Oct 30, 2015

Disney Makes Connector Design Automatic

Disney Research developed the software to automatically designs 3d printable connectors. It looks amazing if it really works as described.

Where will this invention go? What will happen to it? It will probably end up in some corporations intellectual property portfolio.

From project description:

We present AutoConnect, an automatic method that creates customized, 3D-printable connectors attaching two physical objects together. Users simply position and orient virtual models of the two objects that they want to connect and indicate some auxiliary information such as weight and dimensions. Then, AutoConnect creates several alternative designs that users can choose from for 3D printing. The design of the connector is created by combining two holders, one for each object. We categorize the holders into two types. The first type holds standard objects such as pipes and planes. We utilize a database of parameterized mechanical holders and optimize the holder shape based on the grip strength and material consumption. The second type holds free-form objects. These are procedurally generated shell-gripper designs created based on geometric analysis of the object. We illustrate the use of our method by demonstrating many examples of connectors and practical use cases.
Project homepage:

DIY 3D Printed Electric Ducted Fan Engine with Thrust Reversal

Harcoreta made this incredible 3d printed jet engine for RC applications modeled on GE GEnx-1B. It is very detailed Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) motor with NTM 1400kv 35mm brushless motor located inside the core which is cooled by a small impeller. It even features working thrust reversal system.
It was printed on Reprap Prusa I3 at 0.1mm layer height and then smoothed by using an acrylic thinner.

The files of it are not available ... yet

Details of thrust reversal mechanism:

Technical specifications of the model motor:
  • 100mm diameter 18 blade main fan scale looking. 24 outlet guide vanes.
  • 34 mm diamenter 18 blade internal turbine, installed on the back shaft of the motor, It's designed only for cooling the motor. Over this section there are a sequence of stator vanes and supports to optimize the airflow. This internal airflow could produce thrust but in any case it'll be a few grams.
  • Scale looking nacelle, the major differences are the simplified engine pylon and the minor reduction on the exhaust area, about 95% fsa
  • Thrust reverser, complete system with translating cowl, blocker doors and cascades. The most complicated parts that must work.
  • NTM 1400kv 35mm motor. Thrust target > 0.5Kg with 3S or 4S maximum.

Project thread with more information:

Using your lighter and a metal tube to connect filament parts

We all did something similar in order to connect some loose filament. All you need is a lighter and a steel tube. Radusava composed a nice and simple video guide...

Just a simple pocket lighter, some flame and a metal pipe ...

Mister Spock and Yoda

Here is some Start Trek humor found somewhere on Facebook ...

IBM 7575 Industrial Robot Hacked Into SCARA 3D Printer

Sometimes you have an industrial robotic arm you want to modify into something else. Like 3d printer. BIG SCARA 3d printer.

Project homepage with build log and open sourced software:

Oct 25, 2015

Makerarm Robotic Multitool

Makerarm is another step towards full desktop manufacturing system. It is a robotic arm with many tool attachments for 3d printing, milling, drawing foam cutting, PCB manufacturing and other.
It still looks like hobby or entry-level system but we are slowly moving towards prosumer home production robots.
It supports both FDM and SLA 3d printing.

Makerarm promotional video:

Makerarm homepage:

It is also on Kickstarter where you can get it:

3d printing Makerarm attachment. It also supports SLA 3d printing.  

Oct 18, 2015

Welding Wood and Future of Wood 3D Printing

Can you weld wood? it looks like you can. It can be done by applying friction and mechanical vibration in what is known as friction welding. The cellulose and lignin in wood melt at some 180 C and bond together forming a welded seam.
The weld seam has a simillar strength to glued one. It also means that no more toxic glues and adhesives should be used to bond wooden parts.

Here is video presentation of wood welding :

This technology could be used in 3d printing in same way some industrial metal printers use sheet lamination induced by ultrasonic vibration. It could be also used in FDM as the same process could be used to "melt" the wood and extrude it in layers.

Here are several links to more articles and papers about it:

Austrian company that already extrudes wood mass:

Reddit thread:

Two pieces of wood with welding seam from friction welding

DIY Portable Railgun With 3D Printable Casing

Someone created portable working railgun that shoots metal and carbon projectiles. The railgun uses 6 300J, 350V, 5500uF capacitors which combined weigh 20lbs and can deliver >1050V and 1.8kJ of energy to the projectile. Most of the structural parts are 3d printed. The gun is huge but it works.

Here is video of it firing (bad word) a small carbon cylinder. The power is simillar to an airgun pellet.

It is an impressive engineering and design project but it doesnt have any real.-world applications :-) Yet.

Full photo gallery with all the parts:

Reddit thread about it:

Interview with the creator:

Oct 15, 2015

Stone And Rope 3D Printing with Rock Print

Rock Print is a robotic 3d printer that lays textile ropes on bed of stones conceting them and makong an architectural shape. 

Rock Print in action:

Project description:
Rock Print is the first architectural installation to be built from low-grade granular material and constructed by robotic machines. Conceived as an intriguing vertical object, the installation presents a radically new approach to The State of the Art of Architecture – the official title of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial 2015 – and brings forward a new category of random packed, potentially fully reusable, poly-dispersed jammed structures that can be automatically fabricated in non-standard shapes. Following an initial period of robotic assembly, the installation will comprise a large-scale architectural artefact in its completed form, exhibiting distinct features, such as, for example, full material reversibility and the respective reusability of the aggregated materials; structurally active interlocking, differentiated structural performance, while yielding high geometric flexibility and articulation. Performing a full scale 3D “rock printing process” that uses the self-aggregating capacities of the material itself, this visionary project is the first collaborative installation by Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, and the Self-Assembly Lab, MIT. The Chicago Architecture Biennial will open on 3rd October 2015 and will close on 3rd January 2016. For more information:

Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich, and Self-Assembly Lab, MIT
Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, Skylar Tibbits, Andreas Thoma (project lead installation), Petrus Aejmelaeus-Lindstroem (project lead research), Volker Helm, Sara Falcone, Lina Kara’in, Jared Laucks, Michael Lyrenmann, Carrie McKnelly, George Varnavides, Stephane de Weck, Jan Willmann
Selected experts
Prof. Dr. Hans J. Herrmann and Dr. Falk K. Wittel (ETH Zurich), Prof. Dr. Heinrich Jaeger and Kieran Murphy (Chicago University)

Selected consultants
Walt + Galmarini AG
The project is supported by ETH Zurich and the Department of Architecture as well as by an ETH Zurich Research Grant. It is co-supported by MIT’s Department of Architecture, the MIT International Design Center, and an MIT International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) Grant.

Oct 12, 2015

Big 3D Printed Bolt and Longest Wooden Crossbow

Joerg Sprave is master of crazy slingshots and archery devices. In his latest video he tests a large 3d printed arrow printed by Myminifactory and his big big rubber band crossbow pistol.

Bolt was tipped with a big metal nail and it penetrates a wooden target:

Oct 11, 2015

Revolutionary MultiFab 3D Printer

MIT CSAIL is an innovation powerhouse and they presented their Multifab 3D printer that can use up to 10 different materials, uses computer vision to adjust operations and can embed objects into prints. It even cost just around 7000 USD. Hopefully the MIT will release some of the designs under open source license.

