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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

RepRap Model (photo from Genomicon website)

RepRap Model (photo from Genomicon website)

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, further expanding its potential uses.

By utilizing the tenets of open source toward hardware applications, these amazing 3D developments, and others like them, are successfully transforming the way that we look at the home 3D printing niche.

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.

3D Printed Cell Phone Cradle

3D Printed 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.

The Cradle is designed to be able to easily charge while in use.

The Cradle is designed to be able to easily charge while in use.

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 of the phone, I was able to significantly amplify the sound.

The channels in the design that amplify the sound

The channels in the design that amplify the sound

When comparing the sound quality of the phone with and without the cradle, those little channels really do make quite a difference.

How you can get your own cell phone cradle?

If you would like to download your own copy of my cell phone cradle design, you can find it in a few different places, including Threeding.com.

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.

The Penrose Triangle

The Penrose Triangle

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 interchange of design and ideas, and published his interpretation of Schwanitz’s solution.

The DCMA

Soon, a story about the mystery of the Penrose Triangle appeared, wrongly crediting Tchoukanov with being the first to arrive at a 3D solution. Schwanitz then responded by sending Thingiverse a DMCA (which stands for Digital Millennium Copyright ACT) Takedown notice, suggesting that the published Penrose Triangle solution was copyright infringement and that it should be removed from the site. Thingiverse promptly took the post down while explaining that it was the first such request that they had received.

Now that the first DMCA Takedown request has been handed out to a distributor of online 3D design content, it is possible that Schwanitz (who, by the way, allowed Thingiverse to put the post back up after he received a good amount of negative commentary over his request) has opened a whole can of legal worms. As 3D printers become more and more common and people are better able to produce their own parts and designs at home, these sorts of issues promise to be all the more prevalent.

Tell us what you think. If you were in Schwanitz’s position, how would you have handled the situation? How strictly do you think we should be policing copyright laws in regards to 3D print files?

Instructor Led Training in an Online World

Instructor Led Training in an Online World

Live Training in an Online World

The benefits and place of live instruction in software and design training

Training opens the door to an infinite future.

Training opens the door to an infinite future.

As a trainer for over 15 years, teaching 3D Studio DOS back in the early 1990′s. So many things have changed in that time, from the introduction of windows and 3D rendering tools that make an animators life less complicated, to the mass adoption of the internet by industry and education. However there is one thing that has remained constant, the need to learn the software.
Online learning has become a staple of the training industry, and live, online learning has made inroads into the real classroom and as a form of high quality training. There are a lot of downloadable tutorials and online websites that offer Autodesk 3DS MAX and Maya training to view at your leisure. Many of these sites are free or very low cost and offer a broad range of topics to choose from. While these sites offer some good quality tutorials, there is no live person to ask if you have a question.
Live, online learning is an emerging and highly beneficial tool for all user of 3DS MAX and Maya software. With the unique ability to work interactively with an instructor, ask questions and learn just as if you were in a real classroom. The 3D Professor offers classes starting at one hour plus a half hour of dedicated Q & A time with the instructor and attendance can costs as low as $50 per person, live, online training offers a high return on your training investment of both time and money.
The 3D Professor is meeting the growing demand for instructor led, online training by offering an array of pre-scheduled 3DS MAX and Maya classes along with our industry leading customized workflow training. For groups of five or more, custom classes can be scheduled at your convenience to cover topics specific to production needs. In this world of online learning, it is critical for the growth of any company to maintain their employees productivity. And the best way is still with a live instructor in an interactive, fun and interesting instructional setting.

Solving the Belt Problem with 3D Printing

Solving the Belt Problem with 3D Printing

Creating a Belt Hangar for 3D Printing.

The Belt Problem!

Have you ever noticed that your belts don’t really have a home? If you’re anything like me, one day you will find your favorite belt rolled up in the sock drawer and the next day it will be draped over the towel rack. Well, the other day, I decided to put an end to this – my belt would get a designated place once and for all.
After deciding how many belts I would like to hang, in my case I decided six would be ideal, I started designing my new belt holder. Since I have some extra closet space, a design that resembled a traditional clothes hanger would be the most convenient.

The Design.

Belt Hangar Design

Belt Hangar Design

As a user of Autodesk Inventor, I was able to bring my concept to life with the aid of the design software. By choosing to place my prongs slanted upward, the belts can easily snap in place and by facing the belts backward, I can keep the prong of the belt buckle locked into place, preventing the belt’s hardware from wearing out. Then, I just hit print and let my Stratasys UPrint SE Plus, which I am a reseller for, do the work. In just a couple of hours, my print was complete.

The Final Product.

Belt Hangar installed

Belt Hangar installed

Now, each morning when I reach for my belt, I know that I can always find it hanging safe and sound in my closet. Plus, because of the beauty of 3D printing, whenever my belt collection grows further, I can simply print out another belt holder.
If you are interested in learning more about how 3D printing can help you get organized and offer simple solutions to real-world problems, contact us at Spectra 3D.

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