Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ready Player One!

As the title might suggest, this post isn't dedicated to an awesome book written by Ernest Cline with the same name... go read it... now!

This post it's a celebration... I've been accepted to this year Sapo Codebits, which is an great event to meet geeks, nerds and high tech ideas (*le wild idea appears).

You still can register, you have until this sunday, the 16th of september... so hurry up!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

And the frog got unleashed.. again!

YES! The most awesome geeky/programming/techie event is about to happen!
I've participated in two editions and it was a blast! Nuclear tacos (best mapping tool for your digestive system), quiz show (put your nerd/geek knowledge to the test), talks about building bi-copters, passing by sending balloons to space, raising chickens, web scrapping... oh did I mentioned the nuclear tacos?
It's 3 days full of win, go ahead and enroll yourself!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time lapsing...

Last week I've been a little busy, soldering two sanguinololus kits, and here it is, one gorgeous time lapse movie, filmed by my friend Pedro Moura Pinheiro

Friday, June 8, 2012

Installing Cura on Ubuntu

Yesterday Celso sent me a little video of his last print with the Ultimaker. It's a big gear of Greg's Wade reloaded - Guidler, Tilt Screws, Fishbone Gears and I was amazed with the print quality.

In the same mail he said something about Slic3r not being so great and mentioned Cura as the holy grail of slicing, so today I took a peak at it.

I'm running Ubuntu at work, so I needed to install some bits and bytes to run the Cura thing, and we can resume to one line:

sudo apt-get install libssl0.9.8 pypy python-opengl python-wxgtk2.8 python-wxversion
And that's it! Now you can run Cura. Can't say much about it, but seems straight forward  and easy to use, almost plug'n play to a ultimaker, but with a bit of work will do on other repraps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A even more sharper knife!

They did it! Slic3r as a new version in the wild with the coolest features you can find, take look:
This is a very important update, grab it now and enjoy! I want to say thanks to the wonderful community that has been helping with feedback, early testing and nice ideas. A lot of people is involved in our open "quality assurance" process! 
New features:
  • graphical interface for composing multiple objects in one single print (with tools for rotation, scaling etc.)
  • new --merge switch to compose multiple object with auto-positioning from command line
  • new option to randomize starting points across layers
  • automatic detection of additional required perimeters for avoiding haps in domed/sloping objects (the perimeters settings means nowminimum perimeters as Slic3r could add more when needed)
  • sequential printing: print a complete object, then move onto next one, with automatic collision detection
  • ability to export STL files of composed plates, as well as a Splitcommand to turn multi-object files into individual objects
  • we can read OBJ files now
  • very large memory savings and speed boosts, allowing to process high-resolutions files without getting out of memory; also, the number of threads is customizable
  • very improved surface quality due to new smoothing algorithms
  • the GUI doesn't block while slicing and a Cancel button was added to stop the process
  • hole perimeters are extruded in reverse order (from the outermost to the innermost) to get better overhangs
  • a slight compensation is applied to avoid small hole shrinkage
  • support material now uses honeycomb pattern (much work is still needed on support material)
  • retract before changing tool for dual extrusion
  • SVG colors were inverted to better support DLP printing (next versions will carry more settings for SVG export)
  • fixed some GUI memory leaks
  • fixed some fatal errors
  • fixed a bug causing high memory consumption when infilling every 2 or more layers
  • some holes where filled
  • some nearly-thin walls were discarded
  • removed tiny dots/blobs that were generated sometimes
  • bottom layer speed ratio wasn't taken into account when estimating layer time
  • omit any G92 E0 when in relative mode

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I need tools!

Last tuesday I've managed to print some parts for the Prusa Air, but this kind of empirical tuning of Violeta it's giving me something to think about. There's a science behind this stuff, this shouldn't be all about empirical experiments, so I've googled around and found many theories how you should calibrate your 3d printer and/or setup your skeinforge configurations.

Skeinforge it's uglier than hell, but it's the most used slicing tool, there's a bazillion of knobs and values you can change, but apparently, if you suffer from a light OCD, you can get some decent prints by changing just 5 settings :)

At least this is the approach you can find in ProfileMaker.

Josef Prusa made a RepRap Calculator, a valuable tool for sure.

I can't wait to start making some printers. :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I've done it!

