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Best of 2012 3D Printed Objects

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Stett Holbrook is editor of theBohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Stett Holbrook is editor of theBohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Two thousand and twelve will probably be remembered as the year 3D printing broke into the mainstream.

While 3D printers dont yet compete with toasters or DVD players in the home, the dam on the consumer market has been breached as the number of lower priced, easy-to-use modelsand those who use themgrows. Part of this trend surely comes from the ever-expanding catalog of 3D printed objects, from the useful to the fanciful. Printing chess pieces and busts ofStephen Colbertis nice, but the range of what people create with their printers grows by the day and in turn inspires others to model and print ever more striking/utilitarian/beautiful/ridiculous/amazing objects.

What follows is a round-up of some of the more compelling items that came across our desks in 2012. As I look at the list it strikes me that it represents a moment in time. I can only imagine how such a list will look a whole 12 months from now. To the future!

While my friend who makes classical guitars from Brazilian rosewood might disagree, I think this is a beauty. While many 3D printed objects are more starting points or proofs of concept, this guitar reportedly sounds quite nice. And if you decide to smash it in a fit of Pete Townsend-like rage, you can just press print and make another.

For me, Joshua Harkers Crania Anatomica Filigre exemplifies the complexity and beauty that can be coaxed out of an .STL file. Its become an iconic piece of digital art that defines the promise and potential of 3D printing.

But then Joshuas follow-up to the Crania Anatomica Filigre might be even cooler. As a side note, the projects Kickstarter campaign kicked up a littlecontroversyby wading into the 3D Systems lawsuit issue.

At the unveiling of MakerBots Replicator 2 in October, the McCormick D326 tractor was one of the objects Bre Pettis used to demonstrate what the printer could do. It was a very effective demonstration.

What do you get when you use a $50,000 3D printer to create a 3D printed LP? A really expensive, poor recording of Nirvanas Smells Like Teen Spirit. But like so many 3D printed objects, the point is not the end result, but a hint of whats to come. Have a listen.

3D Printed Mountain Bike and Other Big Stuff

While I wouldnt want to bomb down a rocky trail on a frame made of ABS plastic, the mighty Objet 1000 is a beast of a printer than can print full scale models. Of course with a 1000mm x 800mm x 500mm build volume its not exactly a desktop model or remotely affordable, but it still makes cool stuff.Trekuses a smaller Objet Connex500 to prototype their designs.

Its not visible in this picture, but the cool thing about this simple object is there are little pins built into the model, and when you wiggle it, the snowflake breaks free and can spin around as does the little snowflake in the center. If youve got a 3D printer this is a simple holiday decoration or gift.

MAKE technical editor Sean Ragan posted this on MAKE Projects. He writes:

At normal listening distances, an array of twelve speakers arranged on the faces of a dodecahedron is a very good approximation of a point sound source, and the sound waves it produces are very close to perfectly spherical. A dodecahedron speaker can be a useful tool in acoustics research, and is definitely a fun toy to pull out at parties. They are available commercially, but very expensive. Some people build their own, but the odd compound angles and the high degree of accuracy and precision required in the parts make for challenging work with manual tools. But its easy for a 3D printer.

To that I would add its cool to say, hey, wanna jam some tunes on my 3D printed dodecahedron speaker?

I found this one over atAmnesia Blog. Its a 3D printed robot from Brave Robotics that transforms from a remote-controlled car into a walking robot with a wifi camera, and headlights. Oh, and it shoot darts from its arms. Take that, Megatron.

Chris Krueger posted this on Thingiverse as his entry for the absurd iPhone accessory contest. I say he wins. Its practical, but a tad bulky.

Stett Holbrook is editor of theBohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Stett Holbrook is editor of theBohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

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TED 2013 4D printed objects make themselves

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Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing.

At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.

It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.

It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.

TED fellow Mr Tibbits, from the MITs (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) self-assembly lab, explained what the extra dimension involved.

Were proposing that the fourth dimension is time and that over time static objects will transform and adapt, he told the BBC.

The process uses a specialised 3D printer made by Stratasys that can create multi-layered materials.

It combines a strand of standard plastic with a layer made from a smart material that can absorb water.

The water acts as an energy source for the material to expand once it is printed.

The rigid material becomes a structure and the other layer is the force that can start bending and twisting it, said Mr Tibbits.

