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Published on: August 16, 2013 / Comments: None

For the best 3D Prints, keep your filament dry

If you want to get the best possible 3D Print out of your 3D Printer, you must keep moisture away from your filament.  I stumbled on this video that does a great job of explaining how desiccant works like silica gel.  A common mis-conception pointed out by the video is that you just toss a gel pack in the environment and it will absorb the humidity, this is only half true.  It actually depends on the moisture that the silica gel has already absorbed.  You may need to dry your gel out first and then keep it into a closed system.

This is extremely important when dealing with certain filaments like Nylon.  ABS and PLA also suffer from moisture absorption but not as much as Nylon.   If your filament absorbs moisture it can cause irregularities in your extrusion and possible bubbling or pockets.  This can lead to excessive curling and other deformities.

The only real difficult part is keeping the filament in a closed loop system.  Most hobbyist 3D Printers are an open design.  I heard something about patents on enclosed systems are to blame for that but I haven’t confirmed.  So if you were to build something around your printer you could control the moisture.  The other option would be to simply take your filament off of the printer when you are not using it, and place it in an air tight container with silica gel (that is already dried) and put it back on when you want to use it.  Sorta like keeping your bread from going stale.


Published on: August 13, 2013 / Comments: 1

3D Printing with Glass

No, not Google Glass.. t-glase (or tough glass).  Taulman makes alternate 3D Printer filament, specifically strong filament.  Their previous products 618 Nylon and 645 Nylon are Nylon based but its their own special blend which is a little safer (fumes, etc) and stronger than traditional filament.

What makes the t-glase special ?  Well the Nylon blends are usually printed closer to ABS, and t-glase can be printed at lower temperatures but the unique factor is t-glase is FDA approved!  This means printing your own cups or crazy spoons should be ok!  That’s pretty cool.

They are taking only pre-orders now for the t-glase (estimated shipping soon), and the 618 and 645 are available now.   The t-glase is currently only available in clear but they plan to do colors in the future.

More info on Taulman’s site.

Published on: August 13, 2013 / Comments: 1

When 3D prints go wrong

If you’ve ever used a 3D printer, you’ve been there, some crazy mess of extruded plastic.  Well for your amusement, there is a Flickr group dedicated to The Art of 3D Print Failure.  Next time you have a bad print, take a pic and toss it in the bin for everyone else to gawk at.

Some of the prints in there actually look fine to me but I’m sure there’s something wrong with them.  Lots of slanted prints, and missed steps.  The ones that I find the particularly odd are the ones that are side by side with another print, but smaller (missing z steps).

(Via Boing Boing, Photo of print gone wrong by Chris Cecil)

Published on: August 10, 2013 / Comments: None

Make your own Scan-O-Tron 3000

The Scan-O-Tron 3000 was a kickstarter campaign called Coney Island Scan-A-Rama.  Fred put together a system for doing full 3d body scans on sort of a giant lazy susan and a Kinect using MakerSlide.  Then it creates a 3d model that you can print out on 3d printer.

He’s got the parts up and most of the instructions for building the scanning rig on thingiverse here, and the lazy susan here.

Published on: August 9, 2013 / Comments: None

New approach to automatically printing multiple copies on your 3d printer

We’ve all seen the Makerbot Thing-O-Matic with the automatic conveyor belt system.  We tried it, it didn’t work too well.  Well don’t let that stop Sanjay, he’s been working on (what appears to be) a much better system for doing automatic prints.

The system basically uses the print head as a shovel to push the print off so it can print another one.  He’s been at this awhile, as seen here, here, and here.   It looks like he’s really on to something with this method.

Published on: August 6, 2013 / Comments: 3

OctoPi – a OctoPrint ready distro for the Raspberry Pi

OctoPrint is a cool piece of software.  It’s essentially a web interface for your 3D printer.  I can see this being useful if you don’t want to sit next to your 3D printer while it prints and you trust it not to mess itself up while it prints.  This could also be useful in a hackerspace-style environment where you have multiple people printing jobs throughout the day.  One cool feature the software has is you can attach a camera to it to monitor it remotely, and it will also make time-lapse videos of your prints.

OctoPi is a ready-made Raspberry Pi distro that has OctoPrint installed and ready to go. (You will need to configure your 3D printer however).  And instead of dedicating a PC to running the jobs, a compact Raspberry Pi can do the job for you.

Source available here.  Raspberry Pi image available here ( image link updated! ).


Published on: July 28, 2013 / Comments: None

Weight distribution algorithm for 3D Printing will make your print balance

balancemathI won’t lie, I have no idea what that algorithm to the left really means.  I can tell you what it means for the 3D printing community however.  The Make it stand team have come up with some long divison that can calculate how your print will balance.  It’s presented in this paper that presented at SIGGRAPH 2013.




While not the most epic thing to come to 3D printing, just the simple fact that people are working on cool new advances in 3D printing makes this exciting.  The technology works by analyzing the internal cavity structure of the object and shifting the fill from one side to the other until it reaches equilibrium.  At this point I didn’t seem to find any references to if this software will be included in another package or what, but keep your eye open for it.