Aug 30, 2014

Cool 3d printed customizable DIY jewelry with detailed build guides

If you want to 3d print something for a special somebody and surprise them with gift you made YOURSELF and it is an unique piece .. well ... let me tell you, there will be some rewards ...

Here are two nice projects with very detailed build instructions:

Earrings shaped as audio track you choose:

You can use any word or tone and make different pieces. Very cool.

Build guide can be found here:

Customizable pendant:

Here is a nice tubular pendant you can fill with different materials and use it in a necklace.

Build guide can be found here:

Big DIY Delta clay 3d printer made by Olivier Van Herpt

There are many big Deltas printing in clay. It looks like a natural fit to create ceramic and pottery with Delta type machines since they are round and tall. Here is a new project by Olivier Van Herpt. Main feature of this  custom design is that Oliviers DIY extuder uses hard clay and not clay-water mixture. This approach enables bigger objects with higher details and sizes up to 80 cm x 42 cm.

Source and more info:

Printednest 3d printed nests for city birds

Printednest wants to give birds 3d printed nests inside cities. They want to have our feathered little friends inhabit cities once again. Ok they will crap on you from above, but nature is GOOD ... right!?
Their designs look very cool! And the designs are already in 4th generation ...

Project homepage:

They are building a community and want more people to join them. You can build your nest and pin it on a map, even live feed from it ... Currently they have 40 nests in 27 cities in 7 countries.

Free webinars on 3d printing jigs, fixtures and hollow composites layups

Another great video from GoEngineer on all kinds of jigs and fixtures used in various manufacturing processes and made with 3d printers. Very educational!

Here is the previous tutorial on injection molding:

Update (14.5.2015.):

Here is a new free webinar on FDM 3d printing with soluble material to create low cost, quick, one-time use patterns for hollow core composite layups.

Update (5.7.2015.):

Here is another great webinar on benefits of 3d printed fixtures by Aaron Latzke

Aug 28, 2014

Mcor paper 3D printed hammer taken by airport security

Mcor is well known for their unique paper based 3d printing technology. On of their sales staff was stopped by airport security and 3d printed paper hammer was taken as a potential "danger".

Here is what is reported on Mcors blog by that sales manager:
“Last night at the airport, security removed the hammer from my case. When I said it was made of paper he could not believe it, although he did comment that only the weight told him it was not real. He sent for his supervisor – same reaction. They then started to show everyone around and began to talk about making customized tools, parts for cars, phones, was this printer that produced the hammer model really made in Ireland, and many other comments.
In the end the hammer still had to be handed in as I could not take it in my hand luggage because, ‘it looked too real; it could be used to threaten people.’
Sorry I have lost the part. I’ll need another, but if it you could send by DHL it might be safer!”
Mcor’s first family, the MacCormacks, have had several similar experiences with Mcor 3D printed models at airports, but fortunately they had checked luggage and the option to go back and place the models in the checked luggage since airport security did not permit them to bring the models on the plane in their hand luggage.

Mcor used this "incident" and used is as a promotional piece to show how realistic their prints are. Which is completely legit. This story also peaks volumes about safety craziness of our current society ... sheesh, it's colored PAPER!!!


Now, how realistic is Mcors hammer? Take a look at video here:

Testing flammability of 3d printing materials

Here is a small improvised and non.scientific "test" of fire resistance (or flammability however you want to look at it) of various Shapeways 3d printing materials. The results are not surprising, basically gypsum burns worst. Don't try this at home folks. Plastics is flammable.

Tested materials were: Alumide (metallic plastic) UV Cured Acrylic Resin (Frosted Ultra Detail & Detail Plastic), Gypsum Full Color (full color sandstone) and Nylon (white, strong & flexible).

Aug 27, 2014

How to use Filabot extruder to recycle your 3d prints and make new filament

Good people of Adafruit have made a tutorial on how to use Filabot filament extruder to recycle your 3d printed waste stuff. It looks like it is bast suited for organizations who gather a lot of recyclable models. It could save you some money.

They use electric garden chipper to grind the 3d printed waste into a mulch. The entire process could also be applied on any other DIY filament extruder like Filament Factory.

Everything is described in detail at:

Pre-sorting by color and material is key to maintain filament quality and color

Building easy rubber molds for making resin copies of your 3d printed things

Tasted has an excellent video tutorial on how to make simple rubber molds in order to make resin copies of your 3d printed models. The technique described uses simple tools and materials like foam boards for frames and can be very useful in your daily work.

