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2014

As the semester came to a close, students and educators working with us on SOLID Learning workshops and the use of 3D Printers in educational settings have reached the time for Final exams and term papers. Many objects we have printed over the past semester were included with last assignments of the Fall semester.

Parthenon 300x167 Student Dreams Made SOLID

Objects like historical sites were used in presentations, allowing young learners the opportunity to describe the events of people and governmental groups of bygone eras that other students could understand with the assistance of visual aids that can be passed around or even re-created easily if lost or damaged during earlier sessions.

DremelFuge Setup 300x277 Student Dreams Made SOLID

Other final assignments were made possible by 3D printed lab equipment like the DremelFuge centrifuge or laboratory lifts for optics exploration. Looking ahead to the Spring semester, I am excited to see several home-built 3D Printers coming together to expand this capacity within the local High School.

Puzzle Cube 296x300 Student Dreams Made SOLID

Students taking part in the Concepts of Engineering and Technology course have been studying alternative energy designs and the use of CAD software to prepare 3D objects like this puzzle that forms a cube when its individual components are assembled together.

Desk Organizer 1024x645 Student Dreams Made SOLID

My son is currently taking part in this class, and his own final project creating a design for a Desk Organizer fitting within a specified shipping dimensional volume was created using SolidWorks and TinkerCAD, where my University students use SolidWorks, Blender and AutoCAD in their own classes.

DeskOrganizerPrototype Student Dreams Made SOLID

Although each student’s creativity takes them along different design options, it was marvelous to see them creating their designs in solid form to test whether the pieces could be passed through the test dimensions patterned using simple cardboard cut-outs and then assembled as expected for use testing. Beyond simply learning to leverage new technologies students will increasingly find in professional design shops, this final level of testing allowed our students to change details in their design specifications producing a final project deliverable with greater rigor than their classmates in other sections of the course not currently taking part in the SOLID Learning research.

9781118660751 fg1006 Student Dreams Made SOLID

I am hoping that the self-built 3DR 3D Printers this next year will encourage other instructors to bring this capability to their own classrooms, expanding the capacity around the open source RepRap self-replication concept.

KKHausman

Summer Camp Project

Posted by KKHausman May 23, 2014

ProjectileIcon

 

The members of Texas A&M University's AggieSTEM program have invited me to bring SOLID Learning elements of 3D printing to their Summer Camps this year. I am considering our Projects for the classes, as the format will be a Project Based Learning engagement intended to create a useful end product the participants will learn from in other settings after the summer camps are over. The sessions will include one teachers-only and two teenage-participant groups.

The latest MAKE magazine (volume 39) has a cover example of a 3D printed projectile for spud guns that will carry a GoPro camera aloft to capture video from high above the launch area. This GoPro Cannon Cam project seemed an excellent possible project for our summer participants, since the end product be used in later Physics lessons illustrating ballistic behaviors, Mathematics lessons addressing chances measured against time of flight, and even Wildlife and Resource Management studies of the area around their schools seen from far overhead.

Components

To test the time required to build one of these projectiles, students who have not yet left for Summer events printed out the components using surplus natural ABS filament from our Project Egg support project earlier this year. I discovered the designer of the Cannon-Cam projectile left out the slip rings (2x) from his STL archive on the MAKE magazine site, so I created the missing design item and shared it on Thing-i-verse (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:336517) for others who want to build their own projectiles.

Fins

After the workshop participants got involved the smaller pieces like the cut-off brass rods and torsion springs went in pretty well. The final design lacks only the GoPro camera and its window protector, and we will build the cannon itself in weeks ahead! Once that is completed, we can get permission to discharge the projectile on the campus grounds and see if the Summer Camp's sponsors like the project's deliverable!

drone printer.jpg

Imperial College London’s 3D printing Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV)


We’ve all seen the potential that 3D printers bring to the table (literally) as a useful tool for fast prototyping, object creation and even organ printing. The creative ideas for using the tool seems limitless and some are taking 3D printing to new levels, such as a team of researchers from the Imperial College London’s Department of Aeronautics, who are using the tool to mimic the way birds build nests. To help them understand bird’s nest building abilities (in this case swiftlets), the team constructed their own Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) quad-copter using readily available off-the-shelf parts. They then strapped two chemical dispensers underneath the drone that create a strong sticky polyurethane foam when mixed together. The foam is then pumped through a printing nozzle that can build simple structures or even repair broken components.


That’s right, the researchers slapped a rudimentary 3D printer to a home-built drone, which could not only be used to build bird nests but also used in hostile environments where humans have no business being. Since the polyurethane is sticky, it could be used as tethered ‘grippers’ that could be used to remove bombs or remove hazardous waste in a safe manner without exposing humans to the dangerous materials. The MAV is currently only capable of being controlled remotely in a controlled environment, however the researchers are looking to upgrade the drone for autonomous flight in the near future.


nano-liver.jpg

This isn’t a futuristic Rubik’s Cube but rather a 3D printed ‘liver-like’ device that removes toxins.

 

Yes, we’ve all seen organs being 3D printed, such as skin, hearts and kidneys. Now we can add 3D printed ‘liver-like’ device that removes toxins from the user’s blood. Nano-engineers from the University of California tapped nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cells. The team used Dynamic Optical Projection Stereolithography (DOPsL) to 3D print a biocompatible hydrogel matrix to house the nanoparticles, which is then housed outside of the patient’s body, much in the same fashion as a dialysis machine.


3D-Printing-Infographic.jpg

Infographic: Lockheed Martin and RedEye collaborate on 3D printing large-scale satellite parts.

 

As the saying goes, ‘go big or go home’. That appears to be the motto for a new collaboration between Lockheed Martin and Stratasys offshoot RedEye, which aims to 3D print large satellite parts. The pair recently built two large fuel tank simulators for a satellite mockup using RedEye’s Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer. The larger tank was nearly 7-feet long and was built using 10 different printed pieces and the smaller with 6, made using strong polycarbonate material. The tanks took roughly two weeks to print at around 150-hours per tank section, which were then bonded and machined to fit exact specifications, which took another 250-hours to complete.


0ef53c2b69a2df27649200156ad505c0_large.png

Lix 3D pen eschews paper and allows users to drawn in the air.

 

Artists have taken advantage of 3D printers as well to create everything from action figures to timepieces. Now sketch artists and doodlers can take advantage of them as well but not in the conventional aspect of using big machines but rather a specialized pen. The Lix 3D pen allows users to draw and write in the air without the need for paper using the same tech found in set-top printers. The pen heats and cools colored ABS/PLA polymer to form rigid freestanding shapes and works by feeding the filament through the pen where it is then heated and extruded through the pens nozzle, forming rigid shapes. The Lix 3D pen is being funded on Kickstarter and those interested can pledge $135 and up.


IMG_1068-840x570.jpg

The Rabbit Proto is capable of printing electronic traces in 3D printed designs.

 

3D printing objects is easy, however incorporating electronic leads and tracers are not so easy and usually have to be physically embedded during or after the manufacturing process. That’s no longer the case, thanks to Rabbit Proto’s 3D printer add-on. The company’s print head replaces the 3D printer’s extruder and embeds electronic wire in the solid object, making it both structural and conductive. Simply put, the print head allows users to embed complex conductive traces inside of their designs using conductive ink.



The ink is deposited into printed channels as the object is manufactured layer by layer, thereby embedding the circuit. Rabbit Proto is compatible with dual-nozzle 3D printers, such as RepRap, sells for $350, and comes with a syringe-extruder attachment for the conducive ink. Alternatively, customers can get a fully assembled 3D printer with the attachment already attached for $2,499.


C

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A gallery of my 3d printings <link>

It's a remote control car, not as exciting to some, fair enough, it's a reclaimed car though!

 

skip.jpgAt home there's a joiner's company behind the house and regularly they have a skip outside in our property that they fill with a wide variety of junk. This week it was filled with toys. Someone was fed up with their super fun happy gifts and amongst them was the prize, a remote control car.

 

I always wanted one, but it was one of those gifts that the parents never deemed worthy of the cost and so many a Christmas and birthday went by without one, except for whatever the pound or charity shop had on sale at the time.

 

car_0.jpgSkipping back into the house I realised that there were two immediate problems with my new acquisition. The first and most obvious was a lack of remote control. Not the end of the world, I could possibly get a replacement, or as I thought, gut out the innards and use a motor controller attached to a BeagleBone Black or an Arduino and use either WiFi or an RF module to control the vehicle. A side project for another day.

 

Regardless of having a remote control there was another immediate problem, a wheel was wonky. Seriously wonky, upon further inspection I discovered that the bar connecting the steering mechanism to the wheels was broken. The bar that wrapped around a vertical column had snapped on the loop around one of the columns and someone had attempted to super glue the bar to the wheel. The bar needed freedom of movement, super glue obviously didn't allow this. It probably worked maybe once or twice until they were fed up of it driving in a straight line and unable to turn and junked it.

 

So I had a choice. I could probably do a makeshift loop that replaces the end of the bar or, I could 3D model and print a replacement bar. No prizes for guessing which I chose.

 

When it comes to 3D modelling for 3D printing there are a range of possibilities available. The initial choice boils down to one of two:

 

    - Scan the item into software as a 3D model and work from there

    - Create the 3D model from scratch

 

I do not have a 3D scanner, though I'd love to, I've tried making my own but a lot of development is needed to have anything feasible to work with.

 

So I created the 3D model from nothing!

 

The first software that may come to mind when 3D modelling is mentioned is either software such as AutoCAD or 3D Studio Max, depending entirely on your discipline. This may reach out to software such as SoftImage, Maya or even Blender. These software packages can output to the format which 3D printing software typically accepts, which is an STereoLithography File (STL).

 

I'm not familiar with any of these software packages aside from Blender, which I find to be a chore at the best of times with its rapid changing of layout per version. So I thought "stuff this" and I went for OpenSCAD. OpenSCAD uses a scripting language to create a 3D model out of primitives. The software works by letting you create a cube, cylinder or a sphere and then you do maths on it to add/subtract/difference between these simple shapes. An example of this would be to create a cylinder and then have a cylinder inside of it; but you do the difference between the larger cylinder and the smaller one inside it; which then creates a hole. Hey presto, you have a ring!

 

openscad.png

 

It took me half a day to get to this point, if you're familiar with Javascript instead of OpenSCAD's arbitrary scripting language then you might find OpenJSCAD more to your tastes, it also has a preview of the file in the browser. The trick to 3D modelling in OpenSCAD is to start simple and then build up what you're working on. An understanding of sculpting probably helps a great deal alongside an understanding of mathematics and logical ordering for nested statements.

 

If you want to learn how to use OpenSCAD, find a method that works for you. 3D manipulation can be a complex topic and finding a tutorial or video that suits your learning style is the best approach. If you have difficulty working in 3D initially, then what you can do is work in 2D (ignoring the Z plane for example) and construct your model, that can help when translating/differencing the models from one another. Then you just have to add in the z heights later. Here's the code that created my vehicle part:

 

//Set the resolution of the model
$fn = 30;

//centre loop
translate([(106.94/2)-(7.3/2),-2.3+5,0])
{
difference()
{
//outer
cube([7.30,10.87,10.68]);

//inner
translate([1.9,1.9+1.5,0])
{
cube([3.5, 4.10, 10.68]);
}

translate([1.9+3.5/2, 1.5+1.9+4.10 ,0])
{
cylinder( h = 10.68, r = 3.5/2);
}

translate([1.9+(3.5/2), 1.9+1.5 ,0])
{
cylinder( h = 10.68, r = 3.5/2);
}
}
}

//centre prongs
translate([(106.94/2)-(29.95/2)-8,(7.03/2)-(1.6/2),4.15])
{
cube([8,1.6,9.14-4.15]);
}

translate([(106.94/2)+(29.95/2),(7.03/2)-(1.6/2),4.15])
{
cube([8,1.6,9.14-4.15]);
}

//centre block
difference()
{
translate([(106.94/2)-(29.95/2),0,4.15])
{
cube([29.95,7.03,7.16-4.15]);
}
translate([(106.94/2)-(7.3/2),-2.3+5,0])
{
cube([7.30,10.87,10.68]);
}
}

//small overhanging centre block
translate([((106.94/2)-(9.83/2)),-4.5,3.12])
{
cube([9.83,4.5,2.12]);
}

//lip on small overhanging centre block
translate([((106.94/2)-(9.83/2)),-(4.5+0.64),(3.12+2.12)])
{
cube([9.83,2.3,5.6-2.12]);
}

//remove centre block from base
difference()
{
//alter base for end cylinders
difference()
{
//base
//cube([106.94,7.03,4.15]);
translate ( [ 7.03 / 2, 0, 0] )
{
cube ( [ 106.94 - 7.03, 7.03, 4.15] );
}

translate ( [ 7.03 / 2, 7.03 / 2, 0] )
{
cylinder ( h = 4.15 , r = 7.03 / 2 );
}

translate ( [ 106.94 - 7.03 / 2, 7.03 / 2, 0] )
{
cylinder ( h = 4.15 , r = 7.03 / 2 );
}

}
translate([(106.94/2)-(7.3/2),-2.3+5,0])
{
cube([7.30,10.87,10.68]);
}
}

//left end curve
difference()
{
translate ( [ 7.03 / 2, 7.03 / 2, 0] )
{
cylinder ( h = 4.15 , r = 7.03 / 2 );
}

//end holes
translate([7.03/2,7.03/2,0])
{
cylinder(h = 4.15, r = 4.02/2);
}

}

//right end curve
difference()
{
translate ( [ 106.94 - 7.03 / 2, 7.03 / 2, 0] )
{
cylinder ( h = 4.15 , r = 7.03 / 2 );
}


translate([106.94-7.03/2,7.03/2,0])
{
cylinder(h = 4.15, r = 4.02/2);
}
}


 

At the Leeds Hackspace we have a Mendelmax that has been super-sized, which is more than enough to print out a small bar that I require for the task. Once the STL file was loaded into the software, slic3r or similar could then produce the gcode required to instruct the Ramps 1.4 based hardware to set about printing the bar.

 

printing_1.jpgprinting_2.jpg
printing_3.jpgprinting_4.jpg

 

I'll admit that I didn't copy the original design in its entirety, the central part on the original design is round where as on the printed model it is still based on a cube. This is mainly because I was lazy and at that point I felt that it wasn't crucial to the design of the piece. However I was entirely satisfied with the sizing of the item when it finally came out.

 

I printed it in PLA type plastic filament at about 190degC, this was done on top of a heated bed platform which you can see in the photographs above.

 

printed.jpgWhen attaching it to the car, I found that it was a snug fit but it happily worked as expected. It also became evident that the two vertical prongs either side to the central column on the design determined how far the car could turn left and right and that's either something I will alter by just sawing the blocks smaller or I'll 3D print another part to suit.

 

I measured the original piece using calipers in millimetres, which thankfully translated well to using the direct measurements into OpenSCAD and then the 3D printing software interpreted correctly and used as millimetres.

 

What you can see more clearly on the photograph to the left is the underside of the overhanging part of the bar where the 3D printing went a bit, well, squiggly. This is because the filament hadn't cooled down fast enough and there was no support structure for the filament to adhere to. Thankfully it still produced a viable print so it wasn't a problem.

 

You can also see more clearly the clear plastic parts of the wheels where the vertical columns reside that the holes of the bar connect onto. One of these is where it was superglued to the bar, I had to scrape a lot of crud off before fitting the bar, a nice mixture of melted plastic and glue.

 

What would have been ideal, is the ability to scan the original component and create a 3D model from it, or at least the basis of one, which could then have been altered to produce the same result.

 

However, currently, I imagine that would've gave me less fidelity to work with than creating it from scratch because I would have had to get it into a format that software such as OpenSCAD recognised and then hope that it's of a sufficient resolution to be able to alter it accurately.

 

 

I feel that there's a long way to go before people at home can easily repair items such as this, for example I could have just picked up a paperclip, altered it with my hands, some scissors, perhaps a soldering iron and duct tape and achieved a similar result. However manipulating a 3D object isn't as straight forward as picking up a physical tool and changing it because you're working on 3D represented on a 2D screen and we're not quite there yet with haptic interfaces. Perhaps that's what virtual reality will provoke with devices such as the Oculus Rift? I can only dream.

 

480x270_google_plus_3d_ban.jpg

Click for more 3D Printing information

tr ketchup.jpg

Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson with their invention (via screen cap)


We’ve all done it. It’s July and you’ve spent the past hour firing up the charcoal grill and cooking up those patties. After what seems like a decade, your patty is finally ready, so you grab a bun and head towards the condiments table – then it happens. As you pick up the ketchup and as you squeeze, a futile, watery, ketchup imposter invades your burger. You are so worn out, you eat the watery imposter, and the soggy bun.

 

Well, “No more!” cried two high school students out of Liberty North High School in Missouri. The tiny tykes used 3D printing to solve an age old frustration – keeping gross ketchup water at bay.

 

The youngsters are students of Project Lead The Way, a STEM program initiative, which seeks to spark an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among high school students. Tyler Richards and Jonathan Thompson, the duo behind the design, said it took a while to convince their professor that the ketchup lid needed an update, but after shining a few apples, their idea was approved and they hit the books.

 

Ketchup is made from tomato paste, water, sugar, xanthan gum and a few other ingredients. As ketchup sits for long periods of time, the water separates from the tomato paste, because it has a lower density, creating what we’ve come to know as the foul, sweet water. The teens discovered, however, that a Pythagorean cup-like lid design keeps the water at bay, every time.

 

shroom.jpg

The Shroom (via screen cap)

 

The cap is composed of two tubes and a mushroom-like cap. The rounded basin catches the watery substance while the tubes push the good ketchup out of the bottle and onto your food, perfectly. The boys call the design “The Shroom,” because, well, marketing isn’t one of the STEM program’s four pillars. Nonetheless, ketchup fans everywhere are hailing the young boys for their innovative design.

 

Richards and Thompson made several dozen prototypes until the final products came to life. Each prototype was created using CAD/CAM software and a 3D printer, at roughly $0.226 per print. The kids are working on getting a provisional patent for the print and are hoping to make a decent cent off of the innovation. In the meantime, they will surely keep calm by napping, playing video games and eating cold pizza. Mmmm… cold pizza.


 

C

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http://twitter.com/Cabe_Atwell

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