Essentially the printing is nothing new, it is about what happens after, he added.

Such a process could in future be used to build furniture, bikes, cars and even buildings, he thinks.

For the time being he is seeking a manufacturing partner to explore the innovation.

We are looking for applications and products that wouldnt be possible without these materials, he added.

Imagine water pipes that can expand to cope with different capacities or flows and save digging up the street.

Engineering software developer Autodesk, which collaborated on the project, is looking even further into the future.

Imagine a scenario where you go to Ikea and buy a chair, put it in your room and it self-assembles, said Carlo Olguin, principal research scientist at the software firm.

The 4D printing concept draws inspiration from nature which already has the ability to self-replicate.

We already have 3D printers that can be injected with stem cells, printing micro slices of liver, Mr Olguin added.

The idea behind 4D printing is to use the sheer power of biology and modify it. But it is still an elusive goal.

The next stage for the research is to move from printing single strands to sheets and eventually whole structures. And water need not be the processs only energy source.

We could also have heat, vibration and sound, said Mr Tibbits.

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3D-printed objects connect with Wi-Fi no electricity required

The 3D-printed objects and sensors make use of backscatter technologies and mechanical movement to wirelessly transmit data without electronics or batteriesMark Stone/University of Washington

Researchers from the University of Washington have 3D-printed objects and sensors that are able to communicate with Wi-Fi devices such as smartphones or computers without needing to be powered by batteries or a wall socket. Examples include an attachment that can sense when laundry detergent is about to run out and place an online order for more, an anemometer and a connected test tube holder.

At the heart of the development are reflection of waves techniques known as backscattering, where ambient radio signals are reflected from a Wi-Fi router via an antenna printed using a plastic and copper mix, and onward to a wireless receiver. Rather than use batteries to power the 3D-printed object or sensor, the researchers tapped into mechanical motion.

When flowing liquid turns a wheel or a button is pushed, gears and springs activate or deactivate a conductive switch, changing the reflective state of the 3D-printed antenna. Data can be hard-coded into an object by way of teeth on the gear with the presence or absence of a tooth determining how long a switch remains in contact with the antenna. Signal patterns thus created can then be translated into readable output by the Wi-Fi receiver.

As you pour detergent out of a Tide bottle, for instance, the speed at which the gears are turning tells you how much soap is flowing out, said senior author of the teams paper Shyam Gollakota. The interaction between the 3D-printed switch and antenna wirelessly transmits that data. Then the receiver can track how much detergent you have left and when it dips below a certain amount, it can automatically send a message to your Amazon app to order more.

The team from the University of Washingtons Networks & Mobile Systems Lab has created a number of objects capable of successfully sensing and transmitting to other connected devices, including a detergent flow meter, wind and water flow meters, a scale and a test tube holder.

Input devices such as buttons, knobs and sliders were also printed, which could be custom made to talk to smart devices in the home controlling the volume on a connected music system, for example, or placing an order for groceries from an online store at the push of a button.

Not content with creating battery- and electronics-free objects able to wirelessly talk to smart devices, the team also toyed with magnetism to encode information in 3D-printed objects. Identification information similar to barcodes could be embedded in an object printed using a plastic/iron filament and read using a smartphone.

Apaperdetailing the research was presented at the Association for Computing Machinerys SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia last week. A video outlining the project can be seen below.

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10 Amazing 3D-Printed Objects

Oddities, Weird stuff, Strange things of our world.

They say it will soon revolutionize your life, bringing industrial power to your home. Starting from nothing, a 3D printer reproduces a digital model by adding materials in layers until the final product is achieved. From guitars to bikinis, check out some of the best stuff that has been created so far!

Printed by a $1,000 off-the-shelf 3D printer, scientists at Princeton University have designed this bionic ear that can hear BETTER than human ears!

According to the university, they 3D-printed cells and nanoparticles, and then combined a small coil antenna with cartilage to create this bionic ear. The result was a fully-functional organ that can hear radio frequencies a million times higher than our human ears.

The worlds first 3D-printed bikini was presented in 2011, created by designers Jenna Fizel and Mary Haung of Continuum Fashion. Called N12, the design comprises discs of varying sizes that are linked together by springs. These circles are smaller on parts of the garment that need to curve around the body and larger on areas with flatter contours. The designers envision that items of clothing could be made based on a body scan of the customer.

