Future Relics

Here’s a thing I made while on vacation. While not intentional, the final appearance reminds me of something one would find in a cabinet in the basement of an old English church; a relic of a long-forgotten time, when people needed physical reminders of Saint Anatole’s 100 days of meandering through the desert before succumbing to the sand worms.

It is a piece of maple wood, a thin aluminum inlay, clear acrylic rods, and two custom circuit boards with an ATTiny85, some surface-mount LEDs, and a tiny reset switch (under a wooden button) all powered by a 2032 coin cell battery. All the wood and circuit boards were milled on my Othermill, with the circuits made in Eagle. The inlay and various SVG shapes for the cutouts were made in iDraw.

relic_ - 1relic_ - 2relic_ - 8

Is it jewelry if there are no jewels?

Brooch front

I’ve said before that the aesthetics of the Form 1 make me want to 3D print artistic things, not mundane things. Over the past 6-7 months, as I’ve messed around with smaller, more refined 3D objects, I’ve inadvertently strayed into an area that I have had no previous experience with: jewelry.

Continue reading

Unlocking the future. And gumball machines.

gumballOne way to keep morale up in a high-pressure, high-stress work environment is through candy. Lots and lots of candy. One of the guys at the office brought in several gumball machines he has and filled them with delicious sweets, mostly different flavors of M&Ms. Unfortunately while trying to unlock one of them he pulled the key out without it being aligned properly, thus making it impossible to get the key back in the keyhole. Co-workers tried all sorts of ways to get it working, but no luck. Finally one guy remembered I had 3D printers and asked if I could help and, well, I’m always up for a challenge.

Continue reading

Tiny chairs with the B9 Creator

[ UPDATE 02/23 – Added new gallery of macro shots at end ]

The last couple of years was both crazy and cool–getting to be part of the process from initial ideation to final release of a major consumer electronics device was quite the experience. Over the past six months, while I had time to make things, I didn’t have the brain power to write much. Since I’ve recently moved to a different product division, back in the ideation phase, my “little gray cells” have had time to catch their breath and also given me time to start writing again.

The first thing to get out is something I meant to do a long time ago: talk about 3D printing tiny chairs with the B9 Creator 3D printer.

B9 Creator Tiny Chairs

Continue reading

Printing the unprintable

candle_holder_3In the world of 3D printing, you’ll sometimes end up with models that — for one reason or another — just don’t want to be printed.

These models can come from anywhere: bad scans from Kinect or other DIY scanning solutions, objects made in 3D software that weren’t combined into a solid, or from code that creates 3D objects that were never intended to be made physical. This is a quick walk-through of how I was able to print one of these unprintable objects using a new, (currently) free app.

Continue reading

Formlabs Clear versus Shapeways FUD — a comparison

In certain circles, FUD means “fear, uncertainty, and doubt”. To others it means Shapeways’ “frosted ultra-detail” 3D print material. Yet to others FUD has an entirely different meaning. Today we’re talking about the Shapways 3D printer material, and how it compares to the Formlabs Clear resin.

A couple of weeks ago I printed a tiny robot pendent and a tiny mech pendent and posted them to Thingiverse. I posted pictures of the prints from my Form 1, which led to discussing the Form 1’s quality with Kacie Hultgren of Pretty Small Things fame. While she is able to print a number of her miniatures on her Makerbot, she also uses Shapeways for items with small details, and is considering adding a Form 1 to her workflow. We decided it would be great to test the Form 1 Clear resin and Shapeways FUD side-by-side and learn what was to be learned, so she emailed me three of the STL files she previously had printed by Shapeways and I got to work.

Continue reading