3D printing

Teensy and 3D Printer Make Beautiful Music Together

[Otermrelik] wanted to experiment with the Teensy audio library and adapter. That, combined with his 3D printer, led to a very cool looking build of the teensypolysynth. The device looks like a little mini soundboard with sliders and 3D printed knobs. You can see (and hear) it in the video below.

The Teensy audio library supports several output devices including several built-in options and external boards like the audio adapter used here. The library does CD-quality sound, supports polyphonic playback, recording, synthesis, mixing, and more.

Even more interesting is there is an audio design tool that runs in your web browser for building the audio portion of your code graphically. Even though it is in a browser, it isn’t tied back to…

Shapeways Offers Access to New HP 3D Printing Technology

Shapeways has established themselves as a leader in on-demand 3D printing services. With a community of over 40,000 shops and more than 600,000 items that you can browse, customize, and purchase right now, their impact on the market makes them a great place to try new materials and methods of 3D printing. Today, Shapeways has announced that they are teaming up with HP to give their community access to HP’s new Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology.

When a major company like HP enters the 3D printing market by announcing a new way of printing, it can create quite a buzz, and for the past year since announcing their new system, the industry has been following closely. Multi Jet Fusion promises fast, multi-material, multi-color, production ready parts. While Shapeways will only be starting to offer parts in one material and two finishes, more options will be coming down the road. This first offering is…

How to 3D Print Anything (Even If You Don’t Own a 3D Printer)

3D printers are amazing tools that let you make almost any kind of physical object you can think of (or at least design in a 3D modeling program). The one downside? They’re stupidly expensive, and you probably can’t justify the cost. Fortunately, you don’t need to own one to print your own stuff—there are many services that’ll do it for you.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to 3D print something, but few that justify owning one. You could print anything from a custom GPS mount for your bike to Dungeons & Dragons miniatures to wearable armor for your next Star Wars cosplay. Unless you’ll be printing a ton of stuff on the regular, though, none of them are worth the hundreds you’d need to spend for a 3D printer (or the thousands you’d spend on a really good one).

To help people like you who want to print stuff but don’t want to shell out a ton of money for the privilege, services like Shapeways, Kraftwurx, Ponoko, and 3D Hubs have made 3D printing accessible even if you don’t own your printer. Some offer stores of 3D models that you can print directly, or you can upload models you made yourself or found online. Each service is a little different, so we’ll go through each one and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

Shapeways Lets You Shop for 3D Prints in a Ton of Materials, or Upload Your Own

Shapeways is one of the biggest and most versatile 3D print shops around. The company has a substantial community of 3D modelers and designers that upload their creations for anyone to buy. You can head to the Shapways Shop to find jewelry, phone cases, Raspberry Pi parts, tabletop game accessories, and tons more. The models you find there are designed to print without problems, and each model is checked by Shapeways employees to make sure they’re structurally sound. Printable 3D models need to be made with extra care to ensure that the pieces are thick enough to not break, and avoid a host of other problems that most of us won’t think about. Some models like keychains and pendants are even customizable, so you can add your name or personal message.

You can also get prints in a variety of materials. If you’ve ever seen something that was 3D printed, it was probably plastic. Shapeways offers prints in steel, bronze, brass, silver, gold, wax, porcelain, aluminum, and several types of plastic. Not every model is available in every kind of material, of course. Some models will print fine in plastic, but would fall apart if made in metal or porcelain. Still, it’s awesome to get a set of stainless steel gaming dice without buying a printer.

3D prints from Shapeways are made-to-order. Since the company uses industrial-grade printers that can make hundreds of models at once, prices are relatively low for what you’re getting. For simple, plastic prints, you can spend as little as $10 for basic figurines. Even some metal jewelry or trinkets can be as low as $25, though metal is obviously more costly than plastic. In general, the bigger the print, the more expensive it will be. However, you’ll have to go for something pretty big to rival the cost of buying a 3D printer that can print in a comparable quality.

If you can’t find a model for something you want on Shapeways, you can upload your own. However, things get trickier when you do this. For example, you can find 3D models on sites like TurboSquid, but those aren’t necessarily going to be designed for printing. Sites like Thingiverse offer models designed for 3D printing, but they don’t undergo testing for printability. You may still find that a design you uploaded has walls that are too thin, or won’t print properly. That’s fine if you’re used to 3D modeling yourself, but for amateurs, you may run into problems. To help deal with this problem, Shapeways offers a directory where you can hire a designer. Obviously, this will be more costly than finding a ready-made print, but if you really need a professional’s opinion, you can find one in Shapeways’ community.

Speaking of which, Shapeways’ primary advantage over other services…

How to 3D Print Anything (Even If You Don’t Own a 3D Printer)

3D printers are amazing tools that let you make almost any kind of physical object you can think of (or at least design in a 3D modeling program). The one downside? They’re stupidly expensive, and you probably can’t justify the cost. Fortunately, you don’t need to own one to print your own stuff—there are many services that’ll do it for you.

There are plenty of reasons you might want to 3D print something, but few that justify owning one. You could print anything from a custom GPS mount for your bike to Dungeons & Dragons miniatures to wearable armor for your next Star Wars cosplay. Unless you’ll be printing a ton of stuff on the regular, though, none of them are worth the hundreds you’d need to spend for a 3D printer (or the thousands you’d spend on a really good one).

To help people like you who want to print stuff but don’t want to shell out a ton of money for the privilege, services like Shapeways, Kraftwurx, Ponoko, and 3D Hubs have made 3D printing accessible even if you don’t own your printer. Some offer stores of 3D models that you can print directly, or you can upload models you made yourself or found online. Each service is a little different, so we’ll go through each one and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

Shapeways Lets You Shop for 3D Prints in a Ton of Materials, or Upload Your Own

Shapeways is one of the biggest and most versatile 3D print shops around. The company has a substantial community of 3D modelers and designers that upload their creations for anyone to buy. You can head to the Shapways Shop to find jewelry, phone cases, Raspberry Pi parts, tabletop game accessories, and tons more. The models you find there are designed to print without problems, and each model is checked by Shapeways employees to make sure they’re structurally sound. Printable 3D models need to be made with extra care to ensure that the pieces are thick enough to not break, and avoid a host of other problems that most of us won’t think about. Some models like keychains and pendants are even customizable, so you can add your name or personal message.

You can also get prints in a variety of materials. If you’ve ever seen something that was 3D printed, it was probably plastic. Shapeways offers prints in steel, bronze, brass, silver, gold, wax, porcelain, aluminum, and several types of plastic. Not every model is available in every kind of material, of course. Some models will print fine in plastic, but would fall apart if made in metal or porcelain. Still, it’s awesome to get a set of stainless steel gaming dice without buying a printer.

3D prints from Shapeways are made-to-order. Since the company uses industrial-grade printers that can make hundreds of models at once, prices are relatively low for what you’re getting. For simple, plastic prints, you can spend as little as $10 for basic figurines. Even some metal jewelry or trinkets can be as low as $25, though metal is obviously more costly than plastic. In general, the bigger the print, the more expensive it will be. However, you’ll have to go for something pretty big to rival the cost of buying a 3D printer that can print in a comparable quality.

If you can’t find a model for something you want on Shapeways, you can upload your own. However, things get trickier when you do this. For example, you can find 3D models on sites like TurboSquid, but those aren’t necessarily going to be designed for printing. Sites like Thingiverse offer models designed for 3D printing, but they don’t undergo testing for printability. You may still find that a design you uploaded has walls that are too thin, or won’t print properly. That’s fine if you’re used to 3D modeling yourself, but for amateurs, you may run into problems. To help deal with this problem, Shapeways offers a directory where you can hire a designer. Obviously, this will be more costly than finding a ready-made print, but if you really need a professional’s opinion, you can find one in Shapeways’ community.

Speaking of which, Shapeways’ primary advantage over other services…

Review: Shapeoko XXL Is a Super-Sized Kit for Desktop CNC Carving

This machine was reviewed as part of our 2017 Desktop Fabrication Shootout. See more machines in our 3D Printer Guide and non-3D printer reviews here.

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Carbide 3D is super-sizing the Shapeoko line of CNC carvers with the Shapeoko XL and XXL. This open source big boy is available exclusively as a kit with everything that you need to begin carving except for your favorite stock material. Our testing unit was supplied with a DeWalt DWP611 compact router; however, Carbide 3D offers kits without the router if you want to bring your own DeWalt or Makita to the party. You can even upgrade your current Shapeoko 3 with either an XL or XXL expansion pack.

Make no mistake – this thing is huge. As compared to the Shapeoko 3, the XL offers twice the cutting area while the XXL kicks it up to four times. With a nearly 12-½ foot square footprint, this gargantuan is going to require a dedicated space in your shop. If you dabbled with the Shapeoko 3, then the custom 85mm x 55mm aluminum extrusion rails will look familiar. The main exception is that they will be much, much longer. The 10 gauge steel frame complements the railing for a stiff and durable machine.

Capable of carving wood, plastic, and soft metals with ease, the Shapeoko XXL allows you to up your game and tackle large scale digital fabrication projects. Small furniture is now within reach, and I can happily report that my Shapeoko XXL created a brand new stool faster than I could have driven to the local hardware store to buy one. However, just because this machine is big, it does not mean it cannot handle smaller projects that require more finesse. Swap out that larger end mill for something smaller and you can take advantage of the Shapeoko’s precision and produce something like a printed circuit board.

Our experience building the XXL was a…

New Process Will Allow You to 3D Print Glass on Demand

The surge in affordable 3D printing in recent years has allowed hobbyists to craft everything from customized toys to hair to prosthetic duck feet, with the only limit being the creator’s imagination. Now, researchers in Germany are close to achieving a technique that could revolutionize both 3D applications and glassmaking by giving us the power to 3D print glass.

In a study published in Nature this week, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) investigator Dr. Bastian Rapp presented a way of manufacturing a “liquid glass” that can be manipulated with 3D printing software and then heated until it’s a useful solid. (Normal glass consists of melted sand made from sheets in molten tin vats.) By making the glass dispensable through 3D printing nozzles, Rapp believes we’ll soon be able to 3D print glass that’s of sufficient quality for lenses, mirrors, and even drinking cups.

Previous attempts to conceive of a new way of glass production via 3D printers haven’t resulted in glass smooth enough for…

Keep the Whole Solar System to Yourself in This Tiny Bottle

Ever dream of carrying the entire universe around in your pocket? Now you can with a little help from the 3D printing company Little Planet Factory. The online store creates and sells itty-bitty planets that you can hold in your hand. Their most adorable product might be a small bottle that contains all the planets of the solar system—which are at a scale of 1:5,000,000,000. That means Jupiter is the size of your fingernail,…

5 Labs That Use 3D Printing for Biohacking Projects

The greatest bridge between the world of makers and the world of biohackers is probably the mighty 3D printer. The main difference is instead of using plastics, they’re using biomaterials to build three-dimensional structures, and using special bioinks made of living cells to print messages and patterns.

Human cells cultured into a decellularized apple slice (left) and an apple carved into an ear shape (right) from Pelling Labs. Photo by Bonnie Findley

How BioCurious Started Bioprinting

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BioCurious is a mandatory stop among biohacker communities in North America. This pioneering space, located in Sunnyvale, California, hosts a number of great people collaborating on the DIY BioPrinter project. Their bioprinting adventure started in 2012, when they had their first meetups. According to Patrik D’haeseleer, who is leading the project with Maria Chavez, they were looking for community projects that could bring new people into the space and let them quickly collaborate. None of the project leaders had a specific bioprinting application in mind, nor did they have previous knowledge on how to build this kind of printer. Still, it appeared to be a fairly approachable technology that people could play with.

“You can just take a commercial inkjet printer. Take the inkjet cartridges and cut off the top essentially. Empty out the ink and put something else in there. Now you can start printing with that,” D’haeseleer explains.

The BioCurious group started by printing on big coffee filters, substituting ink with arabinose, which is a natural plant sugar. Then they put the filter paper on top of a culture of E. coli bacteria genetically modified to produce a green fluorescent protein in the presence of arabinose. The cells started to glow exactly where arabinose was printed.

Modifying commercial printers for this, as they were doing, presented challenges. “You may need to reverse engineer the printer driver or disassemble the paper handling machinery in order to be able to do what you want,” says D’haeseleer.

First major success with BioCurious’ $150 DIY BioPrinter: fluorescent E. coli printed on agar with an inkjet printhead. Photo by Patrik Dʼhaeseleer

So the group decided to build their own bioprinter from scratch. Their second version uses stepper motors from CD drives, an inkjet cartridge as a print head, and an open source Arduino shield to drive it — a DIY bioprinter for just $150 that you can find on Instructables.

The next and still current challenge deals with the consistency of the ink. Commercial cartridges work with ink that is pretty watery. But bioink requires a more gel-like material with high viscosity. The DIY BioPrinter group has been experimenting with different syringe pump designs that could allow them to inject small amounts of viscous liquid through the “bio print head.”

BioCurious’ early printer: $11 syringe pumps mounted on a platform made from DVD drives. Photo by Patrik Dʼhaeseleer

Moving to 3D

Starting with an already existing 3D platform seemed like the best way to go beyond 2D patterns. The group first tried to modify their existing 3D printer by adding a bio print head directly on it. However, their commercial machine required some difficult reverse engineering and software modification to perfect the process. After a couple of months, this led to a dead end.

The RepRap family of 3D printers influenced the next step. After buying an affordable open source printer kit, the bioprinting team was able to switch out the plastic extruding print head for a print head with flexible tubes that connected to a set of stationary syringe pumps. It worked.

Converting a RepRap into BioCurious’ latest 3D BioPrinter platform, with an Open…

Extract DNA at Home with a 3D Printed Centrifuge

Biotechnology is powerful, but only for those with the tools to experiment with and utilize it. The DIYbio movement seeks to put the tools and techniques used in well-funded laboratories around the world into the hands of ordinary people who have an interest but not the means to investigate biology.

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One of these tools is the centrifuge. Centrifuges come in many shapes and sizes to fit a wide variety of laboratory needs. There are large machines with precise controls for RPMs, G-force, timers of all kinds, and even ones with temperature control. Then there are mini-centrifuges used for simple DNA extraction and quick-spins for mixing the contents of test tubes.

This 3D-printed DIYbio mini-centrifuge was designed to do the latter and has actually been used in a real university biology lab doing real protocols. Building one is easy, and hopefully after you’re done reading this, you will have ideas of how to improve on this one, or maybe the inspiration to tackle other types of otherwise inaccessible and expensive pieces of equipment with 3D printing.

Print the Parts

Figure A. Assembly of the printed parts

Go to F.Lab’s Thingiverse page for the centrifuge to download the STL files. Because of the size of the parts, you may need to run multiple print jobs — this gives you a chance to switch colors like we did (Figure A). Print infill of 30% is recommended. Be sure to duplicate the feet so that you have 4 in total.

Program the Arduino

Figure B. Click for larger version

It’s a good idea to program your Arduino first and test everything out before assembling the entire centrifuge. Upload the code below to your Arduino. Wire everything together as in the diagram (Figure B), but make sure to use only temporary connections between the 3 drone motor wires and the ESC, because you’ll need to disconnect them and reattach them during the assembly process.

#include Servo myservo; int potpin = A0; // analog pin used to connect the potentiometer int val; // variable to read the value from the analog pin int listo = 13; void setup() { pinMode(listo, OUTPUT); digitalWrite(listo, LOW); myservo.attach(9); //pin de control al ESC arm(); // Función para armar el esc } void loop() { digitalWrite(listo, HIGH); //Sierra preparada LED intermitente delay(200); digitalWrite(listo, LOW); delay(200); // reads the value of the potent. (value between 0 and 1023) val = analogRead(potpin); // scale it to use it with motor. Limitado a 100. val = map(val, 0, 1023, 55, 140); myservo.write(val); } void arm() { //Función de armado myservo.write(0); delay(1000); myservo.write(30);...

Filament Friday: Refil ABS Is Recycled Plastic for More Sustainable Prints

A major complaint leveraged against 3D printing is the creation of additional plastic waste that is quickly filling the world’s waterways. Most filament on the market is created from new, first-use polymers, but the team at Refil is working to combat that with their line of recycled plastic filament — creating little to no extra plastic waste.

A good friend of mine called me up to let me know he was helping out with 3D Brooklyn (who have recently been creating downloadable models for the History channel’s Vikings TV show) and that he thought I should check out the new filament they were bringing to the US market. He sent me a spool of the Refil ABS, a filament made from 100% recycled car parts, with no virgin plastic used. While you may not get the color options found in new plastics (Refil ABS only comes in black) you will have the peace of mind knowing that you are not contributing to the pollution problem as much as using new plastic.

Using the Refil ABS made me remember how much I love printing in ABS. It was not that long ago that ABS was the dominant 3D printing material and PLA was experimental. ABS…