MultiFab video presentation:

MultiFab description:

We have developed a multi-material 3D printing platform that is high-resolution, low-cost, and extensible. The key part of our platform is an integrated machine vision system. This system allows for self-calibration of printheads, 3D scanning, and a closed-feedback loop to enable print corrections. The integration of machine vision with 3D printing simplifies the overall platform design and enables new applications such as 3D printing over auxiliary parts.
Furthermore, our platform dramatically expands the range of parts that can be 3D printed by simultaneously supporting up to 10 different materials that can interact optically and mechanically. The platform achieves a resolution of at least 40 micrometers by utilizing piezoelectric inkjet printheads adapted for 3D printing. The hardware is low cost (less than $7,000) since it is built exclusively from off-the-shelf components.
The architecture is extensible and modular -- adding, removing, and exchanging printing modules can be done quickly. We provide a detailed analysis of the system's performance. We also demonstrate a variety of fabricated multi-material objects.

MultiFab project homepage:

Detailed paper about MultiFab:

Oct 7, 2015

Compilation Of Tutorials On How To Build A 3D Printer Or Small CNC From Junk Parts

Here is a small tutorial links compilation that will grow in the future on how to make a simple and ultra cheap 3d printer or CNC from reclaimed or junk electronic and structural parts. Tutorials are very detailed and will help you to start with this technology, educate someone or save some parts form trash.

Beginners junk optical drive DIY 3d printer 

Instructables guide:

CD/DVD Drive CNC-3D Printer

Here is another machine made from discarded optical drives it is used as small CNC and plotter.

Step-by-step build guide:


This is a hackable 3d printer based on common drawer runners or rails. You can purchase them or take them from junk furniture.

Detailed construction guide:

Rugged and raw DIY style ... it is worth to gut some kitchen cabinets to build it ...

Apis Cor Circular House 3D Printer

Apis Core presents their construction 3d printer which has an interesting new design somewhat similar to polar movement machines. It looks like it has many advantages over regular three axis setups of current building printers.

Apis Cor presentation:

Apis Cor in operation extruding cement paste:

Company homepage:

Chimera DLP 3D Printer You Can Build for Under 60$

Here is one of the cheapest DIY 3d printers you can make, with cost at around 60 USD, and it is DLP SLA machine!
It also comes with very detailed construction guide made by the developer "matstermind".

How can the price be so low? Mostly by using used or scraped parts. You can see it in the parts list below.

Bill of materials:
  • 1x Mitsubishi XD221u 1024x768 video projector, used or second-hand $50
  • 1x computer disc drive laser deck assembly (must be one with a stepper motor), free from scrap disc drive
  • 1x Arduino UNO / Duemilanove or atmega328 based Arduino clone, $4 ebay, used or second-hand
  • 1x Easydriver v4.4, $2 from ebay
  • misc wire, solder, etc.
  • (optional) Ability to etch circuit boards (you can protoboard/breadboard it if you have to)
  • (possibly) 5v, .5A power supply. Some laser decks can be powered by the USB port by the Arduino, some may need a power supply to be plugged into the Arduino or M+ on the easydriver to make the motor move. It will depend on the power of your USB port. My deck did not need one.
  • Total=$55.5
  • (optional for frame) scrap wood for free or 2x4ft MDF board or $10 from hardware store

Looks rough and simple with wood frame. I like the style ...

Chimera is named inspired by mythological creature that is made up of three different animals since this printer is made by using the recycled/modified parts of three different categories (projector, toys, and old computer stuff), hence the name.

Video of Chimera working its DLP resin hardening magic:

Print quality looks good:

Chimera has a very detailed construction guide at:

Oct 6, 2015

When Cliff Decides to Print a Big Alien Head ...

Cliff is from Sweden. Cliff has hobbies. One of them is 3d printing.
Big Alien heads.
On the Wanhao 5S.


Ribbed for pleasure ...

Finished Alien in black coating:

SLA 3D Printed Working DIY RC Micro Drone "Air-Form 1"

Thingiverse user "niklasm" designed and 3d printed a fully working micro RC drone from tough resin on a Form 1.

