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.

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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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Tiny glass robots [update with 0.025mm pics]

Tiny glass robotOk, not glass. But it certainly looks like it! This is a quick robot pendent I modeled in Blender today and 3D printed on my Form 1. It took just a little over an hour to print at 0.05mm per layer. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (hint: it’s awesome!)

UPDATE: I re-printed the robot at 0.025mm layer height and added pics. See second gallery below.

Robot pendent at 0.025mm layer height:

Steps to Stones, or, Generating Nature

One of the things we love about living in the Pacific Northwest is the abundance of rocks and stones unlike any we have seen elsewhere. I know it sounds strange, but the variation of color, texture, pattern, and shape always provides inspiration and enjoyment. We have collected a fair number from beaches, fields, streams, rivers, and our own land as we dig holes for plantings.

Our front living room is being decorated in a “natural history library” style, with our bookcases, our antique prints of bats, frogs, sea creatures, and of course a collection of rocks placed nicely in an old printer’s letterpress tray and hanging on the wall.

Seven generationsLooking at the rocks recently, I thought that it would be interesting to create my own stones using a generative approach to their design — morphing from rock shape to perfect cube shape — that I could 3D print and put with the real rocks. Having recently done a fair number of designs utilizing Blender’s various deformation tools, I knew this was not going to be a difficult project to model.

Rocks in blender

Seven generations in Blender

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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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Decimated Decor Decorum

Finial UnfinishedOr, finials finally finished.

The Pacific Northwest has proven to be amazing, and as we felt it was worth putting down roots here, we purchased a house! Of course, with any house comes the “to do” list. This time, though, I have my trusty 3D printer to help out.

Immediately there were two things that needed my attention, one mechanical, one ornamental. First was a sliding door guide — nothing terribly interesting, but easy to recreate, 3D print, and have it work like nothing was ever wrong. You can view and download this guide piece on Thingiverse.

Second, the ornamental, were some finials—you know those things at the end of the curtain rods—for the dining room curtains. The ones there were not ugly, just not our style. My wife looked around online and found some that she liked, but they were rather pricey. She said they were on Restoration Hardware’s site, so I went snooping. I found a few that were nice, but I saw some “hand forged” ones that were in the $50 range for two, and looked like something I could recreate and 3D print. So for fun I modeled one, 3D printed it, and showed it to my wife who replied “great – we need three more”. So I got busy.

This post will focus on how to create the “hand hammered” style using various tools, and my choice for finishing it the way I did; a bit of design process, and a bit of crafty craft.

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