Taulman 3D Launches Kickstarter for Six New Filament Types

Looking to expand your 3D printing horizons beyond ABS and PLA? Then look no further… Taulman 3D has launched a Kickstarter campaign for SIX new specialty filaments.

These materials are already developed and community tested. The Kickstarter campaign is strictly to raise enough money to go to full-scale production.

3D Universe is proud to be one of Taulman 3D’s testers, so we were lucky enough to get our hands on samples of all these materials, and we were very impressed with the results and ease of printability.

Taulman3D-Toolbox

matrix

Tritan

Tritan is a new high tensile strength material.  Tensile Stress (PSI) of 6,600 lbs, Modulus (PSI) 53,000, E@B was 18.7% “When 3D Printed”.   The reports from testers continue to confirm that Tritan is the strongest material they have printed. To include bonding, bridging, non-stringing and extremely low warping.

Summary:

  • Glass clear
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Excellent bonding makes for shatter proof parts.
  • Prints at ~270C on clean glass heated to 85C

PCTPE (A Plasticized Copolyamide TPE)

     An extremely flexible yet durable and strong TPE and nylon based material.  PCTPE was designed to be both highly flexible, yet retain the durability of nylons.  Single perimeter parts can be wadded into a ball, yet are difficult to stretch out of shape.  With a lower printing temperature than our nylons, PCTPE easily prints on any 3D printer, as it requires only 225C – 230C. While extremely flexible, the nylon insures 1.75mm line is no problem for direct drive or bowdens feed systems. That determination was made by our testers, as every sample of PCTPE sent out was 1.75mm.

Summary:

  • Prints at 225C – 230C on glass w/PVA heated to 45C
  • Elongation @ Break = 370%+
  • Excellent bonding even at 0.3mm nozzle size

ARCbio PLA

ARCbio is a new high strength, crystal clear PLA, biodegradable material. ARCbio is a very new polymer developed specifically for it’s strength, clarity, and light transmission. The natural color of ARCbio is clear and Aspen Research has worked to develop a PLA the stays clear during thermal processing, thus eliminating the common “yellow tinge” seen in other PLAs. Unlike t-glase, ARCbio is more optically transmissive rather than reflective.

Summary:

  • Prints at 205C to 210C on clean glass/acrylic or warm bed with Kapton/Blue Painters tape
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Glass clear
  • Non-Yellowing

Tech-G

Tech-G is an extremely tough PETG polymer with full FDA approved raw polymer documentation and certification. Tech-G will be released as a technical “Fully Documented” material with the intent to provide Engineers, Design houses and Industry with a material that comes with hundreds of specifications as to strength, chemical resistance, worldwide certifications and technical data sheets. A simple scan of the QR code on our label will take you directly to our documentation site for Tech-G . You’ll be able to download all of the documentation provided from the chemical company and the St. Louis Test Labs. Working with one of the largest Chemical companies offering PETG variants, we have selected and tested the one chemical configuration that provides the best viscosity, lowest shrinkage and best bonding for 3D Printing.

Summary:

  • Fully FDA approved PETG polymer with extensive certifications and documentation
  • Low shrinkage and high bonding
  • Prints at 238C

Nylon 680 FDA

After almost a year of testing by users worldwide, nylon 680 FDA approved raw material polymer is ready for release. Nylon 680 is an extremely tough semi-transparent line with one of the highest impact ratings and least shrinkage of all of the taulman3D nylon materials. Nylon 680 FDA will have “traceability” via QR codes. Nylon 680 is currently under evaluation for CE Dental use.

Summary:

  • Print temperature is 245C
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Double Vacuum sealed

Bio-G

Bio-G is a new BPETG that has significant biodegradable features. When your design, idea or invention requires a biodegradable super tough polymer, one that you can count on to survive significant shock and resist harsh chemicals, Bio-G is there to support you. Bio-G is relatively new on the market and has gone through significant testing to meet several certifications. Like all taulman3D materials, you can count on printing huge pieces with no delamination.

Summary:

  • FDA approved raw material
  • Prints at ~238C on glass heated to 45C with a coat of PVA

 

 

A New Model for Rapid Progress

I’m an impatient person. I think that’s part of the reason why I’m enjoying 3D printing so much. It seems to be following an amplified version of the Moore’s Law trajectory. So why is that?

As I see it, this is due primarily to a combination of three factors. 1) open source licensing and the open source community, 2) Internet-driven collaboration, and 3) a widespread willingness to share the results of one’s labor freely.

It turns out, this is a very powerful combination! It’s the exact same combination of factors that has resulted in the e-NABLE volunteer community accomplishing so much in such a short period of time, with over 1350 members in just one year of existence.

Recently, Autodesk threw their significant weight into the ring, committing to a significant investment into that open source process by developing an entirely new open source hardware and software platform for 3D printing.

Internet collaboration technologies are empowering individuals everywhere to get directly involved in solving real-world problems and helping to move important technologies forward. This is something the larger companies are going to have to adapt to if they wish to survive in the long term. Companies will need to learn to leverage this model instead of trying to compete with it.

Like any well-managed company, 3D Universe has a clearly defined set of strategic objectives and targets. Unlike most companies, financial profit is NOT the top item on that list. Profit is one factor that plays into our decision-making, but social impact and alignment with our core principles carries more weight in our considerations.

I sure hope that idea continues to catch on. Companies can no longer afford to act or make decisions in isolation from the broader community. With continued population growth combined with Internet and computing technologies, everything has become too connected for that to work any longer.  It’s amazing how many companies still have profit as their number one objective without realizing how that leads to bad decision-making. When we focus too much on profit, at the exclusion of everything “outside” of the company, our view is way too narrow and disconnected from the broader reality of the situation.

We need to change our definition of success. Real success isn’t measured by a bank balance. It’s measured in terms of the impact we have on those around us. It’s measured in terms of our peace of mind when we go to bed at night and the enthusiasm with which we greet each day.

If we consider the model of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, we can view this shift as moving beyond the more basic physiological and safety needs, to focus more on matters of self-actualization (which can apply to companies as well as individuals).

maslow

Interestingly, it seems there is a growing number of people who share this view and therefore wish to do business with companies who operate on this basis. As a result, financial goals can easily be achieved, even without that being the primary focus.

There is a strong current rapidly developing through Internet-driven collaboration and sharing. Companies who try to fight against this current are going to lose. Those who learn to ride the current will find things progressing quite rapidly!

Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing

There’s a reason why so many people from all walks of life are passionate about 3D printing: It’s a great hobby! Once you’ve learned how to print (and get good results) the whole process is a total hoot.

However, you’re going to encounter a number of teething issues and stumbling blocks along the way. So what can you do to bypass these hurdles and progress with your printing knowledge and skills?

There’s loads of information online about 3D printing, but much of it is aimed at those with existing knowledge and experience.

This can make getting started with 3D printing a challenging task indeed.

To help make your journey from 3D printing novice to expert as simple as possible, the crew at 3D Printer Plans have compiled a Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing that will teach you everything you need to know to get started the right way.

Here’s a sample of what you’ll learn:

  • The history of 3D printing
  • Different printing processes (and their pros and cons)
  • How to pick your first 3D printer
  • What software you need to get started
  • Essential hardware and accessories
  • Maintenance and safety instructions

Hopefully you’ll find 3D Printer Plans’ guide useful – you can read their free guide to 3D printing here.

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 4

For background on this story, please see:


The science fair is over, but Sierra’s adventure continues! As you may recall, having finished her work for the science fair, Sierra still wanted to do more. At her request, I worked with e-NABLE to locate an 8-year old girl in need of a prosthetic hand. Sierra is now helping to build that device for this girl she’s never met!

Also, this is a new design, developed by several e-NABLE volunteers, made specifically for people who have a functional thumb but no fingers. So not only is Sierra making a new hand for another girl, but she’s also helping us to test this new design and is providing valuable feedback from the assembly and testing process.

Today, Sierra was going to be speaking to a large group of teachers in Vermont, as part of a “Make, Create, Learn” event focused on personalized education. Unfortunately, she came down with a bad cold and 102 degree fever yesterday, so she wasn’t able to make it to that event.

I had the honor of being a guest speaker for that event, so I got to talk to 50+ educators who are working to bring more personalized and experience-based education to our schools.

Kate Gagner, Sierra’s teacher, was also there, and had the following to say about Sierra’s project:

“I think Sierra said about 27 words the first six months of school – she’s very, very quiet. But this hand became the unofficial mascot of our classroom. She was a rock star. She had all of this intellectual and social capital because she had designed this project for herself, and it was so innovative and so cool and so engaging, that she just stole the show. It was really great to see.”

While she couldn’t make it to the Make, Create, Learn event, earlier tonight, Sierra was featured on her local news station, WCAX, in Vermont!  Check out this great video:

2014-07-15 02.20.19 am

http://www.wcax.com/story/26016030/monkton-girl-develops-prosthetic-hands


So let’s review…

Sierra came up with this project idea for exploring possibilities for 3D printed prosthetic devices (for people or animals). She went on to not only make a fully functional prosthetic device, with minimal assistance, but also make another device for someone who actually needs one! Along the way, she has been inspiring people all around her. Her classmates have been inspired. Her teacher and fellow educators have been inspired. I’ve been inspired. Today, that circle of impact broadened considerably, with 50+ other teachers being inspired by her work. Now they’re tweeting about it and sharing it with others.

Sierra is making a real impact that is already spreading far beyond her home town.

Would you like your kids (or your classroom) to be involved in a project like this? Send me an email or give me a call, and I’ll be happy to help you get started!

Email: jeremy (at) 3duniverse (dot) org
Phone: 800-689-4344


For more information about e-NABLE, please visit:

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with the FlashForge Creator X

Here at 3D Universe, we’ve been using the FlashForge Creator and Creator X almost around the clock for months on end. We have been very impressed with what this printer can do, given the very reasonable price.

However, in getting started, we found the need to reference a variety of different information sources on the Internet and had to go through a good deal of trial and error to get everything working the way we wanted.

Now, after months of using the Creator and Creator X, we wanted to give something back to the 3D printing community, so we have prepared a new guide containing all of the information you’ll need to get started in one place.

This is our gift to you – free of charge. No need to fill out any forms or give us your email address.

Creator-X-Guide

Free download: The Unofficial FlashForge Creator X Manual

The official FlashForge manual isn’t bad, but it only covers the initial hardware setup and Replicator G software. Many users prefer to use other software options, of which there are many available. Our unofficial guide covers some of these other options, as well as the process for upgrading to the popular Sailfish firmware. We also show how to install and use a glass build plate and explain why you may (or may not) want to consider doing so.

In addition to the PDF version of the guide, we are also releasing a series of video tutorials that correspond to the topics in the PDF.

Been thinking about getting a 3D printer, but feeling hesitant because you’re not sure exactly what you’re getting into? Watch these videos, and you’ll know exactly what to expect!

For the entire playlist of videos, click here.

Part 1: Unboxing and Initial Hardware Setup
Part 2: Overview of Software Options
Part 3: Installing and Configuring Replicator G
Part 4: Installing and Configuring Slic3r
Part 5: Installing and Configuring MakerWare  (coming soon!)
Part 6: Installing and Configuring Simplify3D™ (coming soon!)
Part 7: Upgrading to Sailfish Firmware
Part 8: Installing a Glass Build Plate (coming soon!)

A note about FlashForge support:

Please refer to the official FlashForge manual included with your Creator X (on the SD card) before contacting FlashForge support. The FlashForge support team will not provide support for anything not covered in their official manual. FlashForge only provides support for their hardware and the Replicator G software.

For any questions related to other topics covered in this unofficial manual, 3D Universe customers are welcome to contact 3D Universe at support@3duniverse.org or 800-689-4344.

To purchase a FlashForge Creator X, please visit shop3duniverse.com.

3D Printing in Bronze on the FlashForge Creator X

Yesterday was a very exciting day, because the BronzeFill filament I ordered from ColorFabb arrived! 1.5kg of bronze filament – made up of 20% PLA/PHA and 80% fine bronze powder – suitable for printing on common FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) type consumer-level 3D printers.

 

bronzefill_300_1500_2_

When I opened the package and felt the wonderful weight of the filament, I knew the first print had to be something special. Luckily, I had the perfect thing!

I have the privilege of being good friends with a world-renowned and award-winning sculptor named Clarence P. Cameron, who lives in Wisconsin, USA. For 40 years, he has been making amazing sculptures of owls, at first with clay, then later with soapstone, pewter, bronze, and copper.  You can see his work here.

Recently, Clarence had one of his sculptures, “The First Hatching”, scanned with a 3D scanner by a friend, and he shared a copy of the scan results with me. It seemed like the perfect test for this new filament, so I gave it a shot. The material is extremely easy to print with, and maintains most of the printing properties of PLA. I printed on glass, with a thin coating of glue stick, with the bed temperature at 60C and the extruder temperature at 200C. I also used active fan cooling, like with PLA.

Here’s how the first test came out. The one on the left was a partial print (lost power near the end due to a storm). This shows what the BronzeFill material looks like when it’s first printed. The one on the right is after polishing.

Bronze_owl

Not bad for a first attempt! I need to tweak some of the settings, and I think I can improve the quality. For scale reference, the one on the left is about 3 inches tall, and the one on the right is about 2 inches tall.

The manufacturer suggests the following for polishing these parts:

Sanding and polishing your parts will make the bronze particles shine. Start sanding with grit 120-180 and make sure all the printed lines vanish. You’ll notice that because bronzeFill is easy to sand down, careful you won’t loose too much detail. Then start working your way up by following with grit 240-320 and finishing off with grit 600 – or higher. Finally we used a clean soft cloth and some copper polish to really get all of the shine out of the bronze particles.

Well, that sounded like way too much work to me. So I threw the part into a rock polisher we gave my son years ago, along with a bunch of metal screws. The next morning, it came out as shown above! I’m guessing you could get a nicer looking polish doing it the way the manufacturer recommends, but my way is MUCH easier!   :-)

Of course, this is nowhere close to the beauty of the original Clarence did in bronze:

More photos of the original sculpture here.

I’m sure I can improve somewhat on the polishing techniques for these prints, but I don’t think consumer level 3D printers are going to be capable of matching THAT kind of quality – at least not yet.

Give Someone a New Prosthetic Hand for Only $35!

Give someone a hand (literally!) for only $35!

Just click here to contribute…

Here’s how it works:

  1. You purchase one or more $35 donation kits from 3D Universe.
  2. An e-NABLE volunteer 3D prints the parts for a recipient on our waiting list. The cost of 3D printing materials is absorbed by the e-NABLE volunteer and sometimes supported by 3rd party sponsors.
  3. 3D Universe sends a materials kit to the e-NABLE volunteer or the recipient’s family, depending on who is doing the final assembly.
  4. A lucky individual receives a brand new 3D printed prosthetic hand – completely free of charge, thanks to your $35 donation!

IMG_7261

There are lots of people in the world who could use a prosthetic limb but can’t afford one. 3D printing is changing that, as the e-NABLE volunteer organization has demonstrated.

3D Universe wants to make as many free prosthetic limbs for people as we possibly can! Right now, we’re making about one per week. With your help, we can do a lot more than that!

For each one of these reduced-cost kits purchased (for $35 each), 3D Universe will send a materials kit along with all of the 3D printed parts needed to make a prosthetic hand, free of charge, to anyone who needs one!

Sometimes, we’ll produce and assemble the device ourselves, then send it to someone for free. Other times, we’ll send a free materials kit to another e-NABLE volunteer who will produce and assemble the device. And sometimes, the recipient (or the parents) will want to do the assembly themselves, in which case we’ll send the 3D printed parts and assembly materials, then help them through the assembly process. Either way, for your $35 gift, someone will receive a brand new prosthetic limb!

There are no strings attached here, folks! e-NABLE is a group of over 1000 volunteers who donate their time and materials to make 3D printed prosthetic limbs free of charge for anyone who needs them.

Jeremy Simon talks to FOX News about the cost difference between an e-NABLE hand and a $42,000 prosthetic

Want to make a hand for someone yourself? Please consider joining the e-NABLE community. It is a unique and wonderful group to be a part of. Get involved! It’s wonderfully rewarding, and anyone can participate!

1000 Volunteers, Making Free Prosthetic Limbs for Those Who Need Them

“Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

-  Margaret Mead [American Cultural Anthropologist]


Yesterday marked an important milestone for the e-NABLE volunteer community, as the 1000th member joined the group! 1000 people from all over the globe, all making 3D printed prosthetic devices FOR FREE for anyone who needs them. How amazing is that?

e-NABLE’s crowd-sourced, Internet-enabled global network of volunteer designers, technologists, and researchers designs and delivers 3D-printed assistive technology devices to underserved communities around the world. We have already advanced the state of the art in technology and in collaborative pro-social innovation. We believe we can globally scale and generalize our approach.

Upper limb differences accompany up to 1% of live births worldwide. Fingers, hands, and arms are also lost in accidents and armed conflicts.

Traditional prostheses cost tens of thousands of dollars, and insurance coverage in the developing world and for children who will outgrow them are rarely adequate. As a result, physiological, sociological, and psychological development can be impaired and human potential wasted. Our distributed manufacturing model provides local solutions that are inherently sustainable, replacing industrial manufacturing processes with in-place fabrication by end-users with locally-reproducible, recyclable materials.

In less than a year, e-NABLE has grown to over 1000 members, spread around the globe, focused on providing 3-D printed prosthetic hands free of charge to anyone who requests assistance. e-NABLE continues to grow rapidly, currently at a rate of about 20% monthly.

What originally started out as a couple of guys who created something to help one child in need…has grown into a worldwide movement of tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students, teachers and people who just want to make a difference.

They are coming together to create, innovate, re-design and give a “Helping hand” to those that need it – whether it is helping to print parts for them, creating a completed device for them or simply helping to guide them as they build one themselves.

There are people around the globe – 3d printing fingers and hands for children they will never meet, classes of high school students who are making hands for children in their local communities, a group of people that are risking their lives to get these devices onto people in 3rd World countries and new stories every day of parents working with their children to make a hand together.

Come see what it’s all about…

e-NABLE’s web site
e-NABLE’s Facebook page

Ready to volunteer? Just fill out this form to get started.

Looking to obtain a free prosthetic device? Fill out the same form, and someone from the e-NABLE Matching Team will help match you with an e-NABLE volunteer.

An Experiment: Using Dual Extrusion to 3D Print a Plastic Object with a Bronze Shell

I just ordered some of this new bronze filament. It is made up of 80% real powdered bronze. It prints on normal FDM type 3D printers, but after polishing, it looks like actual bronze, as you can see in the photo below.


http://www.3dprinterworld.com/article/bronze-age-colorfabb-bronzefill-3d-printing-material

It looks beautiful, and I can’t wait to try it, but I do have to say – it’s pretty expensive stuff! A 1.5kg spool of it, including DHL shipping to the USA from The Netherlands, was $130. I’ve calculated this to be about 11 times as expensive as an equivalent amount of ABS.

Here’s my math on that:
(Note: I’m not great at math, so let me know if you see anything I missed)


ABS Plastic Filament (1.75mm):
Density: 1.04 g/cm^3
Volume: 960 cm^3/kg
Price per kg, including USA shipping: $30
1.75 mm filament length for 1 kg spool: ~ 400 meters
Price per meter, including USA shipping: $0.075 (7.5 cents)

PLA Plastic Filament (1.75mm):
Density: 1.25 g/cm^3
Volume: 800 cm^3/kg
Price per kg, including USA shipping: $30
1.75 mm filament length for 1 kg spool: ~ 330 meters
Price per meter, including USA shipping: $0.091 (9.1 cents)

bronzeFill  Filament (1.75mm):
Density: 3.9 g/cm^3
Volume: 256 cm^3/kg
Price per kg, including USA shipping: $87
1.75 mm filament length for 1 kg spool: ~ 106 meters
Price per meter, including USA shipping: $0.82

Based on weight, the bronzeFill is only 2.9 times more expensive than ABS. But because the bronzeFill is so dense, a 1kg spool only has about 106 meters of 1.75mm filament on it. So when it comes to how much you can actually print with it, you need to compare cost per meter. Based on that, we have a cost difference of about 11x.


A Bronze 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand??

I personally don’t mind the price if this stuff performs like I hope it will. I’ll just need to use it sparingly.

But I have a special purpose in mind. I know a young lady (in her 20′s) whose dream is to receive a metallic version of a Cyborg Beast 3D printed prosthetic hand (she was born without most of her fingers on one hand) and has always had self-confidence issues as a result.

Before coming across bronzeFill, I was looking at ways of 3D printing a Cyborg Beast in ABS and then applying some kind of metallic plating to that after printing to achieve the look she wants. Now, I’m thinking that maybe I can use my dual extruder FlashForge Creator X to print the shells of the parts in bronzeFill and print the infill and supports in PLA (plastic).

I use Simplify3D software, which is one of the few programs that makes this possible. I can choose which extruder to use for the outlines (the shells of each object), the infill, and the support.

I have no idea if this will work, but the bronzeFill seems to be based on a PLA material, so I’m guessing it’s going to be able to stick to the PLA in a dual-extruded print. Even if it doesn’t work, it’ll be a fun experiment!

While discussing the bronzeFill material, someone in the e-NABLE volunteer community recently asked how much it costs to print a Cyborg Beast (how much filament it takes), and how much it would cost if bronzeFill was used.

OK, let’s do some more math…


What does it cost to 3D print an entire Cyborg Beast prosthetic hand?

Assumptions:

  • Using 150% scale (for sizing the parts)
  • 30% infill
  • 10% support infill

ABS Plastic Filament (1.75mm)

Hand parts:
Filament length: 41.6 meters
Material cost: $3.12

Gauntlet (Frankie Flood’s short gauntlet design):
Filament length: 26.4 meters
Material cost: $1.98

Cost for an ABS Cyborg Beast print: $5.10
Total cost with assembly materials: $50.10

PLA Plastic Filament (1.75mm)

Hand parts:
Filament length: 41.6 meters
Material cost: $3.79

Gauntlet (Frankie Flood’s short gauntlet design):
Filament length: 26.4 meters
Material cost: $2.40

Cost for an PLA Cyborg Beast print: $6.19
Total cost with assembly materials: $51.19

bronzeFill Filament (1.75mm)

Hand parts:
Filament length: 41.6 meters
Material cost: $34.11

Gauntlet (Frankie Flood’s short gauntlet design):
Filament length: 26.4 meters
Material cost: $21.65

Total cost for a bronzeFill Cyborg Beast print: $55.76
Total cost with assembly materials: $100.76


As you can see, when we factor in the cost of assembly materials, we find that a hand printed entirely in bronzeFill would only cost twice as much as one printed in ABS. Not too bad…

However, a hand printed entirely in bronzeFill will weigh close to 1kg, which is way too heavy for a prosthetic hand. That’s what gave me this idea to try printing the shells in bronzeFill and the infill and support in PLA. I’m hoping this will result in a nice bronze outer shell, with the lighter weight PLA material filling in the inside of the parts. I’m guessing this should reduce the overall weight significantly (compared to an all bronzeFill print).

Hopefully, the bronzeFill will arrive soon, as I can’t wait to get started with the experiment! Regardless of the outcome, I’ll post again with the results, including photos and videos.

To purchase bronzeFill, please visit:
http://colorfabb.com/bronzefill

To purchase Simplify3D, please visit:
http://shop3duniverse.com/products/simplify3d-software

To purchase the assembly materials for a Cyborg Beast, please visit:
http://shop3duniverse.com/products/e-nable-hand-assembly-materials-kit-cyborg-beast-edition

Shopping with 3D Universe helps support our charitable work, making free 3D printed prosthetic limbs for as many people as we can.

For more information about the e-NABLE volunteer community, or to get involved, please visit:
http://enablingthefuture.org
https://www.facebook.com/enableorganization

Formlabs Introduces the Form 1+ 3D Printer

Formlabs made a big impact when they released their original Form 1 3D printer. Instead of using extruded filament, the Formlabs printers use lasers to cure a light-sensitive resin. The resulting print quality and ability to print complex geometries is very impressive.

Now, Formlabs is introducing the new and improved Form 1+, with 50% faster speed and improved durability. Along with the introduction of the new Form 1+, Formlabs produced a video that I have to say has the highest production values I’ve ever seen in a product overview:

2014-06-10 03.48.50 pm

For more information, please visit:
http://formlabs.com/

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 3

For background on this, please see:

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 1

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 2


Time for another update!

Sierra celebrated her 11th birthday yesterday. Happy birthday, Sierra! This is a big week for Sierra - her science fair is coming up this Thursday!

As I showed in Part 2, I sent some 3D printed parts and assembly materials to Sierra, and she was able to assemble a fully functional mechanical hand, with minimal assistance. As a nice surprise, Sierra’s mom recorded the whole assembly process as a time-lapse. I am therefore very pleased to share with you this wonderful video:

2014-06-09 11.29.32 pm

Isn’t it great? I especially love the ice-cream break!

Then, on Thursday, May 29th, I had the opportunity to do a Skype call with Sierra’s entire classroom (14 students). These kids asked the most amazing questions. So intelligent! We got to spend more than half an hour talking together about 3D printed hands, and 3D printing in general. We talked about where 3D printing is likely to be a few years from now, and how they might be using it.

2014-06-09 11.13.26 pm

This is the second “virtual field trip” I’ve had the opportunity to do so far. I previously did the same thing with a classroom in Massachusetts. It’s wonderful to see how kids respond to this technology. They listen attentively, they ask intelligent questions, and they seem genuinely interested in learning more.

The e-NABLE volunteer community is now beginning to formulate plans for helping more classrooms to get started with 3D printing, and to make 3D printed hands for people who need them in their local communities. There is so much talent and good-will within e-NABLE – I’m very excited to see what we’re able to come up with.

So on Thursday, Sierra goes to her science fair to present her work to the school and community. But even though she hasn’t finished that yet, Sierra has already volunteered to make another 3D printed hand for another child who actually needs one!

Another e-NABLE volunteer helped me to quickly identify an 8-year-old girl who doesn’t have most of her fingers on one hand. She does, however have a fully functional thumb. e-NABLE is currently testing a new design, specifically for people who have a functional thumb but need mechanical finger replacements.

I printed the parts out for this new design and have sent them to Sierra. She’s going to assemble and test the new hand. She’ll then provide some feedback about how the new design seems to work. When she’s finished, she’ll send it to me for a final check, and I’ll then send it to the 8-year-old girl who is awaiting her new hand.

Having done a similar assembly already, I can guarantee Sierra will be able to put this one together without issue. So we now have an 11-year-old girl making a new hand for an 8-year-old girl who lives 2,000 miles away from her – for free! And BOTH girls are very happy about it!

Here’s a photo of the new hand parts, unassembled:

IMG_1430


A note to Sierra:

Sierra,

Good luck with the science fair on Thursday! You’re going to do great! Of course, the outcome (if they even select “winners” at this science fair) doesn’t really matter. You’ve already achieved so much and inspired so many people!

I’m so proud of the work you’ve done, and especially the way you’re volunteering to help make a new hand for our new friend. To see someone your age who already understands how rewarding it is to do things like this for others is a wonderful thing!

Your friend,
Jeremy


Continue reading…

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 4


For more information about e-NABLE, please visit:

Using Simplify3D to Print an Entire Cyborg Beast Prosthetic Hand on a Single 6 x 9″ Build Plate �

I recently taught my wife how to setup 3D prints using Simplify3D. She’s a natural and was setting up her very first print job within 10 minutes, with me helping only with verbal pointers from time to time.

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These days, most of what I print is prosthetic limbs, so I was teaching Alina how to setup a print job for a Cyborg Beast e-NABLE Hand. It’s a pretty advanced print job to start off with. For best results, the support material needs to be customized so it only goes in specific places, which Simplify3D allows you to do, as shown here.

As if this print job wasn’t challenging enough already, Alina proposed something really interesting. I normally print a Cyborg Beast in two print jobs – one for all the hand parts, and another for the “gauntlet” - the part that fits over the arm. As Alina was setting up her very first print job, she asked if we could just position the smaller parts underneath the bigger parts. We did a test, and it came out surprisingly well! Check out the video (10 minutes) here.

To make a 3D printed hand for someone who needs one, please visit:
http://www.facebook.com/enableorganization
http://enablingthefuture.org

To buy Simplify3D, please visit:
http://shop3duniverse.com/products/simplify3d-software

To buy a FlashForge Creator X, please visit:
http://shop3duniverse.com/collections/3d-printers/products/flashforge-creator-x

To buy a kit with the assembly materials you need to make your own Cyborg Beast 3D printed hand, please visit:
http://shop3duniverse.com/collections/3d-printable-kits/products/e-nable-hand-assembly-materials-kit-cyborg-beast-edition

Introduction to Fused Filament Fabrication Design

Barbara Busatta and Dario Buzzini, designers based in NYC, have created a free instructional guide for creating 3D designs that look exceptionally good when printed with consumer-level 3D printers.

By recognizing the limitations of Fused Filament Fabrication (specifically, imperfections or unwanted textures in the surface finish), they came up with a brilliant approach for overcoming this issue. The objects you see above and below are exactly how they look, straight off the 3D printer. I know because I’ve tested them myself! These designs have been released as open source, so anyone can download and print them.

Use their simple and effective design technique, then swap filament colors during your print (pause print, change color, resume print), and you can achieve results like this:

To read about their design approach in detail, please visit Pirate3D’s Blog

To download the “Machine Series” as shown above, please visit Treasure Island

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 2

For background, see e-NABLing Sierra – Part 1.


I’m so impressed with Sierra! I sent her a bunch of 3D printed pieces and some assembly materials:

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From there, she was able to assembly a fully-functional mechanical hand prosthesis.

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And she’s TEN YEARS OLD.

Now, let’s look at the bigger picture here for a moment…

Sierra has already caught the attention of Ed Tech, who wants to interview her, and the science fair hasn’t even taken place yet.

Her classmates have been excited to hear stories of her work, so this Thursday, I’ll be doing a Skype call with her whole class to talk about 3D printing and the kind of work Sierra and I are doing.

And of course, stories and photos of her work are being shared on the Internet.

Now, think about the downstream effects of all this. Sierra is going to be reaching thousands of people – sending a strong message about how powerful this technology is. An affordable technology that allows a 10-year-old to do something that used to require a big company and millions of dollars in R&D and manufacturing costs is a really big deal, and Sierra is helping to spread the word. For that, I am truly grateful to her.


Continue reading…

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 3

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 4


For more information about e-NABLE, please visit:

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 1

I have a new project that I will share with you as it develops. I think it will serve as another great example of why 3D printing is so important for students and schools.

Sierra

Meet Sierra, a 10-year-old girl who is getting ready for a Science Fair and wants to show how 3D printers can help humans and animals who need limbs. I have volunteered to help her with her project.  I’ll send her some assembly materials kits so she can make her own 3D printed prosthetic hands. The photo above shows her first “Cyborg Beast” e-NABLE Hand printing with the help of a local 3D print shop.

Sierra’s mom described Sierra’s feelings about this project:

“She is so incredibly excited about this project. She goes to sleep talking about it and wakes up asking what we have to do next…”

“Her enthusiasm for this project has ignited interest in 3D printing in her classmates as well as her teacher. I’m sure her teacher would be interested in turning this into a class project (probably for next school year since we are winding down).”

Well, I’m excited too! I’ll speak with Sierra and her mom via Skype soon, and I hope to speak with her teacher as well. Maybe I can help Sierra’s teacher get a class project going and eventually maybe even a whole curriculum for 3D printing!

3D printing is an amazing technology, and children in particular seem to recognize the potential. I’ve seen my own son’s eyes light up when he realized he could have an idea and turn it into a physical object overnight. I’ve had other people bring their kids over to see our 3D printers and talk about how it works. Within minutes, these kids become engaged in a way we don’t see often enough these days.

We adults grew up in a world where companies make the products, and the rest of us are just consumers. Our children will grow up in a world where we are all co-creators. They seem to recognize this potential intuitively and get genuinely excited about it. Our educational system desperately needs something like 3D printing to provide a more practical education that can truly engage kids.

The power of 3D printing to engage is why I’ve been so excited to see students, teachers and schools getting involved in 3D printing, specifically in 3D printing prosthetic devices. Most schools with more than a couple thousand students are likely to have at least one student with an upper limb difference. Students in that school can work together to make a new hand for someone they know — and learn all about 3D printing along the way!

Here are some videos showing students involved with 3D printing. Notice how genuinely interested and engaged they seem:

Today, I received the following update from Sierra’s mom, Lianne:

“I just got back from an EdTech conference, and 3D printing was a VERY popular subject. Sierra has also attracted some big attention to her project, and it looks like some Ed Tech leaders in VT will interview her. The Keynote speaker described this exact kind of learning and how it needs to be more evident in schools if we are going to keep kids engaged. Very cool!”

Very cool, indeed!

I have two assembly kits ready to send to Sierra tomorrow:

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Each kit includes all of the assembly materials needed to make a 3D printed “Cyborg beast” e-NABLE Hand.

 


Continue reading…

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 2

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 3

e-NABLing Sierra – Part 4


 

For more information about e-NABLE, please visit:

KICKSTARTER JUST LAUNCHED! Strooder: A Consumer-Oriented Filament Extruder You’d be Proud to Have on Your Desktop

The KickStarter campaign for the Strooder just launched! Check it out here!

Anyone who spends a lot of time with 3D printing eventually starts to look at how to reduce the cost of filament. It’s the biggest ongoing cost of 3D printing by far, so it’s where we naturally look for savings. A typical spool of filament weighs 1kg and typically costs around $30-45 (USD) for ABS or PLA, the most common 3D printing materials. Costs vary for other kinds of materials, but most of them are more than ABS or PLA.

Once my wife saw all of my filament orders, she started asking if there was a way to make our own for a lower cost. I told her about filament extruders, which have been around for a while. She loved the idea, but when we looked at available options, we found that 1) everything currently available was either in a kit form, over-priced, or both. A kit would have been fine and could have been a fun project for us, but . . . 2) the available designs tend to look like something built from spare parts out of someone’s garage, and 3) the general consensus in online discussions seemed to be that it was difficult to obtain consistent results from available models and that it may end up being more hassle than it’s worth currently. So, I continued buying filament online.

Several months later, along came Strooder:

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I had a chance to talk to the founders of the company behind this attractive device via Skype the other day. Greg Gruszecki and David Graves are two robotics engineers in Bristol, UK who joined forces and founded OmniDynamics. They started out working on an overall robotic system but they found themselves limited by the lack of materials available for prototyping. Strooder, therefore, became a vital stepping stone to enable the company to achieve those initial goals in the future, by enabling faster, lower cost prototypes and the use of more exotic materials.

They turned their attention towards developing a consumer-oriented filament extruder. As you can see from the above and below photos, design was an important consideration from day one. It was important that the final design be something people would want to have sitting on their desk, next to that fancy 3D printer. I’d say they hit the mark there:

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Along with design, their focus was on being able to help lower overall filament costs and increase the range of material options available for consumer-level 3D printers.

The initial investment seems reasonable, especially compared to other existing options. The Strooder will have an early-bird Kickstarter price of about $250 (149 GBP) and a final retail price of about $420 (249 GBP).

OmniDynamics plans to sell ABS and PLA pellets for somewhere around 20% the normal cost of filament spools. They also plan to offer a variety of colors, and eventually additional materials, so that users can mix up custom colors and obtain specific physical properties by mixing different pellets in the hopper.

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Aside from being cost effective, the Strooder is also environmentally friendly. I have bins of material left over from failed prints:

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So now I’ll be able to cut up those failed prints (into pieces no larger than about 1 inch) and feed them into the Strooder to make new filament! Recycled prints can be combined with new pellets to help prevent the material from breaking down from too many repeated extrusions.

Of course, I haven’t had the opportunity to use one myself, but having spoken to Gruszecki and Graves, I can tell you this much: I intend to back their Kickstarter campaign. Here’s why:

  1. Having seen other similar Kickstarter campaigns, and knowing the demand for a solution like this, I have a feeling their campaign will succeed, so the risk seems fairly low to me, given the early-bird cost
  2. It comes fully assembled and ready to use
  3. It includes an easily-swappable nozzle for 1.75mm, 2.85mm, or 3mm filament
  4. It has an interactive onboard display so you can easily select what material and nozzle size you’re using, and the machine will determine all of the appropriate settings for you
  5. It’s designed with safety in mind (i.e. active protection against overheating, no exposed parts that could burn someone)
  6. Once their company has revenues coming in, they plan to develop and offer a filament spool winder, as well as a grinder for recycling failed prints, which, when combined with the Strooder, will provide a complete desktop filament production solution.

Their testing so far has yielded very consistent results. They claim you can load a full hopper of material, push the button, and walk away. I pointed out that, while that may be true, you would probably come back to find a tangled heap of filament on the ground. That’s when we started talking about their plans for the prints grinder and filament spool winder. They might end up offering those as part of a stretch goal for the Kickstarter campaign, but that hasn’t been determined yet.

In order to help ensure the highest quality results, the OmniDynamics team has been focusing their testing primarily on PLA, which is somewhat more challenging to extrude properly than ABS. Most other designers of filament extruders seem to focus more on ABS and sometimes have difficulties with PLA. Later, OmniDynamics plans to offer the ability to work with other materials in addition to ABS and PLA, such as HDPE, PP, and LDPE.

Strooder’s specifications are as follows:

  • Screen: 2.4inch, 340 * 220 Pixels
  • Hopper Volume: 1 litre
  • Pre-set Material Options: PLA & ABS
  • Extrusion Rate: 0.7m – 1.5m/minute
  • Extrusion Temperature: up to 250°C
  • Enclosure Size: Height 225mm, Width 165, Depth 285mm
  • Feed Screw Speed: up to 10RPM
  • Input Power: 115VAC and 220VAC
  • Power Draw: ~200W
  • Filament Diameters: 1.75mm, 2.85mm, & 3mm
  • Filament Tolerance: (+ .1/ – .1mm)
  • Pellet Sample: 100g

For more information, please visit: http://www.omnidynamics.co.uk/

The KickStarter campaign for the Strooder just launched! Check it out here!

Autodesk Makes Two Big Announcements That May Help Move 3D Printing Forward

Autodesk just announced two things that could be significant for 3D printing:

  1. An open software platform for 3D printing called Spark. This platform will make it more reliable yet simpler to print 3D models and easier to control how that model is actually printed.
  2. Their own 3D printer that will serve as a “reference implementation for Spark. Autodesk President and CEO Carl Bass says this printer “will demonstrate the power of the Spark platform and set a new benchmark for the 3D printing user experience.”

Autodesk has already supported the 3D printing community in a major way, especially when it comes to students and educators. They have also actively supported the e-NABLE community and other sources of crowd-based innovation. This announcement further demonstrates their commitment to contribute to an important technology already having a very positive impact around the world.

Regarding licensing for their new software and hardware, Autodesk says:

Spark will be open and freely licensable to hardware manufacturers and others who are interested. Same for our 3D printer – the design of the printer will be made publicly available to allow for further development and experimentation. The printer will be able to use a broad range of materials, made by us and by others, and we look forward to lots of exploration into new materials.

Spark’s open licensing could have a significant impact. Think about how far 3D printing has come in recent years.  This growth and development has primarily been the result of open source designs (for example, the RepRap), shared with the world, picked up by others, further developed, re-released, and so on.

Now, Autodesk, a company with significant financial and personnel assets, will give that very active global community an open software and hardware platform.  This offering will provide an opportunity to address many of the common complaints with the current state of 3D printing.

The details on Autodesk’s new software and hardware platforms are scarce for now, but Autodesk says both be available later this year.

The printer sure looks pretty, but I’m actually more interested in the software side of Autodesk’s announcement. The whole 3D printing workflow could be significantly improved with 1) better software and 2) moving away from the STL file format in favor of a format developed specifically with today’s (and tomorrow’s) 3D printers and materials in mind.

My experience with Autodesk’s software so far has shown me they know how to build applications that provide a smooth user experience.  I can think of no other company that knows 3D modeling and 3D file formats better than them.

I don’t know exactly what features their software and hardware will include, but I’m confident both will be of a high quality.  Since the software is open and hardware designs will be released, others will be free to build upon these offerings. I’m guessing it will further accelerate an already rapidly developing technology.

We’ve waited for the “big players” to get into 3D printing. HP and Epson are still getting ready, and we know they’ll shake things up when they do.  Whatever they offer, though, it’s not likely to be shared or licensed freely. Autodesk is making a significant contribution here.

If you’d like to sign up to be notified as more information becomes available from Autodesk, please visit here.

Jose Delgado, Jr. Compares His $50 3D-Printed Hand to His $42,000 Myoelectric Prosthesis

I would like to share a story with you about the power of 3D printing technology to transform lives.

I recently had the opportunity to work with a great guy named Jose Delgado, Jr., a 53-year old who was born without most of his left hand.  Jose found his way to me and asked if I could help make a 3D printed prosthesis for him.

Jose has used multiple types of prosthetic devices over many years, including a myoelectric version that uses the muscle signals in his forearm to trigger closing or opening the fingers. The cost of this myoelectric device was $42,000.  Only a portion of that was paid by insurance and the rest by Jose.  The cost makes it an unaffordable option for many in similar situations.

The total cost of materials for a 3D printed e-NABLE Hand is about $50.  This device (also referred to as the “Cyborg Beast”) is a completely mechanical design. There are a series of non-flexible cords running along the underside of each finger, connecting to a “tensioning block” on the top rear of the device (the “gauntlet”). Tension is caused by bending the wrist downward. With the wrist in its natural resting position, the fingers are extended with a natural inward curve. When the wrist is bent 20-30 degrees downward, the non-flexible cords are pulled, causing the fingers and thumb to bend inward. A second series of flexible cords run along the tops of the fingers, causing the fingers to return automatically when tension is released.

I was curious to see what sort of experience Jose would have with this mechanical hand design compared with his myoelectric device.  My expectations were limited, however.

Jose works in an environment that involves a lot of box lifting and moving.  I anticipated that the e-NABLE Hand, made of ABS plastic (same material as legos), might not hold up for long. To my surprise, however, Jose says it’s been doing very well.  He actually prefers it to his far more expensive myoelectric prosthesis!

Jose and I got together again today so I could fine-tune the tension on the “tendon” cords.  I asked Jose if he would be willing to talk with me on camera about his recent experience using the e-NABLE Hand and compare it to his experience with other prostheses.  As a result of using a number of different prosthetic devices over many years, Jose has a unique perspective.  He has extensive hands-on knowledge of what can or can’t be done in terms of day-to-day functionality.

Since the prosthetic devices Jose has used are completely different types, his statements do not represent an apples to apples comparison. The comparison here is simply in terms of how useful Jose has found each device to be on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s the video:

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And here’s a follow-up interview with Fox News: http://youtu.be/AymSI4GP_O4

 

It turns out, this simple, mechanical design provides Jose with more day-to-day functionality than his far more expensive myoelectric prosthesis.  If a part does break, I can easily print a new one for him in a matter of hours.

Now I am going to print another e-NABLE Hand for Jose using Bridge nylon, a material that is still lightweight but with significantly enhanced strength properties. I’ll also provide him with an alternate thumb mount to enable a different kind of grip. I look forward to getting his valuable feedback from those changes as well!

I believe that 3D printing is a transformational technology.  Jose’s experience is a great example of that.  3D printing completely changed the possibilities for one man, and at 1/10 of 1% of the cost of other devices, those possibilities are becoming more readily available to anyone, anywhere.

3D printers are coming down in price rapidly. As of today, a self-assembly kit starts at around a few hundred dollars.  A fully assembled “prosumer” level printer sells for $1000-$2000. In other words, this kind of technology is rapidly becoming very accessible.

When you combine that kind of technology with the collaborative power of the Internet, the inherent generosity of human beings, and a global open source community, truly remarkable things start to unfold.

The e-NABLE volunteer community is a great example of this. Less than a year after being formed, more than 650 volunteers have joined in to help provide inexpensive assistive technologies (such as 3D printed prosthetic hands) for underserved communities everywhere.

For more information about e-NABLE, or to join in, please visit https://www.facebook.com/enableorganization or http://enablingthefuture.org. Everyone is welcome. With or without a 3D printer, everyone has something valuable to contribute!

To download the model for this prosthesis, the e-NABLE Hand (aka the “Cyborg Beast”):

Review of Simplify3D All-in-One Software for 3D Printing

Simplify3D is designed to be a complete solution for 3D print preparation, and has features not found in other popular slicing programs. It also has a price tag of $140, with no evaluation version available, which makes many people hesitant to give it a shot.

To help with your buying decision, check out our four-part video review on YouTube:


Part 1 provides a 20 minute overview of what Simplify3D has to offer:

S3D1


Part 2 shows a specific use-case where the custom support features of Simplify3D prove to be especially useful:

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Part 3 demonstrates how the visualization features of Simplify3D can be used to avoid failed prints:

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Part 4 shows how Simplify3D customized support allows for “stacking” parts, positioning smaller parts underneath the overhanging portions of larger parts:

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Purchase Simplify3D now at shop3duniverse.com.

First Impressions of the Flashforge Creator X 3D Printer

I recently received the new Flashforge Creator X and figured I’d provide a side-by-side comparison with the original Flashforge Creator in this video review.

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This video doesn’t focus so much on technical specifications, as those are readily available on the Internet. Instead, the focus here is on the differences between the Creator and the Creator X.

In summary:

  • Same technical specs – both have dual MK8 extruders, 6x9x6″ build area, and a heated build plate
  • The Creator X costs $100 more than the Creator ($1299 vs $1199)
  • Improved build plate, with 6.3mm thick aluminum to prevent warping and provide a level print surface
  • Aluminum frame for improved rigidity
  • Side panels for better results when printing with ABS (keeps the temperature higher within the build chamber)
  • New mounts for y-axis rods to improve stability
  • LED strip lighting mounted inside for improved visibility
  • Noise level seems to be about the same between the Creator and Creator X

Purchase the Creator X now at shop3duniverse.com.

 

A New Hand for Lily

This 8-year old girl named Lily is going to get a new left hand soon. I just finished printing it for her! There are photos below and a video showing the fully assembled prosthesis.

Lily is in 2nd grade, and she is now attending her third elementary school because other kids have relentlessly teased her about missing her left hand (and part of her left arm). Her current math teacher found out about 3D printed prosthetics on the Internet and shared a video with his class (including Lily), asking if she might like one. Now, she has more friends than she knows what to do with, and she hasn’t even gotten the prosthesis yet!

Historically, a customized prosthesis like this would cost anywhere from $10,000 to $80,000. The total cost of this one - less than $50 and some of my time! Start to finish, this took two days to 3D print and assemble. This is a perfect example of why people say that 3D printing is such a transformational technology.

If you have a 3D printer and would like to explore making prosthetics for those who need them, please visit e-Nable. Anyone can do this, as you can see in the assembly video I did recently.

About 1 in every 1000 children is born with a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, which results in missing fingers or other defects. And of course, there are our veterans and others who have lost fingers or limbs in the line of duty, on the job, from illness, etc. So please, get involved!

This prosthesis was printed in “Bridge” nylon, a new material from Taulman 3D. This filament has excellent strength properties, as well as being heat and chemical resistant. It has been formulated to address the challenges encountered when printing with other nylon filaments. For more information, visit http://taulman3d.com/index.html.

To download the model for this prosthesis, the Cyborg Beast:

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How to Assemble the “Tendon” Lines for the Cyborg Beast 3D Printed Prosthesis

After posting another video showing the overall assembly process for the Cyborg Beast 3D printed prosthesis, I was asked to show some details specifically for the process of installing the two types of cords used as tendons in this design.

So here’s Part 2 of Assembling the Cyborg Beast, showing a close-up view of how to install those tendon lines.

A big thanks to the great work of those who contributed to the Cyborg Beast prosthesis, including Jorge Zuniga, Frankie Flood, Ivan Owen, David Orgeman, and others in the e-Nable community.

For more information about the e-Nable community, please visit http://enablingthefuture.org.

Assembling and Testing the Cyborg Beast 3D Printed Prosthesis

One of the most exciting things going on in 3D printing these days is what’s happening with 3D printed prosthetics. In particular, the e-Nable community, a group of 500 people and growing, is working to continually evolve the available options for low-cost 3D printed prosthetics. These talented folks from around the globe are creating designs that anyone can produce and assemble, wherever needed.

As a demonstration of that, here’s a video of me assembling one for the first time. I have no background in prosthetics or mechanical engineering, so if I can do this, anyone can. Of course, a prosthetist or other medical professional should always be involved when doing one of these for real, in order to ensure proper fit, check periodically for irritation, etc.

Cyborg Beast Test

A big thanks to the great work of those who contributed to the Cyborg Beast prosthesis, including Jorge Zuniga, Frankie Flood, Ivan Owen, David Orgeman, and others in the e-Nable community.

For more information about the e-Nable community, please visit http://enablingthefuture.org.

 

Here are some photos of the assembled prosthesis. Click on an image for the full-sized version.

Video Review of Taulman 3D’s New Bridge Nylon Filament

Taulman 3D recently released a new nylon filament called “Bridge”, so named because it bridges the excellent qualities of other nylon filaments with the lower cost and ease of use found in more common ABS and PLA filaments.

Unlike other Nylon filaments, this one can be printed on glass, with a thin coat of PVA glue. Bed adhesion and warping challenges have been significantly reduced. This filament also absorbs much less moisture than previous nylon filaments.

Here’s a video review.

Purchase the Taulman Nylon Filament at shop3duniverse.com.

The Flexy-Hand 3D Printed Prosthesis (Proof of Concept)

So I’ve been focusing a lot on 3D printed prosthetics lately. What better way to put a machine like this to good use? Recently, this Flexy-Hand design appeared on Thingiverse, and I knew I had to make one…

Flexy-Hand 6

Check out my video review here.

The model is available on Thingiverse, here.

Credit for the design goes to Steve Wood, founder of Gyrobot,

And here are some more photos. Click on the photos for a full resolution version.

Flexy-Hand 1

 

Flexy-Hand 3

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Flexy-Hand 2

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The Easiest Way to Apply New Kapton Tape to Your 3D Printer

Kapton Tape

Let’s face it – Kapton tape isn’t much fun to work with. But it’s the best printing surface for ABS, so eventually, we’re likely to find ourselves having to replace that Kapton tape. Getting a good application without air bubbles can be tricky, but it’s the key to getting a nice, smooth surface on the bottom of your prints.

After trying just about everything, I’ve come up with what I believe to be the best possible technique:

Video: Applying Kapton Tape

Diamond Vase (Math Art by Dizingof)

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Believe it or not, this is a mathematical equation you are looking at. This is another model by Dizingof, a very talented 3D artist.

This was printed in ABS at 0.15mm layer height, then treated with acetone vapor to give it a smooth finish.

A time-lapse video of the print can be found here. This is one of my favorite time-lapse videos. It’s kind of like watching a sunrise!

This model can be found here, and the rest of Dizingof’s work can be seen here.

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Modern Manufacturing – Happening in Homes Across the Globe

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It may not look like much, but this is what the manufacturing facility of tomorrow looks like, tucked away in the corner of a quiet suburban home. Similar setups are appearing in homes across the globe, and the rate at which this is happening is far greater than most fully appreciate.

There are some limitations when dealing with FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), but it’s become pretty affordable, and it’s a good way to get started in 3D printing. Other options will be emerging soon, now that the patent on Selective Laser Sintering has expired, so we’ll have consumer level printers capable of printing in metals, ceramics, glass, etc.

It may not look like much now, but this is the very early phase of what will eventually be a Star-Trek style replicator, capable of building anything we need by assembling individual atoms and molecules. That will mean an end to global hunger, and an end to resource shortages (a big reason for wars currently). It’s going to take several decades of further development, but it can be done. And if we continue to work collaboratively, leveraging the Internet to share our findings, the timeline will be shorter than most would currently guess.

“Equation” (Math Art by Dizingof)

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Isn’t math beautiful? When a mathematical equation is rendered in 3D and then 3D printed, patterns and forms emerge, reminiscent of images found in nature. Hold something like this in your hands, and a new appreciation for math can be found.

This was printed in ABS at 0.15mm layer height, then treated with acetone vapor to give it a smooth finish.

A time-lapse video of the print can be found here.

The model is by Dizingof, my favorite 3D artist. This model can be found here, and the rest of his work can be seen here.

3D Printing in a Nutshell, Now and in the Future

It’s hard to appreciate the importance of what’s developing with 3D printing and related technologies. Many people equate the current state of 3D printing technologies to the state of computers and software in the early 1980′s. I agree with that, but there’s one BIG difference. With the modern Internet, there is an interconnectedness and ability to easily share and access information that we did not have in the 80′s. Many of the 3D printer designs and related software are released under open source licenses, so others are free to download the designs or source code and make further improvements, then release it back to the community. This Internet-based, open source, community-driven approach to developing a new technology is tremendously powerful!

Here’s a look at the current state of 3D printing, and a glimpse of what’s ahead:

 

Now

As of today, here’s what’s happening in 3D printing and related technologies:

  • Consumer-level 3D printers are becoming less expensive, more widely available, and easier to use.
  • To show the cost effectiveness of 3D printing, students at MTU printed $1,944 worth of household items for a total cost of $18 over the course of a single weekend.
  • Designers can now create digital 3D models and then sell physical replicas of those models in a variety of materials using services like Shapeways or i.Materialise. No need to own a 3D printer!
  • Children are seeing how easily ideas can be transformed into a physical object. Schools and libraries are starting to install 3D printers, enabling a new kind of experience-driven education.
  • Organ tissues are being 3D printed for medical testing, and surgeons are starting to fix serious injuries with 3D printed implants.
  • The first food printers have started to arrive: Consumer levelprofessional level, and some just for the chocolate lovers.
  • The Smithsonian is in the process of 3D scanning their archives (which contain over 137 million objects, only about 2% of which are on display). They are being made freely available online, with many of them in a downloadable format for 3D printing at home.
  • NASA is sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station so they can build parts on demand.
  • The ability to 3D print entire houses has been developed.
  • Prosthetics are being made available much more affordably and being made available to those who need them.
  • Prosthetics are also being turned into works of art the wearer can be proud to show off.
  • And of course we can’t forget, 3D printing has made its way into the world of fashion.

The Future

In the years to come, things are going to get really interesting:

 

In Summary

These technologies are going to radically change our world in ways we can only partially imagine now. As the technology continues to develop at an accelerated pace, those futuristic, almost magical technologies we keep collectively dreaming about in our sci-fi movies will begin to materialize. And it’s going to happen faster than you might think, thanks to something that we as humans are hopefully rediscovering – that many people working collaboratively on a challenge can achieve incredible results!

 

Here’s a nice infographic that sums it all up:

Infographic source: http://www.nerdgraph.com/the-possibilities-of-a-3d-printer/