Latest Stories3D Printing
    In Brief: Designing the Fallout 4 Mini Nuke Model

    Friend of Tested Jacky Wan, who we've been featuring in our series of 3D-printing design videos, just posted an in-depth recap of his design and printing of the cutaway Mini Nuke from Fallout 4. Jacky (aka Valcrow), who collaborates with Ultimaker, took on the challenge of modeling the curved egg-shell of the nuke to print in pieces to avoid overhangs and to make use of natural seams. Those considerations are a hallmark of his designs, which snap fit together without glue. The Mini Nuke with internals is available as a printed kit, but Jacky has also released the shell file as a free download!

    Norman
    Designing a 3D-Printed Model Airplane Kit

    We're joined by Jacky Wan this week as he shares his latest design: model airplane kit that's completely 3D-printed! Jacky chats with Sean about how he designed the kit pieces to snap together with strong joints, and how orienting the print pieces at specific angles streamline the look of the model.

    Designing a 3D-Printed Prosthetic Arm

    3D printing isn't just for prototyping or making toys--it can also be used to manufacture working prosthetic limbs. We're joined by designer Jacky Wan this week to learn about his work with the Enabling The Future, an organization developing a 3D-printable arm prosthetic. Jacky's design goes above and beyond the requirements of the project, and looks beautiful too!

    Tested: Form 2 SLA Desktop 3D Printer

    A few months ago, we previewed the new Formlabs Form 2 SLA resin 3D printer, which on paper looked to be an improvement on the Form 1+ printer in every way. Since then, Formlabs supplied us with a review unit to evaluate those improvements in long-term testing. The upshot is that the Form 2 lives up to its promises--it's an amazing 3D printer. But you should read our extended review before you go out and buy one.

    Photo credit: Formlabs

    Compared to original Formlabs Form 1 printer, the Form 2 has a bigger print volume, a more powerful laser, a new resin cartridge system and new peel mechanism, among many other updates. When we reviewed the Form 1+, I was mostly pleased with its prints, but there were a number of things that I felt needed addressed, including the tendency for several critical components to fail in my early test units. Formlabs has done so with the Form 2--we've not had a single mechanical failure. Our review was with a pre-production printer with original firmware and beta software. [NOTE: I'm not going into detail about how the SLA printing process works, as on a base level, it has not changed from the Form 1+. Take a look at that review for an in-depth explanation.]

    The Print Quality

    Impressive Detail!

    We were very pleased with the Form 2 prints, most were done at 50-100 microns. The resolved detail was very impressive even at 100 micron, especially when compared to prints off of industrial 3D printing machines not meant for home-use. For most prints I can't see needing to go much below 50 microns as the quality was great. Prints that completed had very few flaws, too. Occasionally, very small details in our prints broke off during printing (ie: GIR's antenna tip, Nautilus tip). On many of the Form 1+ prints the side that printed nearest the platform tended to have some 'mushy' details, and I did not notice this on the Form 2. Noticed on some prints, we address this in the video.

    Testing the Folger Tech 2020 i3 3D Printer

    This post was originally published on Overworld Designs and is republished here with permission. Follow Michelle on Facebook and find her work on Instagram.

    I had been in the market for another 3D printer for my fabrication fleet, and I had my eye on a few machines during Black Friday. I narrowly missed a great sale on a Wanhao Duplicator i3 for a cool $299, and instead I settled on a Folger Tech 2020 i3 kit on sale with an LCD panel (currently priced at $280). Here's how it's been performing for me, and what you can expect for a 3D printer of this price.

    I had done some reading on this particular kit so I knew to expect some hurdles during it's construction. The biggest complaint that the community has - and indeed I have too - is that the build manual has several mistakes and blatant inaccuracies that Folger Tech has yet to fix. There's some simple stuff like typos of bolt dimensions - using one bolt length in one sentence and another length in the next sentence, leaving you to figure out which one they really mean. These are easy to figure out. But then there's the problem where it tells you to mount the X-axis end stop on the wrong side, and if you don't understand why 3D printers are put together the way they are, you'll have a difficult time understanding why it's moving in the "wrong" direction and why it won't home properly. I highly recommend reading the manual fully before starting to make sure you know what to expect.

