How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry

How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry

How Open Source is Revolutionizing the 3D Printing Industry Like so many programs and applications before it, open source is driving innovation in the world of 3D printing, helping to make it a more economically feasible form of manufacturing. By bringing together some of the best and most passionate minds, open source has the power to create innovation through collaboration more quickly and efficiently than closed source alternatives. With huge strides in both the software and hardware that are available, open source is cornering its own little section of the home 3D printing market. Open Source 3D Printing Applications The roots of the open source 3D community can be traced back to the development of the RepRap by Adrian Bowyer. This innovative gadget is a 3D printer that can actually replicate other 3D printers, extruding the parts from the machine’s nozzle. Starting with the original printer, the RepRap can produce a new printer, piece by piece. Next up was the Fab@Home printer, which was designed through a collaboration of both hobbyists and professionals using an open source collaboration. Able to fit on your desktop, this home 3D printer marks the first time that a smaller model, affordable printer has been able to work with multiple materials at one time. Another recent innovation by Rabbit Proto has led to the creation of a printing tip that allows the printer to include electrical components. By printing these components together, engineers have unprecedented abilities to make functioning parts without having to go through the hassle of piecing together several different parts. Developments like this work to make 3D printing even more functional,...
3D Design: Cell Phone Cradle

3D Design: Cell Phone Cradle

3D Design: Cell Phone Cradle The Inspiration Recently, having my cell phone just lying flat on my desk began to annoy me ever so slightly. When I was in the middle of working on the computer and my phone buzzed, I wanted to be able to glance over at the screen without it pulling me away from my workflow. Plus, if I wanted to watch a video, hovering awkwardly over the phone was less than ideal. This inspired my newest design for this cool little cell phone cradle. The Design At first, my idea was to just create a simple cradle that would let me keep my phone upright near my computer. I quickly realized that, since I am often charging my phone while it is on my desk, making it easy to plug in while it was in the cradle was essential. To facilitate this, I added a split in the middle of the base of the cradle so that the charger chord will fit through the bottom. I also made it large enough that my phone can slip in and out of the cradle without having to unplug it from the charger. Then, I started to really think about the functionality of a phone cradle and how I would like to be able to use my phone. I realized that something else that often bothers me when I am using my phone at my desk is how quiet the speakers are, especially when they are competing with the drone of the printer. By adding sound channels to redirect the sound from the speaker area to the front...
3D Printing and Wearable Technology

3D Printing and Wearable Technology

3D Printing and Wearable Technology A great prototype helps an inventor better express his vision to buyers or investors by giving them a real sense of the final look and feel of the product. With anything that is intended to be worn, this is even more important, as the comfort of the design is one of the key factors in determining whether a wearable product will be successful or not. As wearable technology has become more and more popular, developers are turning to 3D printing to help produce accurate representations of their final product. Exploding Market In recent years, the wearable technology market has exploded as walkers have begun to use pedometers to count their steps and fitness buffs strap on a heart rate monitor before heading to the gym. Recently, the applications are becoming even more high-tech as developers are working on a whole slew of devices that track vital signs, insulin levels, and more. Google is now taking wearable technology to a whole new level with the development of a contact lens that can monitor the sugar content in tears to help alert patients with diabetes to sugar imbalances. The market for wearable technology is expanding so quickly that it is projected to reach $17.47 billion by 2024. Market Potential Seeing the vast potential of this niche market, Zero360, a design consultancy firm, has partnered with Industrial Plastic Fabrications in order to create a comfortable and stylish wristband that measures your biosigns. When determining how they would develop their prototype, the designers decided to try out 3D printing. By choosing Stratasys’ Objet 500 Connex3 Color Multi-material 3D...
3D Printing and Copyright Law: The Case of the Penrose Triangle

3D Printing and Copyright Law: The Case of the Penrose Triangle

3D Printing and Copyright Law With the development of 3D scanners and printers, anyone who has access to this technology can accurately reproduce objects found in the real world. This has many far-reaching implications, some of which could lead to greater innovation, others which could lead to a whole new host of problems. In this series, we will explore the copyright implications of 3D printing as designers, end users, and lawyers try to sort out the many legal implications of 3D printing and copyright law. The Penrose Triangle For the first installment, we will discuss the interesting case of Ulrich Schwanitz and The Penrose Triangle. To get to the root of this tale, we have to go all the way back to 1934 when artist Oscar Reutersvard drew the first-known Penrose Triangle. Referred to as an “impossible figure,” the Penrose Triangle connects on each side at a right-angle. For decades, this optical illusion was confined to drawings on flat surface and was thought impossible to reproduce in 3D space. That is, until Ulrich Schwanitz, a designer based out of the Netherlands, purportedly solved the problem. Rather than explaining how he solved the puzzle, Schwanitz simply included a YouTube video showing his design. The model was put up for sale on the Shapeways website for around $70. Now, this is where it really gets interesting. Along came Artus Tchoukanov who had formerly been an intern at Shapeways. Tchoukanov was able to watch the above video and figure out how Schwanitz had created his design. Tchoukanov then went to Thingiverse, a 3D printing community that actively encourages the free and open...
3D Printing Relief for Arthritis Sufferers

3D Printing Relief for Arthritis Sufferers

3D Printing Wrist Splints for Arthritis Sufferers Software Makes it Easy to Design & 3D Print Wrist Splints for Arthritis Sufferers Arthritis and Wrist Splints A combination of software and 3D printing is spelling relief for arthritis sufferers. Many arthritis patients are forced to use ugly, bulky wrist splints that make their arms sweat with had no way around it, until now. Thanks to Dr Abby Paterson, a Loughborough University lecturer, a new, more attractive, comfortable, and affordable wrist splint can be offered to suffering arthritis patients. New Software Using the newly developed computer software that enables clinicians to design custom-made wrist splints tailored to an individuals particular shape, and with the help of a 3D printer, a patient can have a brand new splint that provides joint protection, rest, and promotes pain relief. The splints are made by simply scanning a patient’s arm in the appropriate position. A 3D model splint is then designed based on the scan to generate a computer model. 3D Printing The Stratasys Objet Connex 3D printer, can then produce as many splints as are needed, in any color, with or without a lattice design to aid ventilation, with any type of fastening, and with multiple materials in a single splint, such as rubber-like integral hinges or cushioning features. The software is designed to enable clinicians with no experience in 3D modeling to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints so that any patient can receive one. These innovative wrist splints can improve the aesthetics, the fit, and integrate extra bits of functionality they couldn’t do before which will result in a major...