Free 3D printing design Software

CAD software is great to have for 3D printing needs. It can help anyone to get different prototypes or models designed with care. This in turn makes it easier for different projects to be managed and reviewed as required. In fact, 3D printing plans can be designed with care to create only the best-looking materials. This can especially work with many software options and each option has different features that can work wonders.

However, it is important for people to think about what types of 3D printing materials should be used. Fortunately, it isnt too hard to afford many of these programs. In fact, there are actually a few freeCAD software programsthat can be used by 3D printers. These are all great programs that have their own special series of features dedicated to making the 3D printing process functional.

GoogleSketchUpis a free3D drawing toolthat can be used alongside a 3D printer. This is a basic program that makes it easier for people to adjust their 3D printing programs as well as possible.

SketchUp allows a user to create a full model. It can start by preparing a two-dimensional flooring plan and then by organizing a series of walls and other features around a property. People can also stretch, copy and paint different surfaces. These will create designs that may be adjusted in a variety of patterns.

This is a program that works wonders for construction and architectural plans and can even be used in woodworking projects. It is free for people to use although it will cost extra to get a more advanced version of SketchUp. An advanced form of SketchUp features added controls and new adjustment features. New adjustments in the program also help with improving the users ability to handle different dimensions and line weights as demanded.

A unique toolbox is also used here to allow the user to walk around different objects and see them from a variety of stances. This also uses a look-around tool that make it easier for people to check on angles, thus ensuring that a shape will be designed the right way before anything can be printed out.

Users who need assistance with this program can utilize the many free model assemblies that come with SketchUp. These include assemblies for vehicles, doors and other objects. People can render their surfaces in a variety of styles and arrangements as well.

Added plug-ins can be used on SketchUp as well. In fact, SketchUp even supports the use of third party plug-ins through its Extension Warehouse feature. This allows users to download many plug-ins that are mostly free. However, the user will have to install each individual option on ones own to make this as easy to use as possible. People should check on this carefully to see how well it can work and how it can be adjusted as required.

3DCrafter is the next free option to choose from. This is a real-time tool that allows users to adjust an entire image throughout a program. In particular, it uses a drag-and-drop approach to taking care of the modeling process. This is particularly designed with game and video design features in mind but its features all allow users to carefully print out what they have created, thus allowing for the establishment of some unique images that are vibrant and more unique than others that one can hold.

The shape-buildingtools within 3DCrafterare what makes it easy for the user to handle different programs and create new features as desired. A user can model different items to sculpt and paint objects and to adjust their parameters as required. This helps in creating unique designs that are special and attractive.

People can also point objects in different positions to create better-looking animations within the program. This is ideal for those who are working with machines that have a number of moving parts.

This program is ideal for those looking to get into the world of3D animationand modeling. It is also useful for those who want to find ways to create different items based on particular printouts. However, it will cost extra to get the Plus or Pro versions. These are designed to create more realistic polygon models or photo-realistic images. The basic program is designed to help people understand how to work with different realistic items.

Blender is the next free CADsoftware programto choose from. This is a free program that has been heralded for its Cyclesrendering engine. Cycles allows forGPUandCPUrendering features to work as required. It also offers HDR lighting support and even works in real time to create previews that are accurate and unique without being too biased towards certain motions or other features that might be biased in some way.

The modeling tools here are also arranged to be very easy to work with. The user can quickly fill grids and bridges with a click of a mouse. Python scripting is also available with assistance for getting numerous add-ons and other features added onto a program.

There are more than twenty brush options for sculpting purposes. These assist in creating the most accurate and realistic sculpted surfaces possible.

This program works amazingly well for those who are trying to get good 3D printouts ready for many purposes. However, Blender can work with animation and video products among other additional functions.

This is a very efficient program that is completely free to download. Past versions of the program can be downloaded off of the Blender website. The source code can also be downloaded if necessary.

Most of the printingfeatures within Blenderare designed through the use of extensions. Blender works with many 3D printing extensions to make the process easy to handle. The user will have to enable the extension within the program to make it fully functional. After this, the program should work with just about every 3D printer model that is available right now.

The last of the free 3D printingCAD programs to try out is FreeCAD. This is an open source program that uses a parametric modeling system. It allows users to review their projects based on their model histories. People can adjust the parameters of their programs by using the system.

Many features are listed as parametric shapes in this program. They are determined based on the length and width of a space among other things. The properties of the materials, their geometric tolerances and other references to related features are also profiled in detail within this program.

Designed to be used by both experienced and novice CAD users alike, FreeCAD uses an Open CASCADE geometry kernel that allows formore 3Dcontrols on an extended variety of shapes. It operates with more formats to keep controls ready and accurate for a variety of purposes. When used properly, the program will easily help people get the most out of their design plans.

This runs with an easy to utilize setup that will send information to a printer in as little time as possible. The small memory footprint used by FreeCAD makes this possible. As a result, it will not be too tough to use the program for ones printing needs.

The DWG file format may not be fully supported by some versions of FreeCAD, thus keeping the program from being fully functional in some instances. This is due to the FreeCAD program having some software license compatibility problems. These entail issues relating todifferent DWG componentsand how they are designed. This can end up being complicated and tough to work with if not treated right.

These are alldifferent CAD programsthat arefree to useand contain their own special features. These are programs that make it easier for people to generate only the finest shapes. It is especially easy to get all of these programs to link to a 3D printer. Think of these programs as the perfect gateway into the world of 3D printing without being far too complicated or otherwise difficult to use.

People should compare all options together to see how they work and what can be used to make a setup run as efficiently as possible.

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Micromax A115 Canvas 3D review

Micromax is following Samsungs footsteps in milking its flagship brand, Canvas series, adding new handsets across price segments with differentiated features. The Canvas 3D is one such effort. The company aims to lure users by offering a 3D smartphone at a never heard before price point. While phones with 3D display including offerings from LG and HTC have failed to create a niche for themselves after the initial buzz, we try to find out if the Canvas 3D offers something different.

TheMicromax A115 Canvas 3Dsports the same phablet form factor that weve seen in the A110 Canvas 2. The phone is broad and bulky, and theres nothing that weve not seen so far, in terms of design.

The 5-inch screen dominates the front along with markings for three capacitive touch buttons below the display, and the earpiece, front facing camera and proximity sensor above it. Just like the Canvas 2, theres no Micromax branding on the front. Theres a metallic frame around the phone that appears to be of Champagne colour. On the right side, theres a power key, while the volume rocker sits on the left hand side. Both these keys are made of plastic and kind of lack refinement, in our opinion.

The Micro-USB port and the 3.5mm audio ports sit at the top of the phone. The back cover is Black in colour and is made of plastic. It sports a soft matte finish. Theres some Micromax branding at the back including what looks like a sticker. The 5-megapixel rear camera lens sits at the top with the dual-LED flash located just below lens. The lens protrudes out a bit and is surrounded by a circular chrome ring. The speaker outlet is located at the bottom.

The Micromax A115 is a dual-SIM dual-standby GSM + GSM smartphone. The SIM Card slots and a slot for the micro SD card hide behind the back cover just above the battery slot.

The Micromax A115 comes with a 5-inch 16.7m colour capacitive touch screen sporting a resolution of 480×800 pixels. We found the screen resolution to be pretty low for a device of this size, and the graphics and text appeared to be less sharp. The viewing angles are not that good though the under-sun visibility on the phone was decent, in spite the screen being highly reflective. Its worth pointing out that the Canvas 3D comes with naked-eye 3D, which means you dont have to wear special glasses to view 3D content on the screen. The phone uses the parallax barrier technique to create a sense of depth resulting in the 3D effect without the need for glasses.