In March of 2013, an anonymous man in the United States had 75% of his skull replaced with this 3D-printed plastic prosthetic, the first operation of its kind. The transplant was carried out by Oxford Performance Materials, which received approval to carry out such procedures from the US Food and Drug Administration last month. The company crafted the artificial skull based on a 3D scan of the patients head, and the polyetherketoneketone prosthetic features holes meant to encourage the growth of new cells and bone.

In May of 2013, the worlds first gun made with 3D printer technology was successfully fired in the US. Created by Defense Distributed, a controversial group from Texas that spent a year on the project, it was made on a 3D printer that cost $8,000 (5,140) from the online auction site eBay. To make the gun, Mr. Wilson received a manufacturing and sellers licence from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

When Jake Evill, a recent graduate of Victoria University in New Zealand, broke his hand, he felt that his plaster cast was archaic, so he created a breathable, lightweight, recyclable, and washable exoskeleton that mimics the bodys trabecular, the small honeycomb-like structure that makes up your inner bone structure. The cast lets in plenty of air, which prevents that stuffy, itchy feeling.

Earlier this year, New York designer Michael Schmidt and architect Francis Bitonti created this 3D-printed dress for burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese. The floor-length nylon gown was made using selective laser sintering (SLS), a process where material is built up in layers from plastic powder and fused together with a laser.

Designed by Olaf Diegel, the first-ever line of 3D printed electric and bass guitars are available for over $3000 on their website. There are nine unique electric and bass guitar designs, and each of them is customizable. Youll be able to work with the designer to tailor the instrument to your needs. You can choose your neck, fretboard, pickups, and preferred color. You can also have your name (or your bands name) 3D-printed on the back of the guitar.

Can you see the resemblance? Maybe not yet, but you will soon. Ivan Sentch, a programmer in Auckland, New Zealand, started printing a replica of a 1961 series II Aston Martin DB4, piece by piece, at his home. Hes been working on the project off-and-on since Christmas of last year, and is now finished with around 72% of the body. Once finished, hell make a fiberglass mold of the print.

Spanish design studio Namisu created the 3D-REX, a 3D-printed Tyrannosaurus Rex head sculpture for home decor. This innovative work of art can be mounted on the wall or placed on a tabletop. It is a novel way to display a prehistoric legend in the home.

While you cant really print this one at home, the Airbike is grown with nylon powder using a process called additive layer manufacturing, which is similar to 3D printing but with the added benefit of laser-sintering to reinforce the structure. Unveiled by EADS (European Aerospace and Defence Group), the parts can save up to 65 percent in weight while retaining the same strength of steel or aluminum. Apparently, Airbus was quicker to pick up on this technology than everyone else.

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UCR Today

Researchers find zebrafish embryos die at alarming rates when exposed to certain 3D printed materials

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found parts produced by some commercial 3D printers are toxic to certain fish embryos. Their results have raised questions about how to dispose of parts and waste materials from 3D printers.

These 3D printers are like tiny factories in a box, saidWilliam Grover, an assistant professor of bioengineering in theBourns College of Engineering. We regulate factories. We would never bring one into our home. Yet, we are starting to bring these 3D printers into our homes like they are toasters.

From left, 3D printing liquid, 3D-printed piece from liquid resin and liquid resin piece treated with ultraviolet light.

The researchers studied two common types of 3D printers: one that melts plastic to build a part, and another that uses light to turn a liquid into a solid part. They found that parts from both types of printers were measurably toxic to zebrafish embryos, and parts from the liquid-based printer were the most toxic. They also developed a simple post-printing treatment exposure to ultraviolet light that reduced the toxicity of parts from the liquid-based printer.

The research comes as the popularity of 3D printers is soaring. The value of the 3D printing market grew from $288 million in 2012 to $2.5 billion in 2013 and is projected to grow to $16.2 billion by 2018, according to areport by Canalys.

And, as the price of 3D printers continues to drop printers that use melted plastic are currently available for as little as $200, and the liquid-based printer used in this study can be bought for less than $3,000 they are moving beyond industry and research labs to homes and small businesses.

The research started about a year ago when Grover bought a 3D printer for his lab.Shirin Mesbah Oskui, a graduate student in Grovers lab, is developing tools for studying zebrafish embryos, and she wanted to use the printer in her research. However, her plans were thwarted when she noticed that zebrafish embryos die after exposure to parts from the 3D printer.

