At the dawn of 3D printing, support structures were something to avoid. ABS is a hard substance to clear off, and the slicers did a comparatively poor job of making structures that were easy to remove. Today, supports are not a big deal and most of the slicers and materials allow for high-quality prints with supports. We were printing something with supports the other day and noticed that Cura has a support floor and roof function. Curious, we did a quick search and found this very comprehensive post about the current state of support.
With 25 topics in the table of contents, this isn’t a 3-minute read. Of course, you might wish to skip over some of the first parts if you get why you need support and understand the basic ideas. We became more interested when we reached the geometry section.
Continue reading “Everything You Wanted To Know About 3D Printing Support But Were Afraid To Ask”
An Israeli start-up company, Redefine Meat recently raisedabout $6 million to perfect and commercialize its technology to 3D print meat alternatives, sometimes called alt-meat. The company claims that producing animal protein for consumption is unsustainable but that their product reduces environmental impact by 95% and has other benefits such as containing no cholesterol and a lower cost to consumers.
Reports say the ingredients of the faux meat includes three different plant protein sources, fat, and water. We assume the fat is also plant-based. The prototype printer can produce about two pounds of “meat” an hour, but their next machine is supposed to be capable of about ten times that production.
They aren’t the only company in the space, either. Novameat is also 3D printing meat. There’s also competition from companies that are basically growing real animal tissue in labs without the animals–so-called cultured meat.
Continue reading “How Would You Like Your Steak Printed?”
Although there was briefly a company called Rotary Rocket, the term is much better known as a nickname for the Mazda RX-7 — one of the few cars that used a Wankel, or rotary, engine. If you ever wondered how these worked, why not print a model? That’s what [Engineering Explained] did. They printed a 1/3 scale model and made a video explaining and demonstrating its operation. The model itself was from Thingiverse, created by [EricThePoolBoy].
One thing we really liked about the model was the use of lights to show the different stages of combustion. Cool air intake is a blue light, hot air is red, and so on. It really helps visualize what’s happening. You can watch the video below.
If you haven’t seen a Wankel before, it is a clever design. It has very few moving parts and offers very smooth power transfer and high power to weight ratio. The downside, though, is that the engine deliberately burns oil to lubricate and seal, so it is difficult to meet emission standards and requires a lot of oil. The fuel efficiency of current designs is not very good either, especially since manufacturers will often trade fuel efficiency for better emissions.
If you’d like to read more about the Wankel, check out our earlier post (and the 165 comments attached). We also looked at — or rather through — another Wankel earlier this year.
Continue reading “3D-Printing Wankel Engine From Mazda’s Beloved “Rotary Rocket””
We have a friend who has always been obsessed that he didn’t invent the Weed Eater. After all, it is just some fishing line and a motor. We might feel the same way about Easy-Peelzy, which [Maker’s Muse] reviews in the video, below. The idea is very simple. Two squares of material that have magnets in them and one surface is something similar to BuildTak. You mount one square down on your print bed and then put the other square down so that it magnetically sticks. Print, and then pull the top square off and pop your print off.
Judging from the video this looks like it works very well. The price looks high until you realize the currency converts to under 20 U.S. dollars.
Continue reading “Easy-Peelzy Makes 3D Prints Stick And Not Stick”
Summoning 4chans, 9gags, Reddits and other denizens of easily-digested content, Liberty Games stripped apart a dilapidated “Baby Doll” pinball arcade machine and turned it into this meme-spouting monstrosity. A complete redo of the vinyl and graphics to sport dozens of familiar internet tropes was first, then they had Shapeways create internal scenery and finally some electronics were added to spice things up.
We have seen PINMAME-based digital machines but this took a different path. Pinball machines this old pre-date common transistors so they rely on electro-mechanicals for everything. This made hacking the machine challenging so the team intercepted most of the signals and tied them into a Raspberry Pi with a Pi-face interface board. A videoscreen was added to the scoreboard, triggering all manner of memey videos and sounds according to actions performed and unlocked on the screen.
If you yearn for expired pranks of years gone by and are bad at pinball, you are in luck. Losing the game gets you Rickrolled – over and over again. On the plus side, Nyan Cat rockets away to bonuses and even the Admiral himself warns you of impending danger.
We resisted the urge to write this article as a chain of one meme to the next, you will get plenty of that from the well-documented project conversion and the following video. Someone in the comments will probably make a list of all memes.
Continue reading “Meme Themed Pinball Machine – Much Flipping, Y U No Win?!”
[Jia Wu, Mary Sek, and Jeff Maeshiro], students at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco, took on the task of developing a walking 3D printer. The result is Geoweaver, a hexapod robot with a glue gun extruder system. Hackaday has seen walking CNC machines before, but not a 3D printer. Geoweaver uses two servos on each of its six legs to traverse the land. The team was able to program several gaits into the robot, allowing it to traverse uneven terrain. Walking is hard enough on its own, but Geoweaver also uses a glue gun based extruder to make 3D prints. The extruder head uses two servos to swing in a hemispherical arc. The arc is mapped in software to a flat
plain plane, allowing the robot to drop a dollop of glue exactly where it is programmed to. Geoweaver doesn’t include much in the way of on board processing – an Arduino Uno is used to drive the 15 servos. Those servos coupled with a glue gun style heater pull quite a bit of power, which has earned Geoweaver nicknames such as Servo Killer, Eater of Shields, Melter of Wires, and Destroyer of Regulators.
Geoweaver’s prints may not be much to look at yet, however the important thing to remember is that one of the future visions for this robot is to print on a planetary scale. Geoweaver currently uses reacTIVision to provide computer control via an “eye in the sky”. ReacTIVision tracks a fiducial marker on the robot, and applies it to a topographical map of the terrain. This allows Geoweaver to change its height and print parameters depending on the flatness of the ground it is printing on. On a scaled up Geoweaver, reacTIVision would be replaced by GPS or a similar satellite based navigation system. Most of the software used in Geoweaver is opensource, including Grasshopper and Firefly, written by the team’s professor, [Jason Kelly Johnson]. The exception is Rhino 5. We would love to see an option for a free or open source alternative to laying out ~$1000 USD in software for our own Geoweaver.
Continue reading “Roving Hexapod Poops Out 3D Prints”
[Jennifer Lewis] is a Harvard Materials Scientist, and she’s recently come up with a type of Lithium Ion “Ink” that allows her to 3D print battery cells.
You might remember our recent 3D Printering article on Pastestruders, but this research certainly takes it up a few notches. The ink is made up of nano-particles of Lithium Titanium in a solution of de-ionized water and ethylene glycol. When producing the ink, small ceramic balls are added to the mixture to help break up microscopic clumps of said particles. The mixture is then spun for 24 hours, after which the larger particles and ceramic balls are removed using a series of filters. The resulting ink is a solid when unperturbed, but flows under extreme pressures!
This means a conventional 3D printer can be used, with only the addition of a high pressure dispenser unit. We guess we can’t call it a hot-end any more… The ink is forced out of a syringe tip as small as 1 micrometer across, allowing for extremely precise patterning. In her applications she uses a set up with many nozzles, allowing for the mass printing of the anodes and cathodes in a huge array. While still in the research phase, her micro-scale battery architectures can be as small as a square millimeter, but apparently compete with industry batteries that are much larger.
And here’s the exciting part:
Although she says the initial plan is to provide tools for manufacturers, she may eventually produce a low-end printer for hobbyists.
3D Printable electronics. The future is coming!