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Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

How to Create a 3D Printable Map Puzzle Tutorial by Chapulina

South America map puzzle by chapulina

South America map puzzle by chapulina

This tutorial on how to create a 3D printable map puzzle by Chapulina is far too awesome to be relegated to a simple footnote.  Chapulina uses a combination of open source resources and programs to achieve this final result, including maps from Wikipedia, the vector drawing and image manipulation tools from Inkscape, and the DXF support of OpenSCAD to create these cool 3D printable puzzles.

Chapulina’s title of their blog post and tutorial was far more generic than simply “creating 3D printable map-puzzles,” as well it should have been.  This same exact methodology could be used to create a 3D printable1 puzzle out of any image.

What will you do with this new found knowledge?

online maps, inkscape,openscad dxf

  1. Or lasercuttable! []
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Bobblehead With Your MakerBot!

MakerBot’s Tony Buser has been doing quite a few experiments with mashing up the heads we have been 3D scanning lately. He put Bre’s head on the Statue of Liberty, Stephen Colbert’s head on a Teddy Bear, and made a classic statue bust and plinth of his own 3D scan. Well, this line of investigations has lead finally to the inevitable, the highest form of statuary … bobbleheads!

Now, “bobbleheads” (also bobbing head dolls, nodders, wobbler, dashboard nodders, and “those things you get at baseball games sometimes”) have been a quest for MakerBot Operators for a while now — one actually calling up to ask what the “bobblehead setting” was for ReplicatorG.1 Well, Tony didn’t stop his work at producing one bobblehead, he created parametric tools to help all of us make the bobbleheads we have been dreaming of!

Check out his detailed step-by-step instructions for how to use his negative object or “nega-thing” to punch the bobblehead cavity and spring mount into the base of your own head model! Or a hero’s head model. Or an enemy.

He includes a great “*sta”2 base — and you can use his tools to design and share your own base as well. Tony has observed that mounting bobblehead on the turning spool works pretty well.  Bonus points to the first MakerBot Operator to artfully integrate a bobblehead into beatbot’s Spazzi! (Perhaps next to Isaac’s Sign of the Horns?)

Error - could not find Thing 10822.
Error - could not find Thing 10836.
  1. True story. []
  2. ie the classic Gangsta mashup model []
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Printing complex organic shapes with a Makerbot

UPDATE: Anna Galovich has been generous enough to translate this fantastic blog post into Estonian. You can find the translation right here.

For a recent project, I had to print this awesome crocodile skull from the University of Texas Digimorph project. At first it looked daunting, but it turned out to be surprisingly easy to print. I really like this print because it is a complex organic shape, and it is really impressive that it came from a Makerbot.

Crocodile skull, printed on a Makerbot

I used Netfabb Studio and ReplicatorG to prepare for print. I’m not posting the print-ready files because a) not sure if UT will let me and b) the following process is easy and you will learn a lot. I basically used Netfabb Studio to re-orient, repair, scale and split the model, in order to get it ready for print. The procedure I followed is generally applicable to all kinds of complex prints.

Keep reading for instructions on how to do it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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OpenSCAD Intermediates: Fixing Design Problems

In this OpenSCAD tutorial series so far we’ve covered the basics of the OpenSCAD interface, how to make 2D forms, how to make some basic 3D forms, how to position those forms in 3D space, the different ways to combine forms, how to create mashups of one or more existing STL’s and OpenSCAD forms, how to use modules to reuse your code to make your life easier, and how to extrude flat 2D forms into 3D forms1  Although I described the last four tutorials as “intermediate” levels, that’s really only because you learned the basics so quickly from the first few tutorials. With just the basics you can literally design anything you can imagine. The “intermediate” lessons will let you do a little more and make your life a lot easier.

Before we get started, the image is from punkerdood’s OpenSCAD tutorial homework. I’d like to include a picture of your homework next time. So, please practice making something in OpenSCAD, upload it to Thingiverse with an open license, and tag it with “openscadtutorial.”

