Archive for January, 2012

3D Printing: Stack Exchange Proposed Site

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Stack Exchange Q&A site proposal: 3D Printers, Laser Cutters, & Personal Manufacturing

The stack exchange sites have a proposed site for all things 3D printing, rapid prototyping, 3D scanning, etc…

If you have a 3D printer, have expertise in this area, or have technical interests/questions, please commit to the site and participate.

StackOverflow — a site I’ve been active on for a few years — has been an unbelievable asset to the software development community and there is even reason to believe it will be an equally as huge asset to the rapidly evolving manufacture-at-home market.

3D Printing: The Software Stack (… is kinda broken …)

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Throughout the anticipation of the delivery of the Ultimaker (4 to 6 weeks — as are pretty much all 3D printers these days!) and the week of assembly (another post), I spent a bunch of time researching software and otherwise attempting to grok the toolchain without a tool to apply the chain to.

In short, 3D printing requires a slew of tools and the tools are… ugh… unrefined, if not downright user abusive. Not that this comes as a surprise. Affordable 3D printing is a very new market and it’ll take a few years for the science to be nailed down enough that an easy UI can be wrapped around it.

And it is moving rapidly. Thus, if you are reading this anywhere after about 3 to 6 months from now, it is likely that the landscape has changed.

As well, this is a decidedly Mac OS X centric / Ultimaker centric view of the world. I’ll likely update again in a month or so after I’ve set up the Printrbot.

To drive a 3D printer, there are quite a few stages of software that are employed. In the maker world, there are generally multiple answers to any given stage in the overall chain. If you are working with a commercial printer, it is likely that the stages closest to the printer — the driver, assuredly, maybe more — are fixed. Read the rest of this entry »

3D Printer #2: Printrbot

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

While I’m looking to the Ultimaker (see my previous post for thoughts on the Ultimaker) (now received– time to start assembly!) as my primary go-to, general purpose, home manufacturing device, I was both interested in a second printer as a platform for experimentation and as a secondary printer for when I need to turn out a bunch of stuff.

Because I wasn’t going to be afraid to modify it, I wanted something pretty cheap. The RepRap platform seems pretty interesting, but it also seems semi-fragile (and feedback on various sites indicates that it is harder to keep aligned than others, though I don’t know how true that really is).

Along came the Printrbot Kickstarter project. I ended up funding that at the $424 level. I’ll use the Ultimaker to print all the plastic parts. The Printrbot is really pretty extraordinary. It is an elegantly simple design, has decent precision and, through its simplicity, is extremely customizable.

Also, the Printrbot story and the whole Kickstarter concept is pretty cool and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to jump in and fund something.