Jan 31, 2016

3D Printable Ocean Sensor Buoy

As I live near Danube and Drava (Drau) rivers in Croatia I wanted to explore possibilities to measure environmental data and make them publicly available.  As I searched around for DIY or open source sensor projects I found this one which wants to develop open source ocean weather buoy with 3d printable hull. It looks like the project development is in some kind of pause but the idea behind it looks solid and one can get many useful details out of it.

The sensor pack sphere is made from two 3d printed parts, one can be transparent if you want to have small solar photo-voltaic cell power source.  There is also a pressure equalization valve installed since the internal pressure changes due to water pressure, temperature and movement so it allows air to to move but prevents  water from entering.

My plan is to cooperate with local HackLab and Croatian, Hungarian and Serbian environmental NGOs and see if we can use it to track river water data (temperature, flow, pH, UV radiation, noise, particles etc). I'll still need to research some low cost water quality sensors. If we deploy few of them in Danube they could even reach the Black Sea.

Buoy in scale to human hand, you can clearly see the antenna for cellular or data connection. It could probably be used for different bands if you use it in open waters, there are many low power solutions even with satellite communications and Arduino.

Buoy modules and parts overview:

Early prototype:

Project homepage with development blog and .STL files:

Lunavast CrafteHbot Inkjet Coloring 3D Printer

Lunavast CrafteHbot is strange looking attempt of a full color 3d printer from Japan. It uses inkjet attachment to paint on the deposited filament. Detailed information about it is limited and I'm skeptical that this is a robust solution. I'm not even sure if the inkjet attachment is custom made or used from a moded paper printer.

Tech specs:
  • 3D printing method: Fused deposition manufacturing (FDM)
  • Color printing method:Direct to Object (Patent pending)
  • Build size ( X Y Z ): Single color output: 200 x 200 x 200 mm
  • Full color printing: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
  • Layer height: 0.1-0.3mm
  • Build materials: PLA/PETG/ABS etc.
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • 3D print speed: 50-150mm/s
  • Extruder: Bondtech QR Double drive gear (Dual extruders)
  • Hot end: E3D V6
  • Electronics: RADDS + Arduino Due (32bit ARM Coretex M3)
  • Motor driver: RAPS128 128step microsteps
  • Firmware: aprinter
  • Inkjet printer: Required separately
  • Maximum inkjet ink spray distance: About 10mm
  • Inkjet ink: Lunavast 6 colors (CMYK/LC/LM)
  • Host software: Repetier-Host + Inkjet control plugin
  • Color model processing software: Blender
  • Operating system: Windows 7 (unknown if other are supported)
  • Weight: 30kg
  • Dimensions: 130 x 70 x 70 cm
  • Price: 2499 USD

Here is Lunavast 3d printing and coloring a map model:

Lunavast homepage:

Jan 30, 2016

MakersMuse guide for buying cheap 3d printer parts

Angus from Maker's Muse shows us his guide for buying low cost parts from various online sources. take a look if you want to source parts for cheapest DIY 3d printer possible. NEMA motors are too expensive? No problem he found 2 USD motors that can be hacked to provide more power ...

They have many interesting videos at:

Encore 3D Printing Upgrades for Everyday Objects

Xiang ‘Anthony’ Chen and his associates developed several FDM 3d printing techniques to augment / improve already existing objects by printing on them or using affixed and interlocked attachments.
Here is an example of scissors with added 3d printed tag:

Video is very informative:

Project homepage with much more images and data:

Supporting 3D Prints with Paper Shims

DrDawes forgot to generate supports and used paper cards as shims to save his print. Very useful to remember! Maybe it can also be used to make some more complex geometries.

Video of the technique:

Today, I ran into another issue. I’ve been printing many items for student projects in my electronics class and got a bit casual about sending files to the printer without looking too closely. I had a full print bed worth of parts running when I realized one part was designed with major overhangs; essentially a flat plate that had some mounting lugs extending up and down from it. The print was already 1/3 through and I didn’t want to kill the job it since most of the print would be fine… but I knew that this part of the print would fail. Staring down this impending problem, I figured I’d try a hack and at least see if I could salvage the print job.
I looked through my gcode in octoprint to see where the overhang would kick in (layer 13 it turns out). Grabbed enough index cards to make a stack about 13*0.25mm high and started cutting. When I had a reasonable set of cards ready to go, I waited for layer 12 and paused the print. I started to stack the cards and tape them down with kapton tape. Based on feel, the layer height wasn’t 0.25mm so I pulled a few cards off the stack until they felt as tall as the existing print.
The results are certainly better than if there wasn’t any support, and I’m actually surprised it worked as well as it did. Surface quality is actually about as good as it is with support; not as nice as it would be if the surface were more even, but I had to have a way to hold the cards in place so the tape strips show up a bit. In the future, I’d just lay down wide strips of masking tape (i.e. blue tape) since I like the finish it gives and I know PLA sticks to it.
An interesting note is that the cards definitely change the heat properties of the bed but that doesn’t seem to have changed the outcome much. I was worried about printing on a cold surface instead of the heated bed but that seems to be an unfounded concern. I suspect ABS may be more picky about this, but the PLA didn’t show any warping.

