On 20 February 2015, a lawsuit was filed against Stratasys by the City of Hollywood Police Officer’s Retirement System. Continue Reading →
Autodesk has announced both an open software platform for 3D printing called Spark and their very own 3D Printer. The hardware is to serve as a reference point for the new Spark software which they hope will bring a new level of user experience to 3D Printing.
As with many of Autodesk’s newest products Spark will be open and freely licensable to hardware manufacturers and other interested parties. Autodesk is hoping that by making the system available to product designers, hardware manufacturers, software developers and materials scientists it will be used to explore the limits of 3D Printing technology.
For more information sign up at http://www.autodesk.com/campaigns/spark
Some of you may remember my review of the Leapfrog Creatr. I wrote it after I’d had the machine for a few weeks and at the time I was quite impressed with my purchase. To a large extent, I still am, however I have had a fair share of issues and breakdowns. Some of these issues were down to the fairly hasty fashion in which the machine was assembled and others have been connected to design flaws in the machine itself. As I mentioned in my review, I have a fair amount of experience with electromechanical devices, being trained as a broadcast engineer in the tape era. Since then I have had to keep up with the times and subsequently, a good deal of my work now is connected with computers, networks and software. 3D printers are a good match for my skillset.
When I ordered my machine from the Netherlands, I was not under any illusions about the possibility of warranty support on the machine. I was on my own. After building my CNC router from scratch, the prospect didn’t faze me but other clients have proved to be much less forgiving of the machines idiosyncrasies and faults. I have seen some really angry threads on the forum attached to their official site and more than once the buyer has referred to the machine as a doorstop or paperweight. The term “boat anchor” hasn’t taken off in Europe! Back home, I was jumping the hurdles as they came along but other users were not expecting so many issues and were not holding back their disappointment. As much as I could, I joined in the discussions and offered technical advice where I felt I had some understanding and fortunately, there were other members, much more knowledgeable than myself, adding their considerable input. This extended right up to a beautifully sorted version of the Marlin firmware for the Arduino that ironed out a bunch of issues.
Okay, so what was good and what was bad? Let’s kick off with the bad stuff, it’s everyone’s favourite eh!
If you’re looking to upgrade to Windows 8 heres a solid reason to do so. Microsoft are adding native 3D printer support in Windows 8.1. A new API will allow developers to include 3D printing capabilities directly in their software, so (in theory) you’ll be able to hit print and out it will come you part, just like a conventional 2D printer.
Microsoft jumping on the 3D printing band wagon along with the merger of Makerbot with Stratasys means there’s a lot of energy going into mainstreaming home 3D printing right now. That doesn’t mean we’ll all be printing our own phones at home in two years’ time, but it does mean we’ll probably see a lot more investment focused on this area in the near future.
Microsoft’s Antoine Leblond called printing 3D “just as easy and seamless as printing in 2D” on stage today at Build, and demoed the process of printing a vase from a Windows 8.1 device to the MakerBot Replicator 2 which will soon be available in Microsoft Stores!
Last week 3D Printers Australia made a visit to a very exciting and progressive HackerSpace in Melbourne with a particular interest in 3D Printing. Some of the projects were just awesome from Rob Gannon’s “Maxed Mendel” (above) to the communities own traditional in house Mendal among other open source and entry level 3D Printers.
CCHS (Connected Community Hacker Space) aka Melbourne HackerSpace is an enthusiastic group of hardware hobbyists and/or software programmers. They enjoy getting together to build new and challenging technology focused projects and gadgets for fun! The community meet several times a week in their awesome new space in Hawthorne (left), and welcomes visitors and newcomers who wish to make things and learn about technology, e.g 3D printers or robots. You don’t need to be an expert to participate and the space is gradually accumulating equipment and tools for common use.
During our time at the HackSpace there was even a workshop being held on parametric modelling and the community is planning more great informative events so check them out on Meetup or the Connected Community HackSpace website
After looking at many of the entry level FDM style 3D printers on the market, Ben Roberts chose to invest in a Leapfrog Creatr 3D Printer. He has written an in depth review of his first experiences with the machine and was kind enough to share his experience with us.
For a person who has a fascination with electromechanical devices and CAD, a 3D printer must be the most desirable thing ever invented. It certainly is for me! My interest in precision electromechanical devices comes form years as an Engineer in commercial radio broadcasting. I began in the 80’s when the industry ran on tape and the machines demanded constant fettling and repair. Injected into this background was a three year stint in 3D animation and graphics. Continue Reading →
The release of the Makerbot Replicator 2 back in September 2012, was in some peoples view a side step for Makerbot. The machine only had one extruder, was designed to work with PLA only and they even removed the heated build platform. Some would say it was a simplified product for people who were just getting into 3D Printing but had very limited knowledge or experience with the technology, and you would be right, however a lot of existing makerbot customers would have been pretty disappointed with the product based on past experience.
The Replicator 2X, where the X is for experimental, announced at CES 2013 may be the machine to put them back on track. It has two extruders, supports ABS and PLA, has a heated print bed and is aimed squarely at the tinkers and back yard engineers mainly due to the increased difficulty in printing with ABS and dual materials.
The machines have an 8 week lead time so you’ll be waiting a while to get your hands on them but if the Replicator 2X takes your fancy then head on over to makerbot.com
MakerBot have announced their all new Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer Machine. MakerBot are saying that the all new Replicator 2 is the best 3D Printer they have ever made and can now print at an impressive 100-micron layer resolution.
FDM is the technology that most RepRap style 3D printers are designed around. It’s cheap, reliable and simple, however it is not very fast. The speed limitations of FDM are driven by the fact that you have a very tiny nozzle extruding the plastic with a diameter usually smaller than 0.5mm. This nozzle has to ‘draw’ each layer of your part line by line and then effectively ‘color-in’ the gaps between the lines to make the section of your part solid. The only way to make the print process quick is to move the print head or table faster while extruding the plastic as a faster rate. Sounds simple, however when you take into consideration the mass of the print head or print table, you can only increase the speed so much before the moving mass starts to become an issue. There have been some 3D printers produced with very low weight print heads such as the Ultimaker but up until now I have never seen something move as fast as the Rostock! You’ll want to check out the video after the jump to see for yourself!
Home built DLP 3D printers are gaining popularity all over the place. The latest one we have come across has been designed by a bunch of guys who go by the name of MiiCraft. The design is very similar to that of Junior Veloso’s DLP Printer however this one uses a Pico projector. From the looks of the photos and video’s this thing has got promise! For more information head on over to www.miicraft.com