    There is an absolutely massive thread on the RepRap forums which contain a huge amount of information and fixes. As of this writing, the thread is at 88 pages long and I've only managed to work backwards through about half of it. If you're considering one of these kits I recommend at least skimming through the forum thread on your own, but I've tried to compile the biggest issues and fixes from my experience here.

    Designing a 3D-Printed Ducati Motorcycle

    3D printing expert Jacky Wan returns to our studio to share his amazing Ducati superbike print--a model consisting of over 40 3D-printed pieces using his Ultimaker. Jacky explains the process of converting a visual effects model into this print, how the pieces fit together, and how he painted and finished it. You can even download the model to print for yourself! (The rider was designed by Mike Balzer of slo 3D creators)

    Designing 3D-Printed Mechwarrior Mechs

    We're joined in the office by 3D modeler and designer Jacky Wan, who shares with us his 3D printed Mechwarrior online mechs. These figures were created on his Ultimaker by extracting in-game models and then modifying and adapting them for printing. Jacky chats with us about what it takes to turn game files into printable objects!

    Meet the Mcor Arke Full-Color Paper 3D Printer

    Traditional desktop 3D printers use melted plastic as their build material, but Mcor's printers layer sheets of paper on top of each other to create their models. We check out the new Mcor Arke, a printer that cuts from a large spool of paper, glues those sheets together, and then prints color on them to turn digital files into large paper models!

    3D-Printed Tourbillon Clock

    Christoph Lamier designed and assembled this tourbillon clock from 50 3D-printed parts and some miscellaneous hardware. This kind of timepiece uses a rotating cage powered by a wound mainspring. It's a technology still used in some very high-end watches, and you can find Lamier's designs to print your own on Thingiverse. Really really impressive! (h/t Hackaday)

    3D-Printed Mini Nuke Cross-Section

    Effects artist and 3D modeler Jacky Wan--aka Valcrow--shares his latest 3D-printed creation: a Fallout 4 Mini-Nuke cross-section with detailed interior. The model, composed of fewer than a dozen printed pieces, is beautifully weathered and finished. Interestingly, none of the component pieces needed any support structure for printing on the Ultimaker, a testament to Jacky's design skills. We actually have some videos with Jacky showing off his 3D printing exploits coming up, so keep an eye out for those!

    In Brief: Designing a Game You Could Learn without Instructions

    Laura Hudson, writing for the awesome BoingBoing Offworld blog, shares the work of artist Nova Jiang. Jiang has designed a Chess set where the 3D-printed pieces convey the rules of the game. The shape and size of the customized pieces indicate how that piece moves, and its importance to the game--the idea is that players could learn a variation of Chess (of which there are many, across different cultures) without being explicitly given instructions.

    Norman
    Bits to Atoms: Designing the 3D Printed Gowanus Monster

    Prowling Brooklyn's polluted Gowanus Canal, the Monster sinks innocent kayakers and grabs unaware hipsters, pulling them down into the depths. The Gowanus Monster was a commission I did for Bold Machines, a product development workshop headed by Bre Pettis, one of the founders and former CEO of MakerBot. The Monster was done as one in a series of proof of concept characters for an animation, all of which can be downloaded for free. This is how I created it.

    Sean's 3D-Printed Gowanus Monster

    Bold Machines was very interested in my Octopod design and tasked me with designing another submarine to fit their storyline. Initially they wanted to add some local flavor and referenced the Quester I, a homemade sub built in the 1960's by a Brooklyn shipyard worker. A local legend that never did launch and is currently marooned in the middle of Coney Island Creek. They were also really interested in having some type of tentacles for grabbing ships. I was not getting much design inspiration from the Quester I, but tried to stick to a small craft and took some inspiration from lampreys. Mechanical arms would fold back into the body, springing open to grab ships or treasure.

    Version 1 with Quester I and lamprey inspirations

    They liked it, but wanted something more like the Octopod--in fact, they wanted the Octopod, but I wasn't ready to let go of my baby and it would have needed a tremendous amount of work to print on an FDM machine. Going back to the drawing board, I decided to create something that would be found in the same fleet as the Octopod and based it on a fellow cephalopod--the cuttlefish.

