Dec 29, 2014

Swarmscapers 3d printable robots that create structures with sawdust and binding agent

Swarmscapers are 3d printable robotic project that works on development of swarm robots that can work in hostile enviroments and create structures. At this stage of project the robots work on sawdust which they shape by deposing a binding agent.  In future similar machines will hel us inhabit the space.

Swarmscapers are two months long research project conducted in the Creative Architecture Machines studio, taught by Jason Kelly Johnson and Michael Shiloh at California College of the Arts in the Digital Craft Lab. It is a collaboration between Clayton Muhleman, Alan Cation, and Adithi Satish.

Description of the project from the Instructables page:
Swarmscapers explores the potential of an autonomous swarm of robots capable of operating independently in hostile environments. Utilizing on-site materials to create inhabitable structures, the robotic swarm's behavior materializes through a slow and constant process of layered 3d-printing.
This projects the architectural potential of emerging robotic and fabrication technologies through a bottom-up rule-based system. Each unit within the robotic swarm acts as an individual agent embedded with a specific rule-set that drives its behavior and allows it to coordinate with other agents in the system. These agents 3d print large, architectural structures that calcify and emerge from the landscape where the impetus for structure is to develop future encampments in extreme environments, places where humans could not otherwise build. Extreme heat and the abundance of raw materials in the desert make it an ideal testing bed for the robotic swarm to operate, creating emergent seed buildings for future habitations that are ready for human occupancy over the course of multiple decades.

In order to test this wider vision, we established a laboratory-like setting focused on using at least one mobile robot to 3d print scaled objects within a 48" x 48" x 20" build volume. There were 2 major constants within our larger concept that allowed us to focus our research and achieve our goal in a 2 month time frame, which were to create a gantry-less mobile powder bed and inkjet head 3d printer(the specific technology of a Z Corp 3d printer), and to utilize on-site granular materials as building materials. It was important for our machine to remain gantry-less and mobile because it implies that multiple machines will one day be able to autonomously 3d print entire buildings, and it implies that these printers are relatively small compared to the buildings they are 3d printing. The advantages to using powder bed and inkjet head 3d printing as a technology, is that it allows us to print without scaffolding and create highly intricate shapes, and it allows us to reuse the leftover materials so that there is a minimal amount of waste during construction.
In addition, our method can work with almost any granular material including sand, rice, semolina, salt, and sawdust. Since it is important to use materials found on site, we conducted our larger 3d prints in sawdust because CCA generates 6 dumpsters full of sawdust per week. Sawdust is abundant and it is extremely lightweight, making it an ideal material for us to test. The robot works by driving on top of the sawdust based on a tool-path defined in the computer, and dropping a binding agent on the material, hardening it in place. It does this repeatedly, layer by layer until the object is complete.

Swarmscaper robot in its natural inhabitat making a nest for the offspring ...

Anatomy of a Swarmscaper robots and three types: spreader, fixer and excavator ...

To learn more and get all the files needed to make robots yourself go to:

Here is a video of Swarmscapers in action:

For a similar project of small robots making larger structures take a look at Minibuilders.

3&DBot holonomic robotic 3d printer from Brazil

3&DBot is holonomic, omnidirectional wheels, independently moving 3d printing robot from Brazil. It can move on theoretically unlimited print surface and print with modeling clay, ceramics, earthenware and other pasty mixtures since it prints with a syringe based extruder.
The control is wireless (WiFi) from a host computer and via Arduino controller.

This small hexagonal printer was developed by staff at NEXT (three-dimensional experimentation lab) and LIFE (physical computing lab) of PUC-Rio design program.
The parts printed are very rough but the concept is working and probably will be improved in the future.

Here is video of 3&DBot in action:

Here is the first holonomic drive 3d printer project which was unique at that time, and the movable part was the print platform. It was ultra cheap and made with recycled optical mice:

Dec 28, 2014

Space Invaders Delta 3 tracked 3d printer from South Africa

Space Invaders is a team of students with Rueben Pretorius, Mathew Whyte and Jared Rheeders as members. They were South African representatives on 11th World Robot Olympics at Sochi and won the 4th place in Junior High age group.

They developed mobile caterpillar tracked robotic 3d printer powered with LEGO EV3 controller and Arduino. The Delta 3 is a concept of Mars based construction robot that can 3d print buildings, machines and even itself since it is a RepRap.

Here is video explaining their project:

Great work Space Invaders!

Dec 27, 2014

BetAbram construction 3d printers from Slovenia

Slovenia is our little neighboring country to the west and they have several 3d printing projects like: KORUZA laser wifi, PrintGreen and TroubleMaker 3d printer. Now they have a bigger  machine in the game that can print large concrete structures or buildings with BetAbram series of large 3d printers.
The machines are moving on a rail system and feature metal gantry with extruder that deposits concrete / cement mixture layers.

BetAbram has three different sized printers: P1, P2 and P3. Z-axis height is theoretically unlimited since it can be extended with a rails systems to print tall buildings. 
In the X and Y axes, the P3 can 3d print buildings with plate surface of 4 meters x 3 meters (12 square meters), the P2 is capable of 12 meters x 6 meters (72 square meters), and the biggest, P1 is capable of 16 meters x 9 meters (144 square meters).

Prices will probably range starting from 15000 euro up to 30000 euro. 

Here is a video of BetAbram machine in action:

BetAbram company page:

ImproTable 1000 large 3d printer with multifeed mixing nozzle and Twin 3d printer

ImproTable 1000 is a big custom made DIY 3d printer developed by James Chang. It has 1m x 1m printing surface and unique mixing extruder with five filament input ports. It mixes the color of filaments and looks like it is working fine and fast.
There are no details or design plans of this machine released.

Here is ImproTable 1000 (great name btw ...) in action:

Here is a focus on the quint-extruder:

On James YouTube channel there is also a video of Twin 3d printer that has two separate independent dual extruders:

Hopefully we will find out more about James Chang and his machines in the future ...

Five filament  types of different colors go in the nozzle, what would happen when different filament materials would be mixed?

Dec 26, 2014

ProtoCycler filament extruder that uses pellets and has integrated recycling grinder

ProtoCycler is new filament extruder with integrated recycling grinder that can also make filament from pellets. It should enable you to produce cheap filament from scrap objects for 0$ since it has integrated grinder or from pellets for some 5$ per one kilogram. On other important feature is integrated spooling winder mechanism. It is developed by ReDeTec from Canada.

ProtoCycler description from the IndieGogo page:
ProtoCycler is a new product that allows you to recycle waste plastic into valuable 3D printer filament - safely, quickly, and easily! It comes complete with a built in grinder, intelligent computer control, safety certification, and real time diameter feedback, so anyone can make their own filament hassle free. It also saves you a *TON* of money! Even the cheapest spools are around $30 to buy new, and they can certainly cost much more than that. ProtoCycler lets you make the same 1 kilogram spools for just $5...and if you recycle, your spools are FREE!
This means that ProtoCycler will pay for itself in just 10-20 spools - and as anyone who 3D prints knows, this doesn't take all that long. Never mind all the waste you'll divert from the trash bin. Simply put, if you 3D print, you need ProtoCycler!
ProtoCycler technical specifications:
  • Diameter tolerance: +/- 0.02mm
  • Extrusion speed: Up to 10 ft/minute
  • Electrical usage: 60 W Average
  • Dimensions: 14" x 12" x 10"
  • Grinder input: 5" x 5"
  • Hopper Capacity: Expandable
  • Max Temp: All metal hot end for 400+ C
  • Price: 799 USD range
ProtoCyler features:
  • First consumer extruder with UL certification
  • First extruder with grinder for built in recycling
  • First extruder with diameter feedback and computer control
  • Distributed Spooling
  • Automatic start up and shut down
  • Full Manual mode for hacking
  • Open source software and community
  • Beautiful brushed aluminium enclosure
  • Patent pending MixFlow extrusion technology

Comparison of ProtoCycler to other filament extruders, bot DIY and prosumer models  

ProtoCycler video presentation:

Indigogo campaign:

Company page:

Free webinar on 3d printing and impossible geometry

Here is a new free webinar presented by Tyler Reid of GoEngineer. It explores the geometry and shape complexity which can be implemented with large design freedom due to additive manufacturing production technology abilities and limitations.
With 3d printing design complexity can be much higher and this webinar goes trough several areas where more intricate geometry can be of value.
Presented areas are: art & character design, consolidated assemblies (like complex valves and nozzles), cellular & lattice structures (in industrial and medical applications) and microscale prints,

Halo figurines as example of character design

You can find more webinars like this one starting here:

... links inside those posts will guide you to more similar content ...


new webinar on medical aplications:

Dec 25, 2014

AleksanD Chrono 3d printed watch with flexible PLA watch strap

Here is another 3d printable watch from 3D proto. It is controlled by MSP430 microcontroller and has a circular display that shows time / date with 12 bi-colored LEDs around the face with one status LED for p.m. - a.m. time.Watch strap is printed in felxible PLA and 3d printer is used to drill watchface holes.
Hopefully designers will publish the electronics schematics, but it should be easy to recreate if you have some experience with electronics.

Here is a video of the watch and development process:

Here is the project homepage (in German):

For an Open Source warch project which is much better documented take a look at:

Dual parking extruder by 3D Proto

Here is a dual extruder solution from 3D Proto where a non-printing extruder is parked outside the print area to prevent oozing which gives better print quality.
When a idle extruder is parked outside print area it also gives higher speeds and movement precision to working extruder. It also prevents possible scratching of one extruder on the printed object.
Very interesting solution.
There are some possible limitations on x-axis due to the width of assembly but it is maybe a minor inconvenience.

Project homepage where more information will be published (with build instructions hopefully):

Here is explanation of parking dual extruder and video of it in action:

Dec 24, 2014

Using home microwave for lost PLA 3d printed aluminum parts

Lost PLA is method used to produce cement molds for metal casting and it is used mostly with molten aluminum. Desired object is 3d printed in PLA, cast is made around it and the PLA is melted away. The mold is then used for metal casting. Entire process is usually done with a propane gas powered kiln or smelter, and this project used home microwave oven.

The process is simple but you will need to take safety seriously. Object 3d printed in PLA is coated with susceptor that transforms microwaves into heat. Susceptor is made from mixture of silicon carbide, sugar, water, and alcohol. The part is then placed in a mold made of plaster of paris with perlite and heated in an unmodified household microwave to burn out the PLA.
A second microwave with a top emitter is used to melt aluminum, which is then poured into the prepared mold. When the metal cools down, the mold is broken to take out the metal part for post-processing

From project description:
Our system uses consumer microwave units to perform burn-out of PLA from molds, and a second microwave to liquify aluminium, to be poured into the mold. 3d printer inspired mechanics will move the aluminium from the microwave, into the target mold under human control across the network, so that there is no risk to the person operating the machine.
What is working and what we're working towards:
What works now is that we are able to successfully melt aluminum inside a microwave and supply our molds to get fine quality crafted aluminium parts.
The vision is to automate the process and build machines so that the system can be remotely run by a human being safely from their terminal.
Automation will be as simple as two to three machines powered by arduino with minimum axes.

One machine will be a forklift to pickup the item and deposit it safely onto a pair of fire bricks. One is a crane to pickup the top from the kiln, and one is a combination of forklift and a x,y table. This will pickup the cup, place over target, and pour through a heated steel funnel into the mold.
Ideally, we see an operator walking to the machine, starting the microwave on the mold & aluminium. When notified the machine is done, the operator can use gloves to pickup and bury the mold in sand, then walk back to their workstation, and pour the aluminum remotely. This will reduce the risk of injury to an operator to near 0, and not require any dangerous gasses to perform the melt.
All of the software will be released under the GNU GPL V3 as the project advances, with the hardware designs released under the TAPR OHL.

Detailed project page and build log on

Project homepage:


Here is very detailed video presentation by Julia Longtin on Chaos Computer Club 31th Chaos Communication Congress. It is a great how-to guide on casting high quality 6040 aluminum pieces using a 3D printer and commercially available consumer microwaves

Here is a more detailed guide on how to make and use microwave oven DIY smelter for silver or tin solder:

Here is a different approach to melting aluminum in a microwave oven:

Dec 22, 2014

Space Weaver 3d prints ultra lightweight woven structures from carbon and fiberglass

Space Weaver isa DIY 3d printer that makes woven 3d structures from carbon fiber and fiberglass. The machine is based on hacked Shapeoko CNC and custom design gantry. It produces very light intricate structures that don't have any purpose now, but I could see than as ultralight antenna poles, decorative elements or even plant support. Area of carbon fiber and fiberglass DIY projects is just emerging and we could see much more practical applications and projects in the future.


From project description:
Space Weaver is a student-designed 3D weaving machine created by Prerna Auplish, Evan Bowman, and Ryan Chen at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The machine was created in the Digital Craft Lab ( Creative Architecture Machines Advanced Studio with instructors Michael Shiloh and Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab (
Space Weaver is designed to create ultra-lightweight woven structures with fibrous materials. Using a 3-axis gantry system, woven forms are created in a similar process as most 3D printers, except they produce a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio, result in zero waste, and require no support material. In short, Space Weaver is a seven foot tall 3D printer that uses carbon fiber and fiberglass to print five foot tall woven structures.
The project has been divided into three categories and their major components. These categories are:
  • Machine: frame and build plate, mechanical components, CNC gantry, electronics, and spools
  • Programming: TinyG and Grasshopper/Firefly scripts
  • Material Research: resin and fiber experiments 
  • Frame dimensions: 84” x 32” x 28”
  • Build plate dimensions: 17 ½” x 19 ½”
  • The majority of the frame was welded out of 60’ of 1” x 1” square tube carbon steel, with 1” flat bar mounting tabs. A steel frame is not necessary, however rigidity is very important for ensuring CNC accuracy. This machine has a relatively large Z-height (5’), and an exposed build plate (print bed). The exposed design of the build plate is based on the desire to emphasize the importance of the printed objects, as well as to provide ease of serviceability.
  • The build plate has its own smaller steel frame, with two routed ½” birch plywood sheets to hold a sheet of glass.

All the technical details, files, software and instructions to make this weaver yourself can be found at:

You can se video of Space Weaver weaving a structure here:

For a professional desktop carbon fiber and fiberglass 3d printer look at Mark One.

Dec 21, 2014

Sky Printer winch suspended LARGE clay 3d printer

Sky Printer is a BIG delta 3d printer which extrudes clay from a toolhead suspended on winches connected to room sized structure. Print results are still rough but the machine is in improvement phase and it is more aimed at artistic exploration. Similar gantry configuration could be used in even larger machines to print entire buildings.

From project description:
The Sky Printer is an adaptable, cable-based delta-gantry system that can span large areas with a minimal footprint. The Sky Printer is designed for large- scale applications in potentially remote locations. It can be understood as the evolution of the conventional 3d-printer.
We are a team of two architecture students from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. (team members: Thomas Monroy, Taole Chen)The project was developed in the FA14 Creative Architecture Machines Advanced Studio taught by Jason Kelly Johnson and Michael Shiloh (also check out the Digital Craft Lab which is the overarching research department at CCA).
We think the project has immense potentials that we were only able to graze in the two months we had to develop it and were surprised that no one has really attempted it before us. Although the cable-based system inherently has issues with stability, rigidity and may not be easily adapted to very precise applications, there are distinct advantage that point to an exciting future for computer-aided construction:
  • minimal material costs: compared to conventional 3d-printers and CNC-routers, the Sky Printer doesn't need a platform, it hijacks existing structures and topography to construct its own coordinates system. Thus, it can scale up effortlessly without adding exponential material costs relative to its size.
  • minimal maintenance: mechanical parts are minimized, therefore possibilities of failure are minimized. Also, it has the potential to be remote-controlled, allowing it to be deployed in hard to access locations.
  • ability to print on uneven surfaces
  • adaptability: We see tons of possible applications, as the adaptable system allows it to be set up in any environment with vertical surfaces, such as mining pits, abandoned cities, canyons, mars, etc
Within the constraints of the studio class, we focused on additive clay printing as a method to test the system, but the Sky Printer is really much more than just a printer, as we envision it to have an exchangeable tool set that would include grapplers, drills, spades, analysis tools, etc.

Here is a video of Sky Printer in action:

Detailed instructions, STL files for the parts, clay mixture and technical specifications can be found here:

Dec 17, 2014

E3D Volcano super high flow nozzle upgrade will speed up your 3d printing

E3D just released their Volcano super high flow nozzle upgrade that will speed up your 3d printing by pushing more filament trough the hot end.
Putting on a larger diameter nozzle and extruding more molten filament also improves strength since the more mass and more heat improve adhesion between the layers.

Volcano product home page:

Here is a video demonstration and presentation of Volcano:

Here is a picture of Volcano heater block and various diameter larger nozzles:

DIY Stirling heat difference engine with 3d printed parts

Doug Conner developed a 3d printable homemade Stirling engine, a type of motor that creates mechanical motion from temperature differential of a medium which is air in this case. The engine is made in ABS on a Stratasys FDM printer.

This engine has some metal (brass, aluminum) parts, couple of metal screws and some rubber O-rings, but that is unavoidable due to the nature of the technology and ABS material limitations.

It takes some 50 deg F (or 28 deg C) of heat differential to move at stable speed at about 300 rpm without additional weight or load.
Project homepage:

All the 3d files and plans to make this Stirling engine can be found at:

Here is video demonstration of the engine in action:

Doug's DIY 3d printed Stirling engine from the project homepage

Upgraded Marlin firmware by Scott Lahteine

Scott Lahteine made his Marlin fork with some new and improved features.
Features of his Marlin fork include:
  • Cleaner Z display
  • SD Listing Sorted Alphabetically
  • SD List buffer for fast, reliable SD navigation
  • LCD Progress Bar
  • Wait Messages (M0 Click me)
  • Long filename display
  • Print abort message
  • "Wait for user" click stays on Info Screen
Those features will probably be coming to Marlin in near future.

If you are brave and/ or like experimenting with Marlin you can get this version now at:

Here is the video overview of the features in action:

LCD display and information show is much better 

RamanPi DIY 3d printable Raman Spectrometer

RamanPi is open source project of Raman Spectrometer that can be made with many 3d printable parts. It is a low cost way to get a spectroscope for your laboratory or school and learn / teach about fundamental physics, chemistry and material sciences. It is powered by Raspberry Pi and most non-printable parts can be sourced off-the-shelf. The entire system is housed in standard PC ITX case.

Goals of the RamanPi project:
  • Make it Open.. Everything.. All of it.. 
  • Make it 3D Printable. 
  • Make it modular and easy to upgrade. 
  • Make it as easy to build as possible. 
  • Make it easy to customize and open to improvement. 
  • Use only commonly available off the shelf components whenever possible. 
  • Have a remote interface that will allow it to be controlled and viewed from anywhere. 
  • Compare the spectra to the online internet spectral databases. 
  • Provide the capability to log data to remote databases, share with friends and colleagues.. 
  • Not be just another open source spectrometer.. 
  • Make it easy to use and intuitive. 
  • Make it attractive with an elegant design.. 
  • Make it useful and just cool to have!

Detailed construction guide and technical details can be found at:

RamanPi GitHub:

There are more DIY 3d printed spectrometer  projects:

Videos from the RamanPi project:

Dec 13, 2014

Vinci DIY compound bow with 3d printed parts

Vinci is a DIY compound bow that you can make with 3d printed parts and some fiberglass limbs. This bow has some 30 pounds of draw weight in its current version, but it is a third version and the improvements are visible in each new build.
Many of the available parts could be used in other DIY archery projects.

Here is a video of bow in action:

DIY drop away arrow rest:

All the 3d printing files needed and construction instructions can be found at:

Vinci bow is in the third iteration, here is the previous version, the Vinci Mark 2 with much lower draw weight:

3d printing is used in many other hobby and DIY archery projects like: DIY bow quiver,  3d printed sight mount and stabilizer for hig power compound bow, DIY archery sight pin and target pins, DIY arrow fletcher and other DIY archery accessories like knocks and other useful things.

Here you can see a DIY bow made from some old skis and 3d printed parts:

Looks like a home / workshop 3d printer is must-have tool for all archery hackers!

Update here is a new project: working 3d printed DIY bow hand!

Dimafix adhesive spray for heated beds

Dimafix is a new adhesive spray solution to improve bounding of printed objects to print surface and avoid warping.
This adhesive spray formula is activated when the temperature of the print surface reaches around 50C and up to maximum at 80C. The objects can be removed when the temperature drops below 40C.
It is priced at 9,48 euro per 1 unit DIMAFIX (400 ml / 10 oz). The spray is non-toxic, has low odor and it can be washed away from the surface with water.

Dimafix homepage:

Here is video review and test of Dimafix in realistic conditions but it is in Spanish:

First product of this kind for adhesion improving was 3DLac which is produced near the Dimafix origin town.

