Saturday, May 29, 2010

Printing of a cylinder

Building of the base
Printing the first hole
Middle of the print
Printing of the second hole
Final printing (approximately 45 minutes)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Printing the Z-axis Wobble Eliminator

The thought that anyone can download and then make (print) a design that was developed and shared by an individual somewhere in the world is hard to take in. The whole concept of proprietary information, corporations, mass manufacturing is all thrown out the window. An example is what I did tonight. I downloaded the 3D model of a Z-axis wobble eliminator from the ThingiVerse website, ran it through a program which converted it into machine code, and then printed it out right in my own home!

It is hard to imagine the possibilities. Below are the videos of the printing:

Initial stages of the printing.

Printing final stage of the Z-axis wobble eliminator.

Monday, May 17, 2010

3D Printing Business Models

While building the MakerBot and printing objects off of Thingiverse is
fun and challenging, I must admit that I have an ulterior motive, i.e.
I see a new and different business model for manufacturing. While
this is more of a gut feel at this point, I can't stop thinking about
the potential for the ultimate in mass customization. This may mean
that there is a "MakerBot" in every home for personal use, or maybe
one that is in a regional public "hackerspace" that people can rent
time on, or a third option is for individuals who own/master the
MakerBot to print "things" for others. There are probably other
business models that we haven't even thought of as well.

Darth Vader and Stormtroopers

Stormtrooper printed from TTL cable.
Darth Vader successfully printed from SD card 5/16/10.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The "future of manufacturing"

So what is "cloud manufacturing"? Here is the ultimate premise:

1. A readily available, low cost, easy to use, personal fabricating machine is in every household.
2a. 3D models are available for download from the Web, the "cloud", for free (see Thingiverse for an idea of the possibilities) or for a fee, depending upon the demand. Think E-books for the Kindle, old classics can be downloaded for free while you pay for the newly released top sellers.
2b. 3D modelling software accessed through the Web (or "cloud") is so easy to use that the average person can create a representation of what he or she wants or modify a current design relatively easily.
2c. For replication purposes, change the tool head on the personal fabricator to a scanner, place the desired object for copying into the machine, press scan, and the personal fabricator creates a 3D model of the object ready for duplication (sounds a lot like a copier!)
3. After finding, creating, scanning what he/she wants/needs, the file is loaded into the home fabricator, and manufactured on demand.

Literally, you reach into the "cloud", find what you want, and make it right then, right there.

Why would we go in this direction:

1. The ultimate in one piece flow
2. Literally, on-demand manufacturing
3. Little, to no transportation, inventory, overproduction, over-processing (i.e. the seven deadly forms of waste)
4. The ultimate in consumer choice, no more buying what is available, buy want you want, when you want it!

How would this work? Imagine a child wanting a toy:

1. Child desires toy
2. Parent searches Web, "cloud", for toy child wants
3. Parent downloads 3D Model of toy into fabricator and makes toy
4. Child gets the exact toy they want, now.

Are we there yet? No. Is this just the beginning? Yes. Remember the original Heathkit computers? All but the early adopters were saying, why would we need a computer at home? Look at us now.

How will it begin? With early adopters building personal fabricators from kits, i.e. the Makerbot. In the beginning until the technology catches up, those technically inclined will fabricate for those not so adroit at it. The automobile started out this way, owners were mechanics up until they were mass produced for the every day person. With the rate that technology is changing, it is hard to predict how soon this transformation will occur. Will everything go this way, probably not. Toys seem to be a natural fit. Maybe even replacement parts for appliances? Medical devices, maybe not. It is hard to tell what industries will grow up around this. No one could have predicted what would come out of the personal computer. No one will be able to predict what will come out of the personal fabricator either.

This is literally a "if we build it, they will come" approach. The market is undefined and unimaginable, but it is there. We just have to find it. My goal is to be part of it.

Printing video of tall, thin cylinder on DEWEY

This is video of printing on DEWEY.
Building the raft.

Starting to build the cylinder.

Almost done!

What an amazing machine! The possibilities are literally endless. The next step (probably should have started with this) is fine tuning and calibrating the machine. I have been printing with out of the box settings, now to dial it for to DEWEY.

Printing tall, thin cylinder on DEWEY (my Makerbot)

The above are pictures of the printing of a tall, thin cylinder.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Problems with Skeinforge

The above show the issues I have had with Skeinforge on smaller radii and thick parts. It appears that too much material is being deposited and the extruder head is plowing through it.