3D Printing Practical Applications: The Peg

3D Printing Practical Applications: The Peg

Today’s blog post is brought to you by the one and only Robert Nipper, a practical 3D applications guru who has also taught us how to repair a broken Crock Pot and build a basic holiday ornament. No Need to Run to the Store – 3D Printing Practical Applications. As I was on my way out the door this morning, my darling wife shared some information with me: “The shelf in the white hutch fell down. “ The white hutch is a catch-all piece of furniture that resides in the breakfast nook, housing everything from craft supplies to cookbooks to small hand tools and greeting cards. Imagine a junk drawer on steroids. I went to investigate with her. The shelf had fallen last night, and she had already done her best to triage the situation. I asked where the shelf was now. “Right there” she said. I then asked about the pegs that the shelf was resting on. She handed me two small white plastic pegs. Two. Just two. “There are supposed to be four of these” I commented. She informed me that there were only two, and asked if I could have it fixed before our neighbors came over for dinner. Since Christmas was just a couple of weeks away, we both had a full schedule. I didn’t really have time to go across town and look for replacement supports from the home supply store. Then a smile crept across my face. I am not sure she knew what I was thinking, but she was very familiar indeed with what I had to say next: “I can 3D...
3D Printing News

3D Printing News

While 3D printing is not as new as some may think, it is in a stage of rapid growth with new printers, materials, and applications being released all the time. Here is a quick list to get you caught up on the most recent innovations in the world of 3D printing. “3D Printing Soft Body Parts: A hard problem just got easier” by Nala Rogers – Recent 3D printing news is full of stories about medical advancements, but one of the limitations has always been that is difficult to print softer materials. Recently, however, two different research teams have devised ways to solve this problem. Now, researchers have been able to print miniature organs with materials like collagen and fibrin that are naturally found in the human body. “Cheers: This 3D printer filament is entirely made out of beer dregs” by Duncan Riley – For you true beer lovers out there, you can now actually make prints out of beer byproducts. Known as “Buzzed.” this new filament prints similarly to PLA and boasts a wood-like finish with the appearance of natural grains. “Nike’s 3D Printing Ramp Up: Which Companies Will It Partner With?” by Beth McKenna – Nike has been one of the first large companies to really embrace 3D printing as a means to customize its products. Now, Nike is seeking to expand its use of 3D printing, with some suggesting that the company intends to use 3D printing as part of its general manufacturing process. “How 3D Printing Could Blow Up the Luxury Dining Model” by Eustacia Huen – Part of a four part series on 3D...
3D Printing Basics: Printer Build Volumes and Tolerances

3D Printing Basics: Printer Build Volumes and Tolerances

How big do you want to print? Last week in our 3D printing basics series we discussed the history of 3D printing. Today, we are going to explore the wide variety of printer build volumes and tolerances that allow you to create prints ranging from very tiny to quite massive. While all printers work by building a part layer by layer, the machines can vary significantly in terms of quality and functionality. When searching for a 3D printer for your home or office, you can really distinguish one printer from another based upon the printer build volumes and tolerances. Printer Build Volumes The build volume, quite simply, determines how big your machine allows you to print. For years, analysts believed that limited build volumes were the biggest obstacle standing in the way of widespread adoption of 3D printing technology. Today, we are starting to see the design of 3D printers re-imagined in ways that allow them to build full-scale structures, effectively eliminating this critique. Starting at the true desktop level, the printer build volumes for a 3D printer can be quite limited. Many of the entry level printers, especially those around or below the $1,000 mark, have rather small build volumes, mostly less than four inches by four inches by four inches. This means that you can only print something that would fit inside of a four inch cube. While this is enough space to play around with the technology and build little trinkets, if you want to make actual, usable parts, you will find a four-inch limitation to be rather cumbersome. Moving into the next level of printers,...
Announcing our Habitat for the Holidays Winner

Announcing our Habitat for the Holidays Winner

Printing Demonstration at ReStore Yesterday, we had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. From noon to 6 pm, we had the printer going and plenty of our little gadgets around for people to come play with. There was a nice crowd and we got to talk to plenty of people, many of whom were seeing a 3D printer for the first time. It was really fun to see how excited people got about the possibilities of printing. The Reveal At 2, the ReStore held a silent auction, which they do every other Wednesday. There were some really neat things that were auctioned off. Afterward, Greta introduced the contest and let me say a few words about the current and future uses of 3D printing. Then, it was time for the big reveal where we announced our winner – Roger Gauthier. Roger’s design had a traditional ornament shape with cutouts of snowflakes and an interpretation of the Habitat for Humanity logo along with the year. We printed the ornaments on our Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer and I have to say, they looked pretty good! Roger received a $100 gift certificate to ReStore, a certificate for winning, and a print of his ornament. The ornaments are currently on sale at ReStore for just $4.99. I know that they look great on my tree and I look forward to starting my collection of 3D ornaments. Stop by before they are gone to pick up yours! All proceeds earned from the sale of the ornaments go to support Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity. Get Ready...
Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Spurring Innovation: Autodesk Invests in the Future of 3D Printing

Autodesk hopes to bolster the future of 3D printing The Announcement In May of this year, Autodesk announced that they were ready to jump into the 3D printing game. In a blog post by Carl Bass, Autodesk President and CEO, Bass explained how his frustration with the state of the 3D printing industry had led him to seek out a better option. The result of this search was twofold: the development of an entirely new open source software platform, Autodesk Spark, and a 3D printer, the Ember, that would be designed to work with the Spark platform. Through these innovations, Autodesk hopes to help shape the future of 3D printing in a more user-friendly direction. Development for Spark In an update from Autodesk CTO Jeff Kowalski at the Inside 3D Printing Conference this week, Kowalski spilled a few more details about the software. One of the things that really separates Spark from the competition is its “autocomplete” feature, which allows the software to anticipate the design and complete the shape for the user. The Spark software program will also be able to work with multiple materials and can be used on any available hardware platform. Like the software, Ember, the 3D printer, will be designed through a heavily collaborative process. So far, it is known that the printer will have a resolution of 10 microns and will primarily use photo-cured resin for its material, although it will also print other materials. It is estimated that the printer will go on sale for somewhere around $5,000. Raising the bar This week, Autodesk took their role in the 3D marketplace a...