Thnx Tested!

Scalpels ... I like them ...

Aug 26, 2014

Sintratec desktop laser sintering 3d printer coming soon at affordable price (Update: they presented a good machine and had great Indiegogo!)

Let the desktop laser sintering revolution begin!

Sintratec is company from Switzerland that wants to develop first  desktop selective laser sintering DIY 3d printer. They aim to launch a crowdfunding campaign in October to raise money to ship at least 60 kit printers with price under 3999 euro ($5,277).

The main feature is that they will replace CO2 laser used in current SLS machines with diode laser which is cheaper and visible by human eye which gives more safety.

These videos show that they are already successful with prototype 3d printers and that the printed objects are strong:

Company homepage:

Sintratec desktop SLS 3d printer prototype, the "Bobby" with 130mm cubed print volume

Example of object printed on Sintratec machine

Update (29.1.2015.):

Sintratec presented a finished machine and had a successful Indiegogo campaign where they raised  $213,337 out of their $175,000 target.
Looks like we will have laser sintering on our desktops soon. Maybe they will be standard machine type.

Here is the presentation video:

Technical specifications from the Indiegogo:
  • Compact Size: 550x530x360mm. Fits on your desk.
  • Build Volume: 130x130x130mm. Laser sintering allows you to stack objects or place them diagonally in the build volume resulting in a maximum build dimension of 225mm and thus, making the build volume quite large.
  • Diode Laser: 2300mW, blue laser. The laser is compact and comes with high quality optics. The laser light is visible, making optical adjusting safer. Laser safety glasses are included in the kit.
  • Main Print Material: Nylon PA12 Powder. Very strong and high resolution parts. Flexible if printed thin. Dark in color to better absorb the laser.
  • Heated Laser Sintering: Both with a heating coil and optical heaters. A heated build chamber opens a whole new world of 3D printing: Objects don’t have to be fixed down on a build plate as it is the case with cold laser sintering, stereolithography or filament 3D printing.
  • Priced from USD 3999 to USD 4999 on Indiegogo 

Final design looks much better then the prototype

Sintratec Indiegog page:

Oddbot is 3d printable DIY robot with Mecanum wheels

Oddbot is 3d printable open source DIY robot with omnidirectional Mecanum wheels which you can make yourself with your 3d printer. It is aimed at robotics education and small projects. It doesn't look optimized for FDM printers but it is probably possible to do it.

Mecanum wheel

Detailed construction instructions with all the files and software can be found at:

The project is developed by Olaf Diegel whois  well known for his 3d printed electric guitars and 3d printed saxophone.

Free webinar on 3d printing and injection molding

Here is another great free video webinar by Tyler Reid of GoEngineer. It is a half hour long presentation of relations of 3d printing and injection molding mostly for industrial application. Very interesting and useful even if it focuses on Stratasys polyjet technologies.

For previous webinar and more similar content go here


Here is a new webinar on 3d printed jigs and fixtures:


Here is the new version of the webinar with more new information:

Here is a new installment of the webinar about various types and applications of 3d printing and molding:

DIY extruder for HDPE aquaponic plant growing strips

Extruders can be used for more than just filament extrusion. Here is a project from Web4Deb that makes growing media HDPE strips for plants in aquaponic or hydroponic systems from raw pellets. Auger based extruder is powered by windshield wiper motor and geared with bicycle gears. You could alos use it for HDPE recycling. Food from plastics ...

Extruder specs:
  • The barrel is heated with a length of Nichrome wire and and insulated with what appears to be polyimide tape.
  • The auger is a standard 3/4" wood auger bit (bought a set from Harbor Freight) and cut it down to length.
  • The auger is driven by a wind shield wiper motor which is geared down with a bicycle chain and sprocket.
  • The heating element draws around 16A at 12V (192W) from a computer power supply.
  • The temperature for the extruder barrel is controlled with a Teensy AVR micro-controller.
  • The die appears to be interchangeable.
  • The extruded HDPE is forced through a set of fan cooled rollers.
  • Two individual temperature sensors are located on the extrusion barrel.
  • The Teensy AVR micro-controller appears to be used to switch one or more relays through a transistor array.

