Cameo on CNN Explains 3D Printing

Our friend AnnMarie, who is an engineering professor, wrote to say,

I keep showing the short CNN explains 3D printing video in talks I have to give to students, and always love that you and Windell are walking through the MakerBot store in it!

We were highly amused as we had never seen the clip, which was published in 2013. The footage must have been shot just after the 2012 NY Maker Faire. Having been featured in Wired Magazine for our own 3D printer, it is perhaps appropriate that when the video cuts to us, the narrator says,

The people at the forefront of this movement, they say they want this to be as common in peoples homes as the toaster oven.

(We show up for about one second at 1:35.)

3D printing use case: Custom parts for vintage cars

We always hear about how someday people will just print out rather than order spare parts for their cars. Here’s someone who actually does it.

When instructables user madmorrie had new door trims (interior panels) made for his 1962 Valiant, he neglected to allow for clearance for the door lock levers on the back door, so the original levers would no longer work. In the photo above you can see the end of the mounting post for the levers is flush with surface of the new panel, leaving no way to attach them.

Rather than have expensive new door trims made, he decided to make new levers. He designed the new levers with an extended splined section that could be recessed into the door trim and wrote up his experience in his instructable, Custom 3D Printed Car Parts.

It’s likely that no other 1962 Valiant owner will ever have the same problem, and that’s exactly why 3D printing is a good choice in this scenario. While 3D printing can get expensive for larger parts, when building tiny parts like these, you can save a lot of money by not paying for tooling costs.

And it turns out that 3D printing is good enough, even in low-cost materials (about $15 for the pair through Shapeways), for a usable part. Madmorrie says,

Initially I was intending to order them in stainless steel, however the plastic ones seem to be perfectly strong enough, so unless they break I will stick with them.

And, they look great!

All photos by madmorrie.

3D printed cookie rollers

George Hart sent us a link to his incredible Escher cookie roller project. The project ”provides a customizable method of producing cookies that are imprinted with an individual’s favorite frieze patterns and tessellations.”

He and co-consipirator Robert Hanson have provided software for generating STL files to produce 3D printed tessellated cookie or clay rollers, and they’ve even posted a few of their sample STL files.

The process of using an imprinted roller to create patterns on clay dates back to ancient times. Using modern tools including image processing software and 3D printers allows recreation of the ancient patterns, as well as the creation of completely new ones.

Coming soon: Visual diffs for 3D models

Cube Hero Screenshot

After reading our post on Improving open source hardware: Visual diffs, Wil wrote in to to tell us about Cube Hero:

I have a demo up of visual diffs for 3D printable models. Here you can see a specific model, and … you can see diffs as I changed the model.

We’re excited to see new tools for collaboration like this being developed. Besides visual diffs, the project aims to provide visual versioning, 3D object sharing, and bill of materials integration. Cube Hero is looking for interested possible users, so go check it out–they’re accepting signups for updates and launch invitations.

Fabbing at Maker Faire

MakerBot Tour


CandyFab managed to infiltrate a couple of the other 3D printing projects at Maker Faire this past weekend. That’s me above, at the MakerBot booth, in my brand-new MakerBot shirt, explaining MakerBot to some Maker Faire visitors. Below, Kenji’s Fab at Home sports a brand new CandyFab vinyl racing sticker. CandyFab itself performed like a champ, printing candy and raising blood sugar levels all weekend while we talked shop with all the other fabbers.


FabatHome

Sneak preview: The Evil Mad Scientist 3D Printer Project

X & Y Axes

Did you enjoy making sugar cube sculptures as a kid? Boy have we got a project for you.
Besides the projects that we post here each week, we’ve been working on some larger scale projects in the past year. One of these is almost done, and we’re ready to give you a sneak preview: It’s a home-built, DIY, CNC, 3D printer, that uses granulated sugar as the printing medium. This is still a work in progress, but we’re making rapid progress and we hope to show off the completed printer at the Bay Area Maker Faire in May.

(Update added 5/9/2007: we’ve got it working now.)

The printable volume is 24 x 13.5 x 9 inches, with programmed resolution of 1000 steps per axis. We expect effective pixel size to be in the range of 2-5 mm. In other words, it makes fairly large, but fairly low resolution, models out of sugar. Think of it as a way to make giant and amazing sugar cube sculptures!
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