Article by Leo Kelion on 3D printing on BBC Website – “CES 2012: 3D printer makers’ rival visions of future”

Todays article on the BBC Website focuses more on the novelty value of 3D printing but does mention a familiar maker for extrusion printing, Makerbot and it’s new Repligator model, see also here in TechNewsDaily.

 

Makerbot Dualtrusion build – Z stage

This is the Third stage we took to build Makerbot’s  Dualtrusion 3D printer.

Instructions for this stage were taken from here and here in the preparation stage.

The Y-stage is a straightforward part of the build, which forms the platform that moves the print head assemblies up and down once in place in the printer.

The very small nut and screw pack should not be confused with low profile M3x16 bolts used in the X-stage assembly:-
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The low profile M3x16 bolts (silver) used in the X stage of the build:
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For the motor Flange we had the moon type so the flange went on what will be the outside section.
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I needed to tighten bolt heads gently with a small star headed screwdriver and then turn the nuts on the back with electronics pliers to tighten them properly:-
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The instructions do not indicate which round to fit the bearings? I put them in this way round:-
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Note: Don’t bother to sand the bearing holes as they may not be tight enough as it is- I notice that one way round is looser than the other so there may be an artifact of the laser cutting process on the wood composite.

The final assembly was quickly completed and looks like this:-
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Makerbot Dualtrusion build – Y stage

This is the second stage we took to build Makerbot’s  Dualtrusion 3D printer.

Instructions for this stage were taken from here.

The Y-stage shuffles the X-stage component, in our case the Automated Build Platform (ABP), from left to right and back again when viewing from the front of the printer.

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One is reminded once again of the ingenuity of the build, as illustrated in the way in which the drive rib has been lasercut with a series of vertical cuts spaced to math the belt teeth kept in place with a couple of small wooden clamps. No drilling, screwing, cutting, or glueing the belt here but a sure fire way to hold it in place.

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Our kit had the moon stepper motor for this stage of the build.

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Stepper motor in situ:
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the stepper motor is only lightly bolted in and a can slide to and fro from the idlers. We ended up twisting the stepper motor cable to keep it tidy instead of tying with kapton tape but  may revert to that later.

From the other side you can see the stepper motor capstan (pulley) protruding cheerfully:
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The instructions do not specify when to tighten the bolts into the stepper motor after assembly – which means the two near the edge are fouled for adjustment by one fo the rods! I had left these slightly off tight so only tightened the two further from the rod that were accessable. These may need to check after first use! The educator version of the instructions does mention this however so maybe these are better instructions to use.

Finally putting both stages together and we look like we are finally starting to make progress with the build.
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The potential of 3D printing – article in todays Telegraph

Interesting article by Roger Highfield here on the potential of 3D printing in todays Telegraph!

It heralds the “next industiral revolution” and talks of “bespoke craftmanship” through increasing ubiquity of 3D printing.

Thanks Mark for letting me know of this!

Makerbot Dualtrusion build – Automated Build Platform (ABP)

At long last we have received the parts to build Makerbot’s  Dualtrusion 3D printer.

Instructions for the build are available here or ofr “educators” here! Confusing isn’t it!

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There is the preparation work of popping out the laser cut wooden parts, running a damp cloth round the char left over from the laser cuts, and tidying the small nibs of wood that were holding the parts in place.

Once this has been done the first part of the build can start, it helps to separate the necessary parts out of the morass  so you don’t have to hunt and peck so much to get going.

We chose the Automated Build Platform (ABP) as our X-stage platform to print on as we expect to do a lot of printing and need the printing to keep going by itself as much as possible. The alternatives are an unheated or heated acyrilic surface, or a static heated board instead.

The instructions I used for the APB are here on the Makerbot site, as I didn’t have the aluminium plate in my kit.

The instructions ask you to sand where the belt goes but as you may not have a clue for the overall structure and the wooden parts aren’t numbered you have no indication of parts to sand or what the idler is mentioned in the build text.