FirePick Delta open source DIY pick and place machine that can be made for 300$

Home electronics manufacturing is one step closer with FirePick project which gives you fully functional pick-and-place machine that can also serve as a 3d printer. The entire design is open sourced and can be made for some 300 USD in "hacker" version. of the machine in action is under the text ...

Project description form the project webpage:
FirePick Delta is an open-source electronics manufacturing system, inspired by RepRap and powered by OpenPnP and FirePick's own Computer Vision software. We are taking the beginning steps towards a smart appliance that can manufacture electronic circuit boards in a home or office environment. Our machine is able to assemble open-source hardware boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi accessories, and also has the capability to 3D print. It features an auto-tool changer that allows multiple plastic extruders, and/or multiple SMT vacuum nozzles. Other tools and applications will be available as our product matures.
FirePick Delta is an affordable, open-source electronics manufacturing system that sits on your desktop. It's capable of building complex electronic circuit assemblies, like Arduino and Raspberry Pi accessories. It is also able to 3D print plastic parts, just like a standard 3D printer. It assembles circuit boards just like a conventional pick-and-place machine, by using a vacuum nozzle and camera with computer vision to pick up surface-mount parts from component feeders, and precisely place them down on the circuit board. Our machine has an auto-tool changer, and we're working on designing other tools besides the SMT vacuum tip and the 3D print hotend. The system is capable of holding up to four tools and interchanging between them automatically. This also makes it one of the most versatile 3D printers out there, because it can print in four colors of plastic (or in four separate types of plastic, which would allow a single model to have a mixture of PLA, ABS, nylon, and NinjaFlex, for example).
Pick and place machines are used around the world to assemble electronic circuit assemblies, however they usually sell for $50,000 to $500,000. Our machine has a price point of $300 to $5000, depending on modules installed. We should be able to hit that price point by leveraging the open-source technology of the RepRap 3D printer movement. The FirePick Delta is designed to almost completely self-replicate. It is capable of 3d printing its own parts out of PLA or ESD-sensitive ABS plastic. It will also be capable of assembling its own electronic circuit boards. We plan to be the first successful, commercially available RepRap 3d printer to have the power of electronics self-replication. We envision a future where anyone can design (or download existing) electronic projects, and manufacture them in their own home, rather than outsourcing to a traditional factory. This approach saves time and money, and is a much more sustainable solution. FirePick Delta will enable a new wave of small businesses and entrepreneurs to provide unique, bespoke, niche items to the general public, that would be unprofitable for a large conglomerate corporation to manufacture. If you've ever had an electronic project that involved soldering surface-mount electronics, this machine is an incredibly cheap and fun way to do it. If you've ever wanted to sell an electronic board that you've created, and need a way to make lots of them, this machine is for you.

  • Prototyping and small runs of PCB's (under 100 per run). Not intended to be used for mass production.
  • Hobbyists, Makerspaces, high school and college students, entrepreneurs, small businesses.
  • Great for those with poor eyesight, shaky hands, or those that just don't have the skills to solder on small SMT parts. We occasionally remind those that scoff at our project to check their privileges and remember that not everyone has guru SMT soldering skills or access to a full lab with hot air rework. 
We would eventually like to cover three basic demographics:
  • Hacker and Developer Version: Open framework to go crazy with. Purchased with retail parts from US or foreign distributors. Est. Cost: ~$400-$500.
  • Maker / Student Version: Base machine in kit form for ~$300-400 is desired. That would not include any tools or feeders, or RasPi or camera. These things are modular and could be purchased at the time of sale or later on. Requires assembly, and support woudl be via internet forum / IRC / mailing list, etc.. The $300 figure is likely more of a BOM cost than final sale price with packaging, shipping, etc.
  • Professional version: For the tech startups, businesses, etc. Machine would likely retail for $5,000 to $10,000 for a fully assembled machine, with tech support and warranty, and all the other things that a business would look for, before buying a
  • Note that the Hackaday project is built around the Hacker / Developer version as a prototype, and we hope to offer the second (maker / student version) after the prototypes are built, and crowdfunding is secured. Version 3 ($5000-$10000) will be much later on, possibly 1-2 years from now.
  • Overall dimensions: 600mm H x 460mm W x 460mm D
  • Frame dimensions: 520mm H x 300mm W x 300mm D
  • Max PCB size / 3D print volume: 80mm H x 214mm W x 214mm D
  • Camera: Raspberry Pi 5MP. 3.6mm focal length with f/2.9 aperture. Full control of shutter time, hardware flash, ISO, etc via custom FirePiCam software
  • Downward looking vision: Currently supported.
  • Upward looking vision: Planned feature. Will be implemented in the coming weeks. Our software chain fully supports it, it's just a matter of making the 3d printed fixtures and trying it out.
  • Flying vision: Not yet, but it would be super cool. No timeline to speak of. Forget I even mentioned it.
  • Computer Vision Software: FireSight (high-level abstraction layer on top of OpenCV), via FireFUSE and FireREST
  • CV Operations implemented: absdiff, backgroundSubtractor, blur, calcHist, calcOffset, Canny, cvtColor, dft (Discrete Fourier Transform), dftSpectrum, drawKeypoints, drawRects, FireSight, HoleRecognizer, HoughCircles, imread, imwrite, matchTemplate, minAreaRect, MSER, morph, normalize, Points2Resolution, PSNR Compare, putText, QRDecode, resize, SimpleBlobDetector, stageImage, threshold, transparent, warpAffine, warpPerspective, warpRing
  • OpenPnP - Is a project to create the plans, prototype and software for a completely Open Source SMT pick and place machine that anyone can afford. This is the GUI, and the program that handles all of the feeder, camera, and general machien setup, and also the job creation and processing.
  • FireSight - A high-level computer vision framework designed for Pick and Place machines, powered by OpenCV. No programming experience required - A pipeline of image operations is specified with a JSON structure. The results of the operations are returned as a JSON structure.
  • FireFUSE - FireFuse is the FUSE driver for all FirePick machines. FireFuse maps all hardware input/output functions for FirePick to individual files in the /dev/firefuse virtual file system. For example, the current camera view of the FirePick camera is presented as /dev/firefuse/cam.jpg. Presenting the camera output this way simplifies and generalizes access to the camera, since "it's just a file."
  • FireBOM - Similar to ThingDoc, FireBOM will auto-generate BOMs, documentation, real-time pricing and distributerer info, and keeps track of approved vendors and SMT part footprints.
  • FireMOTE - A web-based frontend for OpenPnP.
  • FireREST - FireREST is an open-source REST protocol for automated manufacturing. With FireREST, you can connect smart camera nodes, CNC application nodes, CNC machines and browser GUIs in a flexible, extensible manufacturing network. For the non-web gurus, this basically allows us to use raw http as a protocol between various systems in a robotics manufacturing network.
  • Arduino - Needs no introduction :) We will be designing an Arduino-compatible motion controller with modified RepRap Marlin firmware.
  • Raspberry Pi - Not 100% open-source, but their heart is in the right place. We plan on using the new Raspberry PI Compute Module, and the Raspberry Pi camera, to run OpenPnP and the other bits of software.
  • OpenCV - is a library of programming functions mainly aimed at real-time computer vision. Written in optimized C/C++. Thankfully, a lot of work has been done to get it working on the Raspberry Pi.
  • Linux - Too many crappy Pick and Place machines, only running on Teh Windows :-(
  • RepRap - An initiative to develop a self-replicating 3D printer.
  • Marlin firmware - The RepRap firmware is a mashup between Sprinter,grbl and many original parts. It runs on an Arduino and handles the very timing-sensitive job of sending STEP and DIRECTION signals to the stepper motor drivers, controls temperature and extrusion. We'll be modifying it to double as a Pick and Place motion controller.
  • Greg's Wade Reloaded Extruder - Bulletproof extruder design
  • RAMPS v1.4 - Our custom board will be roughly based off the Ramps, but with the added stuff necessary for pick and place.
  • StepStick - Allegro A4988 16x microstepping motor driver
  • Slic3r - The world's best slicing program for 3d printing
  • Printrun - Pure Python 3d printing host software
(Note many of these are not practical to place, until we get our feeders and vision 100% working)
  • Passives down to 0402
  • Diodes: SMC, SMB, SMA, SOD128, SOD80, SOD323, MicroMELF
  • SOT-23
  • QFN, DFN, QFP, SOIC, TSOP, BGA to ~0.4mm pitch
  • SOT23-3, SOT23-5, SOT23-6, SOT223, SOT89, SC70, DPAK, D2PAK
  • IC's and large/wide components to ~50mm wide
  • Aluminum capacitors and tall components <= 15mm H
  • Holds up to four (4) tools in the machine at the same time
  • System will recognize tools upon insertion. EEPROM in each tool keeps track of SMT nozzle size, and 3D printing parameters like thermistor tables, etc.
  • Tools are hot swappable
  • Average cost of materials per modular tool: $10 - $500, depending on tool.
  • Current tools offered: SMT vacuum nozzle, solder paste dispense, 3D Print hotend.
  • Future tools offered: Professional shot-meter style fluid dispense system for scientific laboratory or solder paste / glue dispense.Pen plotter, laser sensitizer (not big enough to cut stuff with), pogo-pin based flying-probe (for voltage testing, etc), Atmel AVR flying-probe programer. Hot air rework station for minor rework. Note that we intend for other members of the open-source community to help us bring these tools into existence, as the need arises.
  • ESD-safe via conductive ABS plastic 3D printing filament.
  • Average cost of materials per feeder: $5-10
  • Auto-recognized by OpenPnP via QR code labels affixed to feeders
  • Tape feeders: 8mm, 12mm, 16mm, 24mm, 32mm, 44mm. Drag-feed with (and without) cover-tape winding, and full-auto advancing version for 8mm
  • Tray feeders: Non-JEDEC. Holds a few small loose parts. Supports pause/reload prompts.
  • Tube feeders: NOTE: We've not started these yet, but see them as minimum risk. We started the tape parts first, since they're more desirable. Will have a vibratory source (DC motor w/counterweight). Will be easy to customize and print custom tube feeders for weird non-standard chokes and coils, etc.

Here is a video of FirePick in action and the main components:

FirePick homepage:

Project homepage on

FirePick GitHub repository:

IcePick Delta 3d printer made with no linear rods or bearings

IcePick Delta 3d printer is a design without linear rods or bearings and with sturdy wooden frame. This approach lowers the total price and makes the machine parts more locally sourcable.
The project is developed by TTN and Matt Kimball and is still in intensive development stage.

