Putting Sand, Water, and Metal into A 3D Print

[Adam] over at Makefast Workshop writes about some of the tests they’ve been running on their 3D printer. They experimented with pausing a 3D print midway and inserting various materials into the print. In this case, sand, water, and metal BBs.

The first experiment was a mixture of salt and water used to make a can chiller for soda or beer (the blue thing in the upper right). It took some experimentation to get a print that didn’t leak and was strong. For example, if the water was too cold the print could come off the plate or delaminate. If there was too much water it would splash up while the printer was running and cause bad layer adhesion.

They used what they learned to build on their next experiment, which was filling the print with sand to give it more heft. This is actually a common manufacturing process — for instance, hollow-handled cutlery often has clay, sand, or cement for heft. They eventually found that they had to preheat the sand to get the results they wanted and managed to produce a fairly passable maraca.

The final experiment was a variation on the popular ball bearing prints. Rather than printing plastic balls they designed the print to be paused midway and then placed warmed copper BBs in the print. The printer finished its work and then they spun the BB. It worked pretty well! All in all an interesting read.

Take Your 3D Printing to the Next Dimension

In what is being hailed as the next great advancement in 3D printing, scientists have been able to get a 3D printed shape to change form when it is exposed to water, bringing 3D printing squarely into the realm of the fourth dimension. Although the only examples we’ve seen so far are with relatively flat prints (which arguably subtracts one “D” from the claim) the new procedure is one which is groundbreaking for the technology.

The process uses cellulose fibers which, when aligned in a particular way and exposed to water, swell in order to change shape. This is similar to how a bimetallic strip in a thermostat works, but they really took their inspiration from biological processes in plants that allow them to change shape according to environmental conditions. It’s hard to tell if this new method of printing will forever alter the landscape of 3D printing but, for now, it’s an interesting endeavor that will be worth watching. The video after the break shows a fast-motion print using the technique, followed by a demo of the print submersed in water.

We often see new technological advancements that use biology as a springboard for new ideas, and this one is no different. There have been building structures inspired by pinecones and this Processing hack inspired by squid. Biology is all around us, and any of it could be used for inspiration for your next project!

Continue reading “Take Your 3D Printing to the Next Dimension”

Computer-aided paint brush

[Nirav] painted this masterpiece by hand… with a little help from a computer. He calls it the semi-automatic paintbrush because you do need to move it over the canvas by hand, but a computer decides when to dispense the ink.

He’s using a piece of hardware we looked at back in September called the InkShield that got a boost from Kickstarter. It’s an Arduino shield that drives an inkjet printer cartridge. The trick is how to know when the cartridge is in position for printing.

The system uses visual processing for that. [Nirav] added an IR led to the cartridge, and uses a camera to extrapolate its position. He actually reused a Python homography module which he had written for use with a projector. That setup was developed as a digital white board, but works just as well for this purpose.

He mentions that results like this won’t be featured in an art museum. But the look is unique, and we’d love to make a set of geeky thank-you notes using the technique.

Art installation lets you be your own Souvenir


The team at [blablabLAB] have been hard at work on their latest project, which they unleashed on the streets of Barcelona in the La Rambla pedestrian mall. Their art installation allows you to pose in the middle of the mall and receive a plastic statue of yourself as a souvenir.

Not unlike the “Fabricate Yourself” installation we saw a short time ago, this project also uses the Kinect to create a 3D representation of the subject, though it uses three separate sensors rather than just one. Each sensor is positioned around a centralized platform, creating a complete 3D model, which is then sent to a RapMan 3D printer stationed nearby.

Each user is then gifted a plastic representation of themselves to take home – it’s almost like an interactive human Mold-A-Rama. While the figures are neat, it would be great to see what sorts of plastic statues could be made using a higher resolution 3D printer like the one we featured a week ago.

Check out the video below to see the souvenir printer in action.

Continue reading “Art installation lets you be your own Souvenir”

Thingiverse Receives First DMCA Takedown

A landmark in home 3d printing was set when [Dr. Ulrich Schwanitz] sent a DMCA takedown notice to Thingiverse.com on users [artur83] and [chylld’s] takes on his Penrose triangle model. ([chylld’s] take is pictured above) While the takedown itself is highly debatable, we do think it’s cool that home 3d printing has come far enough to begin infringing on the copyrights of objects themselves. Right now media pirating has the front stage, but it’s not hard to look a little further into the crazy sci-fi universe that is our future and see a battle being fought over the rights to physical objects.

[via Thingiverse Blog]

Fully customized robots

i.materialise, a custom 3D printing fabrication house are looking for talented robotics enthusiasts with the skills to design custom robotics parts such as functional frames, decorative shells, as well as unique parts required by robots to look and perform their best. The best part? They are offering free 3D printing of parts to the people they select with the most interesting or useful ideas. Make sure you check out their blog for details on what they are looking for and how to enter, as well as checking out some of the other cool things they do, such as a fully customizable 3D printed frisbee. Let us know what you design, we would love to show it off!

[via Robots-Dreams]

BAMF2010: DIY electroluminescent displays

In this video from Maker Faire, [Jon Beck] of CLUE — the Columbia Laboratory for Unconventional Electronics — demonstrates the unexpected ease of creating custom electroluminescent (EL) displays using materials from DuPont and common t-shirt screen printing tools. Eagle-eyed reader [ithon] recognized the Hack a Day logo among the custom shapes, which escaped our notice at the time. Sorry, Jon! Very cool project, even if the setup is a bit steep. You’ll find links to materials at the project site.

If the interviewer seems especially sharp, that’s because it’s none other than [Jeri “Circuit Girl” Ellsworth], who makes transistors from scratch and designed the C64 DTV. We’re not worthy!