3D Printing Workshops Galore

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University and school might be winding down for the year, but I’ve been as busy as ever running workshops on 3D printing and attending conferences – the silly season indeed!

I was a mentor at an event called GLO@Logan, a 3-day startup style workshop for teams of year 9 students from high school’s around the Logan area of Queensland. The project briefs looked at the future of health care, and how technology can be used to better enable people suffering from debilitating disease or age-related problems. A huge congratulations to the team from Loganlea State High School (top right image) who won first prize for their mobile app (which they actually created using MIT App Inventor) which was designed for people in wheelchairs to plan their route to restaurants, bringing in Google Street View images and reviews to help them plan their trip and locate wheelchair friendly restaurants. I was very impressed to see that within a couple of hours of the day 2 practical workshop they already had a rough prototype working on a tablet and had divided tasks nicely within their team. It’s very rare to see a group work so well or efficiently at university, so well done!

For some students like those from Flagstone State Community College, this was also their first opportunity to see a 3D printer in action – and they embraced the technology immediately. You can see their prototype in the top middle image which combines 3D printed pieces, Lego Mindstorms EV3 and a mobile phone, the idea being a robotic dog to act as a companion for elderly people including the capacity to make emergency calls should the person fall and injure themselves. Congratulations on winning second place.

I really hope to see some of these students come through the design courses at university, the ideas and prototypes of all groups were as good, if not better, than many I see from university students.

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We also ran a 3D printing workshop at the CILECT Congress 2016 (the International Association of Film and Television Schools Congress), and what really amazed me is that none of the people who attended the session had ever seen or used a 3D printer before! I really thought film and 3D printing went hand-in-hand these days, particularly when you see the work of Legacy Effects in major movies like Iron Man and Robocop which rely heavily on 3D printing. But from the feedback I think the workshop definitely opened everyone’s mind to the potential of the technology, and need for it to be brought into the education of future film makers.

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Most recently Createworld offered the opportunity to meet with educators and practitioners at the intersection of design and technology over 2 days of presentations and workshops, and this was also the first showing of the InMoov robot hand I’ve been building over the last few months (click here to check out the full development of this project). It now has a plywood stand which is great for hiding all the raw electronics. I also used my Wiiduino project from last year to showcase ideas like gamification, visual programming languages and customisation for 3D printing, alongside a few students from my Human Machine Interfaces class and fellow PhD researchers. I look forward to this event growing even bigger next year, it’s early days for this conference but the ideas and projects are very high quality.

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Lastly a sneak peek inside the new 3D printing facility at Deakin University Waurn Ponds campus, where they have everything from desktop through to metal 3D printers and everything in between. The top left image is overlooking just some of the 3D printing facility, with more equipment in other rooms including a Virtual Reality room and labs for building robotics. I was there for the DESTECH conference and was blown away by the facilities, like a kid in a toy store! There are plenty of high-profile research projects coming out of here already so watch this space.

Looking at my calendar over the last month it has been a whirlwind of events, and it’s finally time to sit back, unwind and process it all over a few (or more!) drinks in the lead up to Christmas. 2016 has shown that 3D printing continues to grow and inspire, and I’m finally seeing some positive steps within schools, although there is still a long way to go. My printer has been running pretty constantly between these events so stay tuned for some project updates very soon.

– Posted by James Novak

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.

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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

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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

My 3D Printed Life

A lot of people look at me with a mixture of excitement and confusion when I tell them what I do for work, probably because it sounds a bit futuristic and weird. And it is! But hopefully this profile video prepared by Griffith University and the Gold Coast City Council will explain things a little better than I can, featuring my FIX3D Bike 3D printed by Materialise. I always get a kick from sharing my knowledge of 3D printing with kids still in school since it is really going to affect their lives in the most exciting ways; hopefully videos like this can inspire them to take up the careers of the future.

Also a huge thank you to everyone at the recent RAPID 3D Printing Conference in Los Angeles hosted by SME for awarding my paper the Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award, I am still extremely surprised that out of all the amazing work mine had such an effect! My brain still hurts from soaking up so much information but I will post some photos and some of the exciting things I saw in the next few days, and strongly recommend anyone with a serious interest in 3D printing and 3D scanning attend this event if you get the chance.

– Posted by James Novak

FIX3D on show in Brussels

Making a Difference Main PageContinuing an amazing year, my 3D printed bike ‘FIX3D’ is currently on show at the Materialise exhibition called Making A Difference / A Difference in Making at the Bozar Centre for Fine Arts, in Brussels. It’s amazing to be featured alongside designers like Iris van Herpen and Patrick Jouin, and see social media go crazy! Within 7 hours the photo of the bike, featured by Designboom on Facebook, has received nearly 6,000 likes and over 1,000 shares! The full Designboom article about the exhibition can be found here.

If you’re in Brussels the exhibition is open until June 7th, so please pop in and let me know how it looks. I’ve only seen a few photos so far, but it looks like a great 3D printing exhibition. Thanks Materialise!

If you’re interested in seeing the latest version of the bike, now using SLS Polyamide, check out my last post here.

– Posted by James Novak