From those observations, Oskui and Grover then decided to test the toxicity of printed objects from the two types of 3D printers. Their results are described in a paper, Assessing and Reducing the Toxicity of 3D-Printed Parts, which was published online today (Nov. 4) in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. Joining Oskui and Grover as authors on the paper areJay GanandDaniel Schlenk, professors in the Department of Environmental Sciences; Graciel Diamante, a graduate student working with Schlenk; and Chunyang Liao and Wei Shi, both of whom work in Gans lab.

Oskui used two commercial 3D printers in their study, a Dimension Elite printer made by Stratasys (which uses melted plastic to build parts) and a Form 1+ stereolithography printer made by Formlabs (which uses liquid resin to make parts).

She used each printer to create disc-shaped parts, about an inch in diameter. Then she placed the discs in petri dishes with zebrafish embryos and studied survival rates and hatch rates and monitored for developmental abnormalities.

While the embryos exposed to parts from the plastic-melting printer had slightly decreased average survival rates compared to control embryos, the embryos exposed to parts from the liquid-resin printer had significantly decreased survival rates, with more than half of the embryos dead by day three and all dead by day seven. And of the few zebrafish embryos that hatched after exposure to parts from the liquid-resin printer, 100 percent of the hatchlings had developmental abnormalities.

Oskui also investigated methods for reducing the toxicity of parts from the liquid-resin printer. She found that after exposing the parts to ultraviolet light for one hour, the parts are significantly less toxic to zebrafish embryos. The UC Riverside Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent for this work.

The researchers findings call attention to regulations related to the materials used to create 3D printed parts.

The substances used to create the 3D-printed parts would be regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. But the precise identity of these substances is often unknown to researchers and printer users because the printer manufacturers dont disclose this information.

In the future, the researchers plan to further study the toxicity of the components of the 3D printer material both individually and when mixed together in a completed part. They also want to find out at what level the material could be harmful to humans.

Other unanswered questions include how to dispose of the waste material both solid and liquid created by 3D printers. At this point, the researchers think it is best to take it to a hazardous waste center.

Many people, including myself, are excited about 3D printing, Grover said. But, we really need to take a step back and ask how safe are these materials?

This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundations Instrument Development for Biological Research Program via Grant DBI-1353974.

Archived under:Inside UCRScience/TechnologyBourns College of EngineeringChunyang LiaoDaniel SchlenkGraciel DiamanteJay Ganpress releaseWei ShiWilliam Grover

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3D-printed objects connect to internet without any electronics

Image credit: Mark Stone/University of Washington

PublishedWednesday, December 6, 2017

Researchers at the University of Washington have succeeded in connecting 3D-printed plastic objects to the internet without the addition of electronic components.

Typically, devices require electronic components to send, interpret and receive signals via Wi-Fi. Given this, wirelessly connecting 3D-printed devices without the addition of electronic components had never been achieved.

Our goal was to create something that just comes out of your 3D printer at home and can send useful information to other devices, said Vikram Iyer, a graduate student at the University of Washington.

But the big challenge is how do you communicate wirelessly with Wi-Fi using only plastic? Thats something that no one has been able to do before.

In order to allow their printed devices to exchange information, the University of Washington engineers harnessed backscatter techniques, which use antennas to reflect radio waves or other signals emitted from a device such as a Wi-Fi router. These techniques are often employed in extremely low-power devices, such as battery-free watches.

The researchers were able to contain a makeshift antenna in a conductive object printed in plastic and copper. They replaced other electrical components such as sensors with moving, 3D-printed springs, gears, switches and other mechanical parts.

An action such as pushing a button triggers movements of these components; in turn causing a switch of conductive material to connect with the antenna for varying lengths of time. This results in a change in the antennas reflective state, creating a pattern of signals which are detected by a Wi-Fi receiver.

As you pour detergent out of a Tide bottle, for instance, the speed at which the gears are turning tells you how much soap is flowing out. The interaction between the 3D-printed switch and the antenna wirelessly transmits that data, said Professor Shyam Gollakota, senior author of the study.

Then the receiver can track how much detergent you have left and when it dips below a certain amount, it can automatically send a message to your Amazon app to order more.

Using a 3D-printing ink that combines plastic with iron, the team were also able to create objects with magnetic properties. This allowed them to encode information in the objects, such as barcode identification.

