May 15, 2016

3D Printed DIY Battery Packs from Old Laptop Batteries

I found two old discarded batteries from HP and Lenovo laptops I owned which did not hold the charge and I was wandering what to do with them. I googled and found that they may actually hold 18650 battery cells that are still in working order. If the internal battery management system detects that even one of usually six cells is not in line with working parameters it will probably shut down the entire battery.

"Dead" laptop batteries. Used force and screwdriver to open them. Watch your fingers, you will need them trough entire life. You can see the 18650 LiPo modules in blue and green.

I discovered that there a hundreds of projects using the same refurbished module ranging from simple cell phone power packs to large solar system batteries.

Here is a tutorial on how to make a replacement hand drill battery pack with 3d printer and 18650 modules from

Here is a tutorial on how to create a larger battery pack with 3d printed frame modules for storage of solar power that can be used in small electric vehicles:

Thingiverse page:

There is large number of 3d printed projects with 18650 battery modules:

Also take a look at:

Do keep in mind that you will have to test each module and that there will be some that are just dead and can not be used.

Since you can make battery of any size, you can literally make a Tesla powerwall equivalent for a fraction of the originals 3500+ USD price. This guy made a DIY Tesla powerwall for some 300 USD:

Think about it: a battery for your entire house for just 300 USD made from junk old laptop batteries. You will probably have many many questions so I strongly recommend checking the entire content on Jehu Garcia YT channel. This guy is a battery guru!

Soon I'm going to visit our regional electronic waste processing company in town of Slavonski Brod to see if they can give me more old laptop batteries to salvage the 18650 modules.

Do you have any experiences with 18650 batteries or any projects you made? Let me know in the comments!

Precious Plastic DIY Plastic Recycling Machinery

Dave Hakkens developed a great set of open sourced DIY machines for recycling plastic. There are several machines including a 3d printing filament extruder. Every device is well documented with manuals, open sourced and uses simple and easy to find components. There is a shredder, extruder, injection molding machine and compression forming chamber.

here is the promotional video:

You can learn something about many types of plastics, which are everywhere! Like difference between thermoplastics and thermoset plastics:

3D printing filament extruder demo:

Here is a video explaining how you build it:

Here are some things you can make with recycled plastic, ranging from lamp shades to building blocs:

Project homepage where you can learn how to build each machine and about the plastics as a material:

You can find all the documentation on:

Now, recycling plastics is great idea and useful skill to have, but will it decrease the usage of plastics in general? I do not have the data, but i have strong doubts that it will not. There is a something called Jevons paradox that notes that the more efficiently we use a resource, the rate of a consumption of that resource will increase.  Think about it ....

BTW: Dave is a very cool guy, do check his youtube channel:

Here is his pro-tip video on how to get organized as a DIY / Hacker / Maker guy with industrial plastic crates:

May 14, 2016

Prusa I3 Mk2 released!!!

Prusa I3 Mk2 was just released and it looks great! Many new improvements in a proven design!

Here is a presentation by Josef Prusa:

New key features in Mk2:
  • 31% bigger build volume - 10500 cm3 (25 x 21 x 20 cm)
  • Open frame design for easy use
  • Integrated LCD and SD card controller (8GB included)
  • Up to 40% faster printing thanks to the geniune E3D V6 Full hotend
  • 0,4mm nozzle (easily changeable) for 1,75 mm filament
  • Layer height from 50 microns
  • Automatic mesh bed levelling
  • Heated print bed for warpless 3D printing from any material
  • Hassle free PEI print surface - no glass, no glue, no ABS juice
  • Supported materials – PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, Flex PP, Ninjaflex, Laywood, Laybrick, Nylon, Bamboofill, Bronzefill, ASA, T-Glase, Carbon-fibers enhanced filaments, Polycarbonates...
  • Easy multicolor printing
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) PLA filament included
  • Average power consumption 50 W (printing PLA) or 90 W (printing ABS), exterior dimensions 42 x 42 x 38 cm (16.5 x 16.5 x 15 inches), weight 6,5 kg (14 lbs), CE certification
  • Specially optimized firmware for quiet printing
  • Slicer support includes Windows 10
I like it! Probably my next purchase! 

Prusa I3 Mk2 homepage news release with more information:

You can pre-order it here:

May 13, 2016

DICE: small, fast and strong!

Rene Jurack developed the DICE, a small surprise among all the simillar designs of new machines. It is compact, very rigid and very fast featuring many interesting solutions.

Check out the technical specifications, you will be intrigued:

  • casing: 20x20x20cm small 
  • build volume: X90 Y75 Z 80 
  • movable distance: X98 Y75 Z80, so the print head can move beside the print bed, e.g. for anti-ooze-scripts at print start core XY-system 
  • linear movement with high quality linear rails (HIWIN MGN9R) in X, Y, Z full metal hotend E3D-V6 1,75mm in bowdensetup 
  • PEI-coated perma-printbed made out of precision-milled warmcasted aluminium ( EN AW 5083 ) and recessed silicone heater  direct-drive-extruder (MK8) 
  • massive enclosure milled out of 4mm thick akuminium, all bores in DXF included
  • XY-plain is laser cut out of 2mm thick stainless steel sheet, all bores in DXF included 
  • enclosure-sheets are conceived as load-bearing and stiffing parts, but can be dismantled all together without the printer falling apart. 
  • all parts are designed in a way to make adjustings easy and the components inside accessible. 
  • all parts are designed to use only one needed manufacturing technique (lasercutting) and are repeating and symmetrically
  • AZSMZ-mini 32bit-controllerboard with smoothieware firmware 
  • 4x most silent TMC2100 stepperdrivers, passive cooled 
  • despite the small footprint, use of full-fledged NEMA17 steppermotors for sufficient output reserve 
  • heated bed (230V / 60W), with recessed silicone heater 
  • motor supply voltage: 19V 
  • total power input: 230V / 0,65A at max
  • more silent than 40dB in realistical and normal operation (unadorned measures!) 
  • up to 833mm/s travelspeed 
  • up to 12.000mm/s² acceleration 
  • not until 10.000mm/s² acceleration and 100mm/s, ghosting becomes barely visible 
  • junction deviation up to 0,5mm tested 
  • the complete X-carriage (real print-setup) weighs only 160g 
  • the complete X- and Y-carriages with all mounted parts (real print-setup) weighs only 290g 
  • Hotend mounted with 2 screws, fast interchangeable 
  • bowdenlength is only 35cm (complete from MK8 to the thermal barrier in the hotend)

Here are some basic videos showing the DICE working:

Instructables page with extremely detailed build log including step-by-step videos for each segment (German language with english subtitles):

Project homepage:

Price is unknown but detailed BOM exists. 

Epoxy and fiberglass filling for very strong 3D printed parts

"hobbyman" from Turkey made an Instructables guide on how to make a very strong 3d printed part by filling it with epoxy and cut fiberglass. The parts should hold bicycle bags attached firmly to the handlebar.

Here is a short two videos of the process:

And here are photos of part being saturated with fiberglass pieces:

... and here it is finished and very strong final part:

Detailed guide:

May 12, 2016

Ikea Footstool Hacked into a 3D Printer

StefanoG from Genova, Italy, used an Ikea footstool and some Prusa i3 Rework parts an made a 3d printer.

You start with this (BTW: I HATE Ikea furniture)

And you get a 3D printer with wooden frame

Here is a detailed build guide with all the files needed:

Creators homepage:


It is not a first 3d printer made from parts made of Ikea furniture, the first I saw was this Delta:

Using DIY 3D Printer for DIY Orthodontics

Amos Dudley was low on money and he had some crooked teeth. He decided to make his own DIY orthodontic alignment trays with a help of 3d scanner, 3d printer and vacuum forming table and was successful in correcting his teeth.

Here is the process he followed from his project description:

  • The dentist assesses your teeth for suitability for the procedure. Old-school bracket braces can move your teeth in basically any direction or rotation, but plastic aligners can only exert tipping / rotational forces on the teeth. When you put pressure on the crown of a tooth, the crown moves in that direction, and the root moves in the opposite direction (this is known as Begg’s tipping principle). Without being bonded to the tooth, plastic aligners also can’t do extrusion (pulling the tooth down and away from the maxillary arch).
  • The teeth are 3D scanned. This used to be done by taking an impression, making a mold/casting, and then sending the cast to be accurately scanned. Now, there’s in-office tools like iTero that scan the teeth from within the mouth.
  • The 3D model (usually an STL file) is taken into some proprietary orthodontic software, where the teeth are separated into separate objects. A technician plans out a route for the teeth to travel over the course of the procedure, so that they move but dont intersect one another.
  • A series of models is created from the planned route, each representing a step in the motion.
  • These models are 3D printed with high accuracy.
  • Thermoplastic aligner material is vacuum formed over the 3D printed models.
  • The plastic is manually trimmed away and the edges are smoothed, to create a non-irritating aligner.