Source webpage with more info:

Ultimaker Food Paste Extruder Mod

Dirk Janssen moded his original Ultimaker with food paste extruder based on a large syringe. He started with extruding peanut butter. Follow his Tumblr for future updates, the project is still in the development.


New research on harmful emissions of 3d printing

New research was released about harmful particles in 3d printer fumes. Yes, inhaling molten plastics is not the best thing for your health. Who would have guessed?
In near future we will probably see some sort of regulation regarding 3d printing, starting from consumer warnings to control of 3d printer enclosures, ventilation and filtration in schools.

From the source article:
A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology by researchers at Illinois Institute of Technology and The University of Texas at Austin sheds more light on potentially harmful emissions from desktop FDM 3D printers. The researchers measured emissions of both ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from 5 commercially available polymer-extrusion 3D printers using up to 9 different filaments.
The researchers found that the individual VOCs emitted in the largest quantities included caprolactam from nylon-based and imitation wood and brick filaments (ranging from ~2 to ~180 g/min), styrene from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) filaments (ranging from ~10 to ~110 g/min), and lactide from polylactic acid (PLA) filaments (ranging from ~4 to ~5 g/min). Styrene is classified as a "possible human carcinogen" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC classification group 2B). While caprolactam is classified as "probably not carcinogenic to humans," the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) maintains low acute, 8-hour, and chronic reference exposure levels (RELs) of only 50, 7, and 2.2 g per cubic meters, respectively, all of which would likely be exceeded with just one of the higher emitting printers operating in a small office.

Detailed research paper:

.The last sentence from the research summary clearly states:
Results from a screening analysis of potential exposure to these products in a typical small office environment suggest caution should be used when operating many of the printer and filament combinations in poorly ventilated spaces or without the aid of combined gas and particle filtration systems.
Stay safe guys!

Autodesk Meshmixer 3 is out!

Autodesk Meshmixer 3 is out with some interesting and useful new features!

New features:

  • new Complex objects that contain internal partitions (beta!). Complexes make it easy to design for multi-material 3D printing!!
  • Generate Complex tool to create a Complex from face groups
  • Split Complex decomposes a Complex into separate solid shells
  • new Export mode that automatically decomposes Complex on write
  • new Align to Target tool to automatically align meshes in 3D
  • new Unwrap tool flattens surface patches
  • new SVG Export can export meshes as SVG (edges, colors, etc). Try it with Unwrap!
  • new Mesh Query tool for visualizing mesh properties
  • new measurement-based scene scaling workflow in Units/Dimensions tool
  • new Select Intersecting action in Select tool (double-click on other scene objects)
  • new Preserve Group Borders and Project To Target options in Smooth Boundary
  • Remesh can now automatically preserve sharp edges
  • Make Pattern can now clip to active Target object
  • Make Solid updates and new mode to automatically preserve sharp edges (slow!)
  • huge Booleans stability improvements
  • minor improvements to Transform, Smooth, Replace and Reduce
  • export support for SMESH format
  • Pivot-drag positioning shortcut can now terminate on any surface in scene
  • new unlit-texture shader
  • support for Autodesk Screencast
  • crazy bugfixes
  • tons of UI improvements to indicate disabled/unavailable menus and settings
  • lots of [scripting API improvements]

Video overview:

Go get it here:

Weird Bunny ... What happened to you bro? 

Jan 29, 2016

LaserWeb Open Source Laser Cutter Control Software

LaserWeb is powerful open source laser cutter and engraver control software. Perfect choice for your self-build laser cutter or upgrading a cheap Chinese Co2 laser device.

LaserWeb description and features:

Node.js based, Windows/Linux/Mac/Raspberry Pi/Vagrant supported, host software for Lasercutters/Engravers running Marlin/Smoothieware/Grbl/LasaurGrbl with integrated parametric Gcode generators, Raster support, as well as Raster and Vector Engraving. SVG and DXF supported for cutting, PNG, BMP, JPEG support for raster engraving.
It works on all platforms from Windows, OsX,  various linux distros and Raspberry Pi.

GitHub repository:

Jan 25, 2016

Simple DIY Air Heat Exchanger You Can Make With Your 3D Printer

Air heat exchanger is a useful ventilation system part that will enable you to save energy while maintaining a good air flow in your enclosed space. It uses the outgoing air form the heated space to warm the cold air that is going from outside. Heat is thereby recovered and energy consumption for heating decreased.
They are mostly used in passive or low-energy houses or buildings, but they can be used in most insulated spaces. There are also applications where you can cool the air coming in.
The entire system is also called Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV). You maintain air flow which improves indoor air quality, reduces bacteria and mold buildup, stabilizes the moisture but you don't need to open the windows and still keep some 70-80% of heat that would normally be wasted.

