PandaBot, a new consumer 3D printer gearing up for launch

Sleek and rugged

PandaBot by Panda Robotics

Panda Robotics, a 3D printer company based in Toronto & Seattle, is preparing to launch their new PandaBot on Kickstarter. The PandaBot is a rugged, consumer-oriented 3D printer that aims to fit in on anyone’s desk.

I had a chance to see a PandaBot prototype in action at a Ladies Learning Code event back in July. It made quite an impression! The sturdy metal frame really sets it apart from hobbyist gear, which traditionally has either a laser-cut wood chassis, or tent poles of threaded rods.

That’s not to say that I dislike the hobbyist look (in fact I love it!)… But if desktop 3D printing is going to be adopted more widely, it has to appeal to more than just the hacker aesthetic.

If Panda Robotics can get the software workflow right, the PandaBot might be just the device to get more people turning their ideas into physical objects.

The official website is short on tech specs for now, but there’s a mailing list that interested people can sign up for right on the front page: http://www.pandarobotics.com


Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

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Improving 3D print adhesion with hairspray(!)

Extra hold for extra hold

Extra Hold by phineasjw

Thingiverse user phineasjw had problems with his 3D prints not fully sticking to his MakerBot’s build platform. Then he noticed a can of hairspray…

This is such an offbeat solution to a common hobbyist 3D printing problem that I just had to write about it. Making sure that the first layer of a print sticks to the platform is key to producing a high-quality object. If it doesn’t stick right, the edges can warp, or the entire object can come loose before the print is complete.

With that in mind, phineasjw’s solution was to spray a light mist of Aqua Net Extra Super Hold over his build platform’s kapton tape. Since doing so, he and other brave Thingiverse users say that they’ve had excellent results with their prints!

The full details are here, including templates for creating a cardboard mask to protect other components during hairspray application: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:28787


Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

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Customizing 3D printed pendants with The Variable Cross

Custom pendants, printed in silver

The Variable Cross

The creator of Entoforms and ShapeWright (covered here and here, respectively) is at it again with a new web-based 3D model creator.

It’s a web app for designing pendants called The Variable Cross. Dolf Veenvliet (aka macouno) emailed me about it yesterday: (more…)

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Painting one of my 3D prints (with video!)

Epoxy’d, sanded, painted

Sappho's Head

After writing about David Hirmes’ Boolean Buddhas a few weeks ago, I was inspired to try painting one of my own 3D prints.

I decided to work on a print of Artec’s laser-scanned Sappho’s Head. It’s a model I’ve printed a few times before, usually with silver ABS: (more…)

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3D printing at a makerspace for kids

Getting an early start on digital fabrication and more

Maker Kids on Thingiverse

On Wednesday, I stopped by Maker Kids here in Toronto to give a short talk about 3D printing, and to check out the space.

Started in 2010, Maker Kids is a small makerspace packed full of work tables and tools. Kids learn a variety of skills including electronics, programming, sewing, woodworking, and more.

For the summer camp program, participants work on a series of hands-on projects such as the awesomely-named Robot Knife Fight: (more…)

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Medical scans and 3D printing

Your innards on the outside

Medical scans

A popular story in the last day or so has been news of a company called Fasotec that proposes to use medical scans of your unborn fetus to create a unique, 3D printed gift:

Fetus gift

From what I can tell, the service hasn’t started yet, and will only be taking place at one clinic in Japan, but I think it’s important to make the availability of your own scans a normal thing. (Even if some might consider this specific service to be a bit creepy.) (more…)

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Boolean Buddhas show the beauty of painted 3D prints

Beautiful beaming Boolean Buddhas

Boolean Buddhas by David Hirmes

In hobbyist 3D printing, the attractiveness of a print is greatly influenced by how much attention is paid to the characteristics of the output device. In my post last week, I wrote about jewelry designs that were iterated on until desirable surface patterns were produced.

In a similar vein, David Hirmes‘ new Boolean Buddhas collection is made beautiful not just by taking advantage of the characteristics of ABS plastic, but also simple finishing techniques.

I’ve written about some options for finishing a 3D print before, such as painting, sanding, and epoxying. Hirmes takes the painting option further by contrasting gold-painted surfaces with stark, natural ABS plastic, such as in the Buddha Bowl: (more…)

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Stylish 3D printed jewelry by Hot Pop Factory

Procedurally generated and finely-tuned

Bi-Ying and Matt with their MakerBot Replicator

Hot Pop Factory is a new 3D printed jewelry company started by architects Matt Compeau and Bi-Ying Miao. (Disclosure: they are also colleagues of mine at Site 3!)

What I love about their designs is that they’re tuned specifically for the 3D printer that they’re made on. Matt and Bi-Ying started with procedural designs in Rhino and Grasshopper, and then iterated over and over until they found the exact grain pattern that they wanted: (more…)

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Help the developing world with 3D printing in the $100k 3D4D Challenge

Fund your world-changing idea with $100,000

The 3D4D Challenge

The 3D4D Challenge, a campaign to help the developing world and educate relevant social organizations, is closing to entries soon. Applicants have until July 31st, 2012 to submit their ideas on how to bring about positive change using 3D printing.

The idea behind the challenge is to attract the best options, mentor applicants on possible social implications, and finally hold a pitch session to select the winner.

That winner will receive $100,000 in funding that must be used to implement the selected plan.

This video explains: (more…)

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Visualizing GCode on the web

Quick viewing without installing software

Octocat example file

Processing a model for 3D printing on a hobbyist device does not always go smoothly. There are a variety of toolchains, each with their own quirks. Sometimes it’s necessary to double-check the final GCode output before sending it off to the printer.

The most popular tool for doing so is Pleasant3D for the Mac. Unfortunately, even though cross-platform tools do exist, there hasn’t been one with a similar ease of use. That’s where Joe Walnes’ web-based GCode viewer comes in. (more…)

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