The thin wall

No, not the Ultravox song, the test of 3D printer resolution.

mecha_3A little background: a few days back I made a small robot pendent for my wife. She liked it, but immediately asked “what about a mech?”. I really am no good at modeling mech — I’ve tried, and just, no — so I went to Thingiverse and found a really cool MadCat mech model that I could turn into a pendent.

Since I wanted to push the resolution of the Form 1, I added a few extras like rockets in the shoulder rocket launchers and gun barrels in the arms. I also added the post and loop to make it a pendent.

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What I’ve Been 3D Printing – Winter into Spring 2013 Edition

The six-hour winter

Winter came. And six hours later it was gone. Whew!

Winter has not stopped me from 3D printing quite a few new things. What I haven’t had time for, thanks to the craziness of day job, is finishing any of my big projects, or writing up stories around my smaller pieces. So, I’ve decided to just post some pictures and quick blurbs on what I have been able to accomplish, to serve as a snapshot in time and maybe some inspiration to someone looking for new things to try.

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Connecting the world… with napkin rings

One might recall that a couple of weeks back I designed, 3D printed, and posted some napkin rings in the shape of animals; “zookins” I called them, in a clever mash-up of words. I posted four and had plans for several more, when I could find the time.

Much to my delight, while I was working on other things, Thingiverse user shutay in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia took the idea and ran, posting several new derivatives.

shutay's "snail zookin"First was his awesome snail zookin (good photography too). In his description he says “The first 4 Zookins went down so well with the family, that I thought the collection could do with a snail.” That’s awesome, and the snail design is great! I’m glad to hear that people are enjoying them, and that they are sparking ideas. That’s my goal. šŸ™‚

carkin - beetle-likeThen he followed up with this cute car, which he called a “carkin”. Perfect. He says he plans on making more carkins, and I hope he does. I hope other people do to!

fall / halloween napkin ringsToday I posted three more napkin rings, made for the season: a pumpkin, an owl, and a cauldron; a mix of fall and Halloween. I was trying to work out a bat, but I’m still having issues with the correct wing proportions — the napkin ring would take up the entire place setting! D’oh!

I really hope that folks keep going with these; they are such simple things, but sometimes simple can be incredibly powerful.

You can find shutay’s pieces on his Thingiverse page, and the new fall napkin rings also on Thingiverse.

A quick look at ViaCAD for 3D printing

Always on the lookout for good software to use to easily design things to 3D print, I was excited to see a comment by Yuri in one of my earlier posts pointing me to ViaCAD. For $99, ViaCAD has a great price, but does the software have what it takes to make me use it?

[ MINOR UPDATE November 7, 2012 – Added a few points, in BLUE ]

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The smell of plastic and ideas hung in the air…

This past Saturday I went to a meetup of 3D printer owners, users, enthusiasts, and folks who are just plain interested in the topic. The event was put on by Make:Seattle/Eastside and took place at the awesome StudentRND facilities. The meetup was a special one because it brought together a varied range of 3D printers so that people could get a first-hand, up-close look at different makes and models, learn about pros/cons of each, and share in a wealth of experiences. And to see the Rostock delta robot printer. šŸ˜‰

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All boxed up, ready for launch

Rocket designed by Brooks Protzmann, printed on loaner Replicator.

Today was packing day. The packers called at 8am and said they were downstairs; we had not gotten the pre-pack call from the central office to warn us of their arrival time. Springing to action, we labelled some last minute areas as “pack” / “don’t pack”, herded cats, and made breakfast using up as much of the frozen breakfast items as possible. By 2pm the packers were walking out the door, leaving a trail of full boxes in their wake.

Thus marks the end of my 3D printing, and blogging, for a few weeks; next week is driving 2300 miles with a wife and four cats, and the delivery of all of our stuff is sometime the week after.

In the past several weeks of downtime:

  • I’ve been able to evaluate options in 3D modeling software with an eye towards 3D printing (Bonzai 3D is quite good, Cheetah 3D is a “no”);
  • design and 3D print a few versions of objects I needed to help gel some of my thoughts related to my new job;
  • work out that making hexagonal tubes that lock together while keeping constant thickness to all walls is near impossible with a 3D printer;
  • and make some minor repairs to my Thing-o-Matic.

Once I’m back up and running, I have a few concepts I’m going to 3D printing and writing about, and talk about options for my next 3D printer šŸ˜‰

Bonzai 3D as replacement for SketchUp?

[ UPDATED 5/18/2012 – See Below ]

After the announcement of Google selling SketchUp to Trimble, there was talk (here, and here for starters) about what to do if SketchUp goes away (or at least the free version). I mentioned on one of the threads that I was going to look at Bonzai 3D (B3D) when I had a chance, and well, I’ve had a chance! I couldn’t find any first-hand use reports of B3D for making things for a Makerbot (or other at-home 3D printer) so I’d take a crack at putting something out there.

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From Novelty to Necessity

Electro Tennis at the frog SXSWi opening party

Electro Tennis at the frog SXSWi opening party

For the past 14 years, the company I work for, frog, has been hosting the SXSW Interactive opening party. For the past three of those years I’ve played a role in it: brainstorming installation ideas, and building/coding really cool experiences for our thousands of attendees.

This year the core concept was turning digital experiences into analog ones, and vice versa. Additionally, one of the consistent themes of our party is to play with scale. So one of the experiences we set out to build was “Electro Tennis” (an electro-mechanical version of the classic Pong video game). But we decided to build it on an enormous scale — two 30′ x 25′ playing “courts”, each with a 12″ cube for a ball and 4′ x 3.5′ water tank for a paddle. In other words: giant.

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