Fold-out arm on a DIY laser cutter

Space saving portable design takes laser cutting on the road

Here is another interesting DIY laser cutter project, this time featuring a novel departure from the standard construction we are used to seeing.

Instead of running within a constrained space, the compact laser cutter has an arm that swings out in a format reminiscent of the RepRap 3D printer.

When the laser cutter is in use the arm opens up to 90 degrees perpendicular to the box and the laser head runs along it.

The main structural elements are made from aluminium extrusions, and there are a few custom CNC milled and 3D printed components to fill in the gaps and connect other off-the-shelf parts.

This looks to be a novel way to build a laser cutter that you can take on the road with you. No more heavy equipment fixed in place in the workshop… just be careful not to set it up on your grandma’s favourite coffee table!

For more info, including a thorough photo essay of the development process behind the fold-out laser cutter, click through to the source.

via DIY fold-out laser cutter

Blender to include more 3D print support!

The Blender 2.67 release includes a feature packed 3D printing toolbox

Blender has long supported the .STL file format used to export for 3D print and it is very welcome news that there will be additional support within the software to help modelers. As a popular, free and open source 3D modeling software package, these new features will greatly help save users’ time in finding issues with their models.

The new toolbox looks set to have features useful for printing models both with online services such as Ponoko, and also with RepRap or Makerbot kitset 3D printers. Models for 3D printing need to be perfectly watertight, so all their edges need to meet to enclose a volume. For most users this can cause issues from time to time, trying to find where a tiny hole might exist. (more…)

Filabot winds toward closed loop recycling

Filament making machine winds its way toward finishing its Kickstarter campaign rewards

Filabot ReclaimerWe last looked at Filabot, the plastic extrusion filament maker for Makerbot and RepRap style 3D printers when Tyler McNaney was in the middle of his Kickstarter Campaign, that ended up successfully raising $32,330 and was more than 320% funded.

The Filabot is a desktop machine that aims to help reduce the cost of 3D printing for filament based and reduce plastic waste by turning it into “ink” or filament for 3D printers that print by depositing and fusing plastic together.

The Filabot Reclaimer has recently had a lot of development work from McNaney, whose working hard to fulfil his Kickstarter rewards orders by the end of the year. He, recently revealed the design for the production Filabot Reclaimer on his website. The case is made from folded CNC plasma cut steel. (more…)

Manufacturing product beta?

Manufacturing development emulating the software worldDesign studio Teague recently showcased 13:30, a pair of headphones at Makerfaire. They are currently experimenting with applying the concept of releasing products in ‘beta’ to manufacturing. For Teague, John Mabry designed a pair of headphones entitled 13:30, for print on a professional grade FDM 3D printer using commonly available electronic components. (more…)

Wiki Weapon: the 3D printed gun project

What are the implications of an open source, fully 3D printable handgun?

Cody Wilson and a group of friends, working under the name Defense Distributed, want to make an open source, fully 3D printable handgun.

Their goal is that the gun use only parts printed on a RepRap-like printer except for the .22 caliber bullet. While such project have been discussed before, they appear to have put together a thorough working plan, starting with a prototype that uses an electronic solenoid.

A project of this kind is bound to be controversial, for obvious reasons. A CAD file of a gun would be nearly impossible to control or regulate. In fact, this appears to be exactly what the people behind Defense Distributed intend. Both their video above and their manifesto are strongly political, leaning towards a broad interpretation of the “right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

They began with an Indiegogo campaign asking for $20,000 to begin the project. Indiegogo removed their campaign, presumably because it was a weapon. Defense Distributed then ran a campaign through their own site and suceeded in raising $20,000 as of 9/19. As of right now, they are continuing to accept donations to cover day-to-day expenses.

Via 3D Printing Event blog

Wood composite 3D printing filament in action

Great-looking grain

Gary Hodgson's wood composite print of mini heart gears

The wood composite 3D printer filament that Taylor wrote about this week has been making its way into the hands of folks who ordered it before the initial supplies ran out.

One early buyer, Gary Hodgson, has been hard at work, printing a few different models and experimenting with photographs of the material under different lighting conditions. The most interesting one so far is a keychain variant of the popular heart gears project, pictured above with a camera flash.

Contrast that with these fluorescent and daylight photos: (more…)

A new hi-res desktop 3D printer announced today.

Formlabs announced today the release of the Form 1, their “prosumer” desktop printer that uses stereolithograpy to produce highly detailed models.

“The Form 1 marries high-end stereolithography (SL) technology and a seamless user experience at a price affordable to the professional designer, engineer and maker.”

A common complaint of current desktop printers like Makerbot, Ultimaker, and RepRap that use FDM extrusion technology, is that the print quality is too low. The Form 1 tackles this head on and the high quality results speak for themselves. Another printer in the “at home” printing market is great news for consumers too. The Form 1 promises to be “An end-to-end package. Printer, software, and post-processing kit that just works. Right out of the box.”

The price is affordable though the regular retail price has not been announced. At $2499 it is comparable to the price of the Replicator 2.

They have a kickstarter campaign to manage pre-sales and generate funds to ramp up production. The machines are selling fast! They have reached their goal of 100K in 2.5 hours.

Formlabs is a Boston-based start-up founded by a trio of MIT grads with impressive backers like Eric Schmidt and Mitch Kapor. They’ve also enlisted Dragon Innovation, a manufacturing consultancy, to assist with the production of the printers and hopefully avoid the kinds of hurdles we’ve seen other successful kickstarter campaigns face.

Nice work guys. I’m excited to see the results!

More on Formlabs and Wired

Wood-based 3D printing filament that can print wood grain

If it looks like wood, smells like wood, and works like wood, is it wood?

LAYWOO-D3 is a wood-based 3D printing filament by inventor Kai Parthy intended for the RepRap and (possibly) similar machines. It is 40% recycled wood with binding polymers for the remainder.

3D printing with wood is remarkable enough, but this filament has the ability to mimic wood grain by varying the temperature of the print head. A temperature of 180 degrees Celcius produces a light color and 245 degrees Celcius produces a darker color. After printing, the “wood” can be cut, ground, and painted.

LAYWOO-D3 is currently available for sale via eBay and German RepRap GmbH in a 3mm thickness in small, trial amounts.
(more…)

Eventorbot new open source 3D printer

Kickstarter’s latest and very promising RepRap derivativeEventorbot

The latest and professional in appearance RepRap based 3D printer was developed by Duy Dang to have a rigid construction yet retain the low cost and ease of assembly aspects that RepRap owners and builders enjoy. (more…)

Replicator 2: a new direction for MakerBot?

The much-lauded maker of 3D printers for amateurs goes pro.

As we mentioned in our recent coverage, MakerBot has just released a brand new 3D printer, the Replicator 2. It boasts a range of new features and upgrades that I won’t repeat here. It also boasts a new $2199 price tag. I doubt anyone will complain about improved print quality and larger build volumes, and, frankly, the new printer looks gorgeous. That being said, this blogger sees the Replicator 2 as a new direction for MakerBot. They have clearly and specifically labeled it “professional-grade,” a first for MakerBot. This is not necessarily a bad direction, but it is a marked change from how they began.
(more…)