Posts Tagged ‘3d printing’

NYTimes: Project Laundry List Looking For A Better Clothespin

The tail end of this fun little history of the clothespin in the New York Times Magazine sounds like a MakerBot call to action, from an organization that thinks people should wash their clothes in cold water and use clotheslines to dry them. Read the article for the history of the invention, but here’s what I want to call your attention to:


Glen Berkowitz is the executive director of Project Laundry List, a nonprofit organization that advocates washing clothes in cold water and hanging them out to dry. Here, he shares his thoughts on the clothespin:

What role does the clothespin play in Project Laundry List? Looking backward, the clothespin is a relatively easy way to dry your clothes without having to lay them on the ground or drape them over something. Looking forward, the clothespin is a phenomenal interest of ours because we’re in the process of setting up a brand-new national design competition.

What kind of design competition? The clothespin hasn’t changed for over 150 years. Is there a better clothespin just waiting out there by some young or creative mind? By the end of this year, we will formally launch this. We’re excited to see what we find.

This one’s for us, Makers! I’ve started to think about clothespins without springs that come in a variety of sizes depending on the job. But take note of this last point, too:

Do you recommend the wooden or the plastic variety? If the wooden clothespin was still made in the United States, we would recommend it, but what’s made in America now are plastic clothespins. One is less economical and the other is less sustainable. It evens out.

There are several arguments one could make about why making your own clothespins in ABS on your MakerBot reduces material waste. But to drive the point home, maybe we should be thinking about PLA pins. There are a few awesome clothespins on Thingiverse already, like the one below from PolygonPusher. Let’s build off of these and think about a new design that can be MakerBotted.

Clothespin by PolygonPusher


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More ReconstructMe Magic

There’s a new post up at 3DPrinting@UMW, the blog about the MakerBotting adventures of a couple faculty members at University of Mary Washington in Virginia. I hope Tim won’t mind me nabbing his picture; this result from a Kinect scan is just too good.


The post says he sat in a spinning chair and turned slowly while the Kinect grabbed the image, and then used Christoph Heindl’s program ReconstructMe to turn the scan into a 3D mesh. The bust you see above was made on a TOM. Nice. It’s good enough for me to read the expression on Tim’s face, and I would bet he ruffled his shirt a bit to show how well the combination of Kinect, ReconstructMe, and a Thing-O-Matic could capture reality. Tim also gives fair credit to the pretty fantastic instructional video from our Tony Buser on how to clean up a model.

Also, I love this closing thought:

In many ways it feels like the advances being made in this field are so incredibly fast moving that it’s hard to keep up. The great thing is it feels closer to magic than reality, and how often do you get to say that about the work you do in higher education?

“Magic” seems to be a bit of a theme on this blog.

3D printing is one of the truly revolutionary things you can witness. I’m reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” While showing the devices to undergraduate art students in a sculpture class those words rang truer than ever as their eyes lit up in wonderment. The power to create objects in a virtual space, print them, and hold them in the physical is unbelievable.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this group when they get their Replicator in the fall. Make on, UMW!


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Instructables Roundup: Toys, Cameras, Circuit Boards is a fountain of good stuff for the DIYer. Here are a few recent favorites:

Rubber band-powered car toy

This 18-step Instructable from Thingiverse user mrigsby is really straightforward and you get a fun toy to play with at the end! What impressed me here is that this project was Mike’s first experience with 3D modeling software. He used Tinkercad to design the car, and seems to think it was pretty easy.

To make a wheel, you just drag a cylinder onto the workspace.  Set the diameter and the thickness and you’re almost done.  Drag a hole onto the workspace, adjust the diameter and place it in the center of the wheel.  Group the hole and the wheel.  That’s it.

He made this on The Replicator, and shares his tricks, too. For example, to make these pieces with a raft underneath, Mike says he has had the most luck setting the build plate temperature to 115° C, rather than 100° C.

You can find all the files for the Rubber Band Powered Car on Thingiverse!


Tilt-Shift Lens Adapter

Here’s another Instructables/Thingiverse gem, made especially for the photo geek. A tilt-shift lens is “used to create a miniature effect or a very shallow depth of field in your photography,” and if you shoot from a high angle pointing down, the accessory “creates the illusion of looking down at a miniature model.”

What I liked about this project in particular is the cost savings here. Joe Murphy, author of the Instructable, says the professional version is pretty pricey; “we’re talking $1000- 3000.” So I decided to just make one for myself and see how much it costs in ABS.

Answer: at 7 grams, the part costs $0.30. And it took 19 minutes, from digital to tangible. So there ya go.



3D-Printed Circuit Boards

Just as a blog post at noted a lack of experiments with 3D-printed circuit boards, an Instructable showed up from CarryTheWhat, an Open Source Hardware group with a presence on Etsy and Thingiverse.

In this step-by-step, you get careful instructions on making the circuit board itself from files available on Thingiverse. There is a library of files for all the different components and advice on arranging them successfully. The example in the Instructable will output a simple circuit to get an LED to blink.

This is admittedly not complex stuff, but it is remarkable to see a DIY circuit project that involves no soldering or etching. All of these parts have been “thoroughly tested on the MakerBot Replicator, with ABS plastic,” according to the Thingiverse page.


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What Are You Making For Mother’s Day?!

Today is the day when the residents of 78 countries engage in one big gasp: “Mother’s Day is two days away!” I bet you could hear this from space.

Here’s how a Maker solves this. Go to Thingiverse.

There are a number of things to download and make that your mom would love. Flowers, sculptures, jewelry, things to hold jewelry, phone accessories, organizers, aquarium structures, things for the home.

Did you take a nice trip with your mom? Thingiverse probably has a miniature of one of the buildings or monuments you saw. Or maybe you just want to customize a picture frame for that shot of the kids.

If you have a MakerBot, you can make your mom anything you can think of. Here are a few ideas to get you going. Whatever you make, be sure to tag it Mother’s Day to help fellow citizens of the Thingiverse.










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MakerBot & Miniatures: 123D Catch

I’m taking a short break from the blog series this week, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging.  I’ve put together a short screencast on how I use the creation tools in 123D Catch, specifically reference points and reference distances, to create scans that print in my desired scale.  This tip is great for anyone who wants tight control over print size, whether you’re working in scale or not.

YouTube Preview Image

A Quick Note: I’m running Autodesk 123D Catch on my mac through VMware Fusion.  Autodesk just released a web version, which is great for mac users, but it lacks some of the advanced features like creation tools.  So to use this tip, you need to use the desktop application on Windows.

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Action Chess By Cymon: It Works!

World, you need to be following the developments of Joe, who is now a fully fledged MakerBotter.

Joe, or Cymon on Thingiverse, was the winner of the Tinkercad Chess Set Design competition, for which we awarded him The Replicator.  And now he’s on the way toward making his famed Action Chess set!


As you can see, the sweet thing about this chess set is that the pieces are designed to assemble into this chess giant. Now that Joe has had a chance to test his design, he’s reporting success! The pieces do in fact assemble, but he says there’s a bit of calibration and fine tuning left.

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Awesome Video Of A First Print

Okay, I’m not the only one getting truly excellent first prints out of The Replicator. Check this video from Teehan+Lax Labs in Toronto. This bust looked great right after they took the support material off, but beautiful after some quick finishing.

Design firms, you’re on notice. This is how it’s done.


Also, what are these gears for, guys?! So glad you’re off and running.


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Kickstarter Record Breakers Add The Replicator To Their Toolbox

You gotta love this. Have you heard about the Pebble Watch? Eric Migicovsky’s company Pebble has raised a record-breaking $10 million+ on Kickstarter1 — with a week left in its campaign — to produce its Bluetooth supported smart watch.

They thought they’d raise enough money to make 1,000 of these beautiful and highly sought after watches. Well, now it looks like they’ll have to produce 85,000. That’s a tall order, except that they say they’ll use The Replicator to help the production process.

The team has smashed the Kickstarter record for funding, and collected its initial goal of $100,000 in a matter of two hours, and had surpassed $200,000 within four hours.

The Pebble crew is a ten person startup, which Migicovsky says is working around the clock on perfecting the software. Regardless of the team’s heavy workload, Migicovsky assures that backers will receive a Pebble in the order in which they were purchased. In the future, says Migicovsky, the production phase will bolstered upon the purchase of a MakerBot replicator.

More proof that a MakerBot is an essential tool for the entrepreneur.

via Digital Trends


  1. !!!!!!! []
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What Is A “Real Manufactured Good”, Anyway?

Need everyone’s input on this. Someone just posted a comment on a BusinessWeek feature on MakerBot and our CEO Bre Pettis.

I Like Bre…Great Charisma and energy. I wish him well. I think his printers will be successful but ultimately real manufactured goods will still be made with industrial 3D printers. I believe that his equipment is perfect as an educational piece, hobbyists or even classrooms.

Is this true? This sounds like the commenter is taking for granted that manufacturing will never change, as if it’s always been the same. We make MakerBots so that people can make the things they want and need, not just one copy of something that was made a million times. The way things are done now satisfies the broadest base of customers.

What does it mean to say something is a “real manufactured good”? Does that mean that something you make for yourself can’t be just as good as something that was made for you? We totally disagree.

By the way, the article in BusinessWeek today is great. And in case you’re wondering, you can now scan yourself in a number of ways that don’t involve cornstarch! But the cornstarch method is still fun. 4Chan founder Moot and new media guru/Internet philosopher Clay Shirky were into it! Watch the video of their scans below.


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Make A Fruit Bowl

On Teacher Appreciation week, I’m remembering my elementary school teacher Ms. Harrelson, who said nothing has to be perfect; just give it a shot and see what happens.

Unfortunately for Ms. Harrelson, I made something on Monday and it’s basically perfect. This was really exciting because it was one of the first things I made with my new Replicator, I barely changed the default settings, and it printed flawlessly the first time. Behold, my apple.

Apple by jbakutis

This started with the purely awesome Original Apple logo in 3D by acen. I wanted to photograph some of our people here offering an apple to a teacher they really liked. But acen’s has a bite taken out of it. First I discussed with the design guys how we could change this into a dualstrusion model, with a red peel, and natural colored fruit on the inside. Jason suggested another route: why not split acen’s model in half and mirror it to get a whole apple?

Bing, bang, boom.

I made this on a Replicator at 0.27mm layer height, feed rate of 55, 5% infill. I wanted something that would look good from a distance in a picture, but I’m telling you this thing looks beautiful. No cracking, no irregularities, and honest to goodness practically no effort. In Replicator G, under Scale, I clicked on “Fill Build Space!” – or in other words, I Keith-ed it1 . This made the model 6” tall, so I scaled down by 0.7 to get an apple that’s just over 4 inches tall. For this, we made the leaf a separate piece, so this isn’t a dualstrusion file.

Sminnee asked on Thingiverse if I used any support material, but the answer is no. I might add another shell if I make it again; I just used one this time. I wonder if the very top, right where the leaf piece fits snugly into the apple itself, would have looked smoother with a little more structure in that area. One of our modelers, Jason, thought the model should have a hole all the way through the center of it. This gives the stem area, which dips down, a little beam of internal support.

But on account of the hole all the way through, this is also now a possible jewelry piece.

There are several fruit pieces, fruit bowls, and other accessories on Thingiverse (listed below). So here’s one more for your collection, or perhaps you think your mom would want a fruit bowl on Sunday. Enjoy!


Error - could not find Thing 1806.
Error - could not find Thing 13158.
Error - could not find Thing 10157.
Error - could not find Thing 8430.
Error - could not find Thing 9625.
Error - could not find Thing 7596.
Error - could not find Thing 4560.


  1. not surprisingly, I did this at Keith’s suggestion. []
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12 months special financing on new
MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases
with Dell Preferred Account on

Limited-time offer for qualified customers.
Offer Details

12 months special financing on new MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases is a no interest if paid in full by November, 2015 financing promotion. Interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date if the purchase balance is not paid in full by your payment due date in November, 2015 or if you make a late payment. Minimum monthly payments are required during the promotional period. If not paid by end of promotional period, account balance and new purchases will be subject to the Standard APR rates, which range from 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR, as of 8/30/2014, depending on creditworthiness. Offers subject to credit approval and may be changed without notice.

Dell Preferred Account offered to U.S. residents by WebBank, who determines qualifications for and terms of credit. Promotion eligibility varies and is determined by WebBank. Taxes, shipping, and other charges are extra and vary. Payments equal 3% of your balance or $20, whichever is greater. Minimum Interest Charge is $2.00.

All products in your cart at the time of purchase will qualify for the special financing promotion if purchased with Dell Preferred Account between 12-31-2014 through 1/28/2015.

New MakerBot 3D printer hardware purchases are eligible! Refurbished and/or used purchases do not qualify for promotions. Eligible e-value/order codes: A7516721, A7629818, A7598495, A7617635.

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