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...

Our 3D Printed Office – Network Cables

Our 3D Printed Office – Network Cables Chords and clutter At Spectra3D Systems, we have an office problem that we think many of you can relate to – cluttered network cables. For years, we have done what we could to organize them by bundling the chords and shoving them into corners, over doorways, and behind wall hangings. But eventually, we decided that it was time to conquer the clutter. So we turned to our 3D printer for help. . . We decided to design a contraption to neatly hold the chords tightly in place as they stretched across the ceiling. The system we devised utilized four different pieces. The first is a clip that is fitted to snap over the metal part of the ceiling between the tiles. The second piece includes individual slots for each of the cables to fit inside of. We printed three different sizes so that they would hold either two, four, or six cables at a time. The third piece then snaps over the top of the second piece to hold the cables in place. The fourth piece allows you to gently re-route the cables if you want them to switch directions. This works great for us because we have several cables originating from the same space before heading to different computers and printers throughout the room. We printed the pieces on our Stratasys uPrint SE Plus printer. Then we snapped the pieces into place Everything fit perfectly. The first piece snapped right into the ceiling and the slots for the wires had just enough space to allow us to pull the wires through...
Tips for buying a 3D Printer

Tips for buying a 3D Printer

3D Buying Tips Buying a 3D printer can save you plenty of time and money in the long run but, for most of us, it is still a fairly major financial decision. Make sure that purchasing a home printer, such as the MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation) is the right decision for you with these tips for buying a 3D printer:   Before purchasing your printer, take a moment to think about how it will benefit you. Although you will, no doubt, find things that you will do with your printer that you would never have anticipated, you should feel confident that you have enough print needs that the printer is worth the initial investment. As a beginner in the world of 3D printing, you are going to want to have plenty of support. Purchasing your printer from a knowledgeable team who will happily offer their assistance, such as The 3D Printer’s Guild, means that you will be left with fewer headaches as you learn to navigate your printer and design software. Familiarize yourself with the policies of the manufacturer. Check to see what sort of warranties and protection plans are offered. If you run into any issues with your machine, you want to be sure that you are protected. Check out some online resources. Forums, blogs, and reviews are fantastic ways to find out more about individual printers, design software, and materials. They are also full of great tips and tricks to help you customize your printer settings to get the exact effect that you are looking for. Before you purchase your machine, do a little research on 3D...
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 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...
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 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...
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. 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. 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...

3D Printing 101: A Practical Application

3D Printing 101: Creating a New Wheel for a Dishwasher 3D Printing to the rescue! If you pay much attention to the news, you will see all sorts of wonderful stories about the power of 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. From a German engineering team who has discovered how to forgo the assembly line and print an entire 3D car, to scientists who are working on printing a fully-functioning human heart, the prospects for 3D print are astonishing. But with all of these groundbreaking advancements, many readers who are not highly trained scientists or engineers are left wondering – what can 3D printing do for them? In response, I give you, the dishwasher wheel. A Practical Application While cleaning up my kitchen the other day, I found that one of the wheels on my dishwasher was cracked and unusable. Knowing how ordering spare parts for appliances can be a huge pain, I was not looking forward to going online, hoping to find the correct model, or, if not, waiting on hold with customer service, then paying for the part plus shipping and handling, and waiting for weeks for the part to arrive. But then it hit me, this is a great application for my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus 3D printer. The Wheel and Clip Using one of the unbroken wheels as a guide, I carefully measured each piece and plugged the calculations into Autodesk’s Inventor design software. Then, I just sat back and waited while my Stratasys uPrint SE Plus created an exact duplicate of my existing wheel. Here is a comparison of the original wheel on the left...