The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Posted by Editor On August - 27 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

As many parents of young children understand, the commodities markets (gold, silver, pork bellies) shamefully neglect to catalog the ongoing rate of one of the world’s most collectible items: LEGO blocks.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Image by Cmglee courtesy of Wikipedia

As LEGO blocks continue to hold their dollar value over time, the prospect of 3D-printing them grows. LEGO blocks are originally made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and can be easily duplicated by most 3D printers. STL (stereolithography) files for LEGO block downloads have been around for years.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Image of downloadable LEGOs by pokesummit

As the “world’s most powerful brand” LEGO has a strong tradition based on a singly mindful element of their product. It’s virtually impossible to replicate precisely. Even asian knock-off brands of LEGO blocks fail miserably across the board in terms of ease of use and reliability. And forget about having them work together with true LEGOs.

In terms of legal precedent in the LEGO trademark, a number of companies have been sued for infringing upon the LEGO design of their interlocking blocks. LEGO patented their definitive shape of the bricks with their inner tubes in 1958, but the latest European Court of Justice ruling in 2010, stated the eight-peg design of the original Lego brick “merely performs a technical function [and] cannot be registered as a trademark.”

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Knock-off companies like Wise Hawk are shameless in their marketing and produce inferior products

So printing one’s own blocks are likely to run into the same quality control issues that plague all other attempts at replicating LEGOs accurately. But printing them at five times the size? That’s a different animal altogether.

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

3D-printing giant LEGO blocks

Mantis, a two-ton hexapod built by Matt Denton

Meet Matt Denton. Denton’s claim to fame is being the creator of the six-legged two-ton human-scale hexapod called Mantis. His latest contribution to the world is his giant-sized LEGO block creation, a five-times scale model of a LEGO go-cart, model no. 1972. Designed as a LEGO kit in 1985, this buggy cart with dual wheels and working rack-and-pinion steering took 168 hours to make — approximately seven days of printing. The end result weighed 5.1 kilos and cost a little over £100.

In his video series in two parts on the 3D printing of the blocks, Denton explains his tricks of the trade to replicate the LEGO creation in its massive size off a Lulzbot Taz 5 printer. Using extensive brimming to minimize warping at the edges, and foregoing support material in key spots were some of the techniques Denton employed. The video is extensive in construction detail, explaining which parts should be built in sections. No doubt this will not be the first of these mega-size LEGO creations, as anyone with a 3D printer can follow Denton’s lead through his step-by-step instructions.

It’s only a matter of time now until giant LEGO blocks becomes its own sub-Reddit thread. In the meantime, investing in LEGOs still proves to be a viable retirement plan for most parents.

The Daily 3D Detail: Our new favorite STL download

Posted by Editor On August - 26 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Our new favorite STL download

Our new favorite STL download

The Minion chess set is sure to please young players

We love All3DP.com and their extensive lists. Known for ranking printers or presenting DIY projects, All3DP.com has been a favorite website of printrs for years.

Their most recent list is a celebration of 3D-printed chess sets and the selection is impressive. Whether you prefer conventional designs or unique assortments of chess pieces, this list is well-worth a scrolling and bookmark.

Our new favorite STL download

The Lewis chess set, based on the 800-year-old historical set on display at the National Museum of Scotland

The takeaway from this list is it is inevitably incomplete. Chess sets are a popular choice for beginner printrs and modelrs and there is no limit to the imagination that can occupy 16 squares on a chess board. Hopefully exposure of this list will generate even more download options and more follow-up lists to come.

Once you’ve downloaded and printed your set, you may consider traipsing over Chess.com and playing the built-in AI interface. Ranked from levels 1 through 10, the AI is ready to match you at your skill sets and challenge you appropriately. Most can handle levels 3 and 4, whereas grandmasters find themselves stumped by level 8. No one, apparently, is smart enough to beat the computer at level 10.

In addition to gaming, the Chess.com site also offers tips and strategies and a variety of resources for chess enthusiasts.

The Daily 3D Detail: Urine in Space

Posted by Editor On August - 25 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Urine in Space

Researchers provide possibility of printing 3D objects by harvesting astronaut urine

Urine in space may be used to create 3D printing inks

Researchers from the Blenner Research Group of South Carolina’s Clemson University have introduced a novel way of creating 3D printing ink in space from human urine. The discovery, a process of harvesting yeast bacteria that feed on the urea present in human urine, may be the answer for providing raw materials for use in constructing objects in space.

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

Bear Grylls understands the value of urine in unforgiving environments

The Blenner Research Group presented their results today at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, featured nearly 9,400 presentations this week in Washington, D.C. on a wide range of science topics. Of these presentations, the prospect of harvesting construction material from urine garnered worldwide attention.

“If astronauts are going to make journeys that span several years, we’ll need to find a way to reuse and recycle everything they bring with them,” says Mark A. Blenner, assistant chemical and biomolecular engineering professor at Clemson University.

