Mar 26, 2017

Using 3D printing pens for art

I'm not a huge fan of 3d printing pens (probably because I draw on pre-school level) but here are some people who use them to make some fine 3d pop art.

The apex of modern civilization: Pokemon figurines...

... and some useful things like this T-Rex skeleton:

Check their YT channel:

Their Facebook page:

MakerBot MinFill

Makerbot presented their new software innovation that enables you to minimize and optimize the infill to save time and material. It can reduce material and time for some 30%. You will lose some structural integrity, but it is aimed at prototyping applications.

MinFill presentation video:

Makerbot news post with more detail:

Here is the Minfill description:
Now you can bring your ideas to life faster for less with this major breakthrough in MakerBot Print. We’re proud to introduce MakerBot MinFill, a dynamic new Print Mode that is the first of its kind in 3D printing. Short for “Minimum Infill,” MinFill uses an intelligent algorithm to determine the absolute minimum amount of support needed for the inside of any 3D print.
As we’ve learned from professional users, not all prints need to be durable, dense, or heavy. When surface quality and print speed are more important, MinFill is a far more efficient option — especially for prints with a large internal volume.
Based on our testing, MinFill typically prints 30% faster using 30% less filament. With especially voluminous models, like spheres, we’ve seen MinFill print up to 80% faster. For professionals, that means faster early concept modeling, faster form studies, and more iterations in less time.
MinFill’s Benefits at a Glance
  • Professionals can accelerate early concept modeling, form studies, and iterations.
  • Educators can serve more students and classrooms while saving time and money.
  • Based on our testing, MinFill typically prints 30% faster using 30% less filament.*
  • The greater the internal volume of your print, the more time and money you save.
  • Compatible with MakerBot Replicator+, Replicator (5th Gen), and the Replicator Z18.

I'm still waiting to see some tests and reviews by independent sources. I also hope that this will be implemented on other platforms. Does anyone know of anything simillar?

Mar 22, 2017

Using Common 3D Printers for Hard Science

Here is a great example on how simple 3d printers are being used by scientists to make low cost specialist equipment in field of chemistry. 
Team of researchers form University of Helsinki used 3d printers to develop a chemical microreactor.

Gianmario Scotti, one of the researchers, published this video and the description:
In this video abstract we present a 3D printed polypropylene microreactor with an integrated stirring bar and nano-electrospray needle.

The nano-ESI needle is the ion source of our microreactor, and is used to couple it directly to a mass spectrometer. The microreactor is used to analyse chemical reactions with the mass spectrometer. The reaction is analysed as it happens.

We used polypropylene to 3D print the microreactor, because polypropylene is a very refractory polymer in the sense that it is neither affected by strong acids or alkaline solutions, nor by the great majority of solvents used in chemical synthesis.

This is the first 3D printed microreactor with an integrated ion source. It is also the first 3D printed microreactor with an integrated stir bar. These enable us to monitor the chemical reactions in real time.

Here are links to full research paper:!divAbstract

Here is the printed reactor connected to a spectrometer and held with 3d printed jig

Mar 19, 2017

Proton and Neutron Open Source 3D Printers

Layer One, creators of Atom3D printer, have released two open source RepRap 3d printer. Proton and Neutron. They are open sourced under Creative Commons licence.

Proton has total volume of 38 cm x 28 cm x 37 cm, assembled weight of 4.25 kg and printing volume of 18 cm x 18 cm x 15 cm.

Proton assembly video:

Proton Thingiverse page:

Neutron is a delta configuration 3d printer. It has total volume of 32 cm x 33 cm x 54 cm, weight of 3.75 kg and printing volume of Ø14 cm x 20 cm.

Neutron video:

Neutron Thingiverse page:

You can also find both 3d printers on MyMiniFactory Atom3D page:

Full details on both printers can be found at company webpage:

How to Convert Direct Feed System Into a Bowden Setup

Joe Mike Terranella published a video tutorial on how to change your direct feed extruder system into a Bowden 3D printer.  He used his Hictop Prusa clone to change it from direct feed to a Bowden setup but you can see many useful tips that can be used for other machines also.

Here is the full tutorial video:

Full parts list is on the video description but he used this Bowden conversion thing:

Here is Joe's Twitter where you can follow him:

Mar 15, 2017

DIY rotational casting machine made from wood and 3d printed parts

If you want to expand your home manufacturing arsenal, here is a very useful machine that will enable you to make hollow objects from various types of resin.
This machine is easy and cheap to make from 3d printed parts and 15mm MDF sheets cut on a CNC machine. It was published on Instructables by Jorge Dorantes.
It is hand cranked, but it could probably be easy modified to run with a simple electrical motor.