Yvo de Haas developed a small DIY 3d printable version that he implemented in his house with excellent results. The heat exchanger itself is printed in PLA while tubing is standard PVC with standard 60mm fans to drive the air. The electric fans can be noisy but they can be easily replaced with quieter ones.

He developed two versions of this DIY HRV: one that is partialy 3d printed and one that is fully 3d printed.

Here is what Yvo writes about the fully 3d printed unit tech specs:
The completely 3D printed version is, as the name suggests, completely 3D printed. To make it I modified my Ultimaker with an E3D V6 with 0.25mm nozzle.
The walls of the exchanger are 0.3mm thick. The outside dimensions of the exchanger are 15x8x7cm but it has an internal surface area of around 1000cm² (1/10th of a square meter or about a square foot). It is printed in PLA and takes around 10 hours to print at 0.16mm layer thickness.
With special adapters it can fit 60mm fans and all the other adapters I have designed special adapters were printed to connect the 60mm fans to the 3D printed exchanger.

Fully 3d printed heat exchanger element. Here is where the magic happens. 

Heat exchanger installed on the window with fan ventilators attached. 

Yvo measured and logged the temperature data:
The 4 temperatures (unit does not matter):
  • Hot in (the warmer air that enters the hot side of the exchanger)
  • Hot out (the warmer air that exits the cool side of the exchanger)
  • Cool in (the cooler air that enters the cool side of the exchanger)
  • Cool out (the cooler air that exits the hot side of the exchanger)
Does it work?
The answer, YES. After running for over 8 hours while I was at work, the air was a lot fresher. Usually when I come home there is a certain staleness to the air, but now I came home to nothing. Just nice air. I had the logger running for the entire time. The test started around 8 o'clock, every number on the X is 6 seconds. There are 3 zones of interest.
0-3000: Here the air outside is slowly heating up. Temperatures around this point are: HI: 17°C, HO: 10°C, CI: 6°C, CO: 14.5°C, giving 63.6% for the hot flow and 77.3% for the cool flow, averaging 70.5%.
3000-4000: Here the sun hits the window and there is a spike in temperature. No useful data can be gathered from this time.
4000-6000: The air outside is slowly cooling. Temperatures around this point are: HI: 17°C, HO: 12°C, CI: 8°C, CO: 15°C, giving 55.6% for the hot flow and 77.8% for the cool flow, averaging 66.7%.

Full construction tutorial with heat exchange data charts can be found at:

Project homepage and all the files needed to make this heat exchanger:

Learn more about energy recovery ventilation here:

If you want to build full size DIY heat exchanger from coroplast here is a full video tutorial by YT user "Designed By Instinct":

For a page dedicated to DIY solar, heating, cooling and ventilation solutions, plans and user experiences including HRV check out:

Jan 24, 2016

3DP Unlimited’s 3DP1000 Industrial Strength 3D Printer

3D Platform makes the 3DP1000 industrial strength large format 3D Printer which targets more professional and industrial markets.  Key features are its large print volume, advanced mechatronics and possibility to produce objects with inserts.

Technical specifications:
  • Printer Size 1.42 x 1.67 x 1.52 m
  • Printer Weight: 300 lbs
  • Print Technology: FFF
  • Build Area: 1m x 1m x 0.5m (39″ x 39″ x 19″) – 1.5m diagonal
  • Layer Resolution: As low as 70 micron, (.0027″)
  • Material Compatibility: PLA, ABS, others
  • Filament Diameter: 3mm
  • Extruder Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Print Bed: Heated borosilicate, 5mm thick
  • The Base printer is mounted on an industrial cart, and it's priced at $15,999, while the Base-Plus printer is mounted on an enclosed industrial cart, and it's priced at $16,699.

Here are some videos of 3DP1000:

... it also has some more advanced mechatronics:

Here is an overview of some of the printers abilities including large models with inserts:

3DP Company homepage:

Jan 23, 2016

Titan Robotics Atlas Large Format 3D printer is a BEAST!

Titan Robotics makes custom 3d printers as big as their customers want them.  They have presented their mighty Atlas large format printer that can make some serious FDM objects. I'm looking forward to see their next generation machines.