Technical specifications:
  • battery: 150mAh
  • thrust: 54g
  • weight: 60g
  • wingspan: 58cm
  • dihedral: 15deg
  • flight time: 11min
Non-Printed Parts:
  • specktrum ar6410
  • 150mAh battery
  • laTrax motor
  • laTrax bearings
  • laTrax gear/propshaft
  • laTrax prop
  • 3/32in X 7/32in X 3ft rectangular carbon rod
  • 3/16in carbon tube
  • 7/64 carbon rod
  • 3ft X 3in X 3/32 balsa board
  • 1/32in music wire
  • superglue

All the files to make it and instructions can be found at:

Robogami 3D printable Folding Micro Robots

Project homepage:

Small swarm or triad ... they are friendly ... for now

From DIY 3d printing history 5 - Early days of house printers

As far as I remember first time I saw house 3d printer was with Enrico Dinis D-shape.

PDF presentation:

... some CNC sites named it the house CNC router:

But even in earlier times, 1940ies, machines existed to make houses by direct deposit of cement mixture. Sure, they used big cement mold but it was probably the birth of an idea.


3D Printable DIY Ion Thruster and EmDrive

Space will be colonized by human race, 3d printing will help but chemical rockets won't get us far. Here are two propulsion methods that you will be able to make and demonstrate here on Earth with some help of your 3d printer. Ideal for educational purposes.

3D Printable DIY Ion Thruster

Ion thrusters are proven space propulsion method and you can learn more about it on Wikipedia:

With some spare parts and 3d printed structure you can make a working model:

Learn more about the project and get more detailed construction instructions:

3D Printable EM drive or RF resonant cavity thruster

EM-drive is much more exotic method of electromagnetic space travel which was considered a hoax when first presented but turned out to be potentially revolutionary since some tests show it works thus enabling future spacecrafts to fly without fuel mass.

Learn more here:

Now you can also make a model and test it with few metal parts and a 3d printed support.

Project homepage:

Oct 5, 2015

CollideOScope Multi Filament Printhead

Looks like a new multifilament printhead is in preparation and probably will come up soon on Kickstarter ...
Many motors, looks big ... we will see will it deliver ...

So many drives and motors ....

Oct 4, 2015

How To Design a Chainring Using Open Source Tools

Rich Olson has another great tutorial on how to design and make chainrings using open source software and low cost CNC.

Here is the link to original post with all the tools and scripts needed:

Rich makes a chainring for his bicycle but they have different uses in power transmission. Beside metal they can be also made on a small CNC from other materials like carbon fiber.

Finished carbon plate chainring for a custom bicycle:

Hacking and Upgrading Cheap Chinese 3020 and 3040 CNCs

I plan to buy a cheap or even second-hand Chinese 3020 or 3040 CNC mill so I looked around to find a way to improve it with parts I already have like Arduino or some simple electronic upgrades. I found two interesting guides:

Upgrading 3020 (and other models) with Arduino, GRBL and CNC Shield V3

Detailed guide by EricAusome can be found at:

John Lauer hacked his 3040 to run with ChiliPeppr and TinyG.


This post will serve as my knowledge base and will be expanded as I gather more CNC hacks.

Tormach PCNC 440 Home Manufacturing High End CNC Mill

Did you ever wanted to have a small factory for metal parts in your garage? Now you can ...
Tormach is major player in high end CNC machines and they just announced their professional PCNC 440 model which is aimed at home and small workshop manufacturing. It is priced at $4,950 which is relatively low cost for this type of machine.
Home and distributed manufacturing is rapidly developing and this is just another sign of it.

Video introduction of PCNC 440 with tech specs:

Tormach 440 mill homepage:

Make review:

Here is the unboxing and video review:

... it can also cut 4140 steel:

Full Tormach 440 workstation without tool changer:

Glowforge 3D Laser Printer or Laser Cutter and Engraver

Glowforge presents their device which they named "3D Laser Printer". The name itself is somewhat misleading and there are many negative comments about it on this video. It is not an additive manufacturing device but a desktop laser cutter and engraver.