Urine in space may be used to create 3D printing inks

The process requires gene splitting and the use of the yeast called Yarrowia lipolytica. By employing CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) technology to the yeast DNA, the researchers believe they will be able to convert the hydrogen and carbon molecules, which result as fatty acids and are seen as beginning molecular building blocks, into constructible material. The research, funded by NASA’s Space Tech Research Grants, is looking at editing the DNA so that the yeast are able to produce polyester globules instead of the fatty acids.

For more details on this development, please see these links at 3DPrintingIndustry.com and CBC.ca.

The Daily 3D Detail: Fresh off the printer

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Fresh off the printer

Fresh off the printer

Photos courtesy of CSM BakerySolutions

CSM Bakery Solutions, a company devoted to providing bakers and business people strategies and options for better production, has signed a deal with 3D Systems “to bring innovative and creative 3D printed culinary products to the market.”

According to the report, CSM will support the development of and have exclusive rights to utilize 3D Systems’ ChefJet Pro 3D printer for high-resolution, colorful food products for the professional culinary environment.

“We are very excited about what this opportunity can mean for the food industry,” said CSM’s President and CEO, Marianne Kirkegaard.

“Our agreement with 3D Systems has the potential to reshape the food industry,” she said. “Across a number of industries, 3D printing has helped transform industries, and there’s every reason to think the same can be true for the food industry. We are excited to partner and continue to expand capabilities and opportunities in the culinary market with their platform.”

The partnership enables collaborative R&D, engineering, design and printer development focused on specific sourcing, food product development and go to market plans. After careful analysis and extensive discussions, planning and market research, CSM and 3D Systems have formalized this agreement and are beginning the work to bring prototypes to the market.

Please see the link at CSMBakerySolutions.com. For further details, please also see this report at 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Added Scientific providing public 3D printing classes

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Added Scientific providing public 3D printing classes

Added Scientific providing public 3D printing classes

Photo courtesy of Added Scientific

UK company Added Scientific, a development of the University of Nottingham, has added a program of 3D printing courses being made available to the public. In the past, these courses were only accessible to businesses. The one- and two-day courses are in a variety of subjects aimed at elevating the public’s knowledge of 3D printing practices and developments. The courses are led by Phil Dickens, a 25-year member of the university and co-founder of Added Scientific.

For example, in the metal additive manufacturing course, “Attendees will benefit from understanding of advanced design strategies for AM components,” including “topological optimization and the use of lattice structures for lightweighting and funcitionalization.”

The courses will begin on September 6 2017, and continue until January 17 2018, taking place at the company’s HQ in Nottingham, UK.

For more on the story, visit this article at 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

To enroll in the courses, visit Added Scientific.

The Daily 3D Detail: Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Researchers improve bioprinting resolution

Researchers in the UK have made significant strides in bioprinting resolution. Photo by Alexander D. Graham.

Scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Bristol in the UK have developed an improved method of bioprinting that allows for the resolution needed to produce functioning organ creation. In an article in Scientific Reports, authors Alexander D. Graham, Sam N. Olof, Madeline J. Burke, James P. K. Armstrong, Ellina A. Mikhailova, James G. Nicholson, Stuart J. Box, Francis G. Szele, Adam W. Perriman, and Hagan Bayley have introduced a method of printing living tissue with the use of a pipette that allows for 200 micron and under resolution clarity and were able to produce materials with 90% viability.

The research, led by the Bayley Research Group and School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, was able to produce human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells and sheep stem cells (oMSCs), wherein delicate constructs such as cartilage were successfully accomplished.

According to Dr. Alexander Graham of Oxford University, “To date, there are limited examples of printed tissues, which have the complex cellular architecture of native tissues. Hence, we focused on designing a high-resolution cell printing platform, from relatively inexpensive components, that could be used to reproducibly produce artificial tissues with appropriate complexity from a range of cells including stem cells.”

For more on this story, see the article at 3DPrinting Industry.com.

The University of Bristol was in the news last year for improvements they made to bioinks.

The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printed robot uses sign language

Posted by Editor On August - 23 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: 3D-printed robot uses sign language

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

Photos courtesy of Project Aslan

NewAtlas.com is reporting on the development of Project Aslan (ASL is the acronym for American Sign Language; ASLAN itself is the acronym of “Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node”), a robotic device capable of interpreting spoken language into sign language for the benefit of deaf people.

Created by a team at the University of Antwerp in The Netherlands, in conjunction with 3D Hubs, Project Antwerp at this stage is a robotic hand that is able to sign letters and words spoken to it. Developers are attempting to create a full-body model to use both hands and an expressive face for its translation functions.

3D-printed robot hand uses sign language

This is not the first robot created to address sign language needs in society. Toshiba developed a signing robot in 2014 to help the elderly. Project Aslan is notable as much of the physical components are 3d-printed.

According to the story, the robot hand is made up of 25 plastic parts 3D-printed from an entry-level desktop printer, plus 16 servo motors, three motor controllers, an Arduino Due microcomputer and a few other electronic components. The plastic parts reportedly takes about 139 hours to print, while final assembly of the robot takes another 10.

Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys and Jasper Slaets are the three master’s degree students who began Project Aslan in 2014. Huys commented on the undertaking by saying, “I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to work on robotics for my masters, so we combined the two.”

For the full article, please see this page at NewAtlas.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Shapeways CEO steps down

Posted by Editor On August - 15 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Shapeways CEO steps down

Shapeways CEO steps down

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg with Peter Weijmarshausen during ribbon cutting of Long Island City facility

Peter Weijmarshausen, co-founder and CEO of Shapeways, has announced his departure. COO Tom Finn will assume CEO operations until a permanent CEO can be installed.

Weijmarshausen began the online 3D service bureau in 2007 with fellow founders Marleen Vogelaar and Robert Schouwenburg, whom have already left the firm.

The service bureau was formed in The Netherlands as a way of providing 3D printing to a wide range of modelers and engineers who were unable to create prints on their own. Shapeways, as part of the Royal Philips Electronics business incubator, trailblazed the 3D printing industry with their services and has been instrumental in providing rapid prototyping to designers all over the world. It has been estimated that there are nearly 37,000 outlets providing Shapeways services in the world.

Weijmarshausen commented on his departure by saying, “I am proud of all we have accomplished during ten years at Shapeways and am excited about everything that I see on the horizon for the company.”

Albert Wenger, Shapeways director, had this to say about Weijmarshausen’s years of service, “I want to thank Pete for the decade he has spent building Shapeways. Pete has really pioneered consumer 3D printing and built Shapeways into the leading marketplace. He will continue to guide the future as a director of the company.”

For more on the story, see this article at 3DPrintingIndustry.com.

The Daily 3D Detail: Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

Posted by Editor On August - 14 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

3D-printed device can be made for $550

Turn a smartphone into a portable health lab

Spectral transmission-reflectance-intensity (TRI) analyzers are devices costing thousands of dollars. Their purpose is to provide a number of diagnostic health tests including, to name a few, detection of various proteins and antibodies in a blood sample, pre-term birth biomarkers in pregnant women, and evidence of PKU in newborns. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been able to provide, through the use of a 3D printer, a way of turning a smartphone into a TRI analyzer for the production cost of $550.

The brainchild of Brian Cunningham, a professor of bioengineering and electrical and computer engineering at UI, the newly devised device will not only be able to provide a low-cost alternative to expensive blood, urine, and saliva tests in developing countries, but may even bring efficiency to modern labs as the smartphone’s LED flash and camera is able to test multiple samples at once.

The announcement of the device first appeared in the scientific journal Lab on a Chip. An article detailing the report has appeared at the site 3Ders.org. In the report, developers are pointing out that their device may have broader applications in the field for the purpose of animal health applications, environmental monitoring, drug testing, food safety, and even manufacturing quality control.

Cunningham explains, “Our TRI Analyzer is like the Swiss Army knife of biosensing. It’s capable of performing the three most common types of tests in medical diagnostics, so in practice, thousands of already-developed tests could be adapted to it.”

For more details on the new device, see this article at 3Ders.org

The Daily 3D Detail: Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

Posted by Editor On August - 13 - 2017Comments Off on The Daily 3D Detail: Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

‘Ships run on diesel and coffee’

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

Ensign Abigail Isaacs uses a 3D printer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Healy

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

3D-printed coffee pot handle

Sarah Saunders has reported on the U.S. Coast Guard adopting 3D printing into its day-to-day operations in her article on Thursday at 3DPrint.com. She writes that five U.S. Coast Guard cutters currently have 3D printers onboard and this branch of the armed forces is also using them in their Surface Forces Logistics Center Engineering Services Division in Baltimore and at Base New Orleans for use in replacing broken or needed objects. In addition, studies at the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) in Connecticut are being done to see how 3D printing can improve mission readiness for the Coast Guard.

Examples of naval use of 3D printing dates back to August of last year when we reported on the U.S. Navy saving thousands by 3D-printing radio clips. In Saunder’s story, we learn how the Coast Guard is saving money and staying functional with critical repairs, as in the coffee pot handle shown above for the Coast Guard Cutter James.

Coast Guard sees 3D printing as necessity

3D-printed scullery nozzle

Saunders writes that according to James’ commanding officer Captain Mark Fedor, “’Ships run on diesel and coffee.’ I work alone in my office every day, and I still need caffeine each morning to feel like a functioning human; I can’t imagine being at sea with over 100 other people and no working coffee pot.”

Another example of part repair inarguably essential to the operation of a ship’s galley was a scullery nozzle 3D-printed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Healy.

Program Manager Capt. Joseph Dugan of the National Security Cutter Program stated, “Sometimes manufacturers no longer make the parts, and need to retool a production line in order to make us the part we need. This can be time-consuming, and very costly to the government.

“I think the utility of the 3D printer is the ability to print parts that are not normally kept onboard. Sometimes those parts have lead times of weeks… maybe months, depending on the workload of the manufacturer.”

We recommend reading the full article at 3DPrint.com and advocate active discussion on the practicality of 3D printing in all maritime use.