Technical specifications:

  • FDM 3D Printer
  • Standard Model-30x30x45 inch build space (762mm x 762mm x 1143mm) -$19,500
  • Atlas 2.0-36x36x48 inch build space (915mm x 915mm x 1220mm) -$24,000 
  • Moving table design
  • Precision machined steel frame
  • 32 Bit Smoothieboard 4X or 5x with ReprapDiscount Graphic LCD -8GB SD Card
  • Simplify 3D (software settings included)
  • 110V at 18amps or 220V Heated bed at 9 Amps
  • Prints most FDM style materials-ABS, PLA, PETG, Nylon, TPE Ninjaflex +many more
  • Driven by 16mm lead ground recirculating ball screws for virtually zero backlash
  • Size 15mm profiled linear rails and preloaded runner blocks
  • Stepper speed – Rapid travel up to 150mm/s 
  • Servo speed – Rapid Travel up to 600mm/s (highly recommended)
  • IGUS Cableflex cables and cable guides rated for minimum 2,000,000 Cycles
  • Bulldog XL extruder capable of using 3mm filament.
  • Hexagon hot end with a .7mm nozzle. (swappable from .4mm-1mm)
  • 350W or 450W Power supply
  • 2 Days of Installation labor is included as well warranty on all items deemed defective from 1 Year date of purchase
  • Unlimited free customer phone service
  • Full documentation with user manuals and electrical schematics are included with the purchase of a machine
  • Each machine can be adapted and custom made according to the customer’s specifications.

Standard Model:
  • $19,500 – 30x30x45 inch build space (762mm x 762mm x 1143mm)
  • $24,000 – 36x36x48 inch build space (915mm x 915mm x 1220mm)
Optional Additions:
  • +$300 – Additional 25.4mm of stroke on each axis
  • +$5,000 – Yaskawa Closed loop AC Servo option
  • +$1,000 – Dual extruder
  • +$11,500 – 14GA Sheet metal enclosure with embedded heating system and PID Controller for ABS Prints

Here are they on CES 2016:

Here is the Atlas printing a coffee table:

Company homepage:

Atlas 3d printer homepage:

I like the raw industrial design. Simple and utilitarian. 

Make Your Own Rotary 3D Printer Workstand

Bob (that likes to make stuff) made this amazing and very useful rotational workstand for your 3d printer that you can easily build from plywood and MDF.
This workstation is designed to make filament spool change simple in tight spaces. The compartment in it can hold several spools.

Great work Bob!

Video tutorial and demonstration:

Very detailed pictorial build guide can be found at:

DIY Ultimaker Tool and Extruder Changer Mechanism

Ultimaker forum user by the name of FoehnSturm presented his approach to toolchanger mechanism on the original Ultimaker machine.

It uses a custom modular direct drive extruders with hot end placed in holders mounted on printer's frame. This extruder is powered by NEMA 8 motor and has a   hotend like Merlin, Prometheus, E3D or similar. In the future it will use other tools also.
This system can hack your Ultimaker in true multitool hybrid digital fabricator.

Do keep in mind that this project is still in the development but it looks very interesting. It could be also adapted to other 3d printers. My opinion was always that the multitool machines are the future.

Here is the first prototype:

... more developed version with higher accuracy and repeatability:

Here is the mechanism working well with dual extruders doing two color printing:

Here is the high speed tool change in action:

The mechanism can have magnetic connectors and supports different tools like polishing head:

You can see the entire thread on the UM forum with much more information and insight in the development process:

You can see some of the files on Youmagine. Here is the one for the modular Ultimaker printhead that uses a direct extruder:

... here are some of the files for the magnetic exchangers:

3D Printed Watch with Tourbillon Mechanism

Christoph Laimer devloped a working 3d printable analogue watch with Tourbillon mechanism.

Here is how he describes his project:
This is a mechanical watch with tourbillon and going barrel. The watch has a Swiss lever escapement, embedded in the tourbillon. It is driven by a 3d-printed spring, and runs 35 Minutes (a wire retraction spring made from steel would perform better). My watch is running with less than 0.5 Seconds deviation within one Minute.
The project demonstrates that the 3D-printing technology is developing. Compared with earlier generations of 3d-printers, the process works more reliable and more accurately.
The watch is designed with Autodesk Fusion 360, and printed with Ultimaker 2.
It is truly a masterpiece and work of great craftsmanship:

You can get all the files and 3d print it yourself:

Here you can see a watchface and a parts of a spring mechanism. Layers of PLA are also clear to see.

Jan 22, 2016

Manhattan Pegboard Organization Elements

Pegboards are hard to find in Croatia and they are also expensive. If I could get them I would put them everywhere and use this 3d printable DIY pegboard organizing modules to store everything.

Thingiverse page:

Matt Manhattans page about the project:

Here is what it looks like in the living room, but you can use it in every room and workshop. Designs are easily customizable.