For context this is where the belt goes:-
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I sanded here for both parts:
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Sand round holes of side pieces only slightly as it is easy to overdo – you can always sand a bit more but can’t undo – you don’t want to revert to gluing them in instead. Push in until feeling tight about 2-3mm proud the other side – if not sand more. Push gently one one side then the other to ‘rock’ the round bearing into place until the toothed rim is right up against the wood.
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The reference to left and right hand side in instructions for where to install the motor not useful as orientation of the piece not established first. See below for where it goes!
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Also the 8mm M2 bolts for the motor did not fit and I had to take one of the m3 to open out the thread and then run through with the m2’s using the thread cutting technique of turning clockwise then anticlockwise then clockwise repeatedly until the thread ran freely.

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The motor did get in the way of one of the nuts during the final part of the build, so I shifted the whole heated platform section to overhang slightly to give enough room, as above.
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The final construction completed!

Tips:
Wash roller under tap and dry with microfibre cloth to remove dust that may have been attracted to the silicon rollers.

Use diamond files for speed and accuracy instead of the supplied sandpapers if you have them to hand.

Tighten the small bolts by hand and only tighten gently with the Allen keys for half a rotation or so depending on the feel.

Article on 3D printing in PCPro Magazine

This month’s PC Pro magazine has a thought provoking Article on the potential of 3D printing entitled “A licence to print anything” by Stuart Andrews. It touches on the recent Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which showed of prototype clothing which had been printed as well as Chairs, tables, shoes and lampshades. It is clear that the frontiers of 3D printing are being expanded as the article also refers to printing in Cement for architectural purposes, print a house anyone?

The Awesome Potential Of 3-D Printing

The Awesome Potential Of 3-D Printing

When you mention 3 D printing today, not a lot of people honestly know what you’re talking about. The idea of 3 dimensional printing isn’t overall well known. The concept tends to be slightly abstract and people aren’t sure exactly what you are talking about.

At the moment, 3 D printing is not widely in use, but you can expect that to change in the near future. While, by and large, 3 D printing has been confined to just a few larger companies, many more are actively watching the technology grow and change. They are viewing it as a very significant methodology that they want and will be needing in the months and years to come. Really think about what the opportunities and the benefits of three D printing could be.

Just envision being able to make a three dimensional object by a few clicks of the mouse button. Imagine the things you could make. Now, we’re not taking “pictures” of those things, but the actual items themselves. Items such as toys, or plates, or lamps would be printable. Models of them could be created in just a few hours.

Today, architects are finding that 3D printing has amazing capabilities and a vast scope of uses that are just beginning to be made clear to them.

Several different companies are actively using the technology and it can offer some truly incredible things. One of the amazing things that 3D printing has been able to do is to use 3 D printing to recreate parts that are not replaceable or are well outdated.

What 3D printing is, precisely, is a process, not merely a printing methodology. It does use a printer of sorts, in order to make layer upon layer of materials into a product that is built on the specifications given to it by the model that was also designed by the computer.

Forensics is also one of the areas that uses 3D printing. In much the same way that forensic artists are able to use computer to create the facial features of people who lived many thousands of years ago, or of bodies which were found in skeletal state, 3 d printing can offer the means to create shapes, and actual items from printing. This technology is only now emerging and what it can do seems to be virtually limitless, subject only to the imaginations of those who design and build the “printers.” One of the amazing things that 3D printing has been able to do is to use 3 D printing to recreate parts that are not replaceable or are well outdated.

While we have not heard a lot about 3D printing, they have been in use actively for more than ten years. Typically they have been used by engineers from the aerospace career field, as well as government defense employees so that they can test as well as create various components for their jobs. This is a third application for 3D printing that has been in use for quite some time. Engineers are able to design and create prototypes for their own specialty field. They are able to create these things far more cost effectively and far more efficiently using 3 D printers.

Three companies primarily are using or designing 3 D printing today, they are:

StrataSys
http://www.stratasys.com/

3D Systems
http://www.3dsystems.com/

123 Systems
http://www.a123systems.com/
What 3D printing is, precisely, is a process, not merely a printing methodology. It does use a printer of sorts, in order to make layer upon layer of materials into a product that is built on the specifications given to it by the model that was also designed by the computer. In much the same way that forensic artists are able to use computer to create the facial features of people who lived many thousands of years ago, or of bodies which were found in skeletal state, 3 d printing can offer the means to create shapes, and actual items from printing. This technology is only now emerging and what it can do seems to be virtually limitless, subject only to the imaginations of those who design and build the “printers.”