Tag Archives: 3DPrint.com

Dutch Maker 3D prints an entire 3D printer

Over the last 12 months, we’ve certainly seen a fair share of new 3D printers hit the market. While many of today’s printers range in terms of size, extruders, composition, materials and hardware, none may be as unique as the one recently created by Dutch Maker Harold Reedijk.


As 3DPrint.com notes, Makers have been constructing their own 3D printers using 3D-printed parts for a while now — a trend that is commonly seen throughout open-source RepRap movement. Meanwhile, we’ve also begun to see some manufacturers, like Lulzbot, begin to mass produce their own parts on 3D printers — a number of which are based on AVR and Atmel | SMART microcontrollers.

Reedijk, who has owned an Ultimaker Original 3D printer for quite some time now, is no stranger to tinkering around with his Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) based printer by adding and replacing various components. In fact, he’s even created his own heated print bed, as well as even more recently replaced the entire hot-end on his Ultimaker.


“After a while I asked myself whether I could make a printer on my own. I had access to aluminum extrusions, so I decided to use them for the frame. I didn’t want to make the printer entirely from aluminum parts, as it would be too expensive for my budget at that time, and I knew that RepRap printers used printed ABS parts for construction purposes. First I tried PLA. It was hard enough for construction but when there was pressure on the parts they just broke. I didn’t want to use ABS, just because of the bad fumes alone, so I searched for alternatives. At that time ColorFabb came out with XT. I bought a spool, printed some test parts to test the general strength, toughness and impact strength, and it exceeded my expectations,” Reedijk told 3DPrint.com.

Subsequently, the Maker elected to go ahead and use the ColorFabb XT to build his 3D printer, which was based on the design of his Ultimaker Original. He did make a few modifications, however, which included increasing its print volume to 220 x 220 x 215mm, adding a heated print bed, including an integrated power supply, and using a Ubis ceramic hot-end.


Reedijk revealed to 3DPrint.com that he drew the aluminum extrusions of the printer in his 3D Program around the print be dimensions before making the parts for the frame.

“After that I sourced all the parts, built up the printer, step by step, drew all the XT parts and printed them out. At that time, I thought I knew enough about 3D printing, but during the build process I learned a lot more about printing itself (temperatures, print orientations, effects of cooling, etc.), the material XT itself, and the do’s and don’ts when making a printer.”

When all was said and done, the DIY 3D printer looks (and yes, works) perfect. You can see it in action below!

Interested in learning more? While Reedijk’s future plans are still undecided, you can head over to his official website here.


Maker 3D prints a laser engraving machine

Electrical engineering student Tyler Alford has successfully 3D-printed a laser engraving machine. No stranger to printing and constructing 3D printing devices like the ATmega1284P based RepRapPro Huxley, curiosity eventually led the young Maker to think outside the box.


“It started out just being bored on summer break from university. I had recently finished a project that required custom PCBs and was interested in ways to make my own,” Alford tells 3DPrint.com

Instead of simply 3D printing yet another printer, Alford elected to set his sights a little higher — this time on a fully-functioning laser engraver. The frame was devised using a modified Rostock Mini Pro. While he had originally began his project with ABS, Alford reveals that he found that it “warped too much.” Subsequently, he later turned to MatterHackers’ PLA Pro material, which was a much better fit for the job. When all was said and done, the entire frame took just six hours to complete.


In an effort to keep his build as easy and cost-effective as possible, he relied upon two axes — one responsible for holding the laser, the other holding the plate. Powered by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), Alford reveals that he was able to acquire two EasyDriver stepper motors and a laser housing on eBay for less than $10.

Since the laser, which he had pulled out of an old DVD drive, drew more power than the ATmega328 based ‘duino could supply, the Maker needed to put it on an LM317 based isolated circuit.


“In the end the entire project only ended up costing me about $15 as I already had the Arduino and DVD drives, and I pulled the laser diode from one of the DVD drives,” Alford concluded.

Want to delve deeper into the build? The Maker has made his project available on Thingiverse.

Maker builds a 3D-printed robotic parrot

While this may not be the first time both robotics and 3D printing came together to bring an idea to life, it is surely amongst the most incredible. Maker Brian Matthews — who runs the website Flapping Sprocket — recently created a 3D-printed, robotic parrot powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280). Had the project been feathered, it could’ve surely passed for the real deal.


According to Matthews, the apparatus was built entirely from scratch. Aside from the ATmega1280 based ‘duino running animation code, the robotic parrot is comprised of seven servo motors, a skeleton printed from ABS plastic (except for the wings which are made from PLA), an IR distance sensor from Adafruit, as well as a 6-volt battery to power the featherless creature.


Matthews used the drawing program Sketchup to design all the parts. The Maker tells 3DPrint.com that he began with the shell by downloading a previously drawn version just to get an idea as to what a three-dimensional parrot would look like.

According to 3DPrint.com, once Matthews had a fairly good idea of its aesthetics and functionality, he discarded the original download and started from ground zero by tracing profile and front views of a parrot using online photos.

Interested in learning more about the build? You can check out its writeup here.





Creating a zoetrope with a 3D printer and Arduino

When it comes to music videos, artists today are not only getting more creative but are spending less. Proof of just that, a Maker by the name of Michael Lainé recently used 3D printing to create a unique sculptural animation (also known as a zoetrope) of himself in a project he calls “Silvia.”


To begin, Lainé scanned himself with a Microsoft Kinect. These images were then 3D printed with the help of an Atmel powered Makerbot Replicator 2.


“After correcting and cleaning up the model of myself in Maya, I took it into the motion capture plug-in to get the animation. From there I took a snippet of animation along the timeline and exported each frame as an .OBJ file to bring into Makerware for printing,” Lainé tells 3DPrint.com.

After printing 30 models for his zoetrope, the Maker affixed each of them onto a 300mm wide disk, equally spaced around the outer edge to ensure optimal results. In order to get the zoetrope functioning properly, Lainé employed an LED array as the light source, a stepper motor to drive the disk, and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328). The Arduino was programmed by technician James Thomas to strobe one beam per head for every full rotation of the disk, 3DPrint.com reveals.

3D-printed prosthetic makes kids feel like Iron Man

While a set of 3D-printed prosthetic Wolverine claws are already available, when it comes to superheroes, how can the Maker community forget Iron Man? That is why Maker Pat Starace has put together a beaming, blinking and beautiful version of Tony Starks’s armor using an Arduino, some LEDs and Bluetooth.


It is widely know that 3D-printed prosthetics are immensely cheaper than professionally-made models, which can often run upwards of $10,000. This 3D-printed option is not only cheaper, but adds some Hollywood flair and self-esteem along the way.

“How can we help a child that faces everyday challenges with a disability? My answer is to give them the most awesome prosthetic hand, and raise their self esteem to Super Hero Levels,” Starace writes. The vision was to create a hand, so that a child can have something that solves a mechanical challenge, is affordable, and mostly looks awesome!”

(Mission accomplished, Pat!)


Unlike the Wolverine hand, which used one of the designs from e-NABLE, this Maker elected to develop his own hand along several principles — it had to look awesome, it had to perform awesome, and it had to hide all the strings (typically visible in other low-cost 3D-printed prosthetic hands), so nothing distracted from its magic.

Starace tells 3DPrint.com that his hand can incorporate microcontrollers, wireless devices, smartwatches, sensors, accelerometers, NFC, RFID, and nearly any form of technology. Did we mention that it can also be voice-controlled?

What inspired the Maker? “My main goal is to help a child that is going through life with a disability, and facing everyday challenges in their lives, by making them the COOLEST KID in their school. I can only think this will make a great impact on a child during their early years by raising their self-esteem to superhero levels,” he says.


One other unique aspect of Starace’s project is that it is constructed entirely from scratch. He didn’t rely on any pre-existing schematics and used MAYA to cobble together his design from a series of pictures he found on the Internet. He notes, “There’s a sort of organic mechanical shape to these parts, the goal was to replicate them as close as I could and retain the same look and feel.”

Though Starace didn’t mention as to which 3D printer he used for his build, based on previous projects, we’re guessing it may have been an Atmel megaAVR or SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 based RepRap. (Pat, are we correct?)

Once converting his form to SolidWorks, he began printing his prop. It took around 48 hours for the model to be completed and upon finishing, the Maker was ecstatic. “It was with great excitement to see the model assembled and perform EXACTLY as I had designed it.”

This is clearly one of the most ingenious 3D-printed designs that we have seen to date and look forward the kind of innovation this hand sparks in the future. Just like Tony Stark’s mind, when it comes to the Makers and Atmel based technologies, the possibilities are seemingly endless!

3D printing a castle in Minnesota

While we have covered the creations of Minnesota Maker Andrey Rudenko before on Bits & Pieces, nothing may’ve compared to his latest. Andrey has had the goal of 3D printing an entire house for a while now, and while his other projects have been incredible, this one is certainly the most majestic yet.


Powered by an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280 MCU), Rudenko has created his own device capable of printing a fully-functional, small-scale castle comprised of concrete.

As noted, the Maker has had his eyes set on 3D printing an entire house for quite some time now, but amid some small concerns, he has decided to start at what he calls “small” and build his way up. Rudenko has designed the castle to test his technology and gain structural confidence to eventually build an entire house. “It has been two years since I first began toying with the idea of a 3D printer that was capable of constructing homes,” Andrey tells 3DPrint.com.


The castle is large enough for adults to walk around in and Andrey is assured that he now has the capability to print an entire home. However, though he originally planned to construct the home in Minnesota, Rudenko believes that it may be best to find a location that provides a warmer climate, as the winters up north may be be too harsh on the construction process and on the 3D printer itself.


“While other teams are also working on respectable projects in 3D printing construction technology, I have developed a product that is ready for actual-size construction rather than miniature prototypes,” he tells 3DPrint.com. When looking at these pictures and plans, it’s obvious that the Maker is the king of this 3D-printed castle.


“When I started out, people struggled to believe this project would progress any further,” Rudenko explained. Though the structure isn’t as tall as the trees surrounding it, it does appear to be large enough to walk around in.


“I have previously been sure I could print homes, but having finished the castle, I now have proof,” the creator validated.

As 3DPrint.com writes, there’s no debate as to whether or not majestic masterpiece is the first 3D-printed castle every designed, and there remains very little doubt that Rudenko will be successful in the 3D printing of a full-size house.

While we have seen attempts at 3D-printed cars and homes before using AVR XMEGA and megaAVR MCU-powered machines, Andrey Rudenko’s creations are surely something quite magical. For those looking to explore other innovative 3D printing projects, head on over to our archives on the topic here. Anyone interested in helping him out with the 3D-printed house project, Rudenko has asked that they contact him via email.

3D printing frozen treats with serious science

If you recall, a few weeks ago we alerted you to a group of MIT students who created a 3D printer that dispensed ice cream designs. Now, 3DPrint.com has revealed that yet another Maker has developed an even more intricate device capable of dispensing 3D-printed frozen treats with fantastic precision.


Led by Luis E. Fraguada, Robots in Gastronomy is a research group seeking to deepen the world’s understanding of new technologies in the realm of gastronomy. The Barcelona-based group was looking for a new way of creating a frozen treat on a hot summer’s day. In unison with Cocktail Lab, Fraguada’s team used their FoodForm printer and an anti-griddle to create these custom ice cream designs.

Fraguada told 3DPrint.com that the machine provides the user with the ability to print onto “any surface, be it a plate, a heated surface, or, in the case of the ice cream, a cold surface.” The team utilized Cocktail Lab’s anti-griddle and its -34 degree surface to freeze their snacks into the amazing shapes you see above.

The Robots in Gastronomy team hopes to develop another prototype of the FoodForm in the near future, further pushing the envelope with 3D-printed foods. With Makers like Robots in Gastronomy and the MIT students thinking with their brains as well as their stomachs, the 3D-printed snacking prospects are seemingly endless!