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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An age of optimism. Again.

It is often said that the Art Deco period was an expression of optimism through design; clean lines, simple forms, smooth sophistication, pushing towards a brighter future. Whether or not that’s true, I like it; both in design and philosophy. It’s starting to show.

It’s probably more directly due to spending this weekend in antique stores in Bellingham and Anacortes, but when I sat down to make a new base for one of my wife’s IKEA lamps today, I ended up with a really cool design for something so incredibly boring.

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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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A win for modularity

After making the new version of my remote control holder last week, and hanging it on the wall, I saw a problem. Really, it was an aesthetic issue rather than a functional issue, but something I wanted to correct none-the-less. When the remote was placed in the holder, it would rock to one side or the other. The bottom wing was flat while the bottom of the remote is curved; the space on either side of the remote between the wings was larger than the width of the remote.


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note to self — don’t replicate things that are flawed

My first at-home 3D printed object was a replacement for a wall-mounted ceiling fan remote control holder that had an arm broken off. Way back when, I thought it was going to be a great first attempt at learning how to mimic an everyday object and printing a new one, thus finding immediate value in owning a 3D printer. Yesterday I learned that I was wrong.

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Shower Razor Holder (Another Mundane Thing)

Just prior to slamming the extruder into my heated build platform (HBP), I was going to print a razor holder that would hang on the side of the wire baskets in the shower. However, after that horrible (at least mentally) event, I switched to something smaller (the shelf clip) so as to not waste plastic. The wait paid off.

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Mundane Item Number 3 – IKEA shelf clip

Img_2695So we have these metal “lockers” we got from IKEA that we use as media storage. When we moved recently, the movers lost one of the little clips in one of the units and that meant we couldn’t use the shelf inside. As I was thinking about small things to fix around the house, I remembered we were missing this clip and figured it would be a good experiment since A) it was smaller and thinner than anything else I’ve printed, and B) it had a challenging shape — it was curved and had a narrower section that would have to be an overhang.

Mundane Item Number 2

Having recently moved into a dwelling that I don’t own, I can’t just fix every little thing that I want in the way I would want to (read: call a real repairman). In this case, the walk-in shower door isn’t hung correctly. When said door opens fully inward, the interior handle bangs into the tiled wall and over time has chipped the tile. I could ask the building maintenance guys to fix it, but I fear they would damage the place more than it is. So…

The finishing of thing #1

A first attempt at putting a “finish” on a printed piece. It was very hard with the sandpaper I had to get into the middle without breaking off the sides. It was interesting because the safety orange still shows through, even with six or so coats of spray paint; in hind-sight I should have used a plastic primer, not just plastic-specific spray paint.

In the end, it’s white-ish, and replaces the broken one very nicely.