Other than confusing name, the machine itself looks interesting, relatively low in price - USD 1995 on preorder - and comes with model catalog of stuff you can cut or engrave.

Technical specifications:
  • 12” x 20” (Glowforge Basic)
  • 20” by ∞ (Glowforge Pro)Software
  •  Drag-and-drop with live preview
  • Trace mode engraves over drawings
  • JPG, PNG, TIF, SVG, AI, DXF, PDF, & moreHardware
  • Dual cameras: wide angle & macro
  • Custom 40W (basic) / 45W (pro) laser
  • Optical thickness measurement
  • Continuous realtime autofocus
  • Detailed specifications:

Here is a longer and detailed video presentation:

General description video:

Glowforge homepage:

You can see various things that can be lasercut on Glowforge Pinterest:

Update (11.12.2016.):

Here is the Glowforge review by Tested crew:

Water Quality Testing with a Help of a 3D Printer

Since I live in deep rural Croatia surrounded with heavy agriculture, I often wonder abut my drinking water quality. Since a lot of pesticides and fertilizer are used we do have some issues with arsenic or nitrate pollution of water sources. Since water professional water testing is expensive and not the most accessible solution, I googled to see what can be done with hobby electronics and DIY approach.
I found open source water quality testing platform and open source enzymatic-photometric nitrate testing system.

Both machines were developed by By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology like many other useful open source scientific devices. Casing and structural parts are 3d printed.

Detailed guides, software and manuals can be found at:

3D Printing and Aerospace Industry Technology Overview 2015

Here is the overview of the latest developments in high-tech 3d printing for aerospace industry.

Dollo Modular RepRap

Dollo is another RepRap with high percentage of 3d printed parts and that can be printed with 1 kg of filament. Since it is modular it could have been expanded and re-arranged. Interesting design but it looks like the development stopped.

Dollo project homepage where you can download the files for it:

Build instructions:

DIY 3D Printed CO2 Laser Tube is Uber Cool

A guy under a YT username 1kreature started developing his own 3d printed N/CO2 laser tube. He has achieved some great results! Soon we can print some cool laZors!

... and here is more successful ignition with better vacuum:

He still has not published his files, but he is still developing the project. Sure, it will take some time and effort to perfect it and you will need some experience in building it but did I mention how cool lasers are!?


If you want to learn more about build a CO2 laser by yourself check out this link:

Oct 1, 2015

3D Printed Solar House or Hyped-up RV Trailer?

So, I've been seeing a lot of articles in the 3DPI blogosphere about this new amazing 3d printed solar micro-house developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and their AMIE project.

Now, what is exactly new here? All the technology is well known for decades and used extensively both by hobbyists, campers, RVers, off grid hippies and big companies ...

Did they just spend tons of tax payers money to create an RV trailer with some solar panels on it and battery powered golf cart? Maybe I just don't understand science ...

Sure, there is some nice futuristic design and a BIG 3d printer (cool toys) but is this really worth it?

Solar panels on RV trailers? Its nothing new ...


I was not aware of this fact but it looks that this is the largest polymer 3d printed structure in the world. When you exclude cement paste 3d printed buildings (which are controversial) than this could truly be world's biggest 3d printed building or mobile house.

3D printable AAA Battery Blanks for Wired Power

KermMartian developed this useful 3d printable AAA battery module that replaces the standard battery and enables you to connect your device to external power supply via wire connection. He used it on his calculator.

Detailed guide and STL files can be found at:

3D Printable Low Cost Stethoscope Developed by Tarek Loubani

Tarek Loubani, a doctor working in the Gaza strip developed a DIY 3d printable stethoscope that can be made for 4-5 USD or even less, but it works as good as 200 USD professional grade model.

Here is his talk at CCCamp15 worth watching if you are interested in this area and you want to see the development process and the need for such devices in hard conditions:

All the files for the stethoscope with construction instructions can be found at:

Source: (with sound measurement charts)