Jun 27, 2017

My First Impressions With Using ViaCAD

I had some time to play around with ViaCAD and it looks really interesting. I've downloaded the 14-day trial version and used a few simple daily tasks to see how it performs.

First steps in the program interface are very easy and you are greeted with a simple video tutorial on how to create a 3D goblet from 2D drawing in 60 seconds:

From the beginning, I wanted to focus on 3D printing tools which are a part of this CADs features.

The toolbar with 3D Printing tools can be activated in the "Window" menu.

The interface is fast and fluid.

You can define your printer settings from a list of the pre-defined machine or set it manually:

To see how other functions work, I imported the Voronoi "Broken benchy" by T-E-C from Thingiverse. It is a more complicated and harder version of the standard Benchy.

You can check the printability of your model with "3D Print Check" tool. Here is the output screen with some of the errors found, with several being my mistakes of not properly aligning the object or setting the parameters correctly (like print volume).
Very useful!

"Surface normals" tool shows, you guessed it, surface normals :-)

There are tools to show overhangs and wall thickness.

"Slices" tools will show animated slices base on several parameters, they can be saved into several formats. This is not a slicer which generates g-code for printing.

"Support structures" tool enables you to create support pieces and attach them with a mouse click.

With the "Position" tool you can place the object anywhere in selected print volume coordinate manually or with the automatic positions like "Center".

These basic tools were easy to use at this level, time will show how they perform in everyday work during a longer period. For now, I'm satisfied with this CAD software and will continue to us it.

You can get ViaCAD here and test it yourself and download a trial version from PunchCAD homepage:


There are additional 3D Printing "power packs" for ViaCAD with 70+ 3d printing tools, you can see them here:

Punch! PowerPack v10

Here is a video demo:

Maybe I'll get them also in the future. The pack seems to have many tools in one place instead of using multiple apps and sites.

In next post, I'll describe some of my experiences with actual design and learning curve.

Large Arcs Made with TrussFab 3D Printed Hubs

To learn more about TrussFab go to:


Jun 24, 2017

Printrbot Printrbelt

Printrbot just teased their Printrbelt 3D printer with the heated conveyor belt print surface or "Infinite Z" as they described it.  The belt is a steel belt covered in Kapton with adjustable bed height and tension.
It is a direct competitor to BlackBelt 3D printer (which has a bigger print surface) and knowing Printrbot, it should be low cost and open source.

Brook responded in a Tweet:
Yes, Printrbelt will be open source & affordable. I'll do larger sizes. Already have bits designed for 12"x12" window, but this first.
So we can expect larger models in the future.

Short teaser:

More detailed presentation by Brook:

Brook writes:
The Printrbot Printrbelt allows for very long prints, multiple copies of one print, or a whole project of files to be printed in one shot. It is a beta, but too fun to keep to ourselves.
We are working with Polar3D, who has already hacked a printer like this onto an existing printer frame. They are working on the firmware magic in a cloud service to make this mind-bending twist on 3d printing easy for anyone. This will be a neat partnership that takes an important step forward in desktop manufacturing.
Stay tuned for more on this wild 3d printer that brings a new superpower to your desktop at an affordable price.


Looks like we will see much more conveyor belt 3d printers coming up! Competition is great.

Jun 20, 2017

Maslow $350 Open Source CNC Cutting Machine

Maslow CNC is a novel approach to the cutting of large material sheets. It is a hanging or suspended CNC router.
It is open sourced and it comes at $350 price point.

Tech specs:
  • Work Space: 4' X 8' 
  • Encoder Resolution: 8148 steps/rev
  • Repeatability: +- 1/64th inch (.4 mm) or better
  • Max feed rate 48 inches/minute
  • AC Voltage: 110-250 volts
  • DC Voltage: 12 volts
  • Connection: USB
  • OS for Software: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Size: H: 6' 8" W: 10' D: 1' 7"

Here is the design overview:

Video showing Maslow cutting out an OpenDesk chair:

On Tested show:

Maslow CNC homepage:


Jun 19, 2017

Desktop Metal 3D Printing with Microwave Enhanced Sintering

Here is another revolutionary step forward in 3D printing: the desktop metal 3d printer. It deposits metal "paste" made from metal powder with a polymer binder in a similar way as any common FDM machine and the parts are then sintered in a microwave enhanced furnace chamber.
The price is comparable to higher-end professional FDM machine from a few years ago. They also sell production cell that has much higher capacity for more demanding production facilities.

