Published October 18, 2011
Prototypes , Sample-licious
[Editor’s note: Sorry I’ve been so delinquent in my posts. I promise to do a better job of keeping the blog current. If you have any suggestions for future posts, please feel free to send them to me (warrenginn at gmail dot com). Thanks for your support!]
For those of you keeping score at home, you know that I’ve been a big fan of Protomold and their most-excellent part samples/teaching aids. Last year saw the introduction of the Protomold Torus featuring a plethora of common injection molded features crammed into a lovely plastic doughnut for you to display on your desks:
New for this year is the Protogami:
The Protogami demonstrate the interaction of materials of varying durometers and surface finishes. It is made up of 3-dimensional “flexagons,” creating a kaleidocycle that exposes a different set of faces with each turn. An informational guide, highlighting the materials, finishes and design features used, is included with the Protogami components and assembly instructions.
The base structure of 6 polypropylene parts that snap together serve as an excellent example of living hinges, clips, slots and pockets. The snap-in plaques represent 6 different materials (polycarbonate, ABS, HDPE, acetal, glass-filled nylon and TPE) featuring 4 different surface finishes as well as a fifth part that you can snap in half to experience how the material breaks. A very nice addition to their portfolio.
You can check out Protomold designer Kevin Crystal’s blog post on the Protogami.
[Get your own Protogami or Torus]
Published March 8, 2011
EADS, the European aerospace and defense group has announced the world’s first bike to use a new manufacturing process which it claims has the potential to transform manufacturing around the globe. The ‘Airbike’ is made of nylon but, according to EADS, is strong enough to replace steel or aluminum and requires no conventional maintenance or assembly. It is ‘grown’ from powder using a new manufacturing process is known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), allowing complete sections to be built as one piece. Other powered materials such as titanium, stainless steel or aluminum could be used.
The wheels, bearings and axle are incorporated within the ‘growing’ process and built at the same time. Because it can be designed and built to a rider’s specification, theoretically it would require no adjustment.
Full article from Eureka UK.
I found some additional info on ALM here. I also found a video from another company about ALM:
[via Ben and Eureka UK]
Published February 23, 2011
It’s really not as cool as it sounds… but it could be in the future…
Looks like scientists in the Computational Synthesis Laboratory at Cornell got a hold of a MakerBot (or a clone of one) and fitted it with a syringe of what appears to be white silicone caulking. Demonstrating it at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D. C., the scientists are using this rig as a proof-of-principal concept for a way to crank out synthetic body parts like ears and heart valves.
In this concept, the silicone caulk is a stand-in for the biological material that they, one day, hope use as DNA-injected ‘ink.’ The spare parts would be based on the patient’s own hi-res full-body scan that was “banked” years earlier, prior to their misfortune. Just extract the 3D model of the missing part and print a new one. Right now it looks like you’d have a cross-hatch pattern on your new ear from where the extruded material was laid down… But it’s still and interesting idea.
There’s a video after the jump.
Published February 21, 2011
Okay, this is pretty interesting, really geeky and at the same time hints at a larger issue coming down the pike. So Ulrich Schwanitz figured out how to print the “impossible” Penrose Triangle, a well-known optical illusion. He released a video of the shape and challenged others to see how it might have been done. 3D modeller Artur Tchoukanov promptly figured it out, designed a 3D shape that accomplished the same thing, and uploaded his shape’s specifications to Thingiverse, a repository for 3D designs. Not surprisingly, other seized upon the model and started printing their own copies. (How cool to have that sitting on your desk?)
Then Boing Boing author Cory Doctorow erroneously credited Artur Tchoukanov with creating the shape sparking a series of emails and threats with a lawsuit, etc., etc… Anyway, it illuminates the soon-to-be issue where anyone can copy an image or 3D form and print out their own copy as opposed to mass-producing it. So how do the copyright/patent holders police THAT? Says Cory:
And just wait until someone creates a printer that can reproduce patented pharmaceutical compounds or Monsanto’s patented life-forms! Now there are a couple of villains with a lot of resources to throw at making the whole Internet’s life miserable in order to squeeze an extra 0.05% into the quarter’s bottom line.
So with this technology comes a freedom to design and make whatever you want… and a whole new way to get sued. Fun!
Read the rest of Boing Boing’s article.
[Penrose Triangle Illusion on Thingiverse]
[via Boing Boing]
Published February 21, 2011
Materials , Prototypes
Rapid prototyper i.materialise now offers a new material for printing your latest creation: titanium. Using DMLS or Direct Metal Laser Sintering,the part is built up pretty much they way you’d expect: using a frickin’ laser to melt the powder with a very high resolution. The only catch: the support structures have to be “removed manually using very powerful circular saws and other tools.” I’m thinking diamond-tipped cutters… Obviously the folks there are pretty jacked up:
Titanium 3D printing opens up an entirely new world of advanced engineering, manufacturing and jewelry applications for creative people worldwide. Titanium’s high heat resistance, high accuracy and unparalleled strength lets designers now make things that before now could only be made by the research and development departments of only the largest corporations in the world. By putting this technology in the public’s hands were democratizing manufacturing and giving you the opportunity to, design and order something this is exactly as you want it to be.
Visit their blog for more info and how to order your parts.
Published December 8, 2010
Furniture , Prototypes
‘Endless’ is a chair constructed by a robot extruding one contiguous ribbon of plastic recycled from old refrigerators. Dutch designer and recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dirk van der Kooij presented his take on tool-less plastic chair construction at his graduation show as part of Dutch Design Week.
The robot is even recycled: After a 140,000 hour non-stop career in a Chinese production line, van der Kooij installed new software and turned it into a large-scale prototyping machine. While it has a lower resolution that what you might see in a true rapid prototyping system, this slower process allows him to produce robust models at a steady pace. The coarse structure reveals how the product has been constructed layer by layer. Endless combines the flexibility of traditional workmanship with the speed of industrial production.
You can watch the video of the process and watch as he lovingly introduces different colors of pellets to play with the striations–creating each chair as a unique work of functional art.
[via domus, DesignRulz and Ponoko]
Published October 20, 2010
Okay, I know these aren’t mass-produced products, but for God’s sake… Harrison Krix needs help… but in a good way… Harrison is a graphic designer in Atlanta whom likes to design and make replica props from movies and video games. Take a look at his blog and his photo stream on Flickr for lots of cool images of the wicked gadgets he’s constructed.