3D Printed Wood vs. Plastic

Well here it is – my 3D printed wooden phone amplifier fresh from i.Materialise, which won their 3D printed wood challenge! Now it’s time to have your say:

Which sounds better? 3D printed wood, or 3D printed ABS plastic?

On first impressions it’s definitely a fragile material, a bit like something between MDF timber and an egg carton. The graininess can be rubbed off like sand, and you can already see one of the dots in the ‘i’ has broken off. But it smells really nice, I just can’t quite put my finger on what it reminds me of. But definitely very wood-like.

150716 3D Print Wood

For those wanting to print one yourself, the plastic version is freely available for you to download from my Thingiverse or Pinshape profiles. This wooden one is slightly different to meet the requirements of the printing process, but I may add this to the i.Materialise shop very soon so you too can enjoy the natural sounds of timber.

– Posted by James Novak

Winner – 3D Printed Wooden Amplifier

150704 Phone Amp

It was a while ago now that I first 3D printed a phone amplifier and stand, sharing my design on Thingiverse (see the original design and video here). Well after seeing i.Materialise’s new wood material, and a competition to launch it, I just had to bring it back! What could be more cool than a 3D printed wooden amplifier, mixing the old-school with the new-school?

It did take some work to modify the original design to meet the criteria of the wood material, including thicker wall sections and more exaggerated details, and you can see the render I submitted above on the right. The final print from i.Materialise on the left looks awesome, I’m looking forward to hearing it play music when it arrives – I’ll have to post a video comparing the sound of the wood vs. plastic versions, so watch this space.

See the full i.Materialise article, along with the other winning designs here.

– Posted by James Novak

Thingiverse Builds of my Designs

150610 ThingiverseIt seems like a good time to look back at some of the designs I’ve shared on Thingiverse, mostly over the last Xmas break when I actually had the spare time to make these sorts of things! It’s really cool to see people making things that you’ve created for yourself and getting some enjoyment from them!

The image on the left is not actually my design at all – it’s a kiteboard hydrofoil (basically a fancy attachment for a kitesurfing board that allows you to ‘hover’ above the water). @danleow did however take my standard kitesurfing fin (you can read all about my design and testing here or even download yourself a copy for free) and modify it to help in the creation of his hydrofoil (the blue 3D printed part). Very cool! I’m actually hoping to revisit this idea soon, after meeting Greg Mark from MarkForged at the RAPID 3D printing conference, and seeing his examples of surf fins 3D printed with carbon fiber, I am hoping it won’t be too long before my university buys on of their printers. I just know this will significantly strengthen the design and stop the fins breaking.

Next image is from @pcarlson of the replacement whisk for an Expressi Milk Frother – it’s such a small part that can be easily lost when cleaning, which is exactly what happened to me and inspired me to create the 3D file. Now I have an endless supply of replacements! Get yours and read my post about the design by clicking here.

Lastly is the most complex 3D print I’ve shared on Thingiverse simply for the quantity of parts and requirement to fit with timber. Not for the feint of heart! The idea was to create a Mario Kart trophy for a bit of fun with my family for Xmas. The one pictured is from @Johns_Monkey, and includes just the basic components for the trophy – if you look at my complete design, there are 7 extra pieces that can go around the outside and act as platforms to hold your Mario Kart characters.

I have a few other designs on Thingiverse for things like a Beer Bottle Lock and Phone Amplifier, if you happen to make any of these please add your photos onto Thingiverse 🙂 Happy 3D printing.

– Posted by James Novak

Finally a Rhino Fan

150414 Rhino3DIt’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally committed to Rhino and bought a license. I’ve been on the fence for a while now as I know how great it can be for some really complex lattice structures and freeform modelling, but I just know Solidworks so well I like to think I can design anything I want in there anyway (as with my 3D printed bike). What tipped me over the edge is finding out that there is a plugin for Rhino called Firefly that can be used to directly control my new Arduino, along with a host of other controllers. Now that’s cool! I’ve been researching ways to move between Arduino and CAD models for a little while now as part of my PhD, and this has got me really excited.

The images above show one of my simple giveaway designs for a phone amplifier available on Thingiverse for FREE (read the post here which includes a video showing it in action). Originally modeled in Solidworks, I thought it would be a good challenge to put it into Rhino and make sure it’s a Solid Model ready to 3D print. It’s a slightly different way of thinking, but it’s quite easy to pickup. I miss the parametric capabilities of Solidworks, but can definitely see some fun ahead with Paneling tools and Grasshopper. Even generating a simple wireframe style model is very quick in Rhino, as in the third image.

Besides, I can always adopt a hybrid process and jump between both Solidworks and Rhino can’t I?

– 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