Last Sunday (4-6), Rich Olson presented on alternative filaments. (Link to slideshare below) You can learn more at his website. Rich is a passionate advocate of documentation. His projects can also be found at Instructables Member: nothinglabs. and nothinglabs (Rich Olson / nothinglabs.com) · GitHub. (Great step-by-step instructions with excellent pictures!) Information for this presentation can be found here: Nothing Labs (Rich Olson): Filament Roundup! (3D printing in all sorts of stuff). Rich talked about 3D printers, specifically Fused deposition modeling ones where the filament (which is descended from Latin; filum = “thread”) is heated, comes out of a nozzle and creates an object layer by layer using software that slices up a STL (file format) into G-code.
If you want to get into 3D printing, you should definitely get a 3D printer and start playing around. Manufacturers continue to come up with newer models. Rich uses a MakerBot Replicator 2 and is really happy with it. For you super DIYers, you can build your own. For example, RepRap; printers that print parts for other printers, takingmanufacturing to a new level. Mendel and Rostock are a couple examples of well-documented printers you can build yourself. Rich addressed some common problems, such as what to do when the nozzle jams, how to make sure your build plate is level and using rafts, helper disks, and print settings to keep your project from printing its whole bottom layer to the blue tape. He also passed around some cool prints made of different materials (most of them palm-sized octopi, for some reason).
My favorite was the Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is crystal-like in transparency and very pretty. It was surprising because it looked delicate but it was fairly rigid. Check out the slide deck for all the specs and his notes on the observed properties on materials you might want to explore: PET, PETT, PET+, PLA, Laywoo-D3, Taulman Nylon 618/645, ABS, PLA, TPE, PVA, soft PLA, IMPLA, Obritech PLA-45.
To generate the STL (file format) for your printed object, there are several options. Tinkercad – Mind to design in minutes. Geomagic 3D software from 3D Systems. MeshMixer. 3D scanner (this is in its infancy, but I suspect it will be a basis for our replicators.)Thingiverse (this is where the STLs have been cataloged and documented but you can modify the files)OpenSCAD – The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller. SolidWorks Inventor LT AutoCAD For Mac & Windows You can take those files to your local makerspaces: FabLab Tacoma MetrixCreate:Space Makerhaus Microsoft « University Village (this is not a maker space, but they have a 3D printer they demo.)
Check out Rich Olson’s Last Event at Ada’s: Radioactivity and Lasers: Rich Olson speaks at Ada’s