Jan 20, 2016

Vaeder V-struder Belt Drive Cold End Extruder

Martijn Vaeder devloped a novel cold end extruder which drives the filament with belt drive. Here is what he says abut his invention:

The idea for this new type of cold end came to me through having a lot of frustrating experiences with the Greg Wade's cold end, such as frequent slipping of the filament, the drive wheel grinding into the filament, the deformation of the filament which causes extra friction in the PTFE tubing and overall lack of force to extrude the filament. I thought "why couldn't you exert force on the filament from both sides of the filament by adding gears between the drive wheel and the flywheel?".
Early prototypes showed me that this improved the extrusion performance significantly. Unfortunately it still deformed the filament the same way as the Greg Wades cold end. Therefor I thought: "what if you increase the contact area between the filament and the drivewheels, so you can reduce the force pressing down on the filament while increasing the extrusion force?". This brought me to using a belt and wheel to clamp the filament between, which gave very promising results during early prototyping. Now many iterations down the line I present to you the Vaeder curved and geared cold end.
Here is the demonstration of an early prototype:

Here is a very detailed assembly guide video:

3DHubs forum thread abut this extruder:

GitHub repository with all the files needed to print it yourself:

You can buy it  here for some 41 euro:

V-struder schematics that clearly shows angles of filament, gears and belt drive

Kylo Ren Gets Into 3D Printing

Battery Powered Off-grid Forest 3D Printing

Woods are lovely, dark and deep ... but you can 3d print in them ..
Here is a video showing a Printrbot setup connected to a 12V battery working fully autonomous in the woodlands ...

Here is the screenshot of all the parts, including the battery, inverter, control tablet ,,,

You may also consider a different fabrication method using ancient knowledge and bare hands:

Jan 19, 2016

Printocracy Quotation Web Application For Your 3D Printing Business

Printocracy started as a quoting aggregator for 3D printing, uploading and quoting parts through iMaterialise, Shapeways, Scuplteo and other services. Soon they found out that there was a needs for small / mid-size service bureaus to quote parts for their own customers and drive traffic to their sites.

They developed an web based application that acts lik a backend CMS for your service bureau. After putting in some information about the 3D printers you have, the materials you offer and the finishes you provide, your customers can upload, repair and get quote for any model they want printed.

After building your shop on the backend through Printocracy manufacturer portal, you can drop one script tag onto your site and it will render a customizable quoting interface right on the page.

They have big plans to put in some quoting parameters that that take into account overhead costs, depreciation, error rates, support material, square footage, etc...

Currently it is in Beta and you can join in while it lasts, with 50 tester accounts for the closed Beta beginning in March. They will go live in next few months. 

Printocracy homepage:

BQ Hephestos V2 3D Printer is Great for Flexible Materials

BQ is well known technology producer from Spain and they have launched their new Hephestos V2 3d printer. It has many powerful features but does not include heated print bed. Reviews show that it is ideal for PLA and elastic filaments due to extruder configuration.

Hephestos V2 Tech Specs:

  • Maximum: 200 mm/s* Subject to materials, profiles and software used.
  • Very high - 50 microns
  • High - 100 microns
  • Medium - 200 microns
  • Low - 300 microns
  • Product without PLA reel: 
  • (x)450 x (y)516 x (z)571 mm (static) 
  • (x)450 x (y)605 x (z)571 mm (dynamic)
  • Product with PLA reel : 
  • (x)450 x (y)516 x (z)661 mm (static)
  • (x)450 x (y)605 x (z)661 mm (dynamic)
  • Enclosure: (x)627 x (y)465 x (z)207 mm
  • Printable area: (x)210 x (y)297 x (z)220 mm

  • Filament diameter: 1,75 mm
  • PLA, PLA-similar, FilaFlex and other elastomers

  • Own design extruder with double drive gear traction setting and filament guide to maintain compatibility with flexible or soft filaments.
  • 0.4 mm nozzle for 1.75 mm filament
  • Finned dissipator with axial fan controlled by firmware (low noise)
  • Cooling blower
  • Sensor specifically designed for 3D printing (auto-levelling)
  • Powder-coated aluminium base and frame
  • Hard chromed bars for the Y axis
  • Lineal ball bearing for the Y axis
  • Recirculating ball bearing guides with flat runner for the X and Z axes
  • Cable chain
  • Flexible couplings for the screwed rods of the Z axis
  • 3-point print bed levelling system with shock absorber
  • Rapid system for changing print bed

  • Proprietary Mega 3D control unit
  • Inductive sensor for automatic calibration
  • LCD display with navigation knob 
  • Power supply unit: 12V 100W
  • Thermistor 100k at the Hot-End
  • Cartrige heater: 12V 40W

  • Marlin-derived firmware
  • New features: auto-levelling, manual levelling using inductive sensor exclusively designed for 3D printing, power-saver system
  • Improved user interface
  • Recommended environment: Cura Software, slic3r, Repetier, Kisslicer
  • Files accepted: .gcode
  • Compatible operating systems: Windows XP or later, Linux and Mac OS X or later

It will be priced at 849,90 €.