Tech specs:

  •  Build volume: 12 in x 8 in x 8 in (305 mm x 205 mm x 205 mm)
  •  Materials:  Steel, Titanium, Aluminum, Copper and other undisclosed materials
  •  Layer height: 50 μm (minimum)
  •  Dimensions: 60 in x 49 in x 30 in (1500 mm x 1250 mm x 750 mm)
  •  Technology: Microwave Enhanced Sintering
  •  Price: $120,000 for the desktop version, $250,000+ for manufacturing cell production system

Desktop Metal presentation video:

Here is a much more in-depth video by GoEngineer with many details about the machines, materials, and the process:

Company homepage:


Jun 18, 2017

New DIY CO2 Laser Cutter Project

Here is a new DIY CO2 laser cutter project from Instructables. It was developed by Michiel Deschout and uses relatively available materials and parts like 3030 aluminum T-slot profiles, Arduino and some 3d printed parts. The total cost was some 1900 Euro.
The presented setup uses 40W laser, but the power could probably be increased.

Very detailed step-by-step build guide with all the files can be found at:


Here is the back side with 3d printed holders for the CO2 laser tube:

The latest fashion trend for all you 3d printing geeks

If you are into 3d printing then this is THE style of jacket you should wear!

Detailed project description:

This jacket has 40 neopixels sewn to the back to display the status of the 40 3D Printers in Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab Studio. Each light corresponds to one printer and is either blue (in use), green (available), or red (offline) to show the real-time status of the printer. The printer status is retrieved via Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab’s 3D printer status API, documented here: http://apidocs.colab.duke.edu/.

Instructables page with all the steps and code:


3D Printable Parametric Slew Bearings

Christoph Laimer published  another very useful project. He developed a fully 3D printable and working parametric slew bearings. Since they are developed to be sturdy they can be used in many different project where a simpler 3D printed ball bearing would fail.
Since the design is parametric, you can adapt it to fit your needs. One version even has conical bearings.

Project description:
Ball-bearings are very popular for 3d-printing. However they often fail for real applications. Using Fusion 360 I've created a parametric design of a "Crossed Roller Slew Bearing". The result is a pretty accurate and robust bearing. The bearing including the rollers is 3d-printed in separate parts. There are a few screws needed to clamp the two halves of the inner race together.

Here is the full video:

Thingiverse page:


A360 download page:



THERO project

THERO is a privacy project developed by Román Torre and Ángeles Angulo, that uses a Raspberry Pi with TOR routing. By moving the front panel you change your connection to the external Internet and your privacy.
It uses 3d printing to make the full enclosure and mold for the concrete encased version.

Here are two videos showing how the project was developed:



Project homepage (in Spanish):


Jun 11, 2017

PrusaControl - a new software interface from Prusa3D

Prusa released a new software aimed at beginners: the PrusaControl, which is a simplified interface for Slic3r Prusa Edition.

Here is the description from the news release:
PrusaControl is an alternative user interface for Slic3r Prusa Edition.
Slic3r Prusa Edition was the first step with a great success and we are extremely proud when people mention they switched back from S3D. But Slic3r has one problem, it is rather complex and intimidating for new users. We cannot do much about this, it is its nature. And that is why PrusaControl was born. It is parallel to Slic3r PE for newcomers to 3D printing, we distil the settings down for the user and put our knowledge to the backend to get the same results. The main goal is to open an object and hit print. PrusaControl is simple, novice friendly and smart.

PrusaControl home page:


Source news article:


Jun 5, 2017

Formlabs Fuse 1 Desktop SLS 3D Printer

Formlabs just released their Fuse 1 3D printer which is a desktop selective laser sintering machine priced at 9,999 USD. It has a 165 x 165 x 320 mm build volume and uses nylon powder.

This is a small revolution on the market and a big step forward in 3D printing availability and affordability!!! Laser sintering machines used to cost in hundreds of thousands and were very large. This will push the competition to respond and lower the prices even more in the future.

Fuse 1 introduction video:

Here is a different promotional "The Human Touch" video:

Fuse 1 homepage:


Here you can see the Fuse 1 size on a table next to a Form 2 SLA machine:

I wonder what will the price of the powder material be? Will it be recyclable and reusable? Will it come in proprietary cartridges with chip control unit?



ViaCAD by Punch!CAD

I'm always on a search for the new and interesting software tools and when I received a tweet from Punch!CAD about their ViaCAD product I decided to take a look.

ViaCAD looks like an easy to use CAD that has an acceptable learning curve and feature set. You can start from the easy models and move into more complex stuff as you learn. Since it has support for many file formats I was able to open and edit things from various sources. The community behind it and support/tutorials available helped me find answers quickly.

The price seems very affordable and there are no additional fees or vendor lock-in features. It runs both on Windows and Mac machines.

ViaCAD has some powerful 3D printing features and tools:

  • 3D Print Check: This tool checks a part for print viability, displaying warnings or errors to the user.
  • Surface Normals Check: Facet normals define the inside and outside areas of a part. If facet normals are pointing the wrong way, the 3D printer may have problems creating the part. If you have a normals issue, there are several commands that can help you fix this problem.
  • Overhang Analysis: The Overhang Analysis tool provides a means to visually inspect modeling areas that may require structural support for 3D printing. Meshes, surfaces, and solids facets normals are compared to the work plane direction. Angles that are less or equal to 45 degrees are highlighted as red.
  • Wall Thickness: The Wall Thickness Analysis tool provides a means to visually inspect modeling areas that may be too thin for 3D printing. Meshes, surfaces, and solids facets are examined using ray intersections. 
  • Preview Slices: The Preview Slices tool provides a user interface to slice models given a direction and thickness. The dialog box allows for animation through the slices and single stepping. One use of the Preview Slice tool is to verify a part has closed, non-overlapping sections, a requirement for 3D printing. The Save Slices option provides several options to save slices to DXF, STL or adds the results directly into your drawing.
  • Auto Position: The Auto Position tool translates the model to the positive x, y coordinate system at z=0.
  • Support Structure: Manually adds geometry to support material as it is created by the 3D printer. Support structures controls, include Attach Radius, Midpoint Radius, Base Radius, Base Thickness and Drag base and midpoints to modify structure location.
  • Show Printer Volume: Toggles the boundary of the default 3D Printer. The volume is defined within the Printer Definitions dialog box.
  • Printer Definitions: Sets key parameters of the 3D printer, including length, width, and height of the volume accessible by the printer. The parameters in the Printer Definitions dialog box are used for commands such as 3D Print Check and Auto Position.

Here is the ViaCAD presentation video:

For much more information go and check out the company website:


In the future, I'm going to explore ViaCAd further and see if it can bring a CAD noob like myself on to the next skill level.

Jun 4, 2017

Aluminum Profiles DIY 3D Printer by Thomas Workshop

I always like to see new 3D printer designs and builds by different people. Recently I found this larger volume (40cm3) machine by "Thomas Workshop" on Instructables. It is fully made from common aluminum profiles and Thomas did put some effort to document and present his work process.
Test prints look good and the frame seems sturdy.

Here is the final video from three part series showing electronics and printing:

Here is the detailed step-by-step build guide with videos, documentation, and picture construction log:


Make a DIY Waterjet Cutter From a Cheap Pressure Cleaner

In my youth, I used to work at a local car wash place. If you traveled trough Balkans you probably saw many of them, and they all use handheld pressure washers. When I saw this video it reminded me of that time and I thought you guys would enjoy and find something useful in this project.

Ben Krasnow used a very cheap pressure washer and attached a DIY abrasive sand container combined with AccuStream professional cutter head to make a low-cost DIY waterjet cutter.
It can cut thin aluminum, wood, and plastics. it looks like the cuts are very precise and controllable. In water only mode it cuts trough soft materials like foam.

Here is the full video with all the details.

Next step would probably be to mount this cutter on a CNC gantry and turn it into a fully computer controlled machine.
Since there are much more powerful pressure washers, like the Karchers I used, this could be made into a more capable device.
With right settings, it could potentially cut plastic 3d printed parts or use it as a sand blasting device for surface finishing.

Applied Science YouTube channel:


Ben's blog:


Jun 3, 2017

Steam Powered 3D Printed Mechanical Computer

Here is something you don't see every day: a steam-powered mechanical computer with nylon 3d printed parts.
It is a version of a Babbage Engine from the 19th century.

Project description:
A simplified version of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine no. 2 has been constructed by Piers Plummer as part of a project with the Computer Science Department at Royal Holloway University of London, funded by The Leverhulme Foundation. In this video, it is performing calculations while being powered by steam!

I just love the looks of it, with all the pipes, valves, and a steam boiler! Even a hand crank!



May 30, 2017

3D Printable Low Cost Servo Based RobotQuad

If you have some extra cheap servos and an Arduino you can use them to make this open source quadruped RobotQuad. It was developed by Regis Hsu and as open source project and its design is updated frequently. It should be a very affordable thing to build as all the servos needed will cost some 20 USD.
In the linked Instructable there are also possibilities to make a remote control unit and IR obstacle detection.

Here is the version 3.0 whit some dance music:

Detailed build instructions can be found at:



Hari Wiguna made a video about his build:

I really like the DIY aesthetics of this robot:

May 29, 2017

Happy 9th birthday RepRap!!!

First RepRap replication happened on this date 9 years ago!!! Happy birthday RepRaps!!! It has been amazing nine years...

Source by RepRapLtd

May 28, 2017

3D Printed DIY Leather Stamps

Black Beard Projects made a video where he shows how he designs leather stamps in Fusion 360 and how he uses them to make patterns with a hand press. With this method, you can make any number of highly custom stamps you need without buying them or waiting for delivery.
It is another great example how 3d printing can be used in even more traditional handcrafts.

Here is the creator's FB page:


Here is the close-up of the stamp making a pattern on a hand-made leather knife sheet

May 22, 2017

Aleph Objects and IC3D Develop First Open Source Filament

Aleph Objects, makers of the LulzBot brand of desktop 3D printers and parts announced a partnership with IC3D to develop the first open source filament. The main goal is to democratize manufacturing.
The filament is Open Source Hardware Association (OSHW) certified.

Video of the talk at the 2017 Midwest RepRap festival:

GitHub repository with filament specifications and other materials:


Lulzbot is also selling the filament at 35USD per 1kg spool:


Source news release:


Cytosurge FluidFM µ3Dprinter is world’s first sub-micron metal 3D printer

Cytosurge AG, based in Zurich Switzerland, presents their revolutionary FluidFM µ3Dprinter which is world’s first 3D sub-micron direct metal printing machine.
This 3D printer could be used as an advanced tool for development of many new scientific and engineering applications from biology to nanorobotics.
It is one of the first steps towards practical manufacturing of parts for nanobots floating in your body to repair the damaged cells.

From the video description:
At the forefront of nanotechnology, additive manufacturing, life sciences and single cell biology, Cytosurge FluidFM µ3Dprinter is the world’s first 3D printer capable of delivering sub-micron resolution in direct metal printing, while offering scalability and good prospects in both production cost and speed.
The FluidFM technology opens a new world for metal object manufacturing and enables research opportunities in fields such as microelectronics, semiconductors, surface modification, microbots, sensors, material science and many other fields. Virtually any design can be offered to the system, including overhanging structures with 90 degree angles, without support structures or post processing steps.
High-precision surface modification processes can also be executed by printing ultra-thin or structured objects and by depositing multiple metals at the target surface. With the FluidFM µ3Dprinter various metals like Cu, Ag, Au, Pt can be printed.
The printing of other metals (Sn, Cd, Cr, Ni etc.) and various alloys are under investigation.

Company homepage:


May 21, 2017

TriDInnov 3D Prints Electronic Components on Plastic Surfaces

Looks like TriDInnov from France has a working technology that prints conductive electronics on plastic surfaces. 

Technology description:
Startup company TriDInnov provides additive metallization for plastic and composite materials electronic packaging, is linked through a closed partnership with equipment manufacturer Kelenn Technology, launching the new Kelenn Technology DMD 100, an off-contact digital dispenser which deposits the TDI thick film formulation EOPROM (primer formulation for metallization process) showcasing their prototype circuits which have been manufactured with the DMD 100, depositing their EOPROM thick film formulation on molded device.
TriDInnov's technology brings to the electronic packaging market a new manufacturing process which repositions the MID towards new business areas such as to add value to composite materials especially in the automotive area. They are to invest in a technology platform in order to manufacture MID prototypes circuits for their customers in order to push their technology acceptance in the marketplace.


BlackBelt 3D printer works with conveyor belt print surface

BlackBelt is a new 3D printer that uses a carbon fiber conveyor belt as build surface. As it prints at an angle it can produce really long objects.  It can make many different objects in series or one big object.
Due to geometry and angle, some objects will need a "starter" object or support to hang on to.
It is also possible to print support-free overhangs!

BlackBelt specifications:

  • Industrial linear guides
  • Build volume of 13″ x 13″ x infinity
  • Adjustable print angles: 45° is the default, but some parts come out better at the lower angles of 15°, 25°, and 34°
  • 1.75 mm filament diameter
  • €9,500 for desktop version, €12,500 for large system with standing supports

This machine looks very interesting, but what gets me suspicious is a lack of video material. There are only a few short videos and no reviews, tests or extensive presentations.

Update (19.06.2017.):

BlackBelt went on Kickstarter and they announced that they have a patent pending, the 3d printing community claimed that there are issues about that since there were similar open sourced systems.
More can be found at:


Detailed Guide On How To Build Ultimaker 2 Extended Clone

You really want to have an Ultimker 2+ Extended but don't have the money? You support open source and hold a grudge against Ultimaker for going closed source? Well, here is a perfect project for you.
Betrue3d site has a detailed guide on how to make an open source version with all the details you will need.
Great work betrue3d!

Here is the link to the first post in the series:


May 20, 2017

3D Printable DIY Rotary Tool aka. Dremel Clone

Makernaut developed and published this great 3d printable rotary tool or Dremel. It looks easy to make even with entry level electronics skills and has three 3d printed enclosure parts.

It is powered by 12V DC motor (listed as 6000 rpm, RS-550S motor, diameter~37mm), it has PWM DC motor controller (3A) and mini chuck / collet set for 3.17mm shaft to hold the tool bits.

Here is the build guide video with a short demonstration:

Full Instructables with STLs and parts list can be found at:


You can also go and see Makernaut's youtube channel:


New 3D Printed Airplane Seats Could Make Huge Savings

Autodesk researcher Andreas Bastian used advanced generative design to make a new type of lightweight airplane seat that could make huge savings on fuel and money if applied in future aircraft.
Due to complex geometry, the seat was made on Cronus 3D printer with 5 printheads and then cast in metal.

Project description:
The structure was 56% lighter than the conventional aluminum seats. With 30% calculated to be purely down to the generative design.
Autodesk believes these weight savings could rapidly reduce fuel emissions and thus drastically save costs. Calculating the projected cost savings, the team evaluated the weight savings into fuel savings.
By doing so, the project cites an estimate of $200 million USD in possible reductions over the lifetime of a fleet of 100 aircraft. Additionally, the team calculates fuel emission savings that could compare to removing 80,000 cars off the road for a year.



DIY Mobile Laser Cutter in 3D Printed Frame by Josh Hughes

Josh Hughes is developing a DIY handheld mobile laser cutter and engraver in 3d printable housing. In theory with this device, you would not be limited by a surface and it could work on a battery power.

Here is a design study:

Here is a model of 3d printable enclosure body, the design is now more refined with more ergonomic side handles:

Here is a prototype working with, what seems like, salvaged laser diode and optical drives:

You can follow the process on developers YT channel:


Laser engravings made as a test 

May 17, 2017

Three Hyper Cool 3D Printed Chairs

Here are three 3d printed chairs that look very futuristic and HYPER cool. They will probabyl find their place in some modern art gallery or in a tech billionaires mansion.

Voxel chair v1.0 by the Bartlett's Design Computation Lab

Source and more info:


Lilian van Daal's  Biomimicry chair

Source and more info:


Jungsub Shim's Connect chair made by hand with 3d printing pen

Source and more info:


Well, they look cool, but are they comfortable? I doubt it. I'm actually pretty certain that they are almost unusable. I like my cheap Chinese faux-leather lazy-boy copy, chewed out by my dogs, where I can chillax with beer and chips in front of the TV.

Design thin PLA objects and make them strong in your oven

"CNC Kitchen" published this great video on how he designed gardening clips for his raspberries. He focuses on how to design thin-walled object in Fusion 360 and how to make it more weather resistant and stronger by annealing them in his oven.

Here is the video where you will learn a nice and easy design flow process and see several tools in action:

Here is the clip STL:


Here is the CNC Kitchen YT channel:


And here are the PLA clips in the oven at 80C for 1 hour:

How to reduce rattling noise on your 3d printer

Tech2C, an Aussi 3d printing youtube, made this video where he shows how to eliminate and reduce the noise, vibration or rattling for his 3d printer.

He uses a HyperCube 3D Printer but his guide is applicable for almost any machine. Used upgrades are rubber feet, foam insulation, stepper motor dampeners or shock absorbers and TMC 2100 stepper drivers with stealthChop mode.

There is a great comment thread under that video with many additional ideas.

Tech2C YouTube channel link:


Astrosyn shock absorber for NEMA17 used:

Amazing Laser Cut and 3D Printed Art by John Edmark

John Edmark creates the most amazing art pieces inspired by fractal geometry, spirals and natural organic shapes using laser cutting and 3d printing.

The laser cut movable tentacle gripper from plywood is something I would like to make...

The art of John Edmark is described in depth in this talk by Paul Dancstep:

Artist's homepage with detailed presentations of many sculptures:


May 7, 2017

SelfCAD is a new browser based CAD and slicer software

SelfCAD is a new browser based CAD and slicer application with many powerful features but focused on simplicity and usability. It has a subscription based model with a free trial and has a somewhat high cost for the benefit it provides.

Here is how SelfCAD is described:
SelfCAD 's mission is to make 3D designing and printing accessible to everyone, including professional designers, as well as hobbyists and students who have little to no prior expertise using CAD/CAM software. One of the greatest achievements of SelfCAD is its simplicity and a low entry price point. Advanced shapes can be created within minutes using various shape creators.
SelfCAD is an online browser-based CAD/CAM platform which allows the you to model, sculpt, slice and print online. With SelfCAD, you do not have to spend months learning complex software and pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege. SelfCAD is about simplicity, affordability and accessibility. Learn, create, and print objects in a fraction of the time required with traditional CAD/CAM software.

SelfCAD introduction video:

Here is one of the feature demonstrations focusing on 3d screw generator:

Slicer video tutorial:

You can check it out at:


SelfCAD has a very active YouTube channel with many tutorials and feature demonstrations:

SelfCAD on YouTube

Here is an interview with the CEO and founder, Aaron Breuer:


Podcast interview on 3D Start Point: https://3dstartpoint.com/teach-your-selfcad-with-aaron-breuer/

SelfCAD user interface

May 6, 2017

3D Printable DIY 600 Watt Halbach Array DC Motor

Christoph Laimer, well known for his 3d printable motor designs, developed a new and more powerful DC motor. It has 600 Watts of output power and performs with more than the 80% efficiency. The magnets of the rotor are arranged as a Halbach array and the motor runs with a standard ESC widely used in different RC applications (plane, drone, car etc.).

This project is a perfect example how you can use 3d printing for some ver powerful and practical printable objects. This is not just another fidget spinner, THIS ROCKS!!!

Presentation video:

Construction tutorial video:

Testing with the propeller attached:

Project homepage where you can buy the files for 10 USD (well worth when you see how effective this design is):


Very detailed step-by-step Instructables page:


ESA 3D Prints Moondust Bricks for Space Colony Construction

Space colonies will be built with 3d printers. We will never see bricklayers and construction workers in space suits.

Technology description:
Bricks have been 3D printed out of simulated moondust using concentrated sunlight. This ESA project took place at the DLR German Aerospace Center facility in Cologne, with a 3D printer table attached to a solar furnace, baking successive 0.1 mm layers of moondust at a temperature of 1000°C. A 20 x 10 x 3 cm brick for building can be completed in around five hours.
DLR Cologne’s solar furnace has two working setups: as a baseline, it uses 147 curved mirror facets to focus either actual sunlight into a high temperature beam, employed to melt together the grains of regolith. But this mode is weather dependent, so a solar simulator was subsequently employed as well – based on an array of xenon lamps more typically found in cinema projectors.

ESA project homepage:


May 5, 2017

Make Your Own Fixed Gear Electric Bike With 3D Printing

Tom Stanton developed a 3d printable system that converts a regular bicycle into an electric powered one. Biggest 3d printed parts are the motor mount and wheel pulley system.
He modified the "Vilano Rampage" fixed gear fixie single speed road bike. The motor used this project is the Turnigy Aerodrive SK3 - 6374-149kv brushless outrunner motor with 6s 5000mah li-po battery.

Presentation video:

Here is the Q&A video about the bike electrification:

All the project files, BOM and instructions can be found at:


May 4, 2017

Marlin 1.1 released!!!

The new Marlin 1.1 firmware has been released with many new features and upgrades!

Here is the description from github site: Marlin 1.1 Release Notes

"Marlin 1.1 represents an evolutionary leap over Marlin 1.0.2. It is the result of over two years of effort by several volunteers around the world who have paid meticulous and sometimes obsessive attention to every detail. For this release, we focused on code quality, performance, stability, and overall user experience. Several new features have also been added, many of which require no extra hardware.

The code has been significantly optimized in several areas, leading to fewer stutters, better delta performance, more reliable USB/Serial communication, and more consistent and deterministic results."

Key improvements are:
  • More consistent configuration with sanity-checking.
  • Many more boards supported, with sane defaults for most common features. Improved thermal protection, enabled by default with tight margins for error.
  • Improved Auto Bed Leveling with Bilinear Mesh and probeless operation.
  • Unified Bed Leveling™ – Combining all forms of bed leveling in one package, plus tools like G26 Mesh Validation to improve leveling accuracy even further.
  • Option to "fade" leveling compensation out over several layers to save computes on long prints.
  • Support for up to 5 extruders with different geometries.
  • Support for mixing and switching extruders. Linear Advance compensates for viscosity and pressure to reduce ooze and improve surfaces.
  • Dozens of languages including Japanese, Galician, and Simplified Chinese.
  • Significantly improved UI performance, especially Graphical Display.
  • Display rate adjusts dynamically to prevent print stuttering.
  • M600 Filament Change, Nozzle Clean, Nozzle Park, Auto Park on Pause, etc.
  • Improved support for Bed Leveling probes and Manual Probing.
  • Support for Trinamic steppers, i2c control, steppers as endstops.
  • Endstops can use pin interrupts for improved performance.
  • M43 Pins Debugging to report about, test, and monitor pins and endstops.
  • Print Job Timer
  • Sorted SD Card file listings.
  • Improved host integration, extended capabilities report, keepalive messages, auto-report temperature, and more!
  • Integrated I2C Bus allowing Marlin to interoperate on multiple boards.
  • Support for Case Light, RGB LED, LED Strip. Printer events feedback.
  • New features too numerous to list here. Read the config files for details!
For complete Marlin documentation and downloads go to the Marlin Homepage:


GitHub repository:


Apr 30, 2017

New Rapid Liquid Printing 3D Printing Process from MIT

Very smart people from MIT developed a novel 3d printing process called "Rapid Liquid Printing" where a material is injected into a gelatine cube medium that acts as a support. It increases the speed and you can get complex geometries.

You can see it in this video:

Process description:
In collaboration with Steelcase, we are presenting a new experimental process called Rapid Liquid Printing, a breakthrough 3D printing technology. Rapid Liquid Printing physically draws in 3D space within a gel suspension, and enables the creation of large scale, customized products made of real-world materials. Compared with other techniques we believe this is the first development to combine industrial materials with extremely fast print speeds in a precisely controlled process to yield large-scale products.
3D printing hasn’t taken off as a mainstream manufacturing process for three main reasons: 1) it’s too slow compared to conventional processes like injection molding, casting, milling, etc. 2) it’s limited by scale – although it’s good for creating small components, it’s not possible to produce large scale objects 3) the materials are typically low-quality compared to industrial materials.
Rapid Liquid Printing addresses all of these limitations: it is incredibly fast (producing structures in a matter of minutes), designed for large scale products (you can print an entire piece of furniture) and uses real-world, industrial-grade materials.

It looks interesting as a concept, but practicality is questionable. It takes a lot of gel support material, there are various foces, hard to design geometry due to the medium, the extruder "needle" effects the object geometry, materials need to be easy to separate... Still, it looks very promising for some future advanced applications and bioprinting.

MITs Self-Assembly Lab page:


Detalied article on Dezeen:


Apr 29, 2017

TrussFab Builds Complex Structures with 3D Printed Hubs and Bottles

Researchers at Hasso Plattner Institute developed TrussFab system which enables you to design and build large complex structures like furniture, boats, and buildings. Hopefully, they will open source the software.

Project description:
TrussFab is an integrated end-to-end system that allows users to fabricate large-scale structures that are sturdy enough to carry human weight. TrussFab achieves the large scale by complementing 3D print with plastic bottles.  TrussFab achieves the large scale by complementing 3D print with plastic bottles. It does not use these bottles as “bricks” though, but as beams that form structurally sound node-link structures, also known as trusses.

TrussFab presentation video:

Project homepage with more information about it:


Full scientific publication in PDF:


3d printed structural hub holding the bottle trusses

Apr 27, 2017

3D Printable Hand Saw Made from HTPLA Carbon Fiber Filament

Josh Hughes 3d printed a somewhat functional hand saw from carbon fiber filament. It is made from Protopasta HTPLA carbon fiber material and it can cut tough small pieces of soft wood but the laers separate due to cutting forces.
Josh notes that it could be prevented by applying a cyanoacrylate coating.

Josh has a currently small YouTube channel, but I think it will be worth following:


Apr 23, 2017

Cool 3D Printable MGA Speaker with Laser Cut Plywood Grill

Here is another cool 3d printable speaker with modern design and the front cover that is laser cut from plywood with different design patterns. It is driven by RaspberryPi and you could probably install any compatible media center software.

Creators describe it as:
This 3d printed speaker is designed at the course Mechatronics Design at the Technical University of Denmark, in collaboration with Bang&Olufsen Create.
In a group of five: Karoline Gustaffson, Mads Olesen, Frederikke Foss, Christian Lundberg and Nicoline Hvidt, we designed, printed, cut and build the speaker, with guidance from our teachers and cooperates from B&O.
The speaker is meant for the kitchen where it can be put on the wall or laid on a table. It is designed so that the front cover can easily be taken on and off so the speaker reflects the specific mood. It is also a great opportunity for customizing the speaker.
Time-estimation:Print-time: 2x15 hoursAssembly-time: 10 hours

Thingiverse page:


Here is the project page with detailed construction guide:


Apr 22, 2017

DIY 3D Printed No 2 Pencil by Josh Hughes

Josh Hughes 3d printed a fully working No. 2 pencil. He used a type of wood PLA with a standard graphite insert. 

Josh wrote:
Next time I will use an electric sharpener. I was worried the heat from sharpening it with and electric sharpener would melt the plastic.
Anyhow, The body of the No. 2 pencil is HatchBox Wood PLA, and the eraser connection is Protopasta's HTPLA Carbon Fiber.
The "No. 2" was laser-engraved on the face of the pencil after it had finished printing, and all of the components were superglued together.

3D Printed DIY 1/16 Ratio Gearbox for DC Motors

Tomi Malkki made a 1/16 ratio 3d printed gearbox that he uses to modify torque and RPM of salvaged DC motors.

Project description with gearbox specs:

This gearbox has the ratio of 1/16. With this 12v motor it can lift around 3,5kg (straight from the shaft.) 2 washers should place between each gear (see details in video). It reduces heat between plastic parts when 2 washers are rubbing each other. Adding lots of bearing grease between everything is essential. Depending on your printer tolerances you might need drill out some holes bigger. Motor mount should be standard size.


  • layer 0.2
  • infill 25%
  • perimeters 3
  • bottom layer 2, top 3


  • Layer 0.3
  • infill 20%
  • perimeters 2
  • bottom layer 2, top 3

Here is the assembly video:

He also cleaned all the surfaces with oil and dirt cleaner, then added a layer of primer, 2 layers of surface paint and 2 layers of clear lacquer, he is using acrylic spray paints.

This is a very useful DIY project that can power many small projects like RC vehicles or robots.

All the files and instructions can be found at:


Thingiverse page:


Apr 21, 2017

Printrbot Smalls New Low Cost 3D Printer

Printrbot just introduced the Printrbot Smalls! It is a new low cost entry level 3d printer from a well known company. It is priced at $298!

Here is the presentation video of the last beta model, final production design will be more polished:

Tech specs:

  • Model: 1704
  • Build Volume (X-Y-Z): 100mm x 100mm x 130mm (apx 4″ x 4″ x 5″ / 80 cubic inches)
  • Print Resolution: 100 Microns
  • Print Speed: 80mm/sec max recommended
  • Filament: 1.75mm PLA (sample included)
  • Extruder: yes
  • Auto Leveling: Auto-Leveling Probe works with software to calibrate Z axis height (see video)
  • Print Bed: Not heated – 1/8″ 6061 aluminum (0.3mm level tolerance)
  • Construction: _
  • Belt: GT2
  • Z Lead Screw: Acme 4 Start
  • Pulleys: 20 tooth, dual flange GT2 aluminum
  • Electronics: Printrbot Rev F5 Printrboard with USB B connection and micro SD card slot for untethered printing
  • Software: Printrbot does not provide software, but recommends Cura v15.04 – available for free download.
  • Power Requirements: 12V (6 amp) laptop power supply (included)
  • Motors: NEMA 17 stepper. 
  • Overall Footprint:  16.6″ x 13″ x 11″ (L x W x H)

The Smalls is a small, portable, and versatile 3D printer kit for the hacker, maker, or student on a budget …not afraid to build a kit and engage in our community forum for support.  Build volume begins at 4″ x 4″ x 5″ (X-Y-Z), but the possibility to expand is there with our upgrade kits (coming soon) or your own design whimsy.
The Smalls is perfect for customization.  Paint the stock metal.  Print your own parts out of any filament you like.  Install almost any existing upgrade and/or accessory in the Printrbot store.  Get the idea?  Make the Smalls your own!
Construction decisions were pragmatic, using the right fabrication tool for each job: Pristine machined aluminum, water jet 5052 and 6061 aluminum plate, and just a dollop of 3D printed parts to give it that “reprap flavor”.
Okay, so how does it print?  Since this is a kit, the results are largely up to you, but make no mistake.  In the hands of an experienced user (like the ones we have here at PBHQ), the Smalls can produce results comparable to the Play, Simple, or Plus.
This absolutely is the lowest priced 3D printer we’ve ever released!  (except for one other laser cut wood kit with fishing line instead of belts and sandpaper pulleys instead of real pulleys that was only available for a limited time until we corrected both price and some design problems …but let’s just keep that between us).   It is definitely the least expensive printer that we will EVER, EVER release  …that we know of. …for now.
We are pretty sure it is the most affordable American-Made 3D printer.   Definitely the most economical Northern-California-Made 3D printer.  Totally the most budget-friendly 3D printer manufactured in Lincoln, CA.  Not “cheap”, just inexpensive.

Printrbot Smalls homepage:


Sub 300 USD market segment is certainly getting more interesting. Competition is a great thing!

We are still waiting for third party reviews and tests but Printrbot has a proven track record of making solid designs.

Here is a Facebook presentation by Brook Drumm:

Apr 17, 2017

Amazing RepRap Helios with Sequential 3D Printing

RepRap Helios is a SCARA 3d printer with some great features combined with unique movement mechanics and design approach.

Introduction video:

Key specifications as described by the developer:
  • It is highly printable.
  • 153mm arms similar to RepRap Morgan
  • Gear reduction similar to RepRap Morgan
  • Same kinematics as RepRap Morgan (Well...this can change arm modes but we won't start doing that until after we get some prints.)
  • Fits in a 200x225x250 box
  • Can print objects that are up to 600mm long
  • All four motors (400 steps/rotation) are static while providing a structural support and their own wire-management.
  • Prints directly on a tape covered table
  • Planning on using an IR depth probe
  • Could probably print all the parts for a self-replication run in one go.

Here is the sequential printing on a flat table surface with some blue tape demonstrating the advantage of this machine:

Great work by Nicholas Seward! Since this is a project in development we can expect much more improvements.

RepRap forum development thread:


Google+ Helios page with further details including very good print results: