Another great use of 3dprinting

I had the great pleasure of interviewing leading educator, James Novak to learn more about his 3dprinted bike he designed. James is a lecturer at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia and has gained world wide recognition for his bicycle he developed.

The great thing about this designs is it shows how far 3dprinting can be pushed with a creative mind. To read the blog please click here.DSCF6909.JPG

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3dprinting really does Rock!

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Want to start 3dprinting but not sure where to begin? First place for many is thingiverse for a free download, however what about when you want to design something yourself? There’s only one real option, spend hours learning a CAD package and try to attempt your design. Keep it simple and you might succeed, but anything more complex than a book mark and it could take up hours of your time. Imagine having a Ferrari and needing someone else drive it for you? This would get frustrating after a while. One of my first blogs was about project shapeshifter by Autodesk. This allowed anyone with no design experience to create complex designs in seconds ready for 3dprinting. Then there was Makersempire 3dprinting modelling app for tablets aimed at younger children allowing models to be created by finger commands. Now one of thingiverses’ top designers Mark Durbin has developed a programme called 3dp.rocks/lithothane. The aim of the programme is to easily create 3dprintable models that are high quality and image based. Got a favourite holiday snap or a precious memory? Then you can immortalise it in 3dprint with this great programme in seconds.

The creator Mark Durbin explained how he first found out about 3dprinting after watching tomorrows world (BBC) in 1994 and later on in 2010 he bought a makerbot first generation ‘thingomatic’ after seeing Bre Petis on the cover of Make magazine. Mark actually purchased the 44th thingomatic ever made. A true founding father of 3dprinting! He explained the inspiration behind 3drocks/lithothane was to ‘help with the process of converting two dimensional images into three dimensional shapes for 3dprinting’. In line with the open source community that helped grow 3dprinting, Mark said he wanted to ‘make the tools as accessible as possible and make the source code available for modification by others’.2015-02-11_20.47.26_preview_featured

After asking Mark his views on the direction of 3dprinting he explained, ‘I think it’s stalled a bit, the RepRap movement has had and still has lots of ideas, but there doesn’t appear to be any real weight behind it.  Lots of small (and some large) companies are coming in to try and claim some of the ideas as their own and protect them commercially, which has tended to close down some of the collaboration and openness that I’ve seen in the past.  That’s not to say that it’s stopped, but it seems that every company that can claim “3D printing” is in some way associated with their product jumps on the band waggon which tends to ‘cheapen’ the general concept. There are still lots of ‘good guys’ out there who acknowledge the open source roots of their business and try to keep their commercial activities from damaging that.  I’m not against commercial activity in this space, I’m all for it, but a lot of it tends to be profit focussed and therefore aimed at the people with deeper pockets. I still think cheap/reliable home/school 3D printers are a great way to allow developing minds to express their ideas in an accessible way that plays to the ‘I want it now’ philosophy that seems to prevail’.SophieMusic_preview_featured

As an educator of 3dprinting this is totally in line with the reality. In the classroom one of the main stumbling blocks to the adoption of this by high school students is cost. Many can’t afford the $1000 – $2000 for the main branded machines and taking a risk on a cheaper unknown relatively new manufacturer is one that many parents of these students can’t do. Also the ‘I want it now’ philosophy resonates with high school students in most aspects of their digital dominated lives.

With such a great programme available for free and with such ease of use 3drocks/lithothane has great potential to help grow 3dprinting and allow easy access for users to create unique designs personalised to themselves. Mark said he has many ideas planned that can ‘extend’ on this and they will allow users ‘to be creative without a huge investment in learning’. Sounds like a great plan and one I will follow carefully. The images shown are some examples of the designs created from 3drock/lithothane. The sketch above is an image drawn by Mark’s daughter that he then turned into a 3dprinted light feature using the programme.

To check out 3drocks/lithothane click the link below and start creating! Thanks for this great programme Mark!

http://3dp.rocks/lithophane/

 

 

InMoov – 3Dprint your own life size humanoid robot

 

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It’s 2013 and I was at the 3dprintshow in London. There was a large crowd gathered around a stand so naturally I was intrigued to see what the excitement was about. I knew the 3dprintshow was about to impress beyond anything I had ever seen before but nothing could prepare me for this. After manoeuvring through the bodies I came face to face with a 3dprinted robot that bore a striking resemblance to the robot from the movie ‘i robot’ with Will Smith. I had to find out more, this was the stuff of science fiction right here right now. The robot was responding to voice commands given by an operator and seemed highly intelligent, the robot could even take a ball out of a child’s hand when commanded to do so. The crowd was naturally left speechless and so was I. Upon further investigation I found out through Gael Langevin, the projects creater, that the whole design is open source and the files are freely available for anyone with a 12″x12″ 3dprinter to start experimenting. Without any real robotics experience Geal has created this fully functioning 3dprinted voice activated robot, that  is free for anyone to have a go at printing their own. The fact that it is open source means you are free to adapt and improve the designs.

The project started when Gael was tasked with creating a 3dprinted modern looking prosthetic hand for a commercial photo shoot. He had acquired a ‘Bits from Bytes’ 3D touch printer (one I am extremely familiar with myself, having used one in education for the past three years) to prototype the hand on. The photoshoot ended up being cancelled but Gael still wanted to develop the limb, so he added  servos and a ‘Arduino’, an open source electronics prototyping platform and created a fully programmable electronic hand. After posting the designs online for anyone to experiment with, the feedback he received was all positive and 3dprinting enthusiasts wanted more so he developed the project further into a full scale responsive robot. The result now being the InMoov project has a legion of followers world wide and Gael’s designs have been downloaded thousands of times.

This is why 3dprinting is so powerful and is really changing how we view and access technology. This project was usually the preserve of high tech research and development teams at Blue Chip companies or university PHD students, now the everyday consumer, through 3dprinting can access this project through it’s open source origins.  When he was asked why the robot is open source he states, ‘I have no idea if they will improve our lives, robots are created by us. They will be our extensions somehow. Just like any tool they will be what we want them to become. I trust the human race even if everyday news shows mainly our negative side’. Truly inspiring words from the creator of this innovative project. This is one project I will follow to see how it develops. Fancy like having a go at 3dprinting your own InMoov robot?  Download the files here;

http://www.inmoov.fr/download/

InMoov will be at two shows in June the first being;

http://www.futur-en-seine.fr/fens2014/projet/inmoov/

The second show will be the Paris Makerfaire on the 21st and 22nd June. Click the link below;

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For more information on this ground breaking project click the robot below;

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GaGaël Langevinël Langevin

3Dprinting by Philip Cotton

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Proud of this award!!!

I have so much to say about this amazing technology that I decided to blog about it. I am a high school technology teacher from Manchester UK who has been teaching 3D printing to my students for the past two years. I won the 3Dprintshow educational excellence award for my work educating high school pupils on 3Dprinting (proudest moment of my career so far). What can I say, it has transformed technology education as I know it. This has the potential to be disruptive beyond the power of the internet, manufacturing will never be the same again and this truly gives power to the designer and lets everyday people realise their design dreams. How can I say this….I have witnessed it in the classroom for the past two years. Creativity has been redefined and suddenly you can go from concept to end result in a matter of minutes.
I am not sure where this blog will lead me but I love an uncharted journey. Thankgod for 3Dprinting, that’s how I will end my first post!!