For Philly Tech Week, I will be showing visitors how to take a shape from Adobe Illustrator into the popular open source CAD program OpenSCAD and make a 3D model suitable for 3D printing.
I’m sure you know Illustrator. It’s the most successful vector drawing program <clarkson>in the world.</clarkson> OpenSCAD is less well known. It is best described as coding for objects. You make a solid with the function cube() and cut a cylinder() out of it with the difference() function, etc. But sometimes you want a more organic or complicated shape to start with. That’s where artist JK Keller stepped in and made a script that automates some of the process for you. What you need for this workshop:
We are cosponsoring Cory’s Pirate Cinema event at IndyHall tonight, but since there’s not much for Hive76 to do, we decided to make him a present. Here’s a video of production last night:
That’s a 3D printed sugar head! Cory’s excited to see it in person. You should be too! Come to IndyHall 22N 3rd at 7pm tonight. Here’s the Anyvite link to RSVP. We’ll be bringing a boomcase for the PA too.
The gritty details: That’s a Baricuda extruder using air pressure to extrude molten sugar. Now I need to figure out how he can get it home to the UK in one piece.
At Hive, we spent part of this summer making a bunch of cast-resin 3D printer parts. So instead of printing these parts up as we’d normally do, we made molds out of silicone mold material, and then filled these molds with resin whenever we wanted a new set.
The materials for this are cheap to acquire and easy to handle – some kind of resin (e.g. Smooth-On 326), and also material for making the silicone masters into which the resin is poured. We used Oomoo, but there are other materials out there. Other than that, you need standard stuff: mixing containers and mixers, napkins, etc.
Why would we do this? Well, in theory it’s easy and cheap if you can do it right, or if you aren’t too hung up on quality. And the parts end up looking extremely cool, especially if you use some tinting in your resin mixture. We created a couple parts sets with this tinting, which looked amazing.
However, we did run into some problems. For example, if you don’t have very elite molding skillz and materialz, you end up having to finish all the parts manually – this means deflashing, and also drilling the dozens of holes that your printer’s rods, bolts, and screws will go into. This takes a lot of time, and is very tough to do correctly. You also run the risk of breaking the parts when you drill them, which means… more molding. There are lots of other things to deal with too – what do you do if one of your master molds breaks? How do you acquire high-quality original parts to base your molds on? Etc.
Every single paper printer I have ever owned has been a constant source of pain and expense [example]. My experience with 3D printers thus far has been slightly better, but a magnitude cooler. The payoff for designing and printing your own real thing out of plastic is a real joy. That’s why some people call me obsessed with these 3D printers, and also why I feel the need to share!
Learn to print in 3D! We are running our SketchUp class again with 2 new dates: 4/17 and 5/1. Both Sundays and both from 10am – 3pm. [avoiding religion jokes here] These dates are separate; it’s not a 2-part class.
Back in 2009, we ordered our first 3D printer, the MakerBot Cupcake. Since then, we’ve become pros at fixing, modifying, and mostly breaking it. We’ve even created new, awesome products for it which have been adopted by a good portion of the 3D printing community, and even sold by MakerBot themselves.
Shortly after completing our Makerbot, once-member fynflood decided to start building the RepRap Mendel, which is the 2nd generation of the RepRap Project’s 3D printer. He started by printing all of the pieces on our MakerBot, which took over 20 hours to complete, and gathered all of the required hardware with help from many of our members. A printer was born out of Hive76, and life was good. A few months later, there was a post on the reprap aggregation pipe about a new iteration of the reprap, called the Mendel Mini (now the RepRap Huxley), which has a similar build volume to the MakerBot, but can be assembled for under half the cost. Fynflood set out to print the parts on his Mendel, while I gathered all the required hardware and electronics. After a few months break over the summer, and a few more months being busy with the Holidays, the Huxley is now complete! Our printer’s baby made a baby!
At this very moment, we have 2 MakerBots and the Huxley all going at the same time at the space! If any more printers show up, we’ll probably have to start giving away USB Typewriters just to make room! Really, it’s an exciting time to be printing at Hive76, so if you have any interest in learning how 3D printers work, or even building your own, come by for open house on Wednesdays and check out all the awesome things we’re making!
Hit the jump for a few videos and images from the first few prints!