The parallax barrier effect essentially works by placing a second screen in front of the display and filling the gap with special material that helps in directing light in a way that both our eyes see different sets of images so that the brain takes them as one and gets an illusion of depth. The disadvantage is that it only works when you look at the screen from a particular angle.

Its worth pointing out that when you turn on the phone for the first time, you wont notice any 3D effect until you visit the 3D Space app, though theres an option to display the 3D Space menu when you tilt the phone to landscape mode.

Since the phone uses the parallax barrier technique for 3D, youd end up with a headache after straining your eyes if you try to watch 3D content for too long as the brain tends to get disoriented after continuously looking at two distinct images as one image.

We observed that the screen also looks a little dull compared to the Canvas 2.

The Micromax Canvas HD runs Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). Micromax has skinned some elements of the user interface, such as the app icons, Settings menu and the notification tray. The notification tray includes toggles for settings such as Wi-Fi, Brightness, Rotation, Bluetooth, GPS, Data, Screen timeouts and profiles (for alerts and other notifications). Similar to most other Android devices, there are five customisable home screens that can be filled with app shortcuts and widgets.

As we mentioned earlier, youd only be able to see a 3D user interface when you go to the 3D Guide or 3D Space apps although theres an option to display the 3D Space menu when you tilt the phone to landscape mode.

The notification tray also features a settings shortcut and a clear all notifications button, along with expandable notifications (expanded with the two finger pull gesture). Android 4.1 Jelly Bean also brings in Google Now, which needs to be initialised for the first time, before use.

The three capacitive buttons, Home, Menu and Back help in navigating through the phone, with the Home button also doubling up as an app switcher on long press.

Micromax has also included some of its own apps including its own apps and content store, M! Store, and services store, M! Zone+, in addition to its messaging app, HookUp, and friends locator app, M! Buddy and a few games (mostly trial versions) including Fruit Devil, Bubble Bash 3, Battleship Connect4, and The Dark Man. Micromax has also modified the Messages app, adding a button for attaching multimedia, contacts and audio clips, among others, with it. It has also added a file manager app, in addition to a universal search app, and a video player app. It has also replaced the stock camera app with a different one. The company has also included a Wireless Input Device app, letting users configure a Bluetooth-based input device with the phone.

Micromax has also deployed its own Slide lock screen which lets you unlock the phone and directly access the phone dialer, messaging app, 3D Space or the home screen.

Coming to the 3D features of the phone, Micromax offers a dedicated zone that it likes to call 3D Space that allows you to browse 3D content including 3D games, 3D online videos on YouTube, and 3D pictures and videos stored on the phone. It also offers a shortcut to instructions for accessing and creating 3D content and to the still cameras 3D recording mode.

The 3D Space navigation also includes big 3D icons and animation effects.

Games that are compatible with 3D are listed under the 3D Games app as Play Store links with just one game, Fruit Devil, a trial version of which comes bundled with the phone being compatible. Games like Jetpack Joyride and Fruit Ninja Puss In Boots are 3D compatible and are rendered in 3D if accessed via the 3D games menu.

You can run 3D videos even force 2D videos to be rendered in 3D adjusting the vertical or horizontal depth of the parallax barrier. Same is the case with videos. 3D YouTube videos are accessible via a link that opens in the browser. In terms of bundled 3D content, the phone is a disappointment.

The phone features a 5-megapixel autofocus shooter that takes decent quality images in daylight. However, we found that macro shots taken through the phone did not come out well and lacked clarity. Photos taken indoors under artificial light were grainy. The camera takes good quality videos depending on the ambient light. However, it saves video clips in .3GP file format, which is an older file format.

The camera app also offers a 3D still capture mode that essentially stitches two photos to create an illusionary 3D effect. The instructions to shoot a 3D picture can only be found in the 3D Guide app. To Shoot a 3D photo one needs to first click the base picture and then move the camera horizontally to take the other picture following which the phone creates a 3D picture with the two and saves it in .MPO file format. Its worth pointing out that the picture will be rendered in 3D only on the phone.

The 3D images shot using the phone did not look impressive or 3D like even though we followed the procedure given in the phones 3D Guide of shooting the photo from a distance of 0.5 to 2 metres and moving the camera 0.5 to 2.5 centimetre horizontally between two consecutive shots.

Although we were able to open the 3D pictures on our PC, we did not see any 3D effect and the photos turned out to be a set of 2 normal 2D images. The phones camera does not offer the capability to record 3D video.

The camera app also offers Panorama and HDR options, in addition to a continuous mode allowing users to shoot up to 99 continuous still shots. It includes the usual settings for exposure, sharpness, ISO, saturation, contrast and others.

The phone has a VGA camera that can be used for casual video chats.

The phone is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor that is a MediaTek chip, and has 512MB of RAM on board. We did not encounter any crashes while working on the phone and multitasking was comfortable. We did not notice much lag while navigating through the menu, and while playing casual games.

We were able to play 1020p HD video clips, and 720p clips, though the 1080p clips stuttered. The phone supports .AVI and .MOV videos natively.

The phone comes with the native Android browser and renders all webpages well. The phone doesnt come with Adobe Flash. The speaker on the phone delivers decent quality sound but volume levels are low. Also, since the speaker is located at the back, the volume levels further decrease when the phone lies on its back. The phone surprisingly doesnt include an ambient light-sensor, so theres no setting for automatic brightness, and the user would need to manually set brightness levels for the screen.

Call quality was good. The phone is a dual-SIM GSM phone with support for one active and the other in active-standby mode.

The Micromax Canvas 3D comes with a 2000mAh battery and we were satisfied with the backup that it offered. With intermediate usage during the day, including playing games, a few calls, and e-mail and Twitter notifications turned on, we were able to get a full day of backup.

With the Canvas 3D, Micromax tries to offer a differentiated experience among budget phones and wants to consolidate its position in the segment with the more features in an economy price strategy. We feel that the phone falls short of delivering a good 3D experience and 3D is more of a gimmick without doing anything to enhance the user experience. In fact, youd end up with a headache after straining your eyes if you try to watch 3D content for too long on the Canvas 3Ds screen. The low resolution screen of the phone and its poor viewing angles make things worse.

Wed advise you to look at the Micromax Canvas 2 or the other options from Indian handset makers such as the Karbonn S1 Titanium or the Zen Ultrafone 701 HD, if youre in the market for a value for money Android handset that delivers a good set of features.

Micromax A115 Canvas 3D: In pictures

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Chimera $60 DLP High-Res 3D Printer

I have been on a hunt for the past several years to find a cheap and simple, yet moderately high resolution 3D printer. I had 3 different 3D printers partially constructed when I heard about the amazing technology of DLP Stereo lithography (SLA) printers. I have finally found enough parts at the right price to construct a fully functional printer capable of amazing quality with spending less than $100. Top down DLP printers in their simplest form have only one axis of motion, a video projector, and minimal electronics. They do not require a heated or perfectly level bed, there is never a clogged or wrong temperature in the extruder as it does not use an extruder. And the resin used has a comparable price to FDM printers.

I Started this project to show that you dont need a lot of money or special equipment to start experimenting with 3D Printing. While this printer was not meant to give the same quality as an expensive printer such as the form 1, the results I got exceeded my expectations. There are still a few bugs to work out but, it definitely is usable. If you would like to see a video of it printing, the video is in Step 12.

The chimera (ky-meer-a) is a mythological creature that is made up of 3 different animals, this printer is made using the recycled/modified parts of 3 different categories (projector, toys, and old computer stuff), hence the name.