The researchers plan to make their CAD models publicly available, such that anyone with access to a 3D printer can create their own devices from commercially available plastics. As well as a set of components such as buttons and sliders the University of Washington team designed a water flow meter, scale, and wind meter.

The team hopes that eventually this technique could make it possible to create a smart system of talking objects capable of interacting with their surroundings.

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Researchers create 3D printed objects that connect to WiFi with no electronics

The internet of things just got a big boost from researchers from the University of Washington. Researchers from that university have announced the creation of the first 3D printed plastic objects and sensors able to collect useful data and communicate with other WiFi devices on their own. The team behind the project is offering the CAD models to the public so people with access to 3D printers can create their own devices.

The objects can be created out of commercially available plastics and are able to communicate with other smart devices. The devices include a battery-free slider that can control music volume and a button that orders more cornflakes from Amazon.

Other possibilities include a water sensor that can send an alarm if a leak is detected. The image in this story is a sensor that fits to a laundry detergent bottle and can connect to the internet and order more detergent when you are running out. The devices communicate via WiFi using backscatter techniques. Some of the functions that typically needed electronics are now done with mechanical motion that is activated by springs, gears, switches and other 3D printed components.

Backscatter deflects radio signals sent out by a WiFi router and information embedded in those patterns can be decoded by the WiFi receiver. The 3D printed objects use a filament that mixes plastic with copper.

The team says that as the soap is poured from the detergent bottle, gears spin and the rate of spin tells you how much is coming out. When that flow is lower than a certain amount it triggers an order for more detergent. The team can also encode static data into some static objects to allow for inventory tracking and to help robots interact with the devices.

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How to Create a 3D Object in SketchUp for 3D Printing

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How to Create a 3D Object in SketchUp for 3D Printing

Make sure that the appropriate toolbars are open (Large Tool Set, Views, and Large Buttons):

Select the roof of the house in the upper toolbar to have an overhead view of the sketch pad:

Set the Camera to Parallel Projection (this will make it easier to draw your object because everything will tend to be created in the same plane):

Use the Rectangle icon to draw a rectangle:

Now select the Arc icon to draw a semicircle (make sure to place the semicircle on the Face of the object as shown below):

Go ahead and delete the portion of the object corresponding to the inside of the semicircle by selecting the Eraser tool:

Select the Circle icon to draw a hole in the object (you can center it on the X and Y axis by moving the mouse to the midpoints before clicking to start the circle):

Select the inside of the circle to highlight the desired hole in the part:

Press delete on your keyboard to create the hole:

Now it is time to dimension your part.  Select the Dimension tool and then select the endpoints to dimension (the Tape Measure tool is most useful for measuring distances to create new features, rather than to measureexistingfeatures):

As you can see, the object is much too large to be printed.  Lets shrink the object uniformly by double clicking the part and then selecting the Scale tool:

Now pick a corner of the box and shrink the object to something preferably 3-4 wide:

Zoom in on the part by scrolling with your mouse so that you can more closely see everything:

Use the Tape Measure tool to mark the location for another component of the part (a green line indicates that the tape is aligned with the Y axis, a red line the X axis (blue for the Z axis)):

Select the Polygon tool and press 3 to create a 3-sided object (triangle):

Select the Line tool to connect the triangle to the remainder of the part (notice how connecting lines creates objects having a planar surface area indicated by the grey shading):

At this point, go ahead and use the Eraser to delete the lines in between the triangle and the part to create one solid surface (this is important for using the Push/Pull tool and for ensuring that the part will be manifold):

Use the Orbit tool to get a different view of the part showing its planar nature:

Create the Z dimension of the part by using the Push/Pull tool and extruding upwards:

Orbit the part around to make sure that there are no openings (making sure that the part is visually watertight):

Go back to your top house view andtripleclick the part (to get all three dimensions):

At this point you must use an STL exporter plugin (a great free version is located here: Select tools, export to DXF or STL:

Select a unit (we use millimeters because the machine is built with more exacting metric components (critical for the Z axis)):

Now save the file where you can have easy access to it.  Keep in mind that the gcode generated from the part will be saved by default in the same folder.

After saving the part, you have two options: verify the component is watertight or just go ahead and try to slice it.  If you get errors when slicing, use MeshLab or a similar program to find out if there are any errors in the part, correct them in SketchUp, and repeat the export process until its watertight (see our Wiki for a further explanation).

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