posts tagged with the keyword ‘3dprinting’

2014.08.17

Wheel 1-Up

We’re planning a Nerdy Derby event at Maker Faire Milwaukee, and like last year, I wanted to 3D print a bunch of wheels, and yes, it is fun designing strange wheels. Most of my designs this year are refinements from last year, and I wish 3D printing were as simple as hitting “print” and walking away, but that’s not always the case.

Wheels 4-Up

I found that if I printed one object, it worked fine. If I tried multiple objects, things were failing, either with one or more objects, or everything. I’d try to print two wheels at once, and one would work, the other would fail. Slic3r allows you to generate the G-Code needed to print files, and has an option to print multiple objects, either by printing them all at once, or one at a time. Both of those options just weren’t working for me, for whatever reason. (My 3D printer is a RepRap I built myself, and yes, it has issues now and then.)

But you know the old saying… if you can’t fix it in hardware, fix it in software! So I did… You’ll notice that the image above shows four wheels with a small square connecting them. I ended up pulling an STL file into OpenSCAD (my favorite 3D modeling application) and then duplicating it four times and adding a small 1mm tall square between them to connect it all into what the printer would see as one single object.

Wheels Printed 4-Up

It worked! I’m now seeing much more success with printing, and getting sets of 4 wheels connected with a thin piece of plastic that’s easy to remove. Oh, I should also mention that our friends at Inventables were kind enough to donate some filament to this cause, so if you have fun building a car with 3D printed wheels at Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Inventables booth and thank them for making it happen.

(BTW, MegaMag is printing way more wheels than I am, and going 40-Up!)

2014.06.01

New Matter

Being a maker, creative, designer, artist, whatever, you may tend to have a different perspective on things. When I moved to designing things with a computer (instead of on paper) over 20 years ago, I still wanted to have things on paper, so printing things made sense. I used to go to service bureaus to have nice prints made, and eventually I got a good (enough) printer at home that allowed me to design and print all on my own.

The first night I ever got hands-on with a 3D printer, my questions were about designing things with it. and I used software to design something and then we printed it. This, I believe, is the maker way. Now, contrasting this with selling points of the New Matter MOD-t, which is (of course) “a 3D printer for everyone”, I have to wonder if 3D printing really is for everyone…

Maybe it makes sense, as 3D printing is definitely a disruptive technology, but I often think that there’s a lot of hype. Here’s what they say:

What if you could send a physical object to a friend like a text message? What if you could subscribe to a series of objects like you do with a podcast? What if adjusting a 3D model was as easy as Instagramming a photo?

Wow, that would be awesome to come home and see my printer has yet another whistle sitting on it. (Kidding!) But really, subscribe to a series of objects? Instagramming an object? These are all things that have more to do with software and distribution than with 3D printing. In fact, you can (sort of) do all those things now. I’m wondering if the “Consumer” 3D printer will be like the inkjet printers we have today. Just sort of “there” and not something people think much about.

Remember Gutenberg, the dude who introduced printing to Europe?

…the arrival of mechanical movable type printing introduced the era of mass communication which permanently altered the structure of society. The relatively unrestricted circulation of information — including revolutionary ideas — transcended borders, captured the masses in the Reformation and threatened the power of political and religious authorities…

That’s some revolutionary stuff, there! In fact, it sounds a little like the Internet. Sure, people may tell you that the Internet is for cat videos and to see where your friends are currently getting drunk, but that’s the silly stuff. There’s some big-picture things that you may not be aware of if you missed the early years of the web (1994 to 2004).

I see the power of 3D printing for creative people first, for those who have ideas about creating things, and improving things, and changing lives, and yes, eventually it’ll become mainstream and some stupid person will send someone a 3D model of their genitalia so they can 3D print it, you know, just like a text message.

2014.05.20

Duchamp vs. Pete

About a month ago Bryan Cera invited me to print a copy of Marcel Duchamp’s favorite hand-carved chess set. The set had been lost to the ages, but he and Scott Kildall have resurrected it. It sounded like a fun project and it’s always interesting to collaborate with people I admire.

Duchamp Chess Set

Scott mentioned that I had a unique method of printing the pieces in parts and reassembled them in his post about the materiality of the project. I also painted my set with metallic silver paint to give it a unique look.

Duchamp Chess Set

Along the way, Patrick Lichty also printed a set, and Frankie Flood (being the Master of Metal) had to go way overboard and cast them in bronze!

Duchamp Chess Set

Anyway, my set is finally done, and I finally took photos, which you can see here. I actually spent a fair amount of time trying to replicate the shot of the original Duchamp set, getting the spacing and angles right, matching the lighting, and it’s close, but not exact. (See the top photo to compare.)

Duchamp Chess Set

Of course some of the shots I did were just because I wanted to experiment. The hot pink, and to some degree the black, show the reflective quality of the pieces, which is pretty neat.

Duchamp Chess Set

(You can view high resolution versions of each shot on Flickr, just click on the photos above.)

2014.05.08

3D Drawing Pens

There’s a number of so-called “3D Printing Pens” on the market now, or coming soon, though in reality I think they should be called “3D Drawing Pens”. I mean, you don’t have a “2D Printing Pen” do you? Pens are for drawing, they are not printers that print.

I know a lot of people are excited about these things, thinking it’s the cheapest way to get into 3D Printing (if they work) because you’ve probably seed some amazing photos of things people are creating with these things…

Well, here’s my thought on these pens:

If you’re terrible at drawing in two dimensions, you’re probably going to be terrible at drawing in three dimensions.

Yeah, if you’re a skilled artist who knows how to work a pen, you might make some awesome things. That’s how art works, but don’t expect to pick one of these up and create a masterpiece the first time.

That said, I do think these “3D Drawing Pens” are interesting, and I look forward to see where they go, and I await an open hardware version.

2014.05.06

Duchamp

Recently my pal Bryan Cera posted about resurrecting Marcel Duchamp’s hand-carved chess set, which is a project he’s working on with Scott Kildall.

Bryan shot me an email and asked if I’d be interested in printing a set as well. To be honest, most of the stuff I print on my RepRap is meant to be functional parts, and they typically don’t turn out pretty, but hey, I’m an art lover, and I like collaborative projects.

Pawn

Bryan mentioned that the set should be printable even on a “homebrew” 3D printer, but personally, I hate printing with support, so I try to not use it. I took the pawn and split it in half and then printed it and glued it together with a bit of Acetone.

Pawn

Oh, I also painted the pawn with metallic silver paint. You can see that this is not a super-high quality print, but I’m OK with that. I sort of like the way the lines appear on this piece.

Rook

I also printed the rook. I split this one by removing the top for printing and then reattaching it.

Bishop (in two)

I did the same with the bishop, and will probably do this with the rest of the pieces (and maybe re-do the pawn this way, or maybe do the opposite and re-do all the pieces the same way I did the pawn!)

Bishop

Here’s the bishop being assembled. Acetone melts the plastic, so I just dabbed a bit onto the two surfaces and then hold things together for a few hours with some rubber bands. (Luckily the bishop has a rubber band-holding slot!)

It’s been a fun project so far, and the only reason I’ve not finished the entire set is that I’ve been traveling for work the last few weeks. Once I’ve got all the pieces, I’ll capture some nice images of the set.

And yes, the knight is going to be a fun challenge!

(Thanks to Bryan and Scott for including me in this project!)

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