bowman on October 24th, 2014
Lost PLA cast wades gear extruder assembly

Lost PLA cast wades gear extruder assembly

wades gear extruder assembly cast out of recycled scrap 6061 Aluminum

Wades gear extruder assembly cast out of recycled scrap 6061 Aluminum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Primer

In land where investment banking was king, mortgage based security swaps, dark pools and high frequency trading brought this nation to its knees. The inherent flaw wasn’t over leverage, it was that these strategies are all games based on stealing wealth from one another. But, in a finite system, only so much wealth can be acquired. It was like the country forgot how to produce wealth. Business has been lacking its partner and equal Industry. Throughout history business and industry worked well together in times of peace and in times of war. Industries would produce, and Business would connect.  In a time where the world has become more accessible, and the information is readily available, the intellectual talent has migrated from the financial sector. They left to use their mathematical genius and engineering prowess to write algorithms that run large digital companies. These online companies that do search, shopping, auctions, trading can measure their assets in bytes. These businesses have boosted physical industries that weren’t viable, and seemed insane ten years ago, electric cars, space travel, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering. Our society has reached the tipping point where data transfer is cheaper and more viable then physical transfer. Now business and industry can build off of the infrastructure of the internet using 3D printers as tiny modular  factories that can traverse the globe in seconds.

 

3D printed=> Cast from Aluminum=> direct injection mold frames ready for scalable prototype production

3D printed=> Cast from Aluminum=> direct injection mold frames ready for scalable prototype production

 

Testing out the injection mold's flow

Testing out the injection mold’s flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injection mold tests using recycled HDPE

Injection mold tests using recycled HDPE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of shipping…what is that?

Shipping data vs shipping product, 3D printers are the next best thing to a teleporter.  Data can travel across the globe in a manner of seconds/minutes, allowing parts, object, etc is then manufactured on site. This allows us to consolidate the custom parts, complex geometries, and design into a quantifiable number of bytes. This allows manufacturing in industries to become independent of it’s own local and infrastructure in the same way that smart phones and mobile devices have allowed people to work and communicate independently regardless of location. 3D printers are the mobile devices of industry incredibly powerful tools that accommodate 80% of the users needs regardless of location.

 

Parametric design makes 3D printing scalable

The previous article “Rapid Manufacture: Iteration and Industry” documented how it is now simple and cost-effective for any business/start-up to manufacture fast prototypes. This can be done easily without expensive die/molding cost to fine tune functional prototypes before production is scaled up to the these more industrialized processes.  Designs can and should be iterated until an ideal solution is apparent before it enters industry. A growing number of people are bridging the design and computer science to create a parametric designs that are essentially the root algorithms for object design. These parametric designers are the driving force behind the rapid prototyping and rapid manufacture. With a few changes in variable the objects can rebuild themselves to accommodate stresses, loads, power to weight ratios, the list goes on. Parametric designs make rapid prototyping scalable to a point where custom, and standard have equal cost.

 

A simple example of a complex surface cast in aluminum from a parametric model

(knurled bracelet) a simple example of a complex surface cast in aluminum from a parametric model

 

Manufacturing on site

Remember these parts are being produced in the low grade shop conditions arguably these are worst case scenarios.  The kiln is from 1970, the furnace was made from scratch it does not run on forced air. The investment is not being vacuumed or degassed. The temperature for burnout is being loosely regulated. The vacuum source for casting is a standard shop vac with a steel vessel and high temperature silicone for a gasket. The metal is not high grade casting aluminum, this is scrap 6061 aluminum left over from fabrication work, it is not cleaned or prepared for the blast furnace. The crucible is a simple mullite crucible. This is about as low-tech as you can get.

Cast heat sinks still on their sprues

Cast heat sinks still on their sprues

 

Rough heat sinks after de-sprueing

Rough heat sinks after de-sprueing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3D printing allows for complex components to be tightly integrated improving their design, efficacy , and usability.

3D printing allows for complex components to be tightly integrated improving their design, efficacy , and usability.

 

Applications for Space

Casting functional parts in space there is a huge change in cost of transport vs cost to recycle and remember energy is essentially free in space because solar cell efficiency increases drastically after passing through earths atmosphere. Induction furnaces make an effective way to melt metal in space without have to waste fuel. Vacuum casting resolves the molten metal in zero gravity problem. This makes for an effective solution to manufacturing replacement parts in space, where the time and preparation for launch to the space station, can take months of preparation. Alternatively salvaging scrap material to make replacement parts in space will avoid the high cost of transport. Excess space debris can be salvaged and repurposed into necessary parts to expand in space in a scalable and affordable manner.

 

Cast aluminum pulley for serpentine belt

Cast aluminum pulley for serpentine belt

 

Tissue Engineering for Regenerative Medicine

Tissues have been printed for several years now in the growing fields of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Anthony Atala’s work in regenerative medicine e.g. 3D printing the kidney, knee cartilage replacement, etc takes advantage of machines that can manufacture the complex hollow organs with sophisticated internal geometry that we depend on for life.

http://www.ted.com/talks/anthony_atala_printing_a_human_kidney

3D printers make internal geometry an approachable problem by working layers. These organs can be infused with live cells or growth factors using the same pipelines that the blood will be using later to power/feed the organs. Now the research gap is not can it be printed at the correct resolution, but how many inkjet heads are needed to get repeatable in vitro and in vivo results.

 

Bone-PEG hybrid scaffold

Bone-PEG hybrid scaffold

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bowman on October 3rd, 2014
Oh yes, we did.

“Oh yes, we did.”

For the past year we have been busy building, testing, documenting and refining the process of taking 3D printed parts and using “Lost PLA” burnout to cast for parts for more robust applications. The documentation is bordering 100+pages, with 20+ pages of brute force data. We will try to keep it simple, show off with a few shiny throwbacks, hopefully inspire ideas for the potential, and give some technical specs to boost the capabilities of those open source open hardware folks who love a good clean walkthrough.

This is a rough sketch of how to assemble a mini blast furnace

This is a rough sketch of how to assemble a mini blast furnace

This design prevents the vacuum from sucking up molten metal if the plaster in the flask fails to seal.

This design prevents the vacuum from sucking up molten metal if the plaster in the flask fails to seal.

The sketches go through the simple breakdown of a furnace in basic parts and vacuum trap parts. More information can be found here.  Any casting plaster can be used for when investing flasks for casting.

 

Load Kiln

Load Kiln

 

This is a generic burnout template, that works for most applications.

This is a generic burnout template, that works for most applications.

 

Clean burnout occurs ~1000-1300F

Clean burnout occurs ~1000-1300F.

 

Flasks are primed over a vacuum chamber before receiving the charge of molten metal

Flasks are primed over a vacuum chamber before receiving the charge of molten metal.

 

The test metal was scrap 6061 aluminum, and/or silicon bronze to ensure anyone could replicate the process easily.

The test metal was scrap 6061 aluminum, and/or silicon bronze to ensure anyone could replicate the process easily.

This is how parts look after they have been quenched, with no cleanup, simply rinsed with water.

This is how parts look after they have been quenched, with no cleanup, simply rinsed with water.

These parts yielded data about hole size requirements and edge cases. The goal was to quantify what was likely to succeed.

These parts yielded data about hole size requirements and edge cases. The goal was to quantify what was likely to succeed.

 

Casting Data

Parts can have clean interior corners, where CNC machines would fail to accomplish because of the cutter size. Self intersecting geometry is also not a problem. Edge case castings have been hearty with 13 fins space 1.6mm apart extending 15mm up and continuous for 40mm. This means complex geometry for cooling fins has little cost to prototype.The hard part is conceptualizing how volumetric shrinkage occurs. Basically the part will shrink ~2-3% depending on the alloy, but holes will get bigger as metal contracts from the side walls of the plaster. This means that parts need to be scale up ~2% while holes need to shrink by 2%. This allows parts to be well toleranced if machined afterwards.

The best part for testing the capabilities of any machine or process, thank you Loic.

The best part for testing the capabilities of any machine or process, thank you Loic.

A simple linkage cast separately and then assembled.

A simple linkage cast separately and then assembled.

Extremely complex parts that cannot be machined can easily be cast in production volumes allowing standard 3D print/cast parts to; withstand high temperature applications, parts have higher strength to weight ratio, parts can be custom bearing/bushing systems(when bronze is used), and parts can be used to create custom heat sinks (when aluminum is used).

The goal was to see if multiples could be cast simultaneously to minimize cost

Scalability for print to cast can minimize labor cost because sprue trees snap together like legos.

Scalability for print to cast can minimize labor cost because sprue trees snap together like legos.

Rapid manufacturing being applied to test injection molded screw caps [blue material is LDPE]

Rapid manufacturing being applied to test injection molded screw caps [blue material is LDPE]

 

Rapid manufacture of injection molds allows for even the smallest of shops to become competitive with standard injection molding. 3D printing adds ease and flexibility for companies to change their designs/molds faster and keep up with the demand.

Cast bust of a 3D scan

Cast bust of a 3D scan

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ganter on August 26th, 2014
flowerPsykopainted

{A flower image created with PsykoPaint. Ganter@2014}

Dear 3DP Readers,

We have attended a couple of 3D printing conferences, events and exhibits over the last few months.

It has been GREAT seeing all of you and sharing in all of the work that is being accomplished.

We have gotten many direct requests to start writing posts again. Okay, we hear your requests.

ganter on December 31st, 2013

There is a classic poem “The  Old Year” by John Clare which seemed quite fitting for this New Year’s Eve post.

Assembled-prusa-mendel

The Old Printer Day
by Prints Clear

The Old Bot’s gone away
To nothingness and blight:
It does not work all the day
Nor heat its bed by night:
It has no stepstick, heat or fan
Either in skein or slic3r:
The last year we scanned a friendly face,
In this year’s mesh we mixed and mashed.

All botch prints everywhere:
Smoke we on boards see
Have more of substance with chips fried
And lost of driver are we.
We have a spare for many a chip,
In many a box or bag–
A Pololu to every heart’s desire,
And now it prints for again.

Old models cast away,
Old printers cast aside,
The talk of yesterday,
Of things Mendelfied;
But bad prints thrown away
New voice of Kossel to call:
The eve of New Printer’s Day
Old Bots are lost to all.

minikosseldeltabot_pi

ganter on December 22nd, 2013

After a bit of a wait, the holiday elves brought us a new Sense scanner.   The Sense scanner is a new product in the Cubify family.   It is a reasonably low cost  device (< $400) and includes software suit (including drivers).      The good news is the software and hardware were easy to install and worked on the first try (although the software gives the impression that it is keyed to the hardware).    You must register your hardware to get a key to use the software (it happens in real time).

This scanner is a paint as you go (i.e. you move the scanner around the object rather than moving the object).   The software provides 5 different size/system settings (2 for people and 3 for objects).   The scanner is provides both color information and geometry (remember to save your file in PLY format if you want color).

Overall this product seems like a win.

Please check out the Ben Heck review on 3Ders.org 

ganter_bust2

The PLY file output as displayed in MeshLab.

ganter_bustBW2

 

The STL file out as displayed in MeshLab.

3DP_Ganter_Bust2

 

A picture of the 3D printed part.

ganter on March 11th, 2013

While everyone has been buzzing about the 3Doodler and especially the amazing success of their crowd-sourced financing, we thought that a little spoof was in order.

3Dougher:

the world’s first 3D printing dough device

Many hacker and maker spaces have been exploring new 3D printing devices and systems.   We even spent quite a bit of time exploring new material systems.

We all come back to wanting to 3D print food.    Ever wanted a hand-held device that would allow you to make 3D creations at the touch of a button.

Introducing the 3Dougher…

3Dougher

 

3Dougher. This electric dough dispenser allows your to take your 3D cooking skills to new levels.  Simply load the 3Dougher with your favorite dough or toppings and squeeze the trigger.   You are off 3doughing.   Included with 3Dougher are 12 different extrusion discs and three nozzle tips for the ultimate 3Doughing experience.

This simple tigger will set you free…

3Dougher2

 

Let your 3Doughing go wild:

3Dougher3

3Dougher6 3Dougher5

 

This product has been in development for quite some time.   Shown below is one of the early manual test models.   As you can see, we come a long way to bring you the 3Dougher.

3Dougher8

 

Why not 3Dough some liver pate’ (or crab spread) on a cracker?

{many web sites were raided to find these images to make this spoof possible.  please accept our 3D-polyogies}.

ganter on March 4th, 2013

First and foremost, I would like to offer congratulations to Mr. Hugh Lyman ( from Enumclaw, Washington) who very recently won the The Desktop Factory Competition  with his entry “The Lyman Filament Extruder II”.    This is a DIY filament extruder that allows one to make 1.75mm filament for FFF/FDM class 3D printers directly from pellets.      (We’ve had a couple of students groups playing with these ideas every since WOOF printed the milk-jug boat.)  Awesome job!  A big tip of the hat.

lymanextruder

 

{The Lyman Filament Extruder II}

Over the past couple of months of Saturdays, several of us have gotten together to build some plastic PrintrBots.    I printed the bag of plastic PrintrBot  parts for them (in traditional RepRap fashion).   I gave them some pointers to Brook Drumm’s excellent videos of PrintrBot assembly.      I observed the overall process happen and was amazed.  So many questions. “What’s a BOM?” “Why isn’t there just one BOM?”  “Why  do the BOM’s change almost daily?”  “This is the fourth time I’ve taken the X carriage apart, Why?”   “Why do two of my motors have different color wires than the rest?”   “What, I can’t see that… Where are my glasses?”   And MANY MORE…

None of the original team had ever really seen a DIY 3D printer up-close and personal.    It was fun.    Two Saturday’s ago, the first printer started to print!  We even had a member or two from the WOOF team stop over.  While, we just about have all bots up and running, the discussion turned to “What bot should we try next?”

Fred1

 

{Fred Metz from Spiral Arts with his new Plastic PrintrBot }

Remember, you don’t stop playing because you get old…. you get old because you stop playing.

 

ganter on February 24th, 2013

When Professor William R. Ledoux (an affiliate associate professor in ME and full-time researcher at the VA Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering first asked us to help him develop a teaching model, we thought it would be fairly easy.   Our first idea was simply to create a human sized foot made out of transparent material with the foot bones inside.  The idea seemed straight forward.  First produce a mold of the exterior skin surface and then 3D print the bones of the foot.   Place the bones inside the mold and then add transparent/clear material to the mold.   The idea worked but the result was not really all that useful.  It lacked articulation  {Recently this object is a demonstration print for one of the multi-material printing vendors}

Last year about this time, we had another meeting to discuss the teaching foot model.

Ledoux’s idea was much clearer.

“The primary purpose of the 2x foot model is for demonstrations during lectures. Often times, I will want to point to a specific bone or move a joint through a range of motion. This can be difficult to effectively perform with a typical commercially purchased foot model, which is about 20 cm long, as those beyond the first few rows of the room cannot see the demonstration. This issue is easily avoided with the 2x foot model as the bones are clearly visible from the back of most rooms.”

This time the idea was to create a twice size model of the bones in the foot which would allow articulation of each bone.    Again, the idea seemed straight forward.   A team of two students went into planning mode to create/model and then 3D print each bone in the foot and then connect them using flexible cord to allow movement.   The models was constructed from CT/MIR data.   The result is quite startling.

Little_Foot_vs_Big_Foot

{a normal sized human foot and a two times life size foot for teaching}

We know the Prof. Ledoux often asks students in lecture to guess how much larger than life is this foot.   He waits for the respones with a smile.

3D printing or Additive Manufacturing allows for change of object scale almost for free.   The result can make a big impression.

ganter on February 17th, 2013

It’s that time of year, time to attend meet and greets with potential employers (and their representatives).  How to stand out from the rest of the crowd?  Just add a 3D printed bow tie fresh off of Thingiverse (thanks to designers Papillon and Austin) and your 3D printer.

image

Here we have Corwin showing off that new interview look.

3DP_Tie

We asked Corwin “How did it go (with that tie)?”   His response “Folks thought it was pretty cool!”

 

 

ganter on January 15th, 2013

by Sydney Dahl

Haven’t you always dreamt of having miniature, edible figurines of yourself? Yeah, neither did I. At least not until this possibility became a reality in one of my classes last quarter. Taking ME480 (one of our AM classes) with Professor Storti opened up endless possibilities for creative gifts… assuming your friends would enjoy, quite literally, biting your head off  (like mine did).

Food friendly molds were used to create the gummi and chocolate figurines.  A two sided mold set was required to create the figurine of a single person (one for the front and one for the back, which are put together to create a mold for the full body.)

The process to create these molds began by 3D scanning ourselves using the Microsoft 360 Kinect scanner in the lab and ReconstructMe software (. These scans were then imported into Rhino3D to create the inverse of the desired final molds. Once the 3D model was completed, they were printed on the 3DP powder printer, also located in the lab. Below you can see the mold parts — one intact and another that was not so lucky. These molds halves together create the full 3D figurine. Both of the parts below have been waxed after being printed on the 3DP powder printer.

sydney1

A  food-grade Silicone mold material was then poured into these 3DP printed parts to create the final molds. The final molds (the pink squares below) were used to create various kinds of edible figurines. First up: melted gummi bears.

sydney2

The first run of gummi bears was not very successful. Without using any type of non-stick spray the gummi figurines were really hard to remove from the molds and looked more like an elongated Stretch Armstrong than a person. The next round produced much more desirable results. For this more successful batch, some standard non-stick spray was used before putting in the melted gummi bears and the molds were allowed to set overnight.

sydney3

 Next up: chocolate. Only one chocolate mold was attempted and it cracked, unfortunately. Others in the class were more successful in their chocolate casting endeavors than us. Below you can see some of the attempted casted figurines. Helpful hint: Don’t leave these out on the counter when your roommates are hungry.

sydney4

 

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