Inside 3D Printing conference coming to Chicago

Get 15% off conference passes

After a successful event in NYC this spring, Inside 3D Printing is coming to Chicago next month, July 10-11.

Keynote speakers include Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, Stratasys founder Scott Crump, and 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental. Other speakers will discuss topics ranging from policy (3D printing and the future of Intellectual Property, the rapid manufacture of weapons) to mass adoption (desktop printers from start to finish, 3D printing adoption in retail and branding) to innovative new uses in food, fashion, architecture, and electronics.

There’s also a full day’s schedule of tutorials and an exhibition hall of the latest 3D printing products, projects, and services.

Register for the event and save 15% with code PK15!

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3D printed ukulele

Digital manufacturing never sounded so sweet * UPDATE * video added!

There is a saying amongst ukulele players. It goes something along the lines of “Music self played is happiness self made.” So imagine how happy Matthew must be, as he strums away on his 3D printed ukulele!

We’ve seen an impressive folding laser cut uke before, and it was only a matter of time before someone had a serious crack at 3D printing one. Matthew (aka Koa Soprano) is no stranger to making his own musical devices, having previously tried his hand at violins and other stringed instruments.

His ukulele is something different though. Printed on a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer, it took about 37 hours for the body, neck and pegs to be produced. Allowance had to be made for the build area of the printer, which means that the headstock is a little shorter than usual. A neat dovetail was planned in to the Solidworks model so that the neck and body can be easily assembled after printing. Pegs were printed both horizontally and vertically to see which orientation produced a neater result.

Click through to see the finished instrument, as well as a few insights into pitfalls that were overcome during the printing process.

* UPDATE * video included after the break!
(more…)

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MIT’s Silk Pavilion inspired by silkworm cocoons

Algorithmic design, digital fabrication, and silkworms work together to make a pavilion.

MIT MediaLab’s Mediated Matter group used inspiration from the cocoons of silkworms for the Silk Pavilion. Silkworm cocoons are made from one long, continuous silk thread. The pavilion uses the same approach, but with some high-tech help.
(more…)

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The sweetest 3D printing of all

Sugar prints that are good enough to eat

Sculptural geometric forms take on a delicious twist with a sweet approach to 3D printing from The Sugar Lab.

It all started when husband and wife team Kyle and Liz von Hasseln wanted to make a sweet gift for a friend’s birthday. Without an oven and therefore unable to bake a cake, the duo applied their architectural skills and set out to 3D print one. What resulted was a simple cupcake with “Chelsea” (the friend’s name) printed in sugar across the top. Excited by the experimentation process, Kyle and Liz have refined the sugar printing technique to produce some stunning – and possibly quite delicious – sculptural forms.

The process uses alternating strands of sugar with layers of a water and alcohol solution that seals and solidifies the sugar.     (more…)

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Tinkercad finds a new home at Autodesk

The future is looking solid for rejuvenated browser-based modeler

Fans of the 3D modelling app Tinkercad are turning their frowns upside-down with the big announcement that the company is back in action, and we’re certainly getting excited… because Tinkercad has been acquired by Autodesk.

What exactly does this mean? Well, not only is it great to see Tinkercad back in action; but with the might of this industry juggernaut behind it, Tinkercad looks to be locked into a secure future as elements are slated to filter through into the innovative suite of 123D apps and more.

Tinkercad’s revolutionary Gen6 geometry kernel played a significant role in sealing the deal with Autodesk. The strength of this browser-based solid modelling utility has already proven to be a hit within the Ponoko community. One of the notable success stories of the Ponoko API, Tinkercad makes generating SVG outputs that are ready for laser cutting or 3D printing so easy, it is literally child’s play.

With Autocad at the helm, the Tinkercad free account now has unlimited designs and full import/export functionality, making it that much more appealing to new makers and educators.

“..we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts.”

Click through to see the full press release from Tinkercad.   (more…)

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Mataerial 3D printer prints into thin air

A new way to 3D print without the need for support material.

The Mataerial 3D printer uses a 2-part thermosetting resin instead of the thermoplastics commonly used in extrusion-based 3D printers. This approach allows the machine to print a line directly into the air with only a single point of contact with a surface. The surface doesn’t need to be horizontal or even; the material will even adhere to a vertical surface.
(more…)

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DIY fishing lures from 3D printed models and silicone molds

Ponoko-made project by Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor was the ‘T’ in T&C Lures, a small business started by two guys who loved to fish in the San Diego bay. His partner (the ‘C’ in T&C) was taking a CNC machining class and “just wanted the challenge” of creating his own lures. Their first product, the swimgrub shown below, made the rounds at fishing forums and quickly became very popular.

But after just a few months of starting the company, C moved on and Kevin was left to carry on design and production. He would either have to pay a lot of money to a product development agency or learn to do it himself. So he decided to dive in and learn.

After some initial research on CAD and rapid prototyping, he came across SketchUp 3D design software and Ponoko’s 3D printing service.

Rather than make CNC machined masters for molding the lures and bait, Kevin decided to try 3D printed models.
Below are images of his SketchUp designs as well as a model he produced with Rhino.

(more…)

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Capturing lightning in 3D

Two photographs combined to model the path of a lightning strike

A chance encounter made possible by the informational maelstrom otherwise know as Reddit has resulted in this dynamic reconstruction of a lightning strike.

The animated image above is a render produced in Blender, and you can see how it all came together in a brief but informative post over on Richard Wheeler’s Calculated Images blog. In short, two separate photographers happened to snap pictures of the same bolt of lightning from slightly different positions. Richard then took these pictures and applied them in a similar manner to the way a stereoscopic image is resolved.   (more…)

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Forme launches new 3D design library

Bring your work to life with digital tableware and animal bones!

Forme It

Sourcing high resolution models for design work (and 3D printing) can be difficult and expensive. There are a fair number of free community 3D models on the web, but many are low quality or have restrictions against commercial use.

That’s where Forme It, a new service that sells high resolution 3D models, comes in.

Forme It’s library of 3D models is broken down into three main areas: Reference, Classic, and Modern. Reference contains models of the natural world, sorted into animal, plant, and mineral. Classic is for functional designs, currently holding a variety of tableware. And Modern at present has a few patterns to texture items with.

To help people actually use the content that they buy, Forme It has started a series of long-form YouTube tutorials. The idea is show one of the available designs used in a practical way, like this tree bark scan made into a container using Blender: (more…)

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Reshaping NYC with 3D printing

D-Shape Concrete printing awarded first place in Waterfront Construction Competition.

When Hurricane Sandy blasted some 565 miles of coastline across NYC, seawalls and other coastal features received quite a battering. Seeking out novel approaches to repairing and redeveloping these damaged areas, the NYCEDC competition “Change the Course” has awarded a $50,000 first prize to concrete 3D printer D-Shape.

The D-Shape proposal is to scan damaged infrastructure, design and fabricate encasements and extensions to the existing surfaces and then fabricate them off-site.   (more…)

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