I've finally done it! These are the first 3 pieces for the Prusa Air. Last saturday I went to AltLab to print them, but as usual, Violeta (the resident cupcake... the 3D printer) said - "No you don't!", and after a couple of hours discussing with her, I went home :p

Mental note: If you need give a name to a machine, skip the chapter "Women", for some kind of strange reason, the machine catch their... let's call it "moods".

So, after licking my bruises, I've stumbled on Celso Martinho time lapse documenting his Ultimaker build, and after that he tweeted about some extruder problems, very similar Violeta. We've exchanged some tweets about 3D printing and he has found a post in the Ultimaker forum, suggesting to turn off the Temperature setting in Skeinforge.

This tuesday I went back to Violeta and tried to talk to "her" without mentioning "temperature", and it worked! I was able to print the support for the Y-axis motor and two clamps... and then it was getting late and I had another lady to go to ;)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Not like beef jerky, but still smoked

Last monday I've picked up from my university a package. It was filled wih goodies, 4 Nema17 stepper motors, 4 opto-endstops and a sanguinololu pcb with all the components... to solder on it!

So, on the next day I went to work and took the whole swag with me, hoping on having time to soldering everything while at work, and all went right, all morning surrounded by nasty fumes, but by lunch time I've already uploaded the Marlin firmware onto my freshly assembled sanguinololu and was able to connect it with ReplicatorG and PrintRun :)

But it was only lunch time, and when I got back at home, there was another surprise, my 12 "10€ worth ebay bought linear bearings" had arrived, oh happy happy joy (insert happy dance here).

Friday, April 20, 2012

Almost lost my bearings!

It has been a while from my last post, but let's get back to work!

Bearings... I went bearing shopping, at least get some ratings, and i was shocked!!!

I've asked on brick and mortar shops, and the prices... they asked me 4,50€ plus VAT for 1... yep, one 608 bearing!! 608zz are the same bearings you can find in skateboards, and not long ago I've built some longboards and there are top notch bearings in ceramic with ultra rolling power for 60€.... 8 of them!!!

And the cherry on top of the cake, linear bearings, lm8uu ones, 17€+VAT, also for one bearing... I'll be needing at least 11 of those!!!!

Well, I was getting disappointed, fired up a browser, http://www.ebay.co.uk, lm8uu, and bought 12 bearings for 10€...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One after another

Yep, one cube... err... not really a cube, after another. Trial and error it's a scientific approach, but AltLab cupcake can get on your nerves.

First of all, Violeta it's a kind of cupcake prototype with many and many hours of printing, so she can be a kind of moody and the standard setups on ReplicatorG doesn't apply to her, wich it's a kind of a bummer :p

Second, João Neves, Basílio and me, well... how should I put this, we are rookies on 3D printing matters, but very eager to take the bull by his horns :D

Now, yesterday at AltLab, we've started with a new ABS spool, a spool with some bad reviews from AltLab experts, they never got an usable print from it, so,with our natural stupidity we've engaged in empirical effort to calibrate the damn thing.

As you can see, after 4 hours of trials and errors we've give up and wen home... with a promise, let's investigate what is the correct way to calibrate it :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just imagine....

Someone close to you needs an organ transplant and a compatible donor it's getting hard to find. Unfortunaly this is a very recurrent picture, but science it's getting there! There's a San Diego company, Organovo, is using 3D printing technology to print human skeletal muscle, and use it as graft.

Can you imagine printing a whole organ?

(via 3D Printing is the Future)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So full of win!

So it was, yesterday AltLab meetup was full of win.
It started with someone showing off his project, Laser Tag... no, no laserish paintballish kind of laser tag, it was more grafitti tagging, but using a laser pointer, a video projector, a camera and a kind off nifty software :)
Everyone played with it, and headed back inside, it was a kind of chilly in the back alley.

Next, João Neves and me went on a date with Violeta... It was a kind of threesome, but Violeta is AltLab Cupcake 3D printer!

I tried printing a part from a Wallace, bat as usual, Violeta didn't finished the print, and I was using my computer, so the plot thickens! :(

The problem is in the printer, now we're certain of this! We scavanged AltLab junk... err... the nice and very organized wharehouse for ATX PSU, and tried a few, but that didn't, so we plugged the original one back, and it worked! Violeta is printing again, at least two parts for Franky (a mini-mendel) withou a hitch, the future will tell us.

