design a 3d printable frame

Aaron Porterfield created two tutorials which I as a eyeglasses wearer appreciate. He (and I) often brakes his glasses so here is a solution if you can use some CAD software and have some equipment.

Here is detailed tutorial on how to 3d scan prescription eyeglasses lens by taking photos of a lens covered by masking tape:

When you have a scanned lens (or lenses) you can design your custom 3d printable frame:

There are a few simple(ish) steps involved, but nothing an average user can't master ...

And here is the final result:

You can print the frame on your home FDM machine but the results will be more rougher. For best quality use a SLS or PolyJet 3d printer.

Great work Aaron!

Sep 3, 2014

The Origin 3d printer by Zeni Kinetic

The Origin is a new machine on the scene developed by Zeni Kinetic.

Technical specifications:

Origin Prime features:
  • 300mm x 300mm x 300mm (12 x 12 x 12 inches) build area 
  • Single extruder with your choice of .35mm or .5mm nozzle with fan. 
  • Uses 1.75mm filament. Prints with: PLA and any filament up to 230C that does not require a heated bed. 
  • Print cooling fan 
  • Resolution down to 75 micron layer height. 
  • Max layer height = .8 x your nozzle size. ie .5mm nozzle can do up to .4mm layers for faster prints.
  • Print speeds up to 150mm / sec. 
  • Easy bed leveling 
  • Internal plate aluminum frame. 
  • Fully enclosed mechanics.
  • Easy access to internal components 
  • Fully upgradeable. 
  • Advanced options can be added at any time. 
  • Fully assembled and tested. 
  • USB connection for PC control
Origin Plus features:
  • Includes all features of Prime package, with the additions of:
  • Dual extruders with your choice of .35mm or .5mm nozzles
  • Heated bed: Up to 120 C.
  • Removable build plate constructed from high quality tempered glass for easy and safe print removal. Borosilicate glass build plates will be available early next year on our website and possibly as a stretch goal for the kickstarter, lets see how many of you want them first.
  • Dual filament bays for use with: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PVA and most other filament materials, up to 250C.
Origin Ultimate features:
  • Includes all features of Prime and Plus packages, with the additions of:
  • Upgraded controller: NXP LPC 1768/9 32-bit Cortex-M3 MCU LCD controller for standalone operation. 
  • SD Card slot.
  • Network connection port allows you to check status and control the printer from any smart phone, tablet or web-enabled computer authorized on your network.
  • Print speeds up to 200 mm / sec. 
  • Easy bed leveling with auto software calibration sensor.

Zeni Kinetic homepage:

It is on Kickstarter now where you can get it for 650 USD as "early bird" special:

Key features as advertised on Kickstarter campaign:
  • The Zeni Kinetic Origin comes in 6 attractive color variations: Dark Grey, Light Grey, Blue, Red, Aqua, and Raspberry. We will be sending out a survey at the end of our Kickstarter funding period with the option to choose which color you would like best on your Origin printer. 
  • Our printer arrives fully assembled and ready to print, but it has been designed with accessibility and upgrade-ability in mind. With our dedication to Open Source development, the ability to tinker and modify is built in to the printer itself.
  • We manufacture both the filament and printer, so you know exactly where all parts of your project are coming from. This gives us the added ability to price the printers at a much more affordable rate.
  • No, you are not required to purchase filament from us. We have designed every aspect of the Origin to allow you the greatest flexibility possible, and that includes printing mediums. 
  • We want you to feel freedom in every aspect of 3-D printing. Our machines are sturdy yet elegant, leaving both the top, front, and back open for adjustability and easy access to prints.
  • The Origin's size makes it large enough to print substantial pieces, without sacrificing affordability. 
  • We also offer the distinctive option of multiple extruder heads (we know you are excited about the creative implications of that)! We have retained the Open Source mounting and mating of hot ends, allowing you to use any hot end that conforms to standard designs
  • We use 3/16ths plate aluminum for the ribs, sturdy 10mm linear ball bearings, and huge 5/16ths z axis screws. It may look pretty but there is nothing timid about this machine.
  • Experimentation is key with the Origin! You are not limited by an enclosed box, and we have included slotted extrusion at both the top and bottom of the printer to allow you to add any experimental devices or attachments you can imagine.
  • There is plenty of room to experiment with custom controllers, additional electronics or mechanical.
  • Your printer will function for years without major maintenance or changes but we fully expect (and want) some of our customers to modify their printers, and offer kits, or designs and models to help other do the same. Exploration is a trait we value at Zeni Kinetic, and we want our customers to benefit from that same spirit.
  • The Origin is one of the only printers on the market that begs you to make it into something else. The future of 3-D printing is not limited to plastic, so why should the Origin be? Our printer as been created with an unlimited future in mind: for the foodie—candy, pizza, and waffle printing is on the horizon; metal and ceramic options will be available for the builders and sculptors of society. The ability to print directly from pellets or ground plastic is currently being explored by one group and the number will surely grow. We want even the bio-printing sphere of the medical field to have options with the Origin. These advancements may be a few years down the road but we do not believe that 3-D printing is just a passing fad, and the Origin is a fantastic base to begin from.

I wish Zeni crew all the best with their endeavor!

Yes yes, every day a new 3d printer emerges. How to make any difference among them ... but I think that competition and consumer choice are great things ...