I am always looking for constructive criticism, let me know of any ways I can improve on the project, or the instructable!

Before continuing I would like to apologize for the not-up-to-current-standards pictures and video quality, I am working with almost or over a decade old equipment in bad lighting. I will try to update the photos once I get a better quality camera and/or find a better location for pictures.

Update 7/14/15This project won one of the enthusiast grand prizes in the2015 3D printing contest. Thank you everyone for their votes, and thank you instructables for continuing to be the best online DIY community! I am glad I could contribute to this site and hope my next project will spark as much interest as this one did.

Lets start out with the basics, in 1986 Charles W. Hull created stereo-lithography as a form of fabrication that uses ultraviolet light to cure a polymer resin to create solid objects. Since then, projection technology has opened up a highly accurate, fairly cheap, and easily accessible form of ultraviolet emission. A DLP printer is different from the normal FDM (fused deposition molding) 3d printers that have been dominating the community, an FDM machine uses an extrusion system similar to an advanced hot glue gun that is attached to an apparatus that can move the extruder in an X, Y, and Z direction. The extruder must follow a path made by a computer to print objects. A DLP printer uses the stationary projector to display the entire X and Y portions at once onto a resin that turn from a solid into a liquid from the light emitted by the projector in the shape of the projected image, and uses one axis for the Z motion.

Resin tank vs. resin vat – The biggest difference in the abilities of top down vs. bottom up printing comes from the limits of the container that holds the resin. In a top down system the platform and object slowly gets submerged deeper into the resin and is limited by how deep the tank is. This is not a problem if you only want to make small detailed prints as I designed this printer to do. Bottom up printers use a shallow tank and the object rises up out of the resin and is not limited by the vat size.

Viscosity – Top down system require a low viscosity resin in order to work properly, as it relies on the resin to flow on its own over the platform, and level properly when the object is lifted to skim just below the surface. Without a wiper apparatus you have to wait for resin to settle before you are able to print with your desired layer thickness. Luckily, MakerJuices SubG+ has a low viscosity and works very well for top down systems. Bottom up printers squish the resin to the desired layer thickness.

Warping – Warping effects both types of printers, but effects each printer differently. In a bottom up printer, each layer of the object is created pressed between the bottom of the vat and the previous layers, that combined with the ability to use low viscosity liquids provides very little warping per layer. However with top down systems the object is free to curl and warp if it does not stick properly to the build platform. And low viscosity resins tend to have a slightly higher shrinkage per volume unit.

Object stress – Bottom up printed objects suffer from numerous forces acting on it throughout the build process. Every layer has a suction force trying to pull the object off of the build platform, and tilt/slide mechanisms are applying forces in many directions at once, along with gravity pulling down on the entire object. In a top down printer, the printed object has almost the same density as the liquid resin so gravity it not a problem. And the only forces acting upon the object is shrinkage.

The ultimate advantage to top down over bottom up is its

, where bottom up printers require tilt/slide mechanisms and expensive/messy vat coatings, top down printers only move up and down and can use almost any container for the tank.

Even though bottom up printers are capable of printing larger and higher quality objects with less resin, I decided to build a Top down printer for its simplicity and ease of construction.

Edison once said invention requires imagination and a pile of junk. I had a few ideas, so it was time to head to the pile of junk (really, I have one). Out of that pile came old printer carriages, steel smooth rod, old disk drives, stepper motors and other misc electronics. The one part that I had to buy was the DLP projector.

1x mitsubishi XD221u 1024×768 video projector -ebay $50, was $40 when I bought mine.

1x computer disc drive laser deck assembly (must be one with a stepper motor) -Free, from scrap disc drive

1x Arduino UNO/Duemilanove , or atmega328 based Arduino clone-$4 ebay

(optional) Ability to etch circuit boards (you can protoboard/breadboard it if you have to)

(possibly) 5v, .5A power supply. Some laser decks can be powered by the USB port by the Arduino, some may need a power supply to be plugged into the Arduino or M+ on the easydriver to make the motor move. It will depend on the power of your USB port. My deck did not need one.

(optional for frame) scrap wood-free or 2x4ft MDF board -$10 home depot

While the actual 3d printer can be built for less than $60 you will still need resin to print anything.

MakerJuice red G+ resin -500ml for $35or 1L for $60

I only spent $39.99 for the projector, and got the resin for free using gift cards acquired frombing rewards. And I already had all of the other parts. So I built this for a total cost of only $39.99, which is very good especially considering the quality of the parts that it prints.

There are many projectors out in to market today, and as this is the most important part of the 3d printer, it is important to choose a good one. There are a few projectors i see referenced as being used for 3d printers, namely the the dell 2300 and 2400, and the infocus 2104. But in theory any DLP projector can work as long as you keep a few thing in mind when choosing a projector.

You need a projector that uses DLP(Digital Light Processing) technology for projection. DLP technology uses an array of micro mirrors to turn pixels on and off. The mirrors reflect the light directly from the bulb to the emitter lens without passing through much.

What you dont want is an LCD(Liquid Crystal Display) type of projector. LCD projector direct the light through an LCD panel that uses transistors to turn pixels on and off, if the pixel in on, then the light has to pass through several layers of plastic, glass, and polarizing filters before the image gets projected. Much of the UV light that is needed to cure the resin gets absorbed by the LCD panel and there will not be enough left over to cure the resin. once again, LCD projectors can NOT be used for resin based 3d printing (that i know of)

Resolution (or res for short) is the number of pixels that the image is projected at. The native resolution of the projector is very important as it will determine the quality of the printed object. Common resolutions for projectors are 800×600, 1024×768, 1280×800, 1280×1024, and 1600×1200. Obviously the higher the resolution, the better the quality of the printed objects will be, but high-res projectors are not cheap. i would recommend not going any lower than 1024×768, which is the most common, but it is possible to go with lower res projectors, just dont expect great results.

NOTE: there is a difference between supported and native resolutions. supported resolutions is the max resolution of the video feed that is given to the projector. Native resolution is what the actual projected image will be displayed at. be careful of advertising scam that will make it sound like an amazing 1080p (1920×1080) quality projector, but the quality is actually terrible and usually around 400×320. This is something that usually happens with Chinese no-name projectors, but it is still important to be aware of the difference.

This is how bright your projector will display the image at. The higher the lumen rating the projector has, the faster it will be able to cure then resin. I dont know what the minimum rating is, but the xd221u projector is rated for 2300 lumens and it takes longer than i would like for each layer at 10 seconds exposure time.

While the XD221u will not cure the resin without modifications, the focus distance is too far and the curing time is too long at 15 seconds exposure per layer. The focus had to be modified for close distances and the UV filter had to be removed allow more UV light through. Making it cure the resin faster is easy, just remove the filter (glass square) on the front of the bulb. Making the projector focus at 7 was a bit more difficult. The service manual has been attached for assistance in dis-assembly if you are using an xd221u projector, but the modification should be similar for most projectors.

WARNING: I am not responsible for any damage, injury, blindness, death, etc. that may be inflicted upon you during these instructions. Your actions are your own and you should know what is and isnt safe to do. Use common sense and you will be fine.

Now for the fun part. The steps correspond roughly to in order of the pictures

1-3. Remove the bulb cover and bulb from the projector. There are two screws and two clips holing the bulb in.

4. Remove the 8 screws from the bottom of the projector

5-6. Remove the three screws holing the back plate on, and use a flat head screwdriver to remove the back plate.