BQ homepage:

Hephestos V2 Reviews, Tests and Building Process 

Here is an excellent review by well known expert Richard Horne (aka. Richrap) where he also shows his excellent results with flexible filaments in various forms of elastomers.

Blog post with more details:

Here is Richards video about finalized build, how to build it and some upgrades:

Here is Trevor from 3D Print World Aylesbury with his build log and review:

HydroSpan 100 Water Enlarging Polymer

I was searching for water hardened polymers and I accidentally found this: the HydroSpan 100 Enlarging Polymer. It is a polymer that grows in water by absorbing it. It grows BIG!

Here is the HydroSpan description:
HydroSpan 100 is a unique two component, Flexible, 100% solids (contains no V.O.C.), polyurethane elastomeric compound. HydroSpan 100, when fully cured provides a simple method for expanding three dimensionally molded parts. Expanding parts is done by simply molding the part with HydroSpan 100 to from a rubber master. After curing 24 hours at room temperature the molded HydroSpan 100 part is soaked in room temperature water and allowed to expand. Full expansion is 161% larger than the original part. Full expansion of parts can be achieved in 5 to 14 days depending on cross section thickness of the part. Thicker cross sections take longer while thinner cross sections require less time.

The video of polymer being used:

So how is this connected to 3d printing? Imagine if we had similar material for 3d printed objects? You print them out, leave them in water and they grow several times. Hopefully someone will develop this concept :-) You have seen it mentioned here first :-) !

Product homepage:

Jan 18, 2016

Ultimaker 2+ and Ultimaker 2 Extended+ Released

Ultimaker released new and upgraded Ultimaker 2+ and Ultimaker 2 Extended+. There are several upgrades but nothing major changed in the technology.

Main upgrades are:
  • Geared feeder mechanism
  • Easy-swap nozzles with 0,25, 0,4, 0,6 and 0,8mm nozzles 
  • Optimized air flow with new fancaps

Both models have the same prices as the previous models, with the Ultimaker2+ (build volume: 223 x 223 x 205 mm) priced at  € 1.895,00 excl. VAT and the Ultimaker 2 Extended+ (build volume: 223 x 223 x 305mm) priced at € 2.495,00 excl. VAT.

Promotional videos:

All the details can be found at:

New geared filament feeder

Jan 17, 2016

XYZPrinting has new line of 3d printers

XYZPrinting released many new 3d printers on CES 2016. They even entered prosumer /professional market segment.

Video with their presentation:

You can see all the details at:

Jan 16, 2016

ESP8266 Controlled Kame 3D Printed Quadruped Robot

Kame is an open source small four-legged robot which is controlled by ESP8266 WiFi module. It has 8 servos with two motors per leg and a small LiPo battery. ESP8266 module is very cheap and this project could be ideal for a educational setting and various experiments.

Kame can walk:

Kame can jump:

Kame Thingiverse page with all the files:

Full FreeCAD files and code is also available at:

Jinn Bot 3D Printed Humanoid Robot from Switzerland

Jinn Bot is a 3d printed humanoid robot aimed at educational markets that is programmed and powered by Android device and app. Fully assembled model will cost you around 10700 Euro.

Jinn Bot in action:

Company homepage:

How To Repair a Molten Extruder

GuruBrew had an extruder melt down and he made this extensive video guide on how to repair the damage. Very useful learning material.

Here you can see the extruder gear bent out of axis due to heat melting it:

DIY Crossbow Trigger Mechanism Made With 3D Printing

"DIY Dudes" made a DIY crossbow with aluminum rails and PVC pipe bow but the trigger mechanism is fully 3d printed. The trigger group is the most complex part of the crossbow and as video shows it is fully operational.

There is the video of the crossbow in action:

The files for the trigger mechanism were not released but you could reverse engineer them from the drawings.

Project homepage:

If you are interested in making a PVC crossbow for under 10 USD here is a step-by-step guide video by Nicholas Tomihama:

Jan 12, 2016

Hacked Formlabs 3D Printer Plays a Game of Spacewar

3D printers are becoming so ubiquitous that even the higher-end machines like Form 1 and Form 2 are being used to make gaming projects like this Spacewar setup.

Matt Keeter used electronics and lasers from Form 2 and cover from Form 1, programmed it in Haskell and made a classic video game playable on a hardware of gutted SLA 3d printer.

Here is the hardware connected:

Here is a photo of the projected game objects, link to the video is listed bellow:

Detailed build guide, the code and video of project working can be found at:

Source-code is available at GitHub:

Jan 10, 2016

Polaroid enters the market with ModelSmart 250S 3d printer

Polaroid enters the 3d printing market with their ModelSmart 250S 3D printer. It also has a very costly proprietary print system but prints only PLA and PL variants.