  • As with any 3D modeling program, you can sometimes get lost or disoriented in OpenSCAD.  These things happen.  Perhaps you accidentally zoomed out too far or in too close and you don’t know know what your point of view is in relation to the object you’re trying to create.  Maybe you created a little object of some kind and can’t see where it is being rendered in the preview screen.  Today’s tutorial is all about how to overcome those problems and get back to designing awesome things.
  • Let’s start with a very simple module and see what happens as we manipulate it with these different methods.
    1. module funkybox()
    2. {
    3. cube(40);
    4. sphere(15);
    5. }
    6. box();
    7. translate([0,0,100]) box();
  • “*” or Disable command
    • The Disable command, “*”, does pretty much as it promises.  Just add that little asterisk before an object, and it will be disabled.  You just won’t see it when previewing (F5) or rendering (F6) an object.  This command will disable an entire subtree.  Really all this means is that it will disable everything right up to the first semicolon.
    • If you add the asterisk at line 3 above, you won’t see the cube.
      1. * cube(40);
    • If you add it before line 4 above, you won’t see the sphere.  If you add it before line 6, you won’t see either.
    • If you can’t find an object you’ve designed, it’s easy to locate it by temporarily disabling other objects until you see where it is.
  • “!” or Root command
    • The Root command, “!”, forces OpenSCAD to ignore everything except the subtree following the root command.
    • If you add the asterisk at line 3 above, you’ll only see the cube as if it were not in a module.
      1. ! cube(40);
    • If you add it before line 4 above, you’ll only see the sphere, as if it were not in a module.  If you add it before line 6, you’ll only see the one instance of the “funkybox();”.
    • This is a good way to isolate just one feature out of an entire OpenSCAD file and focus on it.
  • “%” or Background command
    • The Background command, “%”, draws the subtree that follows it in transparent gray.
    • If you add the percent sign before line 4 above, you’ll still see both instances of the cube, but both will also be a transparent gray.
      1. % cube(40);
    • If you add it before line 4 above, you’ll see both instances of the sphere as transparent.  If you add it before line 6, you’ll see one instance of the “funkybox();” as entirely transparent and the other as normal.
    • This is really useful if you need to manipulate objects within other objects or need to see where two things really intersect.
  • “#” or Debug command
    • The Debug command, “#”, draws the subtree that follows it in a pinkish color.
    • If you add the pound sign before line 4 above, you’ll see both instances of the cube in pink.
      1. # cube(40);
    • If you add it before line 4 above, you’ll see both instances of the sphere as pink.  If you add it before line 6, you’ll see one instance of the “funkybox();” as pink and the other as normal.
    • This is useful if you need to identify just one object from within a lot of similar looking objects.

Homework assignment

Now that you’ve learned how to fix design problems in OpenSCAD, how about showing everyone what you can do?  Please leave a comment below about how you’ve been able to fix a problem using one of the techniques above or by using your own method.  While you’re at it, how about designing something cool and uploading your OpenSCAD file and the STL to Thingiverse?  As always, to make me extra proud be sure and tag it with “openscadtutorial.” As if basking in my affection wasn’t enough, I’ll pick one someone’s OpenSCAD homework and use their designs as part of the next tutorial.

Bonus Section 1: The Tutorials So Far

 

Bonus Section 2: Other sources

If you like reading ahead or want more information about OpenSCAD, I’ve found these websites to be very helpful.

  1. Official OpenSCAD website
  2. OpenSCAD User’s Manual
  3. OpenSCAD beginner’s tutorial
  4. OpenSCAD tutorial roundup on the Thingiverse blog
  5. Inkscape to OpenSCAD DXF tutorial
  6. Two New OpenSCAD Polygon Tools
  7. How to create a printable sign or logo (Inkscape and OpenSCAD)
  8. OpenSCAD screw libraries by syvwlch and aubenc
  9. Inkscape for OpenSCAD users

Bonus Section 3: What’s next???

The topic of the next tutorial is up to you. What would you like to learn next? Is there something you’d like to learn how to make? Is there something more you’d like to learn about some of the topics we’ve covered?

  1. If you’re wondering why it’s been a while since the last tutorial – it’s because I’m writing these things as I learn OpenSCAD myself.  If you catch up to this tutorial, you’ve caught up with me too! []
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OpenSCAD Intermediates: Extruding 2D Objects

In this OpenSCAD tutorial series so far we’ve covered the basics of the OpenSCAD interface, how to make 2D forms, how to make some basic 3D forms, how to position those forms in 3D space, the different ways to combine forms, how to create mashups of one or more existing STL’s and OpenSCAD forms, and how to use modules to reuse your code to make your life easier.  Although I described the last three tutorials as “intermediate” levels, that’s really only because you learned the basics so quickly from the first few tutorials.  With just the basics you can literally design anything you can imagine.  The “intermediate” lessons will let you do a little more and make your life a lot easier.

Before we get started, the image is from BoriSpider‘s OpenSCAD tutorial homework.  I’d like to include a picture of your homework next time.  So, please practice making something in OpenSCAD, upload it to Thingiverse with an open license, and tag it with “openscadtutorial.”

  • You may remember one of the first tutorials was about creating flat 2D forms using some simple commands.  Once you learned how to make 3D objects, it probably didn’t seem very interesting to play with the square, circle, and polygon commands.  However, there are still a lot of uses for these flat objects.   OpenSCAD gives us the ability to do some very interesting things with flat objects by giving them a third dimensional quality – thickness.
  • Linear_Extrude
    • The “linear_extrude” command will let us basically take a flat object and give it thickness.  First, let’s take a basic object like a rectangle.
      1. square([20,30]);
    • Now, let’s use the “linear_extrude” command to give this rectangle a thickness of 13mm.
      1. linear_extrude(height = 13) square([20,30]);
    • You can even use this on a pile of flat objects or a module of flat objects.
      1. module flatstuff()
      2. {
      3. square(20);
      4. translate([10,20,0]) circle(10);
      5. translate([20,10,0]) circle(10);
      6. }
      7. linear_extrude(height = 13) flatstuff();
  • DXF_Linear_Extrude
    • If you’ve mastered “linear_extrude”1 you’re ready for a pretty easy and useful way to extrude DXF files.  A DXF file is a digital file commonly used on Thingiverse and elsewhere for laser cutting.  A DXF is basically a flat 2D drawing where the path of the 2D lines would b ecut by a laser or some other cutting method.
    • Let’s imagine you have a 3D printer – but no laser cutter.  Perhaps you’ve just found something amazing on Thingiverse for laser cutting, but you just can’t live without it.  Or, perhaps you want to print a replacement laser cut part for your 3D printer.  You can use the OpenSCAD “dxf_linear_extrude” command to work in much the same way as the above “linear_extrude” command.
    • Assuming your DXF file is in the same folder as your OpenSCAD installation, the following should work for you too:2
      1. dxf_linear_extrude(file=”pandorica13.dxf”, height=2);
    • Now instead of just a 2D outline of the image in the DXF file, you should have a 2mm thick object in the shape of your DXF!
    • Just so you know, OpenSCAD can be little finicky about the DXF files it imports.  It will need to be in “DXF R12″ format, otherwise it might use certain DXF features that aren’t supported by OpenSCAD.
  • Rotate_Extrude
    • Since “rotate_extrude()” does something similar and has similar syntax, this would be a good time to cover it as well.  This command basically takes a flat object and spins in 360 degrees around the Z axis.  Let’s take a circle and see what happens when we spin it.
      1. rotate_extrude()
      2. circle(r = 10);
    • As you might expect, it turns a circle into a sphere.
    • Let’s see what happens when we offset that circle a little bit.
      1. rotate_extrude()
      2. translate([20,0,0])
      3. circle(r = 10);
    • You should now see a great big donut.  Since the circle is offset from the center of the Z axis, when it gets spun around the axis, it will leave a hole in the middle.

Homework assignment

Now that you’ve learned how to use three different kinds of extrusion in OpenSCAD, how about showing everyone what you can do?  See if you can find a DXF file on Thingiverse and extrude it into a part you could actually print.  When you’re done, upload your OpenSCAD file and the STL to Thingiverse.  As always, to make me extra proud be sure and tag it with “openscadtutorial.”  As if basking in my affection wasn’t enough, I’ll pick one someone’s OpenSCAD homework and use their designs as part of the next tutorial.

Bonus Section 1:  The Tutorials So Far

 

Bonus Section 2:  Other sources

If you like reading ahead or want more information about OpenSCAD, I’ve found these websites to be very helpful.

  1. Official OpenSCAD website
  2. OpenSCAD User’s Manual
  3. OpenSCAD beginner’s tutorial
  4. OpenSCAD tutorial roundup on the Thingiverse blog
  5. Inkscape to OpenSCAD DXF tutorial

Bonus Section 3:  What’s next???

The topic of the next tutorial is up to you.  What would you like to learn next?  Is there something you’d like to learn how to make?  Is there something more you’d like to learn about some of the topics we’ve covered?

  1. I knew it wouldn’t take you long! []
  2. Say, for instance, you’re a fan of Doctor Who. []
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Untangling Skeinforge: Infill

Infill - half empty or half full?

Infill - half empty or half full?

I had the opportunity to talk to Nick Starno of MakerBot yesterday about something we are both passionate about – getting the best Skeinforge settings to print sweet awesome things.  ((Photo courtesy of micmol))  One of settings we discussed was “infill.” 1  While this may be review for some, I’m hoping to do a few more posts that will build on this topic. 2

25% infill, 75% infill

25% infill, 75% infill

It is probably pretty intuitive that an object that is 100% filled with plastic is going to be stronger than an object with 0% filled with plastic.  But, what if you don’t need the strongest part possible?  What if you just need an object that is purely decorative and doesn’t need to be strong at all, an object that just needs to be only just strong enough for a particular application, or an object that will print very quickly?

Generally speaking, a higher infill ratio will lead to a stronger and sturdier object that will use more plastic and time to print.  Whereas, a lower infill ratio will lead to a lighter, less sturdy object that uses less plastic and time to print.  When I don’t need a part that is super-strong, I typically print with about a 20-25% fill ratio.  I find this makes for parts that are very strong and durable while still being quick to print without using a ton of plastic. 3

What infill ratio do you use for strong lightweight quick-printing objects?

    • Fill -> Infill Solidity (ratio)

    []

  1. So hang in there! []
  2. However, infill isn’t the only consideration for strong lightweight printed object.  Next time: extra shells! []
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Inkscape for Unicorn Users

Inkscape for Unicorn Users

Inkscape for Unicorn Users

I’m not a veteran Inkscape user by any means. 1  I’ve learned just enough about Inkscape to be able to make use of Schmarty’s excellent Inkscape->Gcode plugin and print fun things out on my Unicorn.  In case you’re new to Inkscape as well, here are a few things you’d need to know to make the most of it with your Unicorn.

  1. How to convert a JPG or PNG into an SVG using Inkscape
    1. File -> Import -> [your file]
    2. Select all
    3. Path -> Trace Bitmap
    4. Click “Grays”
    5. Choose a number under “Scans”
      • I have been using 6, but use whatever gives you the desired effect.  This will essentially “posterize” your object into at most 6 shades of gray.  This is the setting with which you’re really going to want to experiment.
      • The Gcode output by Schmarty’s excellent Inkscape->Gcode plugin will instruct the Unicorn to draw each layer.  The more colors, the more layers.  This could be a good thing if you’re switching out pens.
    6. Select all
    7. Path -> Object to Path
    8. File -> Save As -> [your desired file name or type]
  2. How to change units for the ruler in Inkscape
    1. File -> Document Properties -> Page -> Default units [your favorite unit]
  3. How to change your default template in Inkscape
    1. Configure a blank SVG file exactly as you want your new default template to look
    2. Save your blank SVG file as “default.svg” somewhere convenient
    3. Navigate to your “Templates” folder for Inkscape
      • This will usually be in a subdirectory of your Inkscape installation, but may vary depending upon your operating system.
      • I’m using the PortableApps version of Inkscape2 , so my Templates directory on Windows is “InkscapePortable\App\Inkscape\share\templates”
    4. Rename the current “default.svg” to something else
      • You may want to come back to it some day.  If that’s a possibility, I’d recommend “default_original.svg” or some variation thereof.
    5. Cut and paste the “default.svg” you created above to the “Templates” folder
  1. Inkscape is a free open source vector drawing program. []
  2. I have this thing about commitment. []
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Gears!

Make Your Own Gears by Dustyn Roberts

Make Your Own Gears by Dustyn Roberts

I don’t know about you, but I am continually envious of the really excellent designs up on Thingiverse that make use of gears.  Greg Frost, Emmett, and Whosawhatsis have been rocking Thingiverse lately with their incredible designs incorporating gears.  But, what’s a simple blogger with zero gear-knowledge supposed to do?