From project description:
Icepick Delta is a open source 3d printer that was inspired by the Firepick Delta. The project aim is to build a 3d printer with no linear rods or linear bearings. I wanted a delta 3d printer, but was put off by linear rail and rod prices.

When the project started, the Firepick Delta files had not been released yet (they're on github now). The icepick is based on the Firepick Delta, but designed from the ground up.

The repapiness of this design is very high, leading to a smaller number of parts required, in turn lowering cost.

The build height looks to be about 160mm at the moment at a diameter of 200mm. Currently, printing speeds and acceleration have to stay low to avoid backlash. Another option to be explored is braided fishing line.

At the moment, the firmware is functional, but when going outside a certain radius (reachable points), it will decide to home that particular arm. Upper arm homing angle firmware needs some work.
The target printable area will be at least the standard 200mm cube.

More information and filess related to this project are at:

FirePick project:

Dec 12, 2014

Funbot i1 RepRap 3d printer is new, cheap and simple machine from Sweden

Here is a new RepRap 3d printer project: the Funbot i1 developed by Cliff Mellangård from Reprap österlen in Sweden.
Funbot is still in development phase, but it looks like nice working machine. The project goal is to make simple, cheap and easy to make DIY 3d printer. One of the key advantages of the Funbot design is that it uses 10 mm chromed copper water pipes that are uses commonly for plumbing and can be cheaply found at any hardware store.

Funbot print volume is x = 155mm y = 170mm z = 120mm.

As I'm in constant communication with Cliff who is making new updates on a frequent basis, I'll report on new developments as they are published.

All the details, files for making your version and detailed video construction guide can be found at:

Here is video of Funbot i1 in action showing the print quality:

Update (13.1.2015.):

Some new upgrades on the Funbot (Cliff wanted me to add: x axis is 165 and y axis is still 170 but sadly so is the z axis only 115 mm now):

Update (28.1.2015.):

Here is a very useful video tutorial from Funbot project about common problems with RAMPS 1.4 and a how-to guide for beginners.

Update (7.2.2015.):

Cliff is continuing to improve his design (print volume is now 165 on x and 170 on y and 120 on z) and released a new detailed construction guide videos (you can find all assembly videos on his channel):

Here is user news flash with the extruder mount simplification:

Funbot community is growing and first makes were posted on Thingiverse:

You GO Cliff! You nutty professor from Sweden!

Update (8.2.2015.):

Here is a NEW update! Cliff is a hard worker and very frequent updater :-)
This update includes simplified frame calibration and option to rotate the extruder 90 degrees that make it more solid when feeding tight rolled rolls of PLA filament.

Update (16.2.2015.):

Here is new update from Cliff of Funbot, he made 3d printable DIY bushings...

Update (21.2.2015.):

Thingiverse user anntho madea more "steampunk" version of the Funbot:

Update (22.2.2015.):

Here is video showing the design progress and evolution of Funbot project. It is a video with music background with no narration, but if you interested in design and development process of an open source 3d printer you will notice the iterative process.

Update (23.2.2015.):

MadMike8 from USA made a Funbot version with bronze bushings and bowden extruder:

Update (7.3.2015.):

Cliffs latest version Funbot is printing. here is the video of the first print:

Update (13.3.2015.):

New cleaned features and how to use new winged bushings:

PiBot rotary bed 3d printer with dual paste extruder

PiBot is polar movement 3d printer that can print with paste materials from dual syringe extruders. It is inspired by PiMaker polar 3d printer which has very detailed build instructions.

From project description:
As part of Francis Bitonti and Xuedi Chen's vertical studio at the architecture school of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, teams of 3 were given the task to design a paste extruding 3d printer. Our team initially put together a Printrbot Simple Maker's Edition, and using the basic concepts behind this printer, as well as inspiration drawn from the PiMaker, designed our own.
The main features of the PiBot are a flexible dual extruder system combined with a rotating polar bed. This grants us the ability to both print one object with a combination of materials from the two extruders, as well as print two of the same object at the same time, due to the rotating bed.
Team: Nicholas Nord, Hiroki Sawai, Lauren Famularo

All the files for making your own PiBot are here:

Freebot mobile 3d printer concept with angled extruder

Here is a cool concept of wheeled mobile 3d printer with angled extruder that could print continuous and connected object or series of single objects as it moves.

I wonder what would be other advantages of extruder set with the angle.

There are working mobile 3d printers on wheels and they have extruder  that prints strait on the surface ... This configuration could also work on larger scale as construction work / building 3d printer.


Freebot DIY 3d printer

There are new 3d printer plans being published every day. Freebot is a new simple DIY machine with all the files published on Thingivierse.
There are no detailed construction guides, but you could probably figure it out if you had some previous experiance in building your 3d printer.

Freebot technical specifications:
  • Hard base, light structure, fast and precise
  • Print area: 245x145 mm h 180 mm, 6 litres
  • Thickness layer: 0,1-0,27 mm 
  • Extruder: 0,4 millimetri 
  • Max speed : f300 mm / s
  • Max extruder temperature recommended: 260 C
  • Precision: 2,5 micron on Z, 1 micron on XY
  • ABS, PLA and others 1,75 mm
  • Ramps1.4 MKS 
  • 1/16 micro stepper
  • display full graphic with encoder and reset key
  • Print gcode directly from SD card
  • Universal power pack – 100-240V , 50/60Hz , 24v/6,0 A (in) , standard cable IEC
  • Linear bearings
  • Precision screw z-axis 12 mm
  • Structure: wood and PLA
  • Global dimensions: 400 x 400 x 500 mm
  • Weight: 1,5kg

All the files to make your own Freebot DIY 3d printer can be found at:

... since I could not find more information on THIS Freebot 3d printer, I found another completely unrelated Freebot that is very interesting concept idea ... see here:

Reify Solus DLP 3d printer

There are many new DLP based SLA 3d printers and Reify3D Solus is a new contender in the arena:

Technical specifications and features based on Solus Indiegogo page:
  • build area: 14.5 x 11 cm
  • made from thick, laser-cut anodized aluminum and stainless steel
  • z axis motor has an integrated lead screw with a anti-backlash nut for layer consistency
  • Solus will work with most non-LED DLP projectors and the addition of a close-up filter and adapter, or in the case of the Acer H6510BD, straight out of the box. And since the projector is not enclosed inside of the printer, it can be used to watch movies when you're not printing.
  • As with most DLP printers, the XY build area is dependent on the XY resolution you wish to print at. The maximum XY build area is 14.5 x 11 cm and the maximum height is 20cm. The extendable legs allow for a wide range of resolutions. For the projectors the company has tested the resolutions and build areas are as follows:
SVGA (800x600)
  • 70-180 micron XY resolution
  • 5.6x4.2x20cm - 14.5x11x20cm build area
XGA (1024x768)
  • 50-140 micron XY resolution
  • 5.1x3.8x20cm - 14.5x11x20cm build area
HD (1920x1080)
  • 25-76 micron XY resolution*
  • 4.8x2.7x20cm- 14.5x8.2x20cm build area
  • *25 micron XY resolution is not possible with all HD projectors.
  • Solus has been tested with resins from MakerJuice, Spot A Materials and propriatery formulations. The resin tank is made of acrylic and the peeling material is resistant to almost any chemical, so all resins that cure around 400nm should work. There are already a great variety of material choices ranging from ones as strong as ABS to flexible, castable and even ceramic filled
  • Price: 1199 USD range on Indiegogo

Objects 3d printed on Reify Solus DLP SLA 3d printer

Here is promo video of Reify Solus:

Solus is on Indiegogo:

RAMBo electronics DIY 3d printable testing jig

Youness Alaoui constructed this very useful 3d printable testing jig for RAMBo boards and stepper motors that enables you to run diagnostic and testing of your system before building it in a 3d printer.
It is designed for RAMBo 1.1B and 1.3L boards but since the files are available it could be probably customized for other controller boards.

Great work Youness!

Here is a demonstration video:

Here is the assembly video:

Detailed build guide and all the files can be found here:

Fabrisonic SonicLayer 7200 industrial ultrasonic metal printer with integrated CNC tools

Fabrisonic SonicLayer 7200 is industrial ultrasonic metal printer with integrated CNC machining tools.
It is a BIG machine that 3d prints with aluminum tape layers which are fused together with ultrasound and then machined with CNC tools into final shape. It can produce intricate internal structures and make metal products on industrial scale.

Fabrisonic SonicLayer 7200 3d printing anc CNC machining center. Source: Fabrisonic

SonicLayer 7200 Production scale automated UAM system technical specifications:
  • Integrated 3-Axis CNC Machining
  • Automated Tape Feeding System
  • 5000-lb load
  • 9-kW power
  • 72 x 72 x 36 in. Roll and Pitch Capability

Here is a video showing the machine in action:

Price is unknown.


Here are some previous smaller Fabrisonic machines and technology overview:

Dec 11, 2014

Hyrel 3D Print Head SDK enables third parties to develop tools for Hyrel machines

Hyrel 3D just announced their Print Head SDK that will allow independent hardware and software developers to make new tool heads for their 3d printers.

More information is on:

Kinematic Dress 4D printed clothing made by Nervous System

Nervous System in collaboration with Shapeways presented this fully 3d printed wearable dress printed in commercial powder based machine. The dress is made out of 2.279 triangles and 3.316 hinges.

From project description:
Nervous System has created the first dress with Kinematics, their unique 4D printing system that creates complex, foldable forms composed of articulated modules. The Museum of Modern Art has acquired the dress along with the software that created it for their permanent collection. Composed of thousands of interlocking components, the dress was 3D printed as a single folded piece at the Shapeways factory in New York City and required no assembly.
This was made possible by Nervous Systems' Kinematics system which combines design generation, customization, and simulation to enable the production of large flexible structures by 3D printing.

Credits:Dress created by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, Nervous SystemWorn by Lana BriscellaFilmed & edited by Andrew Robertson & Passerby FilmsFilmed at Shapeways Factory in New York CityMusic by Joseph FraioliSpecial thanks to Duann Scott
Here is the video of dress creation process:

Here is the project homepage:

Dress in motion:

The dress in motion. Source: Nervous System

Kinematics dress is designed with Kinematics Cloth software developed to design 3d printable clothing and textile-like structures. You can use it yourself and design your custom 3d printed dress from your 3d body scan here:

Since the dress is larger then the available printvolume it needs to be folded in order to fit inside the 3d printer. This is done with Kinemtics Fold software: