Yes I’m a 3D printing nerd, and yes I’ve been dying to 3D print some pieces for my motorcycle since buying it a few weeks ago!
One of the upgrades I’m doing on the bike is to change my mirrors to bar end mirrors, meaning I have no need for the mounting holes built into the controls for standard mirrors. This will normally leave a large hole (10mm diameter) on each controller in a very visually obvious location, and on my last bike I spent nearly $20 on just 2 coloured titanium screws to fill them in. But this time I knew I could do it far cheaper with 3D printing.
A few simple measurements later, and a quick Solidworks CAD model, the caps you see pictured were ready to print. It may seem a bit wanky but I thought adding my initials to them would be an interesting way to talk to people about 3D printing and the ability to customise a design, in a similar way to adding my name within the 3D printed bicycle I created last year. But what’s most enjoyable is seeing the threaded detail work perfectly (it’s an M10 x 1.25 thread for anyone playing at home!), so once again I have to give my big tick of approval to the Up! Plus 2 printers for being extremely consistent and accurate. These were printed using the 0.15mm layer thickness and fine speed settings.
Plenty more ideas for parts to come, so stay tuned.
– Posted by James Novak
Have you ever wanted to modify a .stl file that you’ve downloaded from a website like Pinshape or Thingiverse? While .stl’s are tricky to work with (similar to a really low resolution image), there is free software out there that will let you both modify and repair files to your hearts content!
My first tutorial as a guest writer for Pinshape has just been published, showing you how to modify a .stl file in 10 easy steps – just click the link to check it out. It’s very exciting to be writing for them, and I hope it helps give you the confidence to start customising your 3D prints, as this is really one of the great advantages of 3D printing in the first place.
You can also look back to some of my own past tutorials that I’ve created whilst working on particular projects, including using MeshLab to add text to a .stl, or turning a 3D form into a low-poly model. I must admit that I’ve now discovered Meshmixer (as featured in the Pinshape tutorial), and think it is a far easier tool to use than MeshLab. Both are free so check them out and see what suits you.
– Posted by James Novak (aka. edditive)
UPDATE 30/03/2016: With the sad news that Pinshape has closed down (read more here), you can now read this article in the PDF below.
Click here to open the PDF
A few weeks ago I designed a 3D printable light cover (lampshade) inspired by a shattered lightbulb – you can read more about it and download the STL file for free by clicking here. I’ve been taking the concept a bit further using Grasshopper in Rhino to explore the ability to generatively create endless forms within the exact same bounds, meaning every iteration can be successfully 3D printed. Above are some of the outputs from this experimentation.
These are going to be 3D printed for an upcoming exhibition at Design Philadelphia, along with the complete interactive CAD model which will allow 2 people to work together to customise the lamp design using Wii game controllers, turning the design process into a game-like experience. There’s a bit of work left to go to get this interactive element right, but it will hopefully show how CAD may move from being a complex, time-consuming skill to learn into something much more tactile and interactive for the every-day consumer. There are already a handful of interesting apps surfacing such as the Shape Maker tool from Makerbot, or the 2D to 3D tool from Shapeways, which make creating 3D files as simple as drawing a sketch on paper and taking a photo. But generative tools like I’m working on may be the next generation, allowing far more intricate and complex forms.
What do you think would be useful for non-designers to create 3D CAD files?
– Posted by James Novak
I love little projects like this! There’s just something so satisfying about having an idea, creating a 3D model, and turning that idea into reality all within an hour. The power of 3D printing!
I’m sure from the photos this one’s pretty self explanatory, but after buying a new USB for uni, I thought a cover/cap might be useful to protect it from collecting dirt in my bag and damaging the electronics. Also, the opportunity to label it with my name ‘Novak’ was important since USB’s can be so easily lost at uni, or mixed up with someone else’s while being shared around.
All I did to create this was use a set of calipers to measure the USB, add a tolerance of about 0.5mm, and Bob’s your uncle. I 3D printed it on my Up! Plus 2 using the 0.15mm layer thickness, which took about 35 minutes. Whilst doing this I also made an attempt on my less-than-reliable Solidoodle Press, but for some reason after making a good start there was a ‘skip,’ causing the extruder to start printing in mid air (pictured to the right). sigh. And just in case you’re wondering why this print looks like it’s printed on a piece of cardboard instead of the glass or perforated PCB, well it is! Just experimenting with printing on different surfaces to avoid that annoying need to spray hairspray/glue everywhere on the standard glass print plate of the Press… Stay tuned for some results soon.
– Posted by James Novak