RepRap wiki page:

Plant growing on extruded HDPE strips. It is the miracle of science :-)  

Web4Debs extruder

3d printing can be used in wide variety of aquaponic and hydroponic systems:

Happy growing!

LINK furniture system with 3d printed connectors

LINK is a DIY furniture system developed by Tamás Boldizsár from Hungary. It is made from three wood (plywood) parts and various 3d printed connectors which can give many different combinations of furniture pieces. I wish that design software was open sourced or at least available to public since I couldn't locate the app. Nice idea!

Source and more information:

Formlabs releases PreForm 1.6

Here is new version of PreForm software from FormLabs. Here are the main new features:
  • Move pre-print workflow to status area and add links to print preparation support articles
  • Arrow keys rotate camera, and move/scale/translate models when appropriate tool is active
  • Faster print times for delicate models
  • Improved surface finish
  • Speed improvement opening files
  • Up to 50% faster auto orientation
  • In Support Edit Mode models are now colored blue
  • Show option to merge form files when dropped on icon in OS X
  • Default to the Form 1+ time estimate if no printer has been plugged in
  • Properly render quick release tabs after support edits
  • Fix issue where PreForm would crash on some Windows computers
  • Fix issue where model could disappear after editing supports

3d printed save icon ... or is it?

Source: unknown

Aug 22, 2014

RepRap Universal Plastic Pellet Extruder project

Here is a new extruder developed by Richard Horne that can print directly from pellets. It is much cheaper to print from pellets then to buy filament. One could also grind disposed or failed prints and recycle them directly.

There are several well developed projects for DIY filament extruders but their main purpose is to produce filament and not directly print from it.
There are also new machines like Sculptify David that print from pellets but nothing open sourced and adapted for variety of small home 3d printers.

This is project under development and Richard is asking for feeedback, so go and drop a comment on his video:

Excellent development! Kudos Richard!


Richard released his extruder and details about it can be found on his blog:

Here is detailed video presentation of the pellet extruder by Richard:

All the files to make the extruder can be found at:

Tutorial on how to create molds for concrete objects with 3d printing

I'v been following HomeMadeModern for some time since they have some great DIY furniture projects with wood and concrete elements. Their design is very modern, minimalistic and easy to build.

In this project a better dish for dog food is built. It is curved and angled on one side so the dog can get all the food.
They use 3d printed full size prototype to create a mold and then poor the concrete mixture in.
The results look very good. You could use this technique to create any object in concrete, only limitiation would be the size of your printer.

If I catch some time in the future I'll try to build speaker housing made from concrete similar to P.A.C.O. open source project.

Great project! I like the idea of concrete furniture pieces, I don't have any experience with them, but even the concept seams better then those horrible IKEA pieces. And you can make them as unique as your own creativity.

Simple 3d printed pen and holder that uses ink inserts

Simple 3d printed pen with holder that uses some sort of standard ink inserts. Still it is an interesting design. It was made by Cain Adamson.

It is made on simple home 3d printer, but with more professional printer you can get fully functional mechanical pencil.

New 3d printed speaker project with encapsulated frame

Andres Lorvi 3d printed this fully functioning encapsulated speaker: It looks something he developed since I couldn't find any additional info.

Here is a link to all the files:

There are several other projects like this. Take a look by going through the posts:

Aug 21, 2014

Plan B open source 3DP powder based 3d printer with detailed construction guide

Let the powder revolution begin!!!

Plan B is an open source 3DP printer and it prints with gypsum powder and a special binder. It is developed by Yvo de Haas (22 years old). 3DP printing requires no support material and prints at higher resolution than FDM printing. Printing in powder has the potential to be cheaper than most techniques, though more research into materials is needed and current objects printed on Plan B have a rougher surface. Models can be further strengthen with glue

Powder 3DP printing has some advantages and disadvantages when compared to FDM process:

Advantages over FDM printing:
  • Higher accuracy due to finer and more controllable nozzles. Even old and dated cartridges have a higher resolution (>96DPI, 0.26mm) than most FDM printers;
  • No support material is needed. All parts are always supported by the powder from the previous layers;
  • Excess material can be reused;
  • 3DP has the potential to be faster than FDM. 3DP prints with more nozzles with simpler movements than FDM. Plan B isn’t yet though;
  • 3DP offers a few unique materials and options for 3D printing.
  • It has the possibility print full color in gypsum and powdered sugar;
  • It can print in ceramic powder that makes models that can be fired in a kiln;
  • By binding in stainless steel powder a model can be created that can be infused with bronze in a kiln;
  • It should also be possible to bind graphite powder into a model that can be infused with epoxy, making graphite (carbon) parts;
  • 3DP can print in almost any material that can be supplied as a powder.

  • Due to the powder, 3DP printing is messy;
  • Parts require post processing. Before processing, the parts are weak and brittle;
  • Powder printers need to be filled completely to work;
  • 3DP can only print in one material at a time;
  • Hollow parts need escape holes to evacuate excess powder;
  • Thin walls and rods are weak and might break during cleaning.

Plan B technical specifications:
  • Build box dimensions: 150mm x 150mm x 100mm (l x w x h)
  • Layer thickness: 0.1mm to 0.25mm
  • Inkjet resolution: 96DPI (HP C6602)
  • Build material: Currently only Zcorp Gypsum and binder without color (this list will expand)
  • Step accuracy (X/Y): 0.05mm
  • Speed: 60mm/s (higher with future firmware)
  • Printing speed: Up to 30mm per hour (higher with future firmware)
  • Power consumption: Up to 160W (around 90W average)
  • Printer dimensions: 550mm x 350mm x 450mm (l x w x h)
  • Printer weight: 16kg
  • Frame material: Aluminum and 3D printed plastic
  • Linear guides: LM8UU on 8mm steel rods
  • Number of motors: 6 x NEMA 17 stepper motors
  • Other features: LCD screen, Keypad with rotary encoder, SD card reader
  • Price of materials 1000 - 1300 euro

Plan B currently prints only in Zcorp gypsum powder with no colors. Here are possible future materials that could be used in it:
  • 3DP printing gypsum, a fancy mix of gypsum and different powders bound with a binder that contains mostly water and some unknown chemicals
  • Ceramic powders with Maltodextrine added, bound with rice wine or vodka [source];
  • USG hydroperm or other high quality dental plasters, bound with rice wine [source];
  • Sugar and some form of binder.
I'm still not fully clear on what is the binder used in this project, it looks like some mixture of water, glue (which one?) and alcohol (what type)?

Plan B hompage:

Detailed instructions on how to build Plan B and operate its software:

Plan B powder DIY 3d printer

Plan B is improved machine when compared to Focus powder 3d printer made by the same creator or its previous iteration the "3DP Printer". Improvements over Focus are:
  • Dual feed hopper design and driven spreader increase the speed of the new layer process significantly;
  • The motors are removed from the moving parts, giving the gantry a higher speed and accuracy;
  • The aluminum frame is stiffer, thinner and makes the frame heatable (all fragile parts are thermally insulated from the frame);
  • Better piston guidance gives the Z-axis more accuracy and reliability;
  • The frame can be manufactured on a laser cutter or a flowjet

Plan B is work in progress, probable future improvements on it will be:
  • Different cartridges. The HP C6602 cartridges used on Plan B are not used because they are the best, the cheapest or the easiest to control. They are used because there is nothing else, it is the only Arduino controllable cartridge. At 96DPI and 12 nozzles, it is about the simplest a cartridge is going to be. There are plenty of other cartridges available, such as Piezo inkjet cartridges, which give great control over droplet size, The HP C51640, which has roughly the same type of control, only at 300DPI and around 100 nozzles, and CISS (continuous ink supply system) cartridges, which store the ink in an external tank, making it easier to replace the ink and refill it during printing.
  • The firmware lacks (among other things) acceleration. Motors are either on or off. The only place where the printer uses acceleration is when accelerating the X-axis for printing. Motors could easily move at double the speed when all axes had acceleration, while not really affecting the printing quality (inkjet doesn't lose resolution when printing at high speeds).
  • The software is a temporary solution right now. It works, but it is far from perfect. New software needs to be written that slices a file directly from an STL file (is under construction).
  • The printer should be isolated. The pistons heat up, but all of the walls are made of aluminium, acting as a giant heatsink. By insulating the printer, it will use a lot less energy heating the powder. It will also heat the powder more evenly, since it doesn't drain any of the heat at the walls.
  • Add a rough layer to the pistons. The pistons are based on FDM printbeds. This is wrong for 3DP. 3DP needs rough surfaces to grip the powder. At thin layers, the powder will actually break up when the spreader moves over.

Looks like 3DP powder machines are mature and here to stay. I welcome this new developments and healthy synergies with FDM. I hope this project will motivate other to develop new powder based 3d printers.

PS: you will have to disassemble, clean and refill with binder an inkjet cartridge (HP C6602). The details are the instructions. On a personal note: I HATE inkjet cartridges and the business model so it is a good use for this stupid product.

Here are some objects printed on Plan B:

Aug 18, 2014

Repairing Ford Focus cargo cover attachment point and AC knob with 3d printed parts

Nicholas Durdan made a DIY 3d printed replacement hatchback cargo cover attachment point for his 2013 Ford Focus.
He measured the original part with calipers and printed it in PLA on a MakerBot Replicator 2.
The replacement is probably much cheaper and less time is needed then going to a retailer to get a new piece. Time saving alone is probably worth the effort.

If the part was released on the internet there would be no more need to buy this part anywhere in the word if you have an access to a 3d printer. Manufacturers should really think about making their parts models available to the public.

There are many examples of small home repairs done with same approach, like this replacement washing machine gasket:

Like I said many times, if your business model depends on sale of small plastic parts, you should rethink it.


He also made a 3d printed replacement AC button:

Aug 17, 2014

Lewihe 3d printer from Spain is optimized for flexible filaments

Lewihe is new 3d printer from Spain which focuses on fast printing with flexible filaments like FilaFlex.

Lewihe 3d printer tech specs:
  • Print area 185 x 185 x 185 mm (7.28 x 7.28 x 7.28 in), Lewihe ProXL model 350x250x185 mm (12.6 x 9.84 x 7,28 in)
  • 50 microns layer resolution
  • 1.75 mm filament diameter
  • 0.4 mm nozzle diameter
  • Plug and Print PLA, ABS, LAYWOOD, FILAFLEX and others
  • Open source software
  • STL and OBJ supported objects
  • Wight: 8.5 Kg
  • Closed aluminum chassis
  • CORE XY system
  • SAV Mk-I 
  • External power supply
  • USB
  • WiFi +On board camera (optional)

Lewihe homepage:

Comparison of Lewihe models with other leading 3d printers:

Larger Lewihe model will be able to print full size FilaFlex shoe:

Aug 15, 2014

Small DIY aquaponic system producing food on small aquarium with 3d printed modules

I do have a relatively large food garden at my home, but growing food is time consuming and subject to many factors such as weather and diseases. This year was terrible, we had a very small harvest but we invested a LOT of work. This made me more interested in aqaponics and hydroponics.

I wrote about 3d printed aquaponics before but I researched more and found this small system.
It grows plants as part of small fish aquarium (10 gallon=37 liters) in 3d printed modules.

It loos good enough to start experimenting with spices, herbs and salads. Maybe also as a seed starter.

All the parts are here:

If you really want a small DIY aquaponics system that fits anywhere you can try with this one from Cascaqua that will enable you to grow some salad or spice herbs and features an organic moder design:

Cascaqua homepage with files:


3DPonics system:

if you want to make your own growing strips for aquaponics, check this DY extruder:

Aug 14, 2014

New from Adafruit: 3d printable DIY virtual reality headset

Adafruit is continuing to make this cool wearable electronics projects with parts you can customize and 3d print at home.
Here is a cool VR eyewear project made with Ninjaflex flexible filament and PLA. It could also be classified as home made Oculus Rift.

I would like to see some people who made some of Adafruit wearble projects and how they use them.

Detailed construction guide:

All the files:

Gartner's 2014 Hype Cycle and 3d printing technologies (just moving down the curve)

Gartner's 2014 Hype Cycle is out? So where is 3d printing? It is moving slowly down the curve. All technologies are advancing in small steps. Most interesting moment is consumer 3d printing starting to go down from the peak and entering into "Trough of Disillusionment".  Gartner's assessment is probably right, there are probably many people who bought a 3d printer and feed disappointed it is not a Star Trek Replicator.

Here is more detailed view focusing on many 3d printing technologies, and it predicts wide adoption of home machines and industrial scale additive manufacturing in 5-10 years range.  3d printing in schools and classrooms is falling behind and will be adopted in more than 10 years according to Gartner.

Here is Gartner's for 2013:

Source and more information: