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Published on: September 10, 2013 / Comments: None

3-Sweep might just be a viable alternative to 3D Scanning

If you’ve ever been interested in reconstructing objects with your 3D Printer, you’ve probably looked into 3D scanning and the other solution.  The one where a piece of software takes in multiple photos of an object and tries to construct a 3D model of it.  Well a group of researchers might be making the alternative a little bit easier.

Honestly the video looks like some crazy space-age-vaporware if you ask me.  But in the case that it isn’t, I think this could be a huge boost to the 3D Printing community.  The only alternative to this method of using a single photograph is you’re missing the other side where a 2D photograph can’t see.

I don’t think that really matters that much because the technology they are using appears to use primitive shape matching, which should already have the required info for the missing dimension.  The only real thing you would be missing with this is the texture.  Until full color 3D printing comes into it’s own, that isn’t even needed.

If they can add an object export to this software, you could size it up for real dimensions and print one out.  Spiffy!

Published on: September 4, 2013 / Comments: 1

A Laser attachment for your 3D Printer

I’m sure everyone has thought of it, but is anyone actually doing it ?  It’s a work in progress, but up on thingiverse is a universal mount, some schematics, and Arduino code for adding a laser to your 3D Printer.  Why not?  You’ve already got an XYZ platform… The build so far is made to be minimally intrusive to modifying your printer.  e.g. you don’t have to modify your printer’s firmware.

Before you go rushing off and strap a laser to your extruder, note that even very low power lasers are real dangerous.  Don’t fool around with safety.

With that being said, the build works like this. The laser controller is an arduino setup to control a low power laser (sorry no giant 40w laser tubes guys!).  We’re looking at 1W-5W.  This should be enough to do some small engraving.   A small DC motor is attached with a universal bracket and attached to the extruder.   It’s tied to the extruder so when the stepper motor turns, the dc motor turns.   The motor is read via the analog port on the Arduino.   Code-wise, if the voltage exceeds the threshold voltage the laser will fire.

Right now it’s just breadboarded and not working but I’m interested to see how this plays out.

Here’s a link to the build on thingiverse.

Published on: August 31, 2013 / Comments: 1

Threadless 3D printer ball screw

threadlessballscrewWhile the stock Solidoodle probably prints just fine with its OEM equipment, there’s always room for improvement.  Tim thought so too.  So he came up with this neat adaptation of a threadless ball screw he saw on thingiverse to fit his Solidoodle 3D Printer.  I’ve heard of people complaining about the ball screw on Solidoodle printers before and people switching out the rods for acme threads but never something like this.

He made the model in OpenSCAD (3D preview here) and it uses 3 skate style bearings at an angle.  The fit is real tight.  Reading the thread it looks like there were some kinks in the beginning getting the step size calculated right but it looks like he has it dialed in.

More details on the Solidoodle forum thread.

Published on: August 28, 2013 / Comments: 1

Making flexible links with your 3D Printer

Unfortunately unless you have access to a flexible material you can extrude on your 3D Printer, you’re going to have to get creative.  That’s what Robogrrl did.  The concept is simple (the execution is a little more complex however).  Use your 3D Printer to print the pieces you want joined by a flexible member, then 3D print a mould of the flexible link.  Pack sugru into the mould.  Boom!

The complicated part is designing the hub and mould.  Luckily Robogrrl has a pretty in-depth tutorial on her process.  She’s using inventor for her design.  The end result is pretty astounding!

Full tutorial is up on her site.

Published on: August 24, 2013 / Comments: None

3D Printing support in windows 8.1 gets a little closer to reality

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate innovation in all forms.  As you might have heard, Microsoft is looking to incorporate a  more unified  process for 3D Printing.  I hadn’t read too many details about how they intend to do this until now.  This article showed up on the extreme windows blog and gives up the goods.

Apparently the support will piggyback the existing 2D printer pipeline, and be done in a similar fashion.  One of the most important highlights of the article is the introduction of the 3MF format (or 3D Manufacturing Format).  It’s XML based (no-brainer) and contains all the elements that you would need.  The article says they needed a little more information above the widely used STL format such as color and material support.


Published on: August 24, 2013 / Comments: None

Monitoring your filament’s strain with a load cell

Mark is on a quest for that perfect 3D Print.  On his journey he came up with a cool idea to design an extruder with a load cell built-in.  It’s a bowden style extruder and as the filament is pushed into the hot end it records the extra load.

He’s been actively testing different variables such as feed rates, temperatures, and retraction speed.  While doing so he’s been recording and graphing how each variation performs.  Typically when you calibrate your printer settings, you mainly just look at the output of how it’s performing.  Having this inside knowledge has let Mark gain optimal output settings by identifying problem areas (without looking at the leftover stringy plastic hairs).

Mark believes (and I agree) that what he has uncovered is just the tip of the potential of his filament force sensor design and has numerous possibilities.

Check out his entire write-up as well as his collected data here.

Published on: August 22, 2013 / Comments: None

Improve your ABS 3D Prints with ABS juice

I’ve actually heard of this before on various forums.  It’s right next to using hairspray on your heat bed before you print.  It’s ABS juice (or ABS glue).  According to the video, you take 100% acetone and put strips of ABS plastic in it so that it dissolves it completely.  Better yet if you have a couple failed prints you can toss in!

The consistency should be like hazy acetone, not thick like paint.  If you paint it on your heat bed before you print, it’s supposed to help your prints stick to the bed better and help reduce curling (I guess by holding it to the bed).  It doesn’t look hard to make, just make sure you don’t use a container that acetone will melt!