Polaroid ModelSmart 250S 3D printer technical specifications:
  • Single extruder
  • Max model size 250(w) x 150(h) x 150(d) mm
  • Nozzle 0.4mm
  • Print speed 50mm/s (default) and can be set between 20mm/s and 100mm/s
  • Vertical resolution (layer height) 50 – 350 micron
  • Camera inside printer: minimum resolution 640 x 480, connected to LAN over WiFi, access via phone App or browser from anywhere with internet access
  • Unique Polaroid software for importing of 3D models from library or .stl file type
  • Run independently without the need of a computer via the LCD touchscreen
  • Accurate auto calibration
  • 12 month manufacturer’s guarantee (except where local regulations require otherwise)
  • MAC and Windows compatible
  • Connectivity: WiFi for network and USB for printing and firmware update
  • Filament cartridges: Nine PLA colours (Pink, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Lime, Black, White, Silver) and Wood
  • Colour consistency every print
  • Designed specifically for the ModelSmart 250S 3D to ensure highest quality output
  • Unique bi-directional smartchip mechanism identifies filament levels and ensures correct material is used
  • Proprietary Helpful Printer Driver® software for convenient consumables re-ordering and reseller benefits
  • Revolutionary Z-Axis sheets for effortless application, adhesion and removal
  • Transparent double-sided adhesive material applied to print bed
  • Consistent and robust first layer adhesion
  • Effortlessly applied and when removed leaves bed area clean and ready to print
  • Optimises highest quality outputs with smooth and blemish-free models
  • Reduces premature wear-and-tear on print head
  • Price: unknown
  • Reviews are not available at this moment

Polaroid presentation video:

Polaroid press release:


More detailed review is on:

The "expensive surprise" is:
The 250S’s print surface is not heated, so we asked how adhesion is accomplished. It turns out that you must apply a special double-sided adhesive sheet to the print bed - ON EVERY PRINT! In other words, every print requires a new sheet, even if the print fails. The price of the sheets was said to be USD$30 per 15 sheets, or about USD$2 per print!
This is an epic fail. Such a bad business model ... Guys, stop ripping your customers off ...

1730 Full Metal Hotend by Kai Parthy

The 1730 Full Metal Hotend came into existence by a unique cooperation between renown filament developer Kai Parthy and the team behind 3D-Printer Manufacturer ReprapUniverse. With 1730 it is possible to print 1.75 mm or 3 mm filament with the same hot end while its innovative modular design is leakage proofed and optimized for printing standard filaments, special filaments and high-temperature filaments.

1730 features:

  • Optimized Cooling: Optimized thermal barrier. Water cooling is not necessary
  • Short Heating Zone: Very short heating zone inside the extra-long nozzle
  • Leakage Proof: The 1730 Full Metal Hotend is physicaly leakage proof and not using any PEEK or PTFE tubing
  • Multiple Nozzle Diameters: Multiple Nozzle Diamaters available for 1.75 mm and 3 mm filament
  • Fully Assembled: The 1730 Full Metal Hotend comes fully assembled. Just mount it and start printing
  • Improved Feeding: Reduced feeding friction which is optimal for soft and brittle materials (e.g. PU)
  • Energy Efficient: Effective use of energy. Short heating-up time
  • 500 °C Ready: 500 °C tested expert module will be available in future as add-on
  • Print faster: With the 1730 Full Metal Hotend we have achieved shorter retract values. This greatly improves overall printing speed

Price is currently unknown and the Kickstarter campaign will be launched soon. it looks very interesting and I would like to see some reviews and tests.

1730 homepage:

Press release:

Jan 9, 2016

3D Fuel Algae Based Filament

3D Fuel is a company that is selling advanced 3d printing filament which is based on algae.

Lizards printed in different algae based filament colors

Here is Barbara Zeller talking about their filament on CES 2016:

3DFuel homepage:

Filament technical specifications:

3D Systems ProX DMP 320 Metal 3D Printer

3D Systems released a new industrial metal laser sintering printer: the ProX DMP 320. What is the price? Well, if you have to ask, you probably can not afford it :-)

Here are the presentation videos:

Product homepage:

Produce PDF brochre with detailed tech specs:

Planetary Resources 3D prints with real asteroid sourced metal

Planetary Resources is one of the companies who want to mine asteroids for metals and work in the asteroid belt. They will need to work with materials they find there to produce machinery and structures in space.

To develop this technology they have partnered up with 3D Systems to produce a 3d printed metal part with materials for an actual asteroid that hit the Earth. The asteroid (or meteorite) used for the print materials was sourced from the Campo Del Cielo impact near Argentina, and is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt. The machine used to print it was the new 3d Systems ProX DMP 320.

As you can see the object has complex geometry and is simillar to support structures used in satellites.

Here is a detailed video about manufacturing in space and asteroid mining technology:

You can watch an interview with Chris Lewicki, president and CEO of Planetary Resources here:

... and more detailed Engadget post:

If you want to learn more about the company check out their cool mission video:

Company homepage on the project:

Jan 8, 2016

How to 3d print on the Moon?

