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!