For 3d printed part he used his own extensive modification of MendelMax 2 the "Minimal Mendel", but he writes that SLA machine would do a much better job.

You can see his work process in detail at:

DIY dentistry is not easy so you better think twice before trying it yourself.

Open Surgery 3D Printed Robot

Frank Kolkman developed a DIY surgical robot made with some off-the shelf electronics and 3d printed parts. It is a home-made version of a 2 million dollar laparoscopic surgery machine made for some 5000 USD.
Naturally, you can not perform real surgeries with it (yet) and it is controlled via PS3 controller, but it is a demonstration of what can be made with simple technology for a low price.

Robot moving:

Here is a Dezeen interview:

Project homepage:

Frank's homepage:

May 11, 2016

Rise of 3D Printing Spam?

Shiv Integer is a bot developed by artists Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Julien Deswaef which downloads CC licensed 3D models from Thingiverse, mixes them up into weird new shapes, adds machine generated titles and descriptions to them, and posts them back. It is mostly not printable on a common 3d printer.

It is a form of artistic exploration and it opens many questions about Thingiverse as repository, intellectual property and re-mixing vulture.
But, if we look at it from another angle: IT IS 3D PRINTING SPAM!!!  Well at least it is a precursor to spam :-) Proto-3DPI spam. Yes boys and girls, welcome to the 21st century, where spam is 3d printed.

First thing on Shiv's FAQ page is this:
 − Is it Spam?
No, this is not spam; it is done with good intentions and with the aim of contributing new, thought-provoking, poetic and even humorous ways of making things.
... that is what all spammers say :-) !!!

Here is a project description:
Shiv Integer is a bot that inhabits Thingiverse to find and download 3D models, make assemblages of these, and post its creations back on Thingiverse, whilst respecting and retaining the Creative Commons licensing of the source models. It also generates names, descriptions and renders for all of its designs. To date (6.5.16) it has made 298 objects. The bot was launched on the 15th February and our involvement in the project was kept secret until 9th April.

Here is a video showing the object the bot re-mixed:

Project homepage:

Article about the project:

Shiv Integer Thingiverse profile and uploads:

Artist behind Shiv Integer also developed Disarming Corruptor software which can encrypt 3d models which is much more useful and thought provoking.

May 9, 2016

3D Printed Meliponines Honeycomb

Brothers Fausto and Germano Penello from Brazil developed a 3d printable stingless bee honeycomb which provides a home and reproduction place for wild bees. Since natural habitat of many useful insect species is in danger and there are few opportunities for them in urban environment, this type of ecological micro habitat is more than welcome.
For the hive carrying the combs Fausto used a simple DIY wooden beehive, but he will 3d print one in the future.

Here you can see the 3d printed honeycomb and larval cells, which means that the bees have started their colony.

As many of my family members are beekeepers and I myself am going to beekeeper school, I can testify that bees and other pollinating insects are extremely important for our ecosystem. if they go, they are taking humanity with them! So be king to our six-legged winged friends!

Full tutorial can be seen here:

May 8, 2016

Can you engrave 3d printed parts?

Can you engrave on 3d printed parts? Adafruit sucesfully demonstrated that you can. They used an Othermill CNC and PLA / PHA 3d printed part. They used a tape to protect the are from splitting.

Engraving video, the process is demonstrated on a DIY game RasPi console:

Othermill milling set up:

  • 12,000 RPM Spindle
  • 0.006in Depth
  • Tool: Engraving Bit
  • Plunge: 0.591 (15 mm/min)
  • Feed rate: 7.087 in/min
  • PLA / PHA

More detailed article:

Enomoto Kogyo 5 Axis 3D Printer

Team at Japanese company Enomoto Kogyo developed a new 5 axis 3d printer. It looks like it is oriented towards industrial applications but multi-axis machines are probably the future.

Printer presentation:

Company homepage:

LulzBot TAZ 6

LulzBot released their new flagship the TAZ 6 3d printer. It will be priced at 2500 USD.

Sneak peek:

Here is the setup video:

Here is the features overview. I did not know it has integrated filament wiper tool:

Here is a detailed review by Joel:

Company news release:

PDF brochure:

Cx5 Sculptable 3D Printing Filament

Here is a 3d printing material you can sculpt after the print process. When you add some heat you can re-sculpt it over and over again. You can easily smooth and post-process your prints adding fine details, which is specially useful in creative and artistic work.

Here is Tested video showing the material:

Here is the company presentation:

Here is the filament producers homepage:

I would like to review this material :-)