All the files and instructions can be found at:

If you are not sure how this machine works, here is a demonstration video of a different rotational casting machine by TGS Props where they use two piece silicone mold and Smoothcast 65D resin to make, well ... raptor / alien  eggs!

Mar 12, 2017

Thomas reviews 12 different bed leveling sensors

Herr Sanladerer performed a serious testing run with 12 automobiling sensors and made a video with the results.

Tested sensors were:

  • M8, 2mm inductive sensor (5V)
  • M12, 4mm inductive sensor 
  • M16, 8mm inductive sensor 
  • M16, adjustable distance capacitive sensor 
  • M16, 20mm capacitive sensor 
  • David Crocker's IR sensor 
  • SHARP analog sensor 
  • Microswiches 
  • BLTouch 

Here is the testing video:

The conclusions were:

  • If you have an aluminum bed, I'd go for the 2mm inductive type
  • For a glass-only bed, the BLTouch is a good option
  • With a PEI sheet or other stick-on bed surface, David Crocker's differential IR sensor is also a great alternative
  • The capacitive sensors are too sensitive to use seriously, and the SHARP type is not precise enough. 
  • Inductive sensors with larger trigger distances also work really well, but will need circuitry for adapting to 5V and are much larger than the 2mm type.
Detailed report with many interesting details can be found at:

Lulzbot TAZ6 3D Printer Reviews Compilation

Lulzbot TAZ6 is a flagship machine and it comes at 2400 USD price point. Since I'm interested in it, I made a compilation of reviews so you can also check it out.

TAZ6 tech specs:
  • Print Surface: Heated borosilicate glass bed covered with PEI film
  • Print Area: 280mm x 280mm x 250mm (11.02in x 11.02in x 9.8in)
  • Top Print Speed: 200mm/sec (7.9in/sec)
  • Print Tolerance: 0.1mm (0.0039in) in X and Y axes. Z axis is dependent on layer thickness
  • Layer Thickness: 0.050mm – 0.50mm (0.002in – 0.02 in), Dependent on nozzle size
  • Capable Materials: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, wood filled filaments, Polyester (Tritan), PETT, bronze and copper filled filaments, Polycarbonate, Nylon, PETG, conductive PLA and ABS, UV luminescent filaments, PCTPE, PC-ABS, and more every day
  • Usable Filament Sizes: standard 3mm (0.1in)
  • Prints best with MatterControl and MatterControl Touch for a truly standalone experience

Here is Joel's review:

Here is MatterHackers review:

Here is a review by Thomas Sanladerer:

Review by XRobots:

Here is the TAZ6 homepage:

Mar 11, 2017

Angus 3D Prints Big And Rugged Robotic Rover

Angus from Maker's Muse YT channel 3d printed this big and rugged robotic rover for off-road driving. It looks really great and can run for over an hour on LiPo batteries which drive 4 cordless drill geared motors!

Sure, it is a sort of promotion for Polymaker PC-Max filament but still it is very well executed project.

Files for this robot can be found at:

3d printed flexible springs make it jump over some obstacles

R-CNC DIY CNC Mill with 3D Printed Parts

RoMaker from France developed and published the R-CNC mill plans. It is made from 3d printed parts and aluminum structure elements. It looks easy to make with well documented build instructions. The cost of it should be relatively affordable and cheap to make. Eletronics is based on Ramps 1.4

Other key features:
  • It also has 4 rubber pads at each angle, anti-vibration and anti scratch.
  • The electronics are integrated into the machine and it has a front USB port to connect a computer to the Ramps 1.4 if necessary without dismantling everything.
  • Clean installation thanks to dragchains
  • The pressure of all bearings on the square tubes is fully adjustable
  • Very high torque for Y moving thanks to a nema motor 23 multiplied by 3 with pulley 20×60 teeth
  • Integrated LED lighting
  • Easy mounting with printable drilling templates
  • Tested successfully on wood and plastic at 700mm / min and passes of 2mm, the measurements are perfect at 5 / 100th of mm, the diagonals of the squares are equal, the round ones are round!

Thingiverse page:

Project homepage with detailed descriptions and instructions:

Mar 9, 2017

Cool vintage omnidirectional speaker design you can 3d print

While checking out new designs on Youmagine, I found a 3d printable copy of vintage omnidirectional Harman Kardon HK-25 loudspeakers. Each speaker consists of a top and bottom part. The bottom is designed to hold a 50mm "metallic" driver speaker that can be found in many cheap "iPod" speaker docks.

This will probably bi my next 3d print for a small home sound system.

Here is the link to Youmagine where you can find the files:

Speakers were designed by Jason J. Gullickson:

It makes me wonder what is the copyright law on industrial design?

Mar 8, 2017

Steve Builds a DIY Enclosure for His Prusa i3

Steve published his build instructions for plywood and acrylic enclosure to encase his Folger Tech Prusa i3.  The overall size is 19.5" wide x 22" tall x 23" deep.
Very useful DIY project for noise reduction and temperature control.

Here is the video of the construction process:

Instructables page:

Steve's homepage:

Finished enclosure:

Mar 7, 2017

Upcycle your old Prusa into a laser cutter

Jon aka. Dr3vil used a parts form old Prusa Mendel and made a close chamber DIY laser cutter / engraver. He documented his project on Thingiverse.

Jon writes:
I wanted to add a laser cutter/engraver to my shop and decided it would make a good design challenge based on recycling a Prusa Mendel - Essentially a frame of 5/16” threaded rod and 8mm rod with LMU88 bearings. The CAD models had to be simple to print, make what you can, buy what you absolutely must, and source locally. Ultimately this project is a primer for building gen III of my 3D printer and a larger gen II laser of many watts. As such I’m sharing an ‘as-is’ , ‘it got me to operational’ dump of the project STL’s, sanding and part prep will be required.

Firmware is Marlin configured for CoreXY. It was helpful to set a dummy thermistor value as this allows using the print bead and hot-end outputs as switches from gcode (M104 S100 and M140 S100, send S0 to turn off). The fans and laser power supply are switched, as usual fan PWM modulates the laser through M106.

Gcode generation is either by Jtech Inkscape plugin or 305 Engineering’s raster generator. For engraving PCB’s I ended up modifying 305’s code, borrowing a page from Jtech. The first change was having laser off moves run at full speed, since acceleration is handled in firmware this shaves a lot of time off the job. The second change was to have a pause when turing the laser on or off as to allow the edges of the burn to be more defined, 200ms was enough. Finally adding pre and post geode safe the machine when done and get in position.

For files and instructions go to:

Keep in mind that it is a work in progress...

3D Printable Flexible Memory Structures by Peng Jin

Peng Jin used NinjaFlex filament to produce flexible structures with memory effect that can be used for various applications from architecture to art. 

Project description:
Taking advantage of the TPE (specially formulated thermoplastic elastomer), I did a series of study with my Printrbot Simple Metal, testing out both the limit of the material and the printer. Such as printing larger volume with a relatively smaller printer which could offer better accuracy, and print flexible material with bi-stable units to create shape-memory structure. I applied all the ideas from these studies to my architecture design afterwards, creating products and spaces with flexibility and adaptability, as wells as new ways of interaction between human and product, even more, between individuals with these potential produces.

You can find full project info at:

Mar 6, 2017

Can you make a DIY 3D printed car engine belt?

Mike designed and 3d printed the engine belt for his car. It took him several attempts.

Did it work?

Here is the full video:

It basically works for a minute on low RPM before it disintegrates, not practical for driving but nice experiment. Someone could probably improve on this idea and try different materials.

Mike's blog:

How to develop your 3d printer by Diego Porqueras

Here is an interesting talk on how to design and develop your own 3d printer. You must watch it if you are interested in a process since it is very informative.

Talk summary:
Diego Porqueras invented the Bukobot and Bukito 3D printers. Bukobot’s wildly popular Kickstarter campaign raised four times the requested funds, helping Diego open a Southern California hackerspace store, Deezmaker.
But how do you design a 3D printer? Where would you even start? In this talk, Diego discusses the hardware design space of 3D printers, associated software challenges, and the basics of 3D printer operation.

Here is the video of the talk:

Make your own DIY vacuum thermoformer

DajoM from Instructables published all the files and instructions needed to make a low cost DIY vacuumformer / thermoformer that fits on your desktop. You can use it to make plastic molds or patterns for production of larger series of objects.
It is made from laser cut plywood and uses ceramic plate for heating. Several parts are 3d printed.

Video demonstration:

All the files and instructions can be found at: