Entries in model (141)
by General Fabb
In what could be a preview of the future of architectural design, Los Angeles-based architecture office ID4A has created a method for creating pliable, reconfigurable 3D prints.
According to Rania Hoteit and Malek Idriss, principles at ID4A, their new method for architectural “hyper-prototyping” employs a “rigorous exchange between computational design, physical prototyping and additive manufacturing.” By combining these three tools, the young architects have designed a system that can build pre-formed rigged structures and mold-less scaffolds that are easy to control and manipulate even after they’ve been printed.
As part of their "patent-pending" process, ID4A uses a material blend consisting of polymers and composites to create a substrate that is “pliable and transformative until being fixed by scripting 3D vectorial geometry networks, programming materials and… [applied to] robotic motion.” To achieve this result, ID4A programs their materials with algorithms that allow them to snap to a number of “formal states,” giving every print the ability to take on multiple forms.
Read More at ENGINEERING.com
In a rather underplayed announcement, Cubify announced new software yesterday that deserves much more splash. Cubify Design could significantly change how people use their personal 3D printers.
Cubify Design is a low-priced 3D modeling tool, but it's quite different from other free or inexpensive modeling tools. The key feature is that Cubify Design can create assemblies.
What's an assembly? It's a collection of separate parts that are intended to fit together. With Cubify Design you will be able to design objects that have multiple parts; print the parts separately and then physically assemble them into your functional object. Pins and holes will fit precisely.
But there's a lot more to this assembly business. Parts can not only just "fit" together, they can MOVE. You can, for example, design a rotating component, or one that slides. Not only will the software help you design a slider that perfectly fits into a slot, it will also detect whether it will hit anything when it slides! Moving objects have collision detection.
Assemblies can be exported as a series of STL files that you could then 3D print on your favorite 3D printer - even in metal if you use a 3D print service. You can also export your assemblies in the standard industry 3D assembly file formats IGES, STEP and SAT, as well as the 2D formats DXF, DWG and PDF.
With this tool you can easily design complex objects that offer much more function than anything you could make with comparably priced 3D modeling software.
There's more. Cubify Design is priced at only USD$199, well within the reach of almost any 3D printer owner - yet the features it offers are typically available only on very high priced commercial 3D design software like SolidWorks, which is ten or more times as expensive. Check the video below to see how it works.
There are two downers we must report, however. First, the software is available only for Windows. It continues to surprise us how Cubify's software ignores the Mac and Linux markets, as these markets include a significant number of creative people that might use a 3D printer. And many make do, somehow, in spite of Windows-only software.
The second issue is that Cubify Design cannot import STL or OBJ files. This means that if you happen to have an existing cool design component built in another tool, you cannot add it to an assembly in Cubify Design. Thus, you are limited to whatever you can make within Cubify Design itself, unless you somehow have access to a pricey software package that can export as STEP, IGES or SAT formats for later import into Cubify Design - but if you had one of those packages, you wouldn't be using Cubify Design, would you?
Nevertheless, we feel this release is a significant breakthrough for personal 3D printing. Now, for the first time, people at home can not only print functional objects, but they can design them, too.
A new modeling option is about to launch: Blokify. It's a tablet-based app that provides a very simplified interface suitable for kids to develop their own 3D models.
In an interview with MAKE, creator Jenny Kortina explained the dilemma facing 3D printer owners who want to design their own objects:
The huge gap is in the modeling software — it’s way too hard to use, and that’s where Blokify comes in.
This is so true. Even the simplest of free 3D modeling tools, like 123D Design, may baffle kids. Others like SketchUp, Blender and the commercial tools such as SolidWorks and ZBrush are unfathomable by many people.
Blokify is not yet available, but it appears to provide a very simplified approach to 3D object design. Users build structures using block-by-block assembly, in a manner similar to Minecraft.
Once a design is complete, it can be downloaded for 3D printing at home or on a 3D print service - or you can simply push a button and Blokify will look after the printing for you.
Is there room for another simple 3D modeling tool? Yes, of course!
There's an Instructable from AMMONITEa that describes how you can actually 3D print your home. There's just one catch: it's only a miniature model. But it could be your home.
The model includes a fantastic amount of detail as you can see in this closeup view. There are plenty more detailed images on the Instructable page.
There's just one problem here. Just because you have a 3D model like this doesn't mean it's easy to 3D print. In fact, printing this "home at home" would be quite a project, as scene would likely have to be printed as numerous separate objects. Some of them have extremely fine details that could prove difficult for some personal 3D printers. Others require huge amounts of support material to produce.
One option would be to print the pieces at a 3D print service instead of trying to do it on your own. Sculpteo, who reported on this project, likely think so.
Just don't try sitting on the 3D printed couch.
Another 3D model repository focused on printable 3D models has surfaced: 3DAGOGO.
This service is new and has a very limited set of models to choose from, but is well-organized and easy to use. One of the most interesting features we noted was the display of useful 3D print information about the model itself. Check out the list of data associated with the "Fat Pumpkin" model by designer Francisco Ramirez (image above):
PRINT DIFFICULTY: INTERMEDIATEPRINT TIME: MEDIUMSUPPORT MATERIAL: NOMIN # OF EXTRUDERS: 1LAGEST PRINTABLE PIECE: 65 x 69 x 44 (mm)SCALEABLE: YESMULTIPLE PARTS: YESFINISHING TIME REQUIRED: YES, 10MINRECOMMENDED MATERIALS: NONE LISTED
For those new to 3D printing, and there are a lot of you out there, this data can make the difference between selecting a model that will be successfully printed on your machine - or not.
The site is set up for pay-for models as well, with different licensing models offering varying rights to the models downloaded.
You should also know that 3DAGOGO now has a design contest open, where you could win a MakerBot Digitizer or filament. The contest is pretty straightforward: "the coolest design for the home wins it". Enter at the link below before December 31st.
There are three ways to exhibit your 3D model on Bld3r: upload the STl file, link to a 3D model elsewhere or link to a Torrent for larger downloads.
The site also offers some tutorials and community features, but the key will be adding more 3D models.
As you can imagine, a new repository such as Bld3r does not have nearly as many models as the big sites like Thingiverse, but it does offer an alternative. They say:
Bld3r is a community for 3D printing tinkerers and enthusiasts.You might love sharing your creations with others or you might simply want to print cool, quality designs. In any case, everyone here wants the best objects.Print freely and responsibly.
There's a new 3D model pattern slowly emerging within the 3D print community that should lead to much more interesting printable objects.
In the early years, 3D printers were not particularly reliable or capable. In fact, they still could be considered so, but they have improved somewhat in the past year as manufacturers tune their hardware, constrain the plastic chemistry and calibrate their software accordingly.
But what does this improved reliability mean? We think it should enable printing more complex objects, such as the wrench above. But first, we'd like to remind of the story behind the wrench.
In 2011 a piece on the National Geographic TV network apparently showed a fully-functional wrench being scanned and then printed. This is obviously impossible, as a 3D scanner cannot identify moving parts within a mechanism, even one as simple as a wrench. It turned out the show had effectively "faked" the operation as they "skipped" the part where the 3D model was actually constructed.
Back to today. Thingiverse creator Daniel Noree of Sweden recalled the wrench incident and decided to see whether a wrench could actually be 3D printed. He designed a wrench with movable internal parts, just like a real wrench. This was done by simply leaving small gaps (0.55m) between the parts to permit movement. This means the wrench is 3D printed in a single operation - no printing and assembling of separately printed parts required.
However, in order to 3D print such an item, support material is required, as the "gapped" parts simply can't float in mid-air. By removing the support material the parts actually moved!
Normally this is most easily done on a high-end powder-based 3D printer, but now we see this approach successfully used on personal 3D printers.
We must say, however, printing items like the wrench with small gaps separating isolated parts is very challenging and could require many attempts and fine tuning of your 3D printer.
But if you can manage it, you open up a new world of printable possibilities.
NetFabb offers a software product specifically designed for personal 3D printing: NetFabb Private. It's a lot more useful than their free NetFabb Studio product, which we and many others use for basic 3D model repairs. NetFabb Private offers these capabilities:
- Fix complicated file errors
- Make late design changes
- Combine parts into one
- Hollow out solid parts into a shell
- Smooth the mesh to improve surfaces
- Reduce file size
- Edit parts on a triangle level to increase quality
- Add text
- Create 3D parts from 2D pictures
- Merge or subtract features with Boolean operations
- Cut surfaces and extract features
These features are particularly useful if you happen to find yourself with a STL 3D model that isn't cooperating and don't have access to the original CAD model from whence it came. You will also find it useful to handle post processing on 3D scans that typically are poorly formed and incomplete.
If you don't have or are not proficient on advanced 3D modeling tools, yet need to do any of the above listed transformations, you might find NetFabb Private meets your needs.
The product seems to be a subset of their professional product, but at a lower price point (the Professional version is USD$1800). They do insist that you use NetFabb Private for "private" usage. They say:
Netfabb Private is only for private clients and private usage – all commercial usage is prohibited.
Built for Windows, Mac and soon Linux, NetFabb Private is available for downloadable purchase at the price of USD$299.
Some 3D models are lousy for 3D printing - they may be difficult to print, expensive or just plain dull. But this one is interesting. As you can see, it's a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion. With an LED light installed in a version printed in plastic of the correct translucency, it looks great. Almost real, albeit a bit smaller and somewhat less dangerous than a real one.
But there's a few problems with this particular model, which can be found at Thingiverse at the link below. The model is entirely solid, which makes the notion of implanting a light rather impractical. Worse, a solid item like this will involve 3D printing a massive amount of plastic, most of which is unnecessary as it will be unseen inside the model.
Another issue with this model is overhangs. While most 3D printers have some capability to print support structures, the design of this model would necessarily require a massive amount of them.
Two issues, two solutions: Hollow out the model, perhaps including an interior mounting platform and cable househole for a light; redesign the cloud shape to require far fewer (and maybe no) support structures.
It's a lesson in 3D print design: If you have a great idea, make it as printable as possible!
Developed by MIT and presented at this year's SIGGRAPH conference, OpenFab proposes a way to more easily produce incredibly complex milt-material objects.
OpenFab is not a 3D printer; it is a software "pipeline" of steps that enable the creation of complex, multi-material 3D models that can then be printed on a 3D printer capable of mixing materials during printing.
At this time, only Stratasys/Objet has the technology to mix materials with their patented PolyJet process. It permits two different materials to be mixed on the fly in up to 13 different mix ratios. However, it's very likely future 3D printers will be able to mix more than two materials.
And that's where things get complicated. How do you handle models that involve mixed materials? Did you ever wonder why PolyJet sample prints usually have only one or two mixes of materials on only a couple sections of the model? There's a reason why. The MIT team identified these challenges:
- Poor specification methods
- Lack of scalable software architectures
- Giga- and Tera- voxels per volume
- Continuous gradation between materials
- Reusable material definitions
- Resolution and printer independence
Imagine a 3D print of an organic object that includes numerous hard and soft areas, flexible joints, internal stress-carrying features, with multiple textures and colors, all flowing seamlessly and gradually throughout the entire model. How would you go about producing such a 3D model? You can't.
It sounds difficult to solve, and it is. Nevertheless, OpenFab describes a multi-step process for handling these issues to produce multi-material 3D models.
Obviously, this is research work and you can't make much use of this today. However, we believe this research will lead to a vastly more powerful 3D printing world in the future.