And the pièce de résistance was the first test of a stereolithography printer... "waht?!!?" it's a 3D printer using photo sensible resin as a medium, very impressive piece of technology.

 They made some exposure tests to understand how long they need to expose the resin for a perfect cure, it's around 15 seconds and they-re ready for the next layer :)

A full of win day!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slice it and Dice it... Part 2!

Not everyone has a 200mm plate to print parts, not even me.... hell, I haven't got a printer... yet, but that's another story.
Someone asked for 100mm batches on my RepRap Wallace (Nema 17 and M8 rods edition), so I've fired up Blender and tried to make the best out of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Friendly robots!

A swarm of robot's invaded yesterday AltLab meetup... swarm... meh... should I say... 3? Well... 3 it's greater than 2, so... a small swarm of robots invaded AltLab!

They were brought by André Almeida, from Artica.Two of them were Guibots and the bigger one is a Magabot.

The Guibot is Farrusco is a small robot based on the Arduino platform, in this case it’s using a Motoruino wich is an Arduino clone with a couple of enhancements – dc motor dual controller, servo and sensor plugs, possibility to select 5v or external power source for motors and PWM pins.

With Farrusco you will be able to make it avoid obstacles, follow walls, enter in free space mode, and in the future more add-ons will be available, just to name a few: line follower, speakers and light sensors, RGB leds, and so on.

Magabot is an Arduino based, open source robotics platform designed to give mobility to any portable computer and in this case Skype was used to control it... video conference with the ability to stroll around a remote room/office.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Faster than a speeding bullit!

Well, almost! Here's the thing, some guys in the Vienna University of Technology developed one The 3D printer uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam.

And then you go, "Yeah, big deal!", but be prepared for this, we're talking about nanometer precision, can you imagine what kind of resolution you can achieve?

"But I'll bet it's slow like watching wall moving"... wrong again! They can print 5 meters per second!
You're speechless by now, for sure, but you can watch the video and take a look here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I've uploaded a "Thing"

That's right, I've posted a "thing" on Thingiverse! But what's thingiverse? Well, thingiverse it's a repository of things you can print, there's no need to know about 3D modelling to own a 3D printer, you can go to thingiverse and download something you need/like and print it.

But what have you uploaded? Well, there's a new "guy" in town, is name is Wallace, after Alfred Russel Wallace, and he is a it, it's a 3D printer. Basically I just followed the instructions in the OpenScad file available in the original post, which was designed with smaller motors in mind, but luckily, the mastermind behind it, coded the file in a way you can change the settings of the motors and rods in a fast and easy way.

So, I've changed the configuration to Nema17 motors and M8 rods (sturdier and bigger printing area), generated new STL files and then I used Blender to produce a 200x200mm plate which allow you to print all the parts at the same time.

If there's a popular demand, I'll try to make a 100x100mm array, for printers with smaller building area.

Take a look here!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Shut Up And Take My Money!

“Shut up and take my money!” is a catchphrase used to express enthusiastic approval toward a product or idea. 3D printers, at least for me, is one of this cases. I've found here a great source for comparison between the various models of 3D printers available in the market.
You've two options, build it yourself or buy one already built. As you can imagine, the already built ones are more expensive, but if you've two left hands that's the way to go.
If you're a t(h)inkerer, you can go the cheap.. err the inexpensive way, better yet, if you're an hardcore t(h)inkerer you create one from scratch!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Print me some wheels!

It's just amazing what you can accomplish with 3D printing capabilities. Take a look at Vorwaertz and his nifty VRZ 1, I just want one of those!

VRZ 1. is a track bike frame with 3d printed stainless steel lugs glued together with carbon fiber tubes.
this method allows to build custom frames in a short period of time.
you could change the geometry to what ever you like, then the lugs gets generated by a software.
now we just need to print the parts finish them and glue the frame together.
The fork is 480 g and the frame weight is 1100 g (for stainless-Carbon Frame)! if we print the lugs in titanium, it will get even lighter.
The printed lugs could also be used with steel or titan tubes!

Friday, March 2, 2012

After all... Size does matter!