Well, Chris Connors, teacher and Maker-extraordinaire, recently posted about gears, motors, and attachments thereto over at Make: Online!.  His post referenced a gear tutorial by Dustyn Roberts, author of Making Things Move, all about gears.1

I learned more about gears in Dustyn’s first paragraph than I did after hours of trying to design my own gears from scratch.

One nice thing about gears is that if you know any two things about them – let’s say outer diameter and number of teeth — you can use some simple equations to find everything else you need to know, including the correct center distance between them. In this project, we’ll design and fabricate spur gears using free software (Inkscape) and an online store (Ponoko.com) that does custom laser cutting at affordable prices out of a variety of materials. If you have access to a laser cutter at a local school or hackerspace, even better! You can also print out the template and fix it to cardboard or wood to cut the gears by hand.

Dustyn’s tutorial style to explaining gear mechanism is very nuts-and-bolts2 with lots of pictures, diagrams, and charts. 3 4

  1. Also, both were speakers at Botacon!!! []
  2. Pardon the pun []
  3. I think I hear some skittering spiders in our future… []
  4. Please don’t click that link. []
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OpenSCAD Intermediates: Modularity

You didn’t think I’d let you off that easily did you?  There’s so much more to learn about OpenSCAD!  I’ve put together a series of tutorials on using this amazing powerful program.  If you haven’t scanned the tutorials or just tried using the program you’re really missing out.  The commands and interface are simple and straight forward and the benefit of being able to generate a printable STL each and every time is a huge benefit.

In this OpenSCAD tutorial series so far we’ve covered the basics of the OpenSCAD interface, how to make 2D forms, how to make some basic 3D forms, how to position those forms in 3D space, the different ways to combine forms, and how to create mashups of one or more existing STL’s and OpenSCAD forms.  Although I described the last two tutorials as “intermediate” levels, that’s really only because you learned the basics so quickly from the first few tutorials.  With just the basics you can literally design anything you can imagine.  The “intermediate” lessons will help you do everything you’ve already learned – but easier, more efficiently, and more reliably.

Before we get started, the image is from johnbentcope‘s OpenSCAD tutorial homework.  I’d like to include a picture of your homework next time.  So, practice making something in OpenSCAD, upload it to Thingiverse with an open license, and tag it with “openscadtutorial.”

Today we’ll cover the “module” command in OpenSCAD.

More after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

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How do you automate 3D printer maintenance?

 

Coasterman's Makerbot Oiling Script

Coasterman's Makerbot Oiling Script

What I love about this new frontier of 3D printing is that everyone can contribute to making DIY 3D printing better for the world.  Even a small improvement can make a big change to the overall community – but raising awareness and drawing in support for a new problem or solution.

Look at basic 3D printer maintenance, this was just something I had always done – but never given much thought to.  Coasterman, on the other hand, found a way to ensure consistent and efficient oiling of a MakerBot Cupcake’s rods.  He’s created a GCode script that will move the platforms around and guide you through the maintenance process.  Now that he’s published this, it’s probably only a matter of time before it is adapted for a Thing-O-Matic or RepRap and then even integrated into ReplicatorG!

To run the script, your machine needs to know where zero is, and then you can run it. In other words, if you move all axes to zero, the machine should put the nozzle on the platform on the center. Endstops are currently not supported.

The machine will prepare for oiling and the script will produce messages to guide you through the process. It will move off to one side for you to oil, then the other side to expose the rest of the rod, then run the axis back and forth to make the oil “set in.” Also, to make oiling the Y easier, it keeps the X off to one side so you have space to stick the oil bottle in.

Oiling Tips:
When oiling the rod, squeeze a bit out over the length of the rod. If little drops of oil start to form hanging below the rod, take a paper towel and suck up the extra oil. The oil should cover the rod but not drip below it.

If, like me, you don’t have wicked software or hardware1 skills, you can always find a way to help out the community.  Just look at your ‘bot and think about what you’ve done to improve it.  Chances are you can help out a lot of people just by posting your thoughts, ideas, or design files.

  1. Or writing []
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