7-9. Lift the top of the projector off being careful not to rip the ribbon cable connected to the top buttons. Lift the clip holding the cable to the motherboard and slide the cable free.

10-12. Remove the zoom adjustment piece by prying out the 2 clips holding it in. Then remove the zoom frame by screwing the two screws holding it in place.

(WARNING: for the next several steps do not touch any of the lenses or you will not be able to get a clear picture after you are done.)

13-14. Remove the four screws holding the focus lens assembly in place, there is very little room for a normal screwdriver here, I had to use pliers and a Philips piece from a multi-head screwdriver. To remove and replace these.

15. Turn the assembly upside down and rotate the focus lens outward until its stops, inspect the circumference of the body of the focus assembly and you should see a very small screw that is screwed into the focus lens housing and is colliding with the outer assembly case. This is the screw that prevents the lens from unscrewing too far.

Remove this screw. You will now be able to turn the lens farther to focus at a closer distance. (WARNING: removing this screw allows the focus lens to be unscrewed all the way and fall out of the projector if turned too far, be aware of this as you focus the projector)

16. Re-assemble the projector but dont put the bulb in yet. Reverse the steps used to disassemble. The lens can now turn far enough to focus at close distances, which is needed for high resolution prints.

16-18. For the xd221u, there is a tab on the focus lens that will prevent the lens from turning to far, this is both good news and bad news. the good news is that I can use this to prevent the lens from falling out if it gets turned too far, the bad news is that the lens still cant turn far enough to focus at the distance I was looking for. To fix this use a file and slowly file down the tab until there is 1-2mm of distance from the tab to the projectors case.

I found that the lens will fall out when turned to around 300 (looking head on with 0 at the right) so I super-glued a scrap piece of scrap plastic to the case about 5mm from the point the lens will fall out to stop the lens from turning too far. This gives me a focus distance of approximately 6.75 inches from the front of the projector and a projection area of 4in wide by 3in tall.

Modifying the bulb -Then I needed to remove the UV filter to make the layers cure quicker.

19. If you are at the right angle you can see the square piece of glass at the front of the bulb that is the UV filter.

20. Remove the screw holding the metal plate on.

21-22. Use a small flat head to pry the metal clips out and up.

23. Remove the UV filter by lifting the glass out or by tilting the bulb until it falls out into your hand.

24. keep the UV filter in a safe and protected place, if you ever want to use the projector to watch movies or play games on, you will need to put the filter back in.

Put the bulb back in to projector, and turn it on. If everything works, well done! if not, open it up make sure that the ribbon cable for the buttons is attached correctly, no other cables were disconnected, and that the circuit board didnt suffer any damage. Connect a video source. Turn the focus as far as it will go without falling out, use a piece of paper or the wall to measure a rough estimate of the focal distance, this will be fine-tuned after it is attached to the printer.

The Z axis is the second most important part of the printer. It must be able to move smoothly without any wobble or twisting. I was considering constructing one, but that would require a significant amount of measuring, cutting, drilling, having to work with linear bearings, attachment plates, bells and pulleys, or lead screws, backlash, and all the other stuff associated with linear motion, or i could settle for a smaller but easily acquired, free, pre-built, and extremely fine precision assembly that has everything needed in one package.

As many people have found, a laser deck assembly from a computer disc drive is perfect for this purpose. the one i used is one that i have had around for a while, waiting for a good use for it. I do not know what model drive it came out of, but any assembly will work as long as it uses a stepper motor (4 wires) and not a DC motor (2 wires). As a rule of thumb the newer the disc drive, the more likely that it will be the correct type of motor, Ive taken at least 50 apart over the years and i would estimate 90% of the DVD burners i have taken apart contained the correct motor while only 50% off DVD players and only 10% of CD players had the correct motor.

These pictures are for reference of how to take a drive apart and what you want from the drive. while i did not use this particular assembly it does fit the requirements and could be used. I would like to thank groover and his excellent pocket laser engraver instructable for bringing disc drive laser decks to my attention as viable candidates for linear motion.

Use a paper clip to eject the disc tray.

Push in the clips on either side of the tray to remove the faceplate.

Remove the screws holding the bottom plate on.

Remove any cables connected to the circuit board and remove any clips or screws holding the circuit board in place.

Lift the circuit board away and remove the ribbon cable connected to the laser assembly.

Flip the drive over and lift off the metal cover

Remove the screws holding the deck assembly in place.

Lift up and slide the assembly out, some drives have the rubber pieces secured in the plastic, remove them from the plastic frame without damaging them. You want to keep all four rubber pieces with the laser deck.

If you want, remove any unnecessary parts such as the spindle motor.

Once you have taken the deck out of the disc drive, solder four 6inch wires and a four pin female header to the stepper motor. This will be used to connect to the shield that will be made later.

The only requirement for the build platform is that it is made from a material that your print will stick to without peeling itself up, yet will not force you to pry the object off and potentially damage the print in the process. The material I see used most often is aluminum. I had a piece of 1mm thick aluminum sheet that was part of the back light housing for an LCD monitor. After measuring the resin vat dimensions I scratched the design into the sheet and cut it with tin snips. Then bent the cut out at a 90 angle to form the build platform and the suspension beam. I had to bend the beam in the middle move the platform farther away from the z axis to fit properly in the resin tank. When cutting the sheet metal I made the platform 4mm smaller than the resin tank which gave 2mm clearance on each side to allow the resin to move freely from below the platform to above the platform without any pressure building up.

The resin tank for top down printers are fairly simple. Almost any container can be used as long as you follow a few guidelines.

I looked at my options and decided on the top from an acrylic container that i had lying around, it is roughly 50x50x35mmind is sufficient for the prototyping stage. I recently found a glass container at goodwill for $.50 that is 3 diameter and 3 inches deep which should work perfectly for my needs.

This machine was built with two frames, one to hold the z axis, platform and resin tank, which I am calling the Zframe. The other frame simply holds the projector above the zframe, and allows the zframe to move up and down to allow the projector to focus on different resin tanks.

I like to design as I go along, so I turned to the most versatile prototyping material in existence, LEGOs. Yes these are technically a toy, but i have not found any other materials that allow you to quickly construct, make small changes, or tear down a bad idea as easily as LEGOs do. The requirements for the zframe were…

Must be able to mount the z axis (disc drive laser deck)

Must hold the resin tank securely below the z axis and build platform without allowing any motion

Must be able to rest on whatever main frame that will be constructed later

The z axis mounting problem is something that I had solved a while ago for a different purpose, but it worked well for the Chimera. As pointed out earlier, LEGO technic bushings fit very well into the rubber/plastic mounting holes that already exist in the laser deck, so all that was needed to mount the laser deck was four Lego axles protruding from a wall in the right locations.

The vertical spacing is easily adjusted by how many layers of full bricks and flat bricks are used. But most laser decks will not fit the standard spacing of technic beam holes. This issue was solves by mounting LEGO axles within the wall that allow a Tpin to slide for any spacing.

something to be aware of is that when any resin touches the LEGOs it has a similar effect thatgallium has on aluminum(video), essentially it will make the LEGOs disintegrate. So if you dont mind if some LEGOs get destroyed then go ahead and use LEGOs, it didnt bother me as these were actually megablocks ;). otherwise you can make the frame out of wood, which I am planning to do once I decide on the final size vat I am going to use.

For the main from the only requirements were that it held the projector up and had a space for the zframe below the projection area. While LEGOs could be used, Ive found that interlocking bricks are not good for large and stable structures. So I turned to the other toy that can make large, lightweight, and sturdy structures, yet has a similar flexibility for alterations to the design as Legos do, and that is Knex.

Several years ago i was heavily involved with the knex community here on instructables, making everything from theFoldable knex gunto the5 foot cannonand in doing so i discovered the amazing strength and versatility of Knex, and have amassed over 100lbs of it. it is an excellent tool for learning the physics behind large structures, and how to make large structures that can withstand a significant amount of forces acting upon them.

Knex made constructing the frame easy, its simply a base, two towers and an adjustable platform to accommodate for different size resin tanks until I find a suitably permanent one.

As promised I have designed a frame that can be completely out of wood for anyone who does not have Legos or Knex. I made this one out of a 11.5x28x.5 particle board shelf that I pulled out of the trash with a circular saw and a drill press.Home depot has a 24x48x.5 MDF for $10that is more than enough wood and will work better than the particleboard I used. The SolidWorks CAD files are at the end of the step, I will make blueprint files from the SolidWorks files soon. I will also make printable PDF documents that can be used as stencils if for those who like to use those.

One of the best features of a top down system is the simplicity of the electronics. Instead of the expensive Arduino MEGA and RAMPs shield that many DIY 3D printers use to control the many features, the cheap Arduino UNO can be used because there is only one axis to control and maybe a shutter (optional). I etched a shield for the Arduino, which I designed in Cadsoft EAGLE. But if that is not something you are able to do, fear not! the schematic is simple and can easily be made on a breadboard. If you want to put a little more work into it, you can program an ATMega328p chip with the firmware and etch a all-in-one board whose design is included in the files attached.

Easydriver – This is Where the Stepper motor controller goes. The Easydriver was chosen because the motors in the disc drive operate off of 5 volts which Easydrivers can operate at. the smaller and more popular stepstick drivers require at least 8.2 volts before they even turn on, which will cause the small steppers to overheat.

Zmotor – This is where you plug in the bi-polar stepper motor from the disc drive deck assembly.

Top and bottom limits – (optional) These are optional, i have not configured GRBL to use limits yet, but they are available if you want to use them.

Iris – (experimental) connects to a solenoid that opens and closes a mechanical iris, more in the future updates step.

Power terminals – (Optional) This gives you the option to connect a non-wall wart power supply.

The Shield has 1/8th microstepping enabled for high resolution movement.

I tried several different firmwares for the Arduino UNO before deciding to use GRBL 0.9i. In my experience, GRBL is the best option for print quality, compatibility, ease of use, and customization. To get your arduino setup for the printer you will need to upload the GRBL firmware, and configure GRBL to your machines specs. Download the attached zip file and extract it to the desktop. Connector your arduino to the computer.

GRBL firmware is in .hex format, and the arduino software does not allow you to upload .hex file to the arduino, so we will be using a different program calledxloader.

Open the extracted files, open the xloader folder, and open xloader.exe

Click the browse button navigate to the extracted files on oped the

grbl_v0_9i_atmega328p_16mhz_115200_for_SO2.hex file.

In the device box chose Uno(ATmega328)

Make sure the baud rate is set at 115200

Once the message 28690s byte uploaded appears you are ready to go to the next step

For this step, open up a serial terminal, for this I will use GRBL controller.

If needed, change the baud rate to 115200.

Open the serial terminal in the top right corner

Several lines of code should appear, at the top it should say Grbl 0.9i [$ for help]

The only thing you need to change is the steps per mm for the z axis. In the top command bar type $102=53.333 , this will set the number of steps per mm your Z axis moves at. 53.333 is the number of steps per mm for the normal type of lead screw, the one I used had 157steps per mm which I found by trial and error

You are now able to use the Arduino for controlling your printer.

Out of the many open source software options that I looked at, onlyCreation Workshopby envision labs seemed to provide the compatibility and customization options that I required. I have included the zip file that contained the software and settings I used pre-setup, but it may require some tweaking for your own machine. Start by extracting the zip file to the desktop or other location. Open up CreationWorkshop.exe and follow the instructions.

Profile selection – Click the plus button to create a new profile and name it chimera (or whatever you want)

Build Size – Take a rough measurement of the x and y dimensions of your projected area. note that this is NOT the dimension of your build platform, these are the dimensions of the total projection area, measure as best you can, but its doesnt need to be exact. This will be adjusted after the first test print.

Com port – plug in the Arduino, click configure, and chose the com port that your computer assigned to the Arduino, and make sure that the baud rate is set at 115200.

Machine controls – this is where you tell the software what features you printer has, as this one only has a z axis, check the corresponding box.

Displays – connect your projector to your computer, most laptops will have a video-out connection, the xd221 projector and my laptop both have VGA connections so that is what i used. if your computer does not have the options for duel monitors, it should let you use the main monitor, but it will make the process more difficult. click the second display then the plus button to use the second monitor (projector) as the display used for printing.

Configured displays – shows the display that will be used for the printing process.

Apply changes – make sure that you click this to save any changes you have made before moving on.

Profile selection – Click the plus button to create a new profile and name it chimera (or whatever you want)

Slice thickness – this is how thin each layer of the print will be, set the layer height to .1mm, this is a good place to start.

Exposure time – this is how long each layer will be projected onto the resin, the longer the time the harder each layer will be, but each layer will also shrink more. 10 seconds (10,000 milliseconds) is what everything pictured was printed at, but i think that it may be slightly overexposing the resin. This is something you must test and adjust as each printer/projector will be different.

Bottom exposure – for the very first few layers you want to be sure that your print is anchored sufficiently to the build platform these lawyer are exposed for a longer period of time to ensure proper adhesion. I doubled the layer time for 20 seconds (20,000 milliseconds).

bottom layers – this is how many of the first layer will be exposed for the longer duration. again this will be slightly different for each printer, but i am having success with using the first three layers.

Enable anti-aliasing – Checking this box can help if straight lines are being printed with jagged edges, but it shouldnt be a problem.

Z lift distance – This is how far down the z axis will go to allow resin to flow over the top of the previous layers. for larger prints or higher viscosity resins you will need to increase this distance, but for the small prints that i am doing 3mm is fine.

z speeds – you dont want to move the print to fast, or the forces of the resin flowing could collapse some of the finer details or thin walls in your print. 75mm per second is slower than it needs to be, but i feels its better safe than sorry.

4. Auto Calc – this will calculate the estimated time that it will take for the printer to complete the lift sequence, this is important as it is the time for which the software waits before projecting the next layer.

5. Build Direction – VERY IMPORTANT – make sure that you have top_down selected as the printer type. your printer will not work if the wrong type is selected.

6. Apply changes – make sure that you click this to save any changes you have made before moving on.

I would highly recommend using a second computer to run your software on, while you can use your computer at the same time you are printin.

Top 10 Best Cheap 3D Printers for 2017

If youre thinking about buying your first 3D printer, youre probably looking for something affordable as well as reliable. Never fear there are plenty of feature-rich 3D printers under $1000 that are ready to print right out of the box.

When it comes time to choose the right model, youll want to consider what features are the most important for you. Are you comfortable with tinkering around with the machine to get a perfect print? Do you need a big print volume for larger objects? Are you introducing 3D printing to kids or a classroom? Do you need a workhorse that will produce hundreds of models for your home business? Whatever you want from your 3D printer, this list should have a match for you that wont break the bank.

When youre just getting started with 3D printing, youll want to familiarize yourself with the different printing communities and open-source software options that are available.Thingiverseis the largest online community of people sharing their experience, reviews and printable files. Its a great launching pad whether you dont know where to start or youre a seasoned expert. Thingiverse,GrabCAD, andNIH 3D Print Exchange(a STEM community) are top resources for nabbing free prints to get your new hobby started. When youre ready to design your own stuff,Tinkercaduses a drag-and-drop interface with basic building blocks to help you create any design you have in mind, making it one of the simplest design tools available and especially useful for non-designers. Sites likeShapewaysPinShape, andMyMiniFactoryare examples of marketplaces where you can buy designs and sell your own. Check out this awesome list fromAll3DPfor more free resources.

Once you have a new rad design ready to go, youll need a slicer. A slicer converts your digital model into a series of thin layers and produces a file with the instructions that tell your 3D printer how to create your print.CuraandSlic3rare free 3D slicing software applications that prepare your designs for printing.Repetieroffers a host of solutions to slice and print your files or act as a front end for either Cura or Slic3r.

Keep in mind that theres a learning curve to printing and you have to expect a few, maybe many, failures as you try to print larger and more complex parts. Tips and hacks from the communities atreddit, Thingiverse andInstructables(my old stomping ground) will set you up with tricks like using painters tape or hairspray to make your prints stick to the print bed and printing your own spools holders for machines that dont want you to use non-proprietary materials.

In terms of manufacturers, Prusa is widely regarded as the leader in affordable, reliable 3D printers and have spawned manyPrusa-inspired 3D printersfor those who dont want to wait on pre-orders and long shipping times. Some of the features that make Prusa outstanding include a variety of print materials, open source (non-proprietary) software and hardware options, a range of print resolutions to suit your needs, and a humble price tag. Fortunately, you can now find all of those qualities from a variety of manufacturers offering a wide selection of printer styles.

The technology used by most 3D printers in this list is fused deposition modeling, a special application of plastic extrusion that creates objects by building layers of material. This keeps the process simple and affordable, but also subject to a higher ratio of print errors than more sophisticated methods. Fortunately, for most makers and tinkerers, these entry-level models are more than sufficient to get you where you want to go. The following list is sorted by price, with some call-outs as to which models might best suit your particular needs. If Ive missed a model you particularly love, let me know in the comments below!

The XYZprinter da Vinci Jr. comes with a price tag that makes it an excellent option for a first 3D printer and is targeted towards younger users and classrooms. The da Vinci Jr. series prints only with XYZprintings bio-compostable, non-toxic PLA filament derived from natural materials such as sugarcane and cornstarch, meaning you wont be breathing in harmful fumes. The drawback is that you dont have options for other printing materials. You are also limited by XYZs proprietary software. So while this is technically a plug-and-play machine, it will require some tinkering to adjust the settings just right and some time to learn the software. The print bed is not heated, so youll need to come up with a hack to make it sticky (remember when I mentioned painters tape and hairspray?).

Price: $234.89 (33 percent off MSRP)

Youll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of prints the Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer produces once youve dialed in the right settings. If your first prints are a little rough or flaky, it means youll need to spend more time calibrating (this siteoffers some great tips). This tiny model comes with plenty of features at an extraordinary price, including a heated print bed, open source software and hardware, and the ability to print a variety of materials. Because this is not an enclosed printer, you will need to be aware of its surroundings and ambient temperature, as heat and drafts can impact your prints. Some reviewers report nozzle jams that can be resolved by pressing in on the feed tube collar to remove and clean it as well as trouble with the stickiness of the build plate which is improved with painters tape. All in all, this is a great starter machine that supports open source software and all filament times, so long as you know there will be some tinkering involved.

The Printrbot Play comes preassembled or as a DIY kit for the same price. It offers the smallest print volume on this list but does allow you to print a variety of materials. The Play doesnt come with a heated print bed which can result in some warped prints that cool unevenly. With time (its a slow printer) and patience (it can require recalibration), you can get some great prints from this affordable model.

Price: $279.81 (24 percent off MSRP)

Considered one of the best starter printers and Best Portable 3D Printer for Schools by MAKE Magazine, the Printrbot Simple is a great open source machine. Like the Printrbot Play, the Printrbot Simple also comes pre-assembled or as a DIY kit and with the option of aheated bed upgradefor $749 all-in. It offers a larger print volume than the Play but limits you to printing with PLA.

Price: $521.24 (13 percent off MSRP)

Requires some tinkering and recalibration

Non-heated bed option can result in warping

Find more Printrbot Simple information and reviews here.

5. Best Frustration-Free 3D Printer: ERIS Delta Destkop 3D Printer

The ERIS is a delta 3D printer whose most notable features are its quick change hotend and nozzle system and borosilicate glass build plate. The surface laminate means you dont need to add painters tape to get your prints to stay in place. But if you wanted to try out a different adhesion method, you can turn the bed over for a flat boro glass plate to work with. It comes with a spool holder to accommodate most available spools and does not use proprietary filaments. This is a lightweight but sturdy printer with a small footprint, making it a fine option for beginners, educators, and tinkerers.

Quick change hotend and nozzle system

Accelerometer probe design to calibrate the machine automatically

Borosilicate glass build plate requires no extra adhesive materials

The UP Mini is a popular model for schools, and for good reason. Its ready to go out of the box and comes with easy-to-use software. Bonus accessories include a full spool of filament, three filament samples, filament cutters, heat resistant gloves and a putty knife to aid in print removal. The built-in HEPA filter draws the air from the build chamber down for filtration and releases the cleaned air back into the build chamber. This not only removes the familiar melting plastic smell, it also results in superb ABS prints with zero warping, even on larger jobs that use the entire build area. It uses proprietary software and filament, but you can download a printable external attachment that allows the printer to use any 3rd party filament. It offers a heated print bed, tetherless wi-fi printing, and touchscreen display all great features for a sub-$1000 3D printer.

Uses proprietary filament and software

Find more UP mini 2 3D Printer information and reviews here.

7. Best 3D Printer For Home Manufacturing: da Vinci Pro

The da Vinci Pro is a great printer for the price point but may be best suited to someone with more experience. For less than $1000, you get fully adjustable heating, speed, and retraction settings, a heated aluminum print bed, open source ABS and PLA filament, a good print volume, and quick out-of-the-box set-up. This 3D printer is a great option for someone who is willing to tinker with calibration but may not be a good fit for someone whos new to 3D printing. Since customer service is lacking, you need to be comfortable with using the web to troubleshoot.

Disorganized slicing/printing can take extra time and leave behind unnecessary filament

Users report several microSD chip failures

Find more da Vinci Pro information and reviews here.

8. Best For Home Hobbyists: Dremel DigiLab 3D20 3D Printer

Dremel is a well-known, trusted name in the maker community. The DigiLab 3D20 is a fully-enclosed printer that comes ready to print right out of the box. It comes with a pre-installed extruder, full-color LCD touchscreen, and open-source slicing software. One drawback is Dremels use of proprietary PLA filament, but if youre willing to build an external spool holder, enlarge some of the holes in the side vent, and run your filament that way, you can save a lot of money and get cleaner prints. All in all, this is a great printer for someone whos looking for a pain-free print right out of the box. If youre willing to hack the setup a little, your experience will be even better.

Price: $792.20 (20 percent off MSRP)

PLA-only proprietary filament (though you can find online hacks for using other brands)

Acrylic plate requires painters tape for builds

Find more Dremel DigiLab 3D20 3D Printer information and reviews here.

9. Best Multi-Featured 3D Printer: Bibo 3D Printer With Laser Engraving

What makes the Bibo so awesome is the one-two punch of a laser engraver and a 3D printer. Its not as powerful as a full-blown laser cutter, but for surface treatments, it gets the job done. Not only that but with dual extruders and copy printing, you can easily print two of the same unit at once. This model also comes with a removable heated bed, full-color LCD touchscreen, and the ability to print a variety of filaments. It requires a minor bit of assembly to get up and running, but users report the bed stays level even after hundreds of prints. Its an amazingly well-performing unit at an incredible price.