The most common use of a 3D printer is to enhance some tool/object or make a replacement part. In this cases accurate measurements play an important roll on this act of reverse engineering/enhancement, and you'll need a proper tool to do this. The must-have tool is a Vernier Caliper.
With this tool you can take measurements with great accuracy, we're talking about into tenth of a millimetre in the most basic models. This tool is mandatory in any t(h)inkerer tool case! 
Animation of a caliper measurement using a vernier scale.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Slice and dice it!

Before printing your "hot from the oven" 3D model, you'll need to convert it in a language comprehensible to your 3D printer. A 3D printer is a CNC machine with a extruder as printing tool, so the logical step was adopting the same programming language used in the CNC, which is GCode.
Basically it tells to the machine which dots should connect... yes, all machines work like games you have played as a kid :)
Well, after this brief explanation, let's take a look at Slic3r, it's just one of many STL-to-GCode translators developed for 3D printing. At first glance it seams more user friendly than Skeinforge, but lacking some options/features, but I guess the main reason is the development team behind Skeinforge is the same as ReplicatorG, the Makerbot creators!
So, why should I use Slic3r? Well, take a look at RichRap wrote an impressive, let's call an essay, about Slic3r, take a look at it!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doodling in 3D

Don't worry, he's mostly harmless! Basílio, a goodfella, a Lobster, a good friend and a Google SketchUp ninja!
Well, yesterday was AltLab meetup day, and the plan was: make a 3D model of an X axis carriage for a mini-mendel.
It was a success! After a few hours using Google SketchUp, we've managed to create a darn good looking carriage. The next step will be print it and assemble it.

Mini-Mendel X Axis mini-carriage

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm not in the mood...

At least it's what she said! Violeta... the printer, I mean :)
From the beginning, tuesday it's meeting day at AltLab and I've discussed with Mauricio the possibility of using the Mini-Mendel with an adapter, a Pen Holder to write the pcb's layouts. The X axis carriage from the Mini-Mendel was disassembled and after I've finished assemble it, it looked a little wobbly, and we don't want a wobbly printer!
So, Thingiverse to the rescue, and we found the Mendel Mini-Carriage, and of we go... to the Makerbot!!!
This was my first interaction with a 3d Printer, and everything went well... until... when the print reached about 1cm of height, the extruder decided stop the extrusion... damn!
We started over, but there was a suspicion over the laptop, so we've tried using the SD Card to print... it didn't work! Now the suspect is the version 3 firmware... and the laptop... it's a cabala or lack of luck :p
Did we give up? No, of course not, we've selected a smaller piece of the Mini-Carriage and pressed "BUILD", and all went as expected, the first piece of the Mini-carriage was a success!
Let's try another... and all went well.. until the 1cm of height... the extruder failed again :p
It was getting late, so we've closed the shop for the day... err... night.
But not everything was lost, we've plotted a plan to develop a Gen8 electronics, just wait for it :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Piccolo... ma non troppo

Piccolo it's the Italian word to describe a small thing, but size doesn't matter, small thing can surprise you! Take a look at this...

Piccolo is a pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform. For less than $70, you can assemble your personal Arduino-compatible kit for tinkering, developing and deploying basic 3D output. Be it plotting quick graffiti, printing a one-off business card on the fly, or multiple Piccolos working together to create a large mural, this kit provides a platform for experimenting with 2D or 3D digital fabrication at a small scale. This open-source design emphasizes simplicity, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.


Tiago Rorke | Diatom Studio, www.tiago.co.nz
Greg Saul | Diatom Studio, www.gregsaul.co.uk
Cheng Xu | CMU CoDe Lab, www.cheeriocheng.com
Huaishu Peng | CMU CoDe Lab, www.huaishu.me

music: Wet Wings - Last Day of Summer | wetwings.lilchiefrecords.com/track/last-day-of-summer

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A 3D printer in your pocket!!!

Well, kind of, it depends how deep your pockets are!
This is Tantillus, a portable self replicable mini printer.
Brad (aka Sublime) went on vacations and brought along his Prusa, there's no need to say... it's big, clunky and not so portable.
He decided to create a mini Ultimaker and this is his prototype.
The building area is very similar to the original Makerbot in a quite smaller package (225mm x 225mm x 300mm), simply amazing :)
You can find more detailed pictures here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A great timelapse!

While investigating about RepRap builds, I came across with this time lapse, take a peek ;)

Complete TimeLapse of the assembly of a 3D Printer.

