A 3D Printed Pen… or is it?

2015-06-11 3D Pen1

While this may look like a chunky 3D printed pen, there is more going on here than meets the eye… I’m just not going to explain it all yet (part of my PhD experimentation)! But for those who have looked through some of my more recent experiments with Arduino, Rhino with Grasshopper, and 3D printing, you might get some clues about where this could be going!

2015-06-11 3D Pen2

The pen itself has been modeled to fit with a standard Bic pen tip, and printed on my Up! Plus 2 3D printer in 89 minutes using the 0.2mm layer setting and ‘fine’ speed. Of course the colour change is done using the ‘hot swap’ technique just for a bit of fun and to liven up the product from the standard white prototype feel – since this is not so much a prototype but part of a (hopefully) functional system. There was only a minimal amount of support at the base, and because of the way I designed the interior no support was needed which is a big relief – it would be a nightmare to pick out any interior supports to allow the pen to fit in! It actually feels quite good to hold, but the last image provides a bit of a clue as to where it’s going – I’m currently wiring it up to connect to my Arduino. As for details, that’s all I can share at this point!

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printing a Section of FIX3D

2015-05-05 FIX3D SectionAfter my previous post 3D printing a bracelet from Nervous System, these prints of a section of my 3D printed bike ‘FIX3D‘ follow on nicely; they also require (almost) no support material, and I’ve used the same 2-colour effect using some fluro green filament. With a few talks coming up where I’m unable to physically take the completed bike (since it’s on show in Belgium for Materialise) these will help give people an understanding of what it looks like in 3D, and also allow them to touch it and feel the lattice structure.

2015-05-05 FIX3D SectionsA few little errors and that pesky ‘slipping’ effect showing up with my Up! Plus 2 printer, but nothing major worth stopping the printing process for. One of the sections had enough of a slip (about 5mm) near the end that I had to slice the section away after printing and glue it back in its proper position. You wouldn’t even notice unless looking very carefully though. If you’re attending RAPID in a couple of weeks I’ll see you there with these and some other bits and pieces!

– Posted by James Novak

First Nervous System 3D Print

150504 Nervous SystemOne of my favourite design studios working with 3D printing has always been Nervous System, with their generative designs that can be customised live on their website. Always an amazing source of inspiration and worth checking out, particularly some of their latest work with 3D printed dresses. Thankfully they’ve shared some of their work on Thingiverse, so that anyone with a 3D printer can download and print some of their products for free!

With an upcoming presentation to give at a local careers day, I thought this Regular Cell Cycle Bracelet would be a fun example to add to my kit and show students. Unfortunately the slipping problem I’ve written about a few times with my Up! Plus 2 3D printer seems to have reared its head again (refer to previous posts), but thankfully the bracelet itself still built without any problems. What’s really great about this particular design is that it prints without any support material, so requires almost no cleanup. To add a bit of a twist I swapped printing filament towards the end, creating the green section which I think looks quite cool. If you’re after something that really embodies some of the fantastic opportunities provided through 3d printing, this certainly ticks the boxes.

– Posted by James Novak

3D Printed Doof Doof! (Phone Amplifier)

I’ve always been fascinated with the way putting your phone into a cup or bowl can suddenly improve the sound quality and volume. Even a simple cardboard tube will work (check out this video if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Being a bit sick of having no real spot for my phone on my desk, I thought it was a good time to have a go at 3D printing something that would both hold my phone and improve the sound when I’m playing music or just when a call/text comes in. Yes it’s been done by many others, but of course I want my own unique design!

The above video is the outcome of about 4 hours of printing on an ‘Up! Plus 2‘ 3D printer (0.2mm layer thickness, <10 degree support), showing how little support material was required and that it works straight off the printer. I swapped filament colours part way through printing to create the multi-coloured effect, following on from my last post.

In the video you’ll notice the phone doesn’t really sit in place properly – I forgot to add a little rib to stop it sliding forward. However I have since glued a small piece of scrap in place, and updated the STL file to provide this feature (photos on Thingiverse). Of course I have shared this design for FREE on Thingiverse so you can print one for yourself, just click here to visit the page. As always if you make one I’d love to hear about, please share comments/photos either here or through Thingiverse.

– Posted by James Novak

Experiment: Multi-Coloured 3D Printing

Experiment 1 - Set Nozzle HeightAnyone playing around with desktop 3D printing has probably played around with feeding different colours through the extruder at some stage, or even using dual heads which are becoming more prevalent. I’ve certainly snipped off the filament during  a print and fed a different colour through, although there is no real control doing this. The top images are a little experiment I’ve tried with the ‘Up! Plus 2‘ where I print a 5mm high ring (image 1), re-calibrate the nozzle height (image 2), then print the same part again, only without any raft/support (image 3).  This worked well, until the software said that I could only set the nozzle height within a very small range, so couldn’t go any higher than these 2 colours (total 10mm height).

Experiment 2 - PauseI’ve then seen the pause feature – feeling like a complete noob (considering I’ve been using this Up! software for years and never tried it!) this next experiment used a 15mm high tube, which I set to pause at 5mm and 10mm, allowing me to withdraw the filament and change colours. Perfect. Yes it’s pretty limited in that a colour can only change in the vertical axis across the entire print, but if you orient your print correctly this might just be enough. Until some of those full colour 3D printers become affordable this will just have to do. Once my Solidoodle Press arrives (looking like January now – see my post about the delays here) I’ll be curious to see whether it has this same function.

– Posted by James Novak