    Testing the Lulzbot Mini 3D Printer

    This post was originally published on Overworld Designs and is republished here with permission. Follow Michelle on Facebook and find her work on Instagram.

    Back in March, Freeside Atlanta won a LulzBot Mini 3D printer during a hackerspace giveaway. We already have one of LulzBot's older machines, an AO-100, so we were very familiar with their printers and how easy they were to use. I've used several of LulzBot's printers before - I own an AO-101 myself - and I was really interested to see what the Mini brought to the table.

    As I said in my Cube 3D review, I really dislike the idea of "just press go" type of machines. 3D printing is still too young of a technology for mass adoption, and pushing fickle equipment on to the unsuspecting masses will put 3D printing in a negative light. Having said that: the Mini is probably the best printer I've ever used.

    The Mini's name comes from it's generally small build platform of roughly 6" cubed. Normally this would really deter me from using it as I am generally printing large costume pieces, but the small printing volume is the only negative I can possibly say about the machine. The machine comes fully built and ready to use, the frame is attractive and everything is very well constructed. It took us about 20 minutes between unboxing and pulling our first print off of the bed.

    Included is a LulzBot branded install of Cura slicing software which has all of the settings for the Mini included, so the time between unboxing and printing was incredibly fast. There are several preset quality options, and the highest detail option at 0.1mm produces amazing results. You can go under the hood and tweak all of the print options, but the default settings produce great objects on their own.

    But really, the two best features are the PEI printing surface, and the self leveling bed.

    Tested In-Depth: Ultimaker 2 3D Printer

    Interested in 3D printing? Our rapid prototyping expert Sean Charlesworth has been testing the Ultimaker 2, and sits down with Will to review this new printer. Its prints are really great! We discuss how the Ultimaker 2 compares with other FDM printers and what you should look for when researching and shopping for a 3D printer.

    Bits to Atoms: 3D Printing a Mercury Capsule Miniature

    Shortly before this past Christmas, I was contacted by Lauren Oliver, an extremely polite gentleman who had discovered my Buckaroo Banzai Jet Car on The Replica Prop Forum. He reached out to inquire if I would be interested in building a NASA Mercury space capsule for a short film he was writing and directing. I was most definitely interested.

    Lauren's short film, "T-Minus", is a fictional account of the 7th manned Mercury mission, which was cancelled in favor of moving on to the Gemini program. His plan was to shoot on 35mm film, using nothing but scale models and practical effects. My background is in film production--almost everything I ever shot was on film and I grew up in the 70's and 80's (the heyday of practical effects). This was my kind of project!

    For the film, Lauren intended to build a 1/24 scale Atlas rocket, including the launch gantry (more on this later) but needed the capsule and other parts made. My initial response was, "not to put myself out of a job, but can't you just use an existing model kit?"--I figured there must be a ton to choose from. There are, in fact; that was his original intention, but none were detailed enough and/or at the right scale.

    I have to confess, I know more about Star Wars ships than I do about our real-life NASA fleet and there are as many Mercury capsule versions as there are TIE-Fighter models. So, I was very pleased when Lauren presented me tons of reference photos, blueprints and detailed the differences between them all -- he knew his stuff. Interestingly enough, at the time he was not aware of Tested and all the space goodness that goes down here--but I made sure to fill him in. My job was to build the capsule, the escape tower (the red rocket assembly at top), and the adapter, which attached the whole thing to the Atlas rocket.

    Codename Colossus Custom 3D-Printed Mech

    Singapore-based maker Michael Sng shared this video of his custom-designed mech that's composed entirely of hand-painted and assembled 3d-printed parts. His Codename Colossus is made of 400 printed components, with lights and servos to animate the kinetic art toy. To give you a sense of its complexity, Sng has also filmed videos showing the clean-up process for the parts, as well as the full assembly in time-lapse. An impressively time-consuming project that he calls an antithesis to mass production. It'll be on display at this year's New York Comic-Con. (h/t Jerome)