3D Printer-Manufacturer: http://www.MakerGear.com
Derivation of the RepRap Prusa Mendel: http://www.RepRap.org


Builders: Bob Meltzer & Victor van Spaandonk

Thursday, February 9, 2012

RepRap Gen7 PCB... check!

Today went back to AltLab for a little learning experience. A great friend of mine, Fernando Afonso, came to Lisbon to the launch of MEO Kanal, a product he helped bringing to life.

Since he was here, he was invited by AltLab to give a small workshop on "PCB Making... The Fernando Afonso way". :)

The method used was Toner Transfer, where you print the circuit layout with a laser printer on cheap magazine paper (the more glossier is better), then, with the toner side over the copper side and woot... the "sandwich" off it go into a slightly modified laminator (around 10 times) and the it's submerged in freezing cold water.

The low quality magazine paper it's easily scrubbed off the pcb and it's ready to the acid bath.
We used Acid Cupric Chloride as etchant, when the pcb is submerged  it turns into a... kryptonite green... spooky I say!

In the end we've got a Generation 7 Electronics pcb for the Prusa Air... next step, buy the components and soldering it :D

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

With my little eye I see...

Yesterday was meeting day at AltLab. The lair was packed with t(h)inkerers, from guys fixing an audio amp, other trying to burn one atmega to use on a Gen7 pcb, freshly made, for his reprap, or should I call it repstrap?? His ambitious plan is building a 3D printer with recycled parts... He has already scavenged some printers for motors and rods! I can't wait to see the result.
But something caught my attention, Mónica Mendes using DIY microscopes! She hacked some poor webcams, well, some say lucky webcams (me included), and she was taking a peek into leafs, and I say, nature always amazes me.
Suddenly, at midnight the lights went out... a little piezoesc song starts to play... wait... that's "happy birthday to you" song.... and there it is, a delicious chocolate cake, garnished with some led throwies (what you expected?!?) appeared, Maurício's birthday!!! He got a surprise ehehe!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

3D Printer = JAIL!

At least in one of the short stories written by one of my favorite authors, Cory Doctorow . 
“Printcrime” is a 2006 science fiction short story about man who goes to prison for illegal printing.
Can you imagine that? Well, maybe in a distant future... or not, but I'll bet the same thing happened when Prohibition was instated in the U.S., no one predicted it, for sure!
If you love sci-fi, and especially if the technology described in it is quite tangible or current bleeding edge, you'll find in his books a not so distant future.
One thing you'll be surprised is the possibility of download for free all of his books... you've read it right... F-R-E-E, as in nienti, nada, libre, मुक्त, bure... well, you've got it by now :)
Now, you go read the story and the reason why he wrote it in here, and... you'll read it all the books afterwards. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Will it Blender?

No, this post it's not about the Blender from Blendtec. If I'm going to build a 3D printer, I will need to learn how to make complex objects in 3D on my computer, right?
So, before taking a peek in RepRap.org for recommended software, I took a look at Blender... no, not Bender Bending Rodriguez from Futurama, it's Blender, an Open Source creation suite, offering a broad range of essential tools for the creation of 3D content, including modeling, uv-mapping, texturing, rigging, skinning, animation, particle and other simulation, scripting, rendering, compositing, post-production, and game creation... It's not per se a CAD tool, but it can be used for it :)
And guess what arrived at my mailbox early in the morning... A 7 hour workshop "Blender Beginners Class" by AltLab!!!! I've enrolled already, I can't wait for it :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Prusa Air... good lookin' hein?

Isn't she pretty? this is a rendering of a Prusa Air, a variation from the Prusa Mendel which it was already a simpler variation of the Mendel.
This is the printer I'll be building this semester, so, now I'm looking thru my social network, ways of cutting the acrylic.
Meanwhile, I may have found even more partners in crime... building wise and as members of AltLab... who knows?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hackerspace FTW!

Well, finally I've payed a visit to AltLab, a small hackerspace here in Lisbon. And what's an hackerspace? Imagine a room packed with tools, usable "junk" and the most important thing of all... t(h)inkerers :)
Maurício Martins (the coordinator of  AltLab ) introduced me to Tiago Rorke, a guru on ReplicatorG, Skeinforge, GCode and Makerbot operator.
For 3 hours, I watched and learned  how important is the calibration of the printer, the ability to control all variables involved in 3D printing.
Can't wait to get back :D