Currently requires frequent firmware updates

Find more Bibo 3D Printer information and reviews here.

10. Best Workhorse 3D Printer: FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro

As one Amazon reviewer quips: The FlashForge Creator Pro is A Makerbot Replicator clone with all of the community enhancements out-of-the-box. The result is in some ways better than the Replicator 2X, at about half the cost. Whats not to love? With dual extruders and a heated aluminum bed, this fully-enclosed unit produces some quality prints. Similar models include thefor $699, which has the option to leave the sides open for better access but a smaller chip, and thecurrently going for $799 which some users prefer but only offers single extrusion. Some users report thermocoupler issues but for the most part, its easy to set up and start printing right out of the box. For the most reliable prints every time, stick to PLA and invest in a glass bed.

Poor bundled software (but ability to go open-source)

FlashForge seems to have only one customer service representative?

Find more FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro information and reviews here.

Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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M3Ds Vastly Improved M3D Pro 3D Printer

One of the most popular desktop 3D printers just got a lot better.

M3D was one of the few companies that was in the right place at the right time with the right product when they launched the Micro in 2014. Theircrowdfunding campaign generated a massive USD$3.4Mwith which they built a company producing one of the largest-selling desktop 3D printers available.

Now, two years after the fact, the company today released a new and significantly improved machine: the M3D Pro.

The new machine is visually reminiscent of its predecessor, the Micro, in that its an open cubic style. The differences are in performance and capability, which I believe have largely been driven by customer requests.

The build volume is quite a bit larger, now 198 x 183 x 183mm. Of note is that this build volume is only slightly smaller than the exterior of the machine. The design is very space-efficient.

Reliability is increased. While the machine is not fully enclosed, it does now sport a heated print surface, which should significantly reduce warping. Theyve also included a system to handle power failures: you can resume printing after a failure! This should be a standard feature on every desktop 3D printer, but still appears on only a few machines, one of which is the M3D Pro.

Reliability is also made better through the use of more than two dozen sensors. Evidently the M3D Pro uses sensors to calibrate the bed leveling and subsequently continuously monitor the print operation. Im told automatic management includes monitoring and appropriately adjusting speed, position, fan speeds, filament flow rates, temperatures, and power levels. Thats a feature not seen on very many desktop 3D printers.

Flexibility is increased by including the ability to do standalone printing, without having to have a computer attached to the printer. The M3D Pro includes its own memory that quickly soaks up the print job and prints on its own thereafter.

Quality is increased, as the M3D Pro can print in layers as small as 0.025mm, on par with the best plastic extrusion machines available. Printing is at the standard 60mm per second, however.

Materials capability is significantly increased. While the Micro could handle PLA plastic, the M3D Pro can handle a wide variety of plastic filaments including not only PLA and ABS, but also exotic and composite filaments as well, due to the heated print surface and high temperature hot end (at least those up to 270C). Of course, third party materials are encouraged.

These features make the M3D Pro a desirable machine, but you may be concerned about the price. Their previous machines most prominent feature was its incredibly low purchase price, and you might think with such improvements theyre going to raise the price significantly – because they likely could.

Nope, theyre not. The M3D Pro will apparently be available, at least for the pre-order period, for only USD$500! Thats a great deal for a machine with such capabilities.

Will M3D sell as many of this model as they did their previous version? Im not sure, but the signs are looking good, at least based on the specifications.

Kerry Stevenson, aka General Fabb has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

Fabbaloo is a daily online publication focusing on the 3D print and additive manufacturing industries. We provide deeper analysis of developments in current and future technologies as well as corporate matters. If theres something happening in 3D technologies, especially FDM, SLA, SLS and Stereolithography, well have an opinion about it.

Chattanooga startup wants to 3D print your future house

Chattanooga startup wants to 3D print your future house

Worlds Most Admired Companies

Chattanooga startup wants to 3D print your future house

Branch Technology uses an extruder attached to a Kuka Robotics arm to 3D print.

For Platt Boyd, inspiration struck in the way aspiring writers envision their Great American Novels taking shape: late at night, after a drink.

In Boyds case, however, the drink was just a caffeinated beverage. And while he had pen in hand, that pen was the 3Doodler, an instrument for creating freeform, 3D-printed objects. Boyd drew a 3D matrix.

Something that weighed a half an ounce supported 18 pounds of books, he says.

At that point Boyd knew he was on to something. Roughly a year and a half later, hes now the founder and CEO ofBranch Technology, a Chattanooga-based startup that thinks it can change the future of building construction with 3D printing.

Modern buildings are always systems that come together to form a composite assembly, Boy says. Were saying: how little can we 3D print and allow these other materials to become the strength of the wall assembly?

Branch Technology calls its building strategy cellular fabrication. As opposed to conventional 3D printing where thermoplastics are heated, then cooled, and then layered to create a structure, Branch uses a freeform 3D printer that solidifies building materialin Branchs case, a mixture of ABS plastic and carbon fiberin open space. The printers extruder head is attached to 12-and-a-half-foot robotic arm supplied by Kuka Robotics, which in turn travels on a 33-foot rail. Using this system, Boyd says Branch Technology can print a 3D matrix 25-feet wide by 58-feet long. These open matrices printed by Branch serve as an internal support structure, over top of which foam insulation, concrete, and other, conventional construction materials are layered.

We have an algorithm that can generate geometry and robotic code to create this matrix, he says. That open matrix is very lightweight. We fit them together like big Lego blocks on site, [and] then you apply construction materials on site to become a wall assembly in the field. If someone sends us a file, a CAD file, then we can produce that wall.

Boyd, anarchitect of 15 years, cut his teeth working for Seay, Seay & Litchfield Architects in Alabama, where he and his fellow partners mainly did architectural work for universities, the Department of Defense, and a few house contractors. He left the firm in May 2014, and two months ago he moved north to Chattanooga as part of theGIGTANK accelerator program, where he unveiled Branch Technology for the first time at GIGTANKs Demo Day.

So far the four-man startup has raised a little more than $900,000 in seed funding, a portion of which came from Boyds own 401K savings. Its now looking for another $1.5 million in funding.

According to Boyd, a 2-and-a-half-pound 3D-printed matrix with spray foam applied can support a little less than 3,000 pounds. But Branch Technologys selling point, he says, is that using these 3D-printed matrices as the starting point for wall assemblies drops construction costs to somewhere between $80 and $140 a square foot. Compare that to the thousands of dollars it sometimes costs to build grand buildings with creative designs, and you have what Boyd believes is his startups most marketable factor.

Its thin-shell concrete construction when its all said and done, he says. On top of those materials you can add whatever interior or exterior finish you want. Outside could be stucco, or brick. Its the real deal.

Perhaps the place for this technology is in the Bay Area, where,as SPUR reported, residential units [are] going for $1,000 per square foot or more in newly constructed buildings in San Franciscos most desirable neighborhoods.

For now, the startup is staying put in Chattanooga, where it plans to put its bold prediction regarding the future of constructionan industryworth $8.5 trillionworldwideto the test. Branch Technology is sponsoring a$10,000 design competitionto construct the first 3D-printed house using the startups cellular fabrication technology. The contest begins in September, and entrants must supply plans to build a house between 1,200 and 1,400 square feet. Branch Technologys partner in the endeavor is Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was responsible for3D printing a Shelby Cobraat this years North American International Auto Show.

What were focusing on right now are those interior walls and those exterior walls, Boyd says. Eventually, roofs. But you have to see something at scale to see it work, and know that it can withstand the forces of nature.

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Tough 3D Ink Settings

I got a Micro as my first printer last week. So far I love it and Ive had no problems, but Im trying to load a spool of Tough 3D Ink that I ordered from M3D with my printer and the cheat code is showing as invalid. The code is T-G-B.

I tried for the last hour to find information about the print temp for this ink on the internet, but there is literally no info. Anybody used this? Whats a good temperature?

Has anyone used this Tough 3D on the Makerbot? I can get it to go through the extruder

I dont have an M3D but I have been experimenting with the material. It prints best on my QIDI at 255 with a heat bed temp of 40 (it also sticks on the bed by itself just better when heated). I had a hard time getting it to run through the gears at anything less. This stuff is less ridged than Flex when coming off the spool.

I finally received my filament order this week and got around to trying it tonight.

The code on the spool (TGB) auto set the temperature to 220. This is with version 2016-05-06-v1.4.2.5-MAC.

The invoice that came with my order said to use a temperature of 225.

Neither of those worked at all for me.

I bumped the temperature by 5, and tried again. And again. Etc.

When I got to 245, that seemed to do the trick for me. The raft didnt look as good as a corresponding PLA one, but the model came out fine.

Ill just copy paste what I replied to you on the official forums so that people here can see as well:

Use code FLX, it works for me on flexible filament. Its weird, they put code TGB on the tough ink, but it doesnt seem to work for anyone. Try FLX and it should put the temperature around 245

I use FLX.. works great, I really like the stuff.. I hear the newer software and maybe firmwares are going to lower the temp from 245 to 225.. but honestly Im not having an issue with it..

Yes they dont have that code programmed in yet. Use TGH. I found that it printed better if the temp was set to 225 degrees. At the original 245 degrees, it stuck to the print tack way too much and support material was impossible to remove in some places. It might print even better at 220.

So M3D support got back to me. Heres what they said:

The cheat code that you need to be entering is TGH. To ensure the code works, please make sure that you have our latest software installed on your computer. Please also be mindful that our Tough 3D Ink is intended for external port use only and that a printing temperature of 225 C is recommended. If the code is still not working or you do not want to install our latest software, you can simply enter PLA and change the temperature to 225.

Im about to give it a try. Will update.

If you use v1.4.2.3, then listen to what they said, but if you use v1.4.0.x, then use FLX. I still dont understand why they promote TGH so much, because FLX is the one that works.

Well, neither FLX or TGH is reading as valid. Ive just loaded it and manually changed the temp, so well see what happens.

As far as my software version, it says Im on v1.3.6.5 and that there are no updates. So theres that.

The M3D software doesnt tell you whether or not there is an update, but infact there is. The Tough 3D Ink was officially supported in the v1.4.0.X series (and v1.4.2.3). Id highly advise you update to a v1.4.0.X or v1.4.2.3 software if you want it to work.

I had looked carefully through those downloadables and didnt find anything newer that wasnt in beta. I just downloaded v1.4.0.9 and Ill give it a shot.

Worth mentioning that Im on Mac and there are far fewer updates for OS X than Windows.

That said, I just did a test print with v1.4.0.9 and everything worked — it got the cheat code and everything. Thanks!

Yeah Ive used this before. A big misconception is that the code is TGH or TGB. This is wrong. The code you must use for Tough 3D ink is FLX. Make sure it is FLX or else it most likely wont work. FLX has worked great for me, and everyone else Ive told over on the forums

Hi, Ive read somewhere that it should be 245 C.

As for the code, in the January software version Ive noticed there is the TGH code I suppose you can use this one.

This is scary, since I just ordered my M3D and a few spools of ink. One of the spools is the tough ink. Ill find out Monday night if Im screwed. Have you tried contacting their support?

Not sure if you saw my update that I heard from support. I was in the same situation — I ordered one spool of yellow regular PLA, and two spools of Tough 3D, so I was scared too that I would be screwed. Im about to try a print so Ill let you know what happens.

here is a list of every cheat code on this website

Thanks for the reply, but Ive already checked this page several times. The Tough 3D Ink isnt listed anywhere on it, in any color. Its almost like M3D didnt finish rolling it out to the public.

Do you have the latest firmware loaded?

It automatically updated the firmware when I started. The expert mode window says I have version 2015-10-23-03… does that mean its from last year? Is there a newer version?

i have had mine since beginning of 2016. and there hasnt been a update since. Sorry the link didnt help. If i find it ill let you know.

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The Fuel3D Is A Handheld High Resolution 3D Scanner For Sub-$1000 That Can Grab Faces Textures

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The Fuel3D Is A Handheld, High Resolution 3D Scanner For Sub-$1,000 That Can Grab Faces & Textures

Makers and 3D designers who want to replicate the shape and colour of real-world objects in their creations clap your eyes on the above gizmo. TheFuel3Dis a handheld, high resolution 3D scanner, which captures 3D photos of real-world objects/subjects and, in conjunction with its creators software, turns them into a 3D model with accurate geometry and colour.

With 3D printers taking off, the demand for object scanners is likely to rise especially affordable scanners, and the Fuel3Ds creators are aiming to ship this high resolution 3D scanner with a sub-$1,000 price-tag. Or thats the plan, if it achieves itsKickstarterfunding goal of $75,000 all but certain, given it still has 31 days left to run on its campaign and less than $10,000 required.

A sub-$1,000 price-tag is not as cheap as thePhoton 3D scannerwe covered back in April which was on Indiegogo for $399 but that scanner was specifically focused on object scanning, with a small turntable design. Whereas the Fuel3D is more freestyle in what it can scan, allowing for human faces to be captured by holding the device up and taking photos in conjunction with a small target placed next to the face.

Its high resolution 3D capture also allows for detailed textures to be captured, providing a variety of use-case scenario for animators, game developers and 3D artists. In other words, this could be a handy office gadget for your gaming startup.

FUEL3D is an affordable handheld 3D scanning system that delivers extremely high quality 3D shape and color capture for a range of creative applications. The Fuel3D handheld scanner is a point-and-shoot 3D scanning system that captures extremely high resolution mesh and color information of objects. Fuel3D is the worlds first 3D scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging

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Fisher Unitech

Fisher Unitech is advancing manufacturing in America by delivering, supporting and training our customers on the best product development software, subtractive, and additive manufacturing solutions available.

Fisher Unitech is advancing manufacturing in America by delivering, supporting and training our customers on the best product development software, subtractive, and additive manufacturing solutions available.

We dont stop at software and hardware, our award-winning technical team provides unsurpassed service and support for the products we sell. We offer more training options than any other 3D CAD solution provider in the country, and our consulting team delivers professional services for design automation and data management. See how we use the power of our people to provide the best value for our customers.

The power ofadditive technologyis changing the way designers imagine and create their designs. Encountering roadblocks due to lack of technology is a thing of the past especially for researchers involved in FAD (fabrication aided design). The new groundbreaking capabilities ofGrabCADVoxel Print allows designers to design and fabricate from the bottom up using voxels. What is a voxel? A voxel is a volumetric, or three dimensional pixel which allows for full control of the material or properties being used in a design.

The following blog was created and provided by Stratasys and provides a detailed look into the endless capabilities of GrabCAD Voxel Print.

Welcome! Prism Engineering changed our name to Fisher Unitech and moved our site to . At m we can assist you with all of your product, support, and training needs.