Delaware RepRap Prusa i3 Mendel Build Class

Our friend John Abella (of the Maker Faire 3D Printer Village and Delaware Makerspace Barrel of Makers) is running a two-day RepRap build workshop in Wilmington Delaware, October 5th and 6th.   Attendees will be building Prusa i3 printers with all top-shelf parts:  milled frames from Josef Prusa, genuine J-head hotends from, stainless threaded rods and hardened chromed smooth rods.

The workshop is being held at the Wilmington DoubleTree Hotel, and will have catered food for attendees.   Every person attending will leave with tools and basic supplies to maintain their printer and get started printing.   The workshop fee – all inclusive –  is $999.

Click here for the official flyer for the event

More info and class registration can be found here:

Getting Raspberry Pi to control your 3D Printer

We got some Raspberry Pis and began jumping through some tutorials. Adafruit has a particularly thorough and easy to follow series. We’ve had good luck with the Raspbian Wheezy distro and it works just like familiar Ubuntu since it’s based on Debian. Remember to run:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

upon first launch. That will make things a lot easier since the release is rather old by now.

I got some time to explore the Raspbian distro.


After seeing all of my efforts, Morfin couldn’t wait to give it a shot.


Eventually we got my favorite light-weight print controller running an active 3D print. It really was incredible to have a $40 computer connected to the interwebs and sending gcode with a full GUI over python->USB-serial. It’s a bit too slow for computational slicing, but would probably be GREAT for a bot-farm. Note that you should also use pianobar instead of full-blown pithos for pandora audio. Note that the audio worked great after we ran the apt-get upgrades mentioned above.


And remember to grab our desktop background! It’s only 1.2 MB.

Why I’m Registered to be an Organ Donor


The critical shortage of organ donors in our healthcare system is the reason I’m registered to be an organ donor and motivates my research to develop suitable replacement technologies in the field of regenerative medicine. Video below! It was an honor and privilege to take part in TEDxYouth@SanDiego, which brought 400 San Diego high school students together to interact and think deeply about the future. It was incredible to speak with so many students who are truly the Architects of the Future.

From TEDxYouth@SanDiego:

Using simple yet illustrative analogies to help non-scientists understand his scientific discovery process, Biomedical Researcher Jordan Miller explains to his young audience how he developed vascular structures through 3-D printing. This exciting research is an important complement to advances medical researchers have made in 3-D printing bioidentical human tissue and organs in the lab. it’s a remarkable prospect for the future of organ transplantation.

Deriving inspiration from a cross section of bread and the sugar structure arcing over his dessert, Dr. Miller describes how he combined his background in regenerative medicine, a passion for the maker movement and reliance on worldwide open sourcing to develop viable 3-D printed vascular systems that he demonstrates actually transporting blood.

Jordan Miller, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral researcher in the Tissue Microfabrication Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. Involved with the 3-D maker community since its infancy, Jordan uses a 3-D printer in his work in biomedical research and regenerative medicine and credits open-source collaboration and the maker movement as important contributors to the success of his research.

Leaders of the 3D Printing Revolution

The Creator’s Project released a new video, and our sugar printing, gelation, and blood pumping was featured in it! Trackback is to The project goal is to unify artists and technologists and this video is focused on 3D Printing:

And I just got done with a talk at ScienceOnTap Philly! It was a truly excellent night! Special thanks to the Organizers and also the Hivers who came out or emailed in their support! You peeps are the best.

Here are some pics via the Twittersphere. Thanks to the photographers for posting!

Open Source is a Philosophy, Not a Checkbox

I just got back from the 2012 Open Science Summit which took place in Mountain View, CA. It was an excellent meeting and a great opportunity to meet others using open tools and ideas to forward Science! Check out the list of talks and you can also access videos of all of the talks. And you can also read more about the speakers.

I gave a talk too where I delved deeper into the science behind our work with RepRap for research in Regenerative Medicine and I made the case that open source is a philosophy, not a checkbox. Try not to get caught up in semantics of open vs. not-open (e.g. one could try to label Arduino as not an “open” platform since it has proprietary Atmel chips on the board). Instead, try to think of open projects as those in which you see people as collaborators (“open”), not customers (“closed”). We all have many things we can learn from each other, and who doesn’t want more collaborators to learn science together? Some interesting Q&A at the end too.

She Prints!

Modified MendelMax #2 was born today. Isn’t she purty. This bot is gonna live at Hive76 for the forseeable future.

Thanks to all at Hive76 for help and support during this build, especially to Rich and Andy for hanging tough in the trenches, Chris and Brendan for troubleshooting and tools, and Morfin for extra supply bits.

We’ve got big plans for this bot. Stay tuned. And here’s a video of the first print!

How to: Innovate in Science with Open Source Technology

One of our core members, Jordan Miller, has just published a scientific paper using RepRap 3D printing technology to engineer living tissues for regenerative medicine. I’ll give you a rundown of the science and a step-by-step guide of how Jordan got to this great spot in his career. Jordan is quick to point out that this is work that would not have been possible 5 years ago, or without the help of RepRap, Hive76, and this wonderful city of Philadelphia.

There are other labs around the world that are attempting what Jordan and the rest of the team at UPenn and MIT have been working towards. The end goal of regenerative medicine research is engineered tissues and replacement organs for treatment of human disease. As Science news says,

Imagine a world where if your heart or kidneys failed, you wouldn’t have to endure an agonizing, possibly futile wait for a donor whose organ your body might reject. Instead, a doctor would simply take cells from your own body and use them to “grow” you a new organ.

Other lines of research are attempting to 3D print directly with living cells and gel. These so-called “bioprinting” approaches involve loading cells and gel in syringes to be used as feedstock to create a structure from scratch. The problem is that healthy liver cells, for example, usually die of starvation (lack of nutrients) and suffocation (lack of oxygen) while enduring the slow 3D printing process.

Inspired by this structure
Jordan’s 3D printed vasculature approach was inspired by whole organ vascular casts like this one.

Enter Jordan and his innovation: since vasculature provides the lifeblood to resident cells, why not focus on the vasculature first?

Jordan and the rest of the research team at UPenn and MIT have developed a new way to create vasculature for living tissues. This 4 step process involves: 1) 3D printing a network of sugar filaments, 2) surrounding it with living cells in a gel, 3) dissolving away the sugar to leave behind a vascular network for 4) the delivery of nutrients and oxygen. He accomplished this with a custom built 3D printer, extruder and control software.

Here’s a step-by-step of Jordan’s many year process:

  1. Get a crazy idea to link sugar and vasculature when comparing the interior of a 3D print to a capillary network.
  2. Get a PhD in bioengineering
  3. Move to Philadelphia
  4. Join a hackerspace
  5. Get introduced to 3D printing, MakerBot and RepRap
  6. Assemble your first MakerBot
  7. Invent a heated build platform to dry your sugar while printing.
  8. Add a heater to the Frostruder so you can print molten sugar.
  9. Assemble a customized RepRap Mendel that fits your new extruder.
  10. Get help from your hackerspace to properly control your pneumatic extrusion.
  11. Work for months perfecting recipes and methods for printing vasculature.
  12. Write it all up in a research paper and submit!

You can read the Penn press release about this awesome science, an overview from Science News, or the full paper. A more detailed post about the hardware used in this project will follow and soon you’ll be able to make your own sugar extruder. (It prints chocolate too!)

RepRap with Aluminum Extrusions == WIN

Last Night We started the build of another one of these box-modded MendelMax printers. With extra hands we got the whole frame, the feet, all the motors, and a large number of brackets mounted and aligned in just a few hours. Even Morfin was surprised how quickly it all came together.

This design has already led to the design of the first printable upgrade: Compact Y-Rod holders. As you can see, this part was derived from MendelMax 1.0, 1.5, and some awesome rod clamps by Jonas Kuehling.

Now the build volume actually surpasses a MendelMax, sitting at 265x247x220 mm. And see how flat those 0.4mm printed layers are? That’s because this aluminum bot is super rigid, giving fast and accurate prints. Sweet!

If you can come up with a good name for this bot, I’d definitely appreciate it. Post in the comments if you feel inspired.

Modified MendelMax RepRap Build starting Wednesday

Did you take Peejay’s Intro to Programming with Arduino class? You may have learned that Arduino’s are great for controlling 3D printers such as a RepRap.

Well, hot on the heels of our last RepRap MendelMax Build, I’ve been able to redesign the MendelMax to be a rigid rectangle… the upshot is the build volume is increased (especially in Z) without the footprint increasing. The build volume of this baby is 265x233x190 mm (or ~10″x9″x7.5″). The build assembly goes much faster, too.

Come on by Hive76 starting this Wednesday night to see or help put together another one. If you’ve been wondering about our upcoming 3D Printer Build and Operation Workshop with NextFab Studio, this is a great way to see what the fuss is all about.

Here’s a video of this box design Modified MendelMax printer on it’s first print. It’s been chugging along for a solid few days now, no problems so far. It’s printing so well, it’s time to build another one. Come join us!