I'm a strong supporter for space colonization (even if it sounds ridiculous now). 3d printing will certainly be one of the key technologies that will enable us to go there.

Currently there is a small race by several private companies. from start-up to large corporations, to get a foothold in the space by developing tech solutions. Since the Moon is one of the main targets, 3d printing with lunar dust and regolith will be solutions for building Lunar bases or large surface antennae dishes. It will be done by using small robotic 3d printing rovers and some type of laser or microwave sintering of Moon surface material.

If you want to  learn much more, here is an excellent and very educational presentation by Karsten Becker from Part Time Scientists. They are a team that is in Goggle Lunar XPrize competition to enable affordable access to space.

PTScientists have a partnership with Audi for their Moon rover technology.

Here is a video with more details of the rover and story behind it. They use a lot of 3d printing with aluminum and titanium to get the properties they need. Wheels are critical for the rover movement so the pattern is specially designed.

BTW: if you are interested in Moon colonization and SF you should read Luna: New Moon by Ian Mcdonald. It is a great space opera that has elements of Dune and Game of Thrones, but is set on the Moon.

3D Systems SLAbot-1 Stereolitographic Robotic Manufacturing Cell

SLAbot-1 is a robotic arm which is used as a stereolitography apparatus in a small self-contained manufacturing cell. It enables very fast 3d printing based on resin and projection device and further manipulation of produced object. It is a concept demonstration but it could be used in some future manufacturing setting providing customized 3d printed parts.

3D Systems describe it as:

The SLAbot-1 uses an industrial robotic arm, producing parts in sequence. This modular, assembly-line-ready additive manufacturing can be configured in large arrays and enables distributed, automated, high-speed, customized manufacturing.

Here is SLAbot-1 in action:

Here is a more detailed presentation of the system which is based on a patent that is 30 years old:

SLAbot is clearly based on DENSO Robotics arm.

Katana Slicer by Printr

Katana is a new slicer released by Printr (of Formide ecosystem) that claims many features. I still have to test it and make a review.

Katana homepage:

There are some reviews on this forum which are not so favorable:

Jan 7, 2016

Resin based 3d printable ceramic with high-end properties

Scientists at HRL developed new resin ceramic material that can be 3d printed using stereolitography and has high strength and resistance to temperature. Amazing advances!

Project summary:
Researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC, have achieved a new milestone in 3D printing technology by demonstrating an approach to additively manufacture ceramics that overcomes the limits of traditional ceramic processing and enables high temperature, high strength ceramic components.
HRL’s Senior Chemical Engineer Zak Eckel and Senior Chemist Dr. Chaoyin Zhou invented a resin formulation that can be 3D printed into parts of virtually any shape and size. The printed resin can then be fired, converting it into a high strength, fully dense ceramic. The resulting material can withstand ultrahigh temperatures in excess of 1700°C and exhibits strength ten times higher than similar materials.
Ceramics are much more difficult to process than polymers or metals because they cannot be cast or machined easily. Traditionally ceramic parts are consolidated from powders by sintering, which introduces porosity and limits both achievable shapes and final strength. "With our new 3D printing process we can take full advantage of the many desirable properties of this silicon oxycarbide ceramic, including high hardness, strength and temperature capability as well as resistance to abrasion and corrosion." says program manager Dr. Tobias Schaedler.
The novel process and material could be used in a wide range of applications from large components in jet engines and hypersonic vehicles to intricate parts in microelectromechanical systems and electronic device packaging.

HRL Laboratories page:

The HRL team’s research paper, "Additive Manufacturing of Polymer Derived Ceramics," has been published in the January 1st issue of Science.

Jan 6, 2016

3d Printing with Multi-part Polyurethane

The Structur3d crew made a extensive attempts to 3d print with multi par polyurethane resin. They used custom print heads with mixed results. Mos tof the parts failed, but they are slowly moving towards success. If you want to experiment and see several techniques do check out their research.

Very detailed page with step-by-step process, extruder technology and g-code examples:

Here is the video of the process:

GCodePrintr V2.5 released!

GCodePrintr  is a very useful app developed by Mathias Dietz and it is now released in version 2.5!

New features are:
  • Tasker Integration 
  • New 3d View 
  • New Tutorial guide 
  • German translation 
  • New "Recent Files" dialog 
  • New "Fit to Screen" Zoom feature
  • New Macros - Filament change macro 
  • Move aside when pause 
  • New "Print completion Dialog" and Sharing feature
  • Easy way to enter Temperatures 
  • Macro special keywords 
  • CH341 serial chip support 
  • Support for non-square and custom bed size
  • Paint non-print moves (travel) as full lines (for CNC)
  • And more......

GCodePrintr homepage: