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3D printing.... IN SPACE

JeffreyILipton - Posted on 06 February 2013

Steampunk Printer

dan.sheiner - Posted on 16 March 2011

The Fab@Home personal fabricator will one day change the world, and will look good doing it. When one pictures a 3D printer an intricate machine of plastic and metal comes into the mind’s eye. A functional device, though, can also be beautiful. A personal fabricator can be customized and personalized by its builder to fit his or her style. Personal computers have long been customized for panache and for function. The personal fabricator can be a similar canvas for the inspired mind, as evidenced by the beautiful printer seen below.

This fabricator was built in gorgeous Steampunk style. Steampunk is an artistic image that developed in the late 20th century as an homage to the look and feel of Victorian era technology. Steampunk typically features classical materials like wood, iron, and polished brass. It views modern technology through the lens of a world powered by steam and built by hand. This personal fabricator, made of dark wood and gold metal, fits beautifully into that Steampunk perspective. It was built by Jeff Lipton.


ben.pastel - Posted on 15 December 2010

I've just finished a set of improvements to the pather.

Our default pather (source "shared/pather/simplecrosshatchpather.cpp") first traces the outer and inner contours twice, so that the object looks smooth on the outside. Then it fills in the shape with straight lines, and connects the ends of these lines together as well as it can:

one level of an 11-sided psuedo-sphere

On each successive level, it switches between vertical and horizontal lines, to make the structure stronger:

the next level of the same psuedo-sphere

We also have an experimental pather (source "shared/pather/concentricloopspather.cpp") that traces concentric loops from the edge of the object inwards. I've gotten this to work quite well on convex polygons...

the same psuedo-sphere, concentric loops pather

...but it still has trouble on shapes with part of the interior excluded:

failed attempt at the crenelated top of a rook (chess piece)

My main focus has been improving our default pather. It worked pretty well on a lot of shapes, but it had problems with path width, shape deformation, etc.:


Here's the same shape after my improvements.


Eight and Four Valve Tool

Waldo - Posted on 07 December 2010

The Fab@Home now has the hardware capability to print eight or four materials in a single print without changing syringes. Thanks to the use of servos instead of snap motors, I was able to make an eight valve tool that measures only about 13.5 cm by 10 cm. Compared to the old four valve tool, the new eight valve tool has much more build space.

For those who only want four materials, I made a similar four valve tool.

We are starting to make designs for servo based electronics for the Fab@Home which will allow the use of these tools.

Attempted 4 Valve Tool

Waldo - Posted on 06 December 2010

Well, I found some servos that will work for the valve tool, and I made a 4 valve tool using them. Unfortunately, it is too wide.

It can go forward and backward about as much as the single displacement tool, but it has an effective build space of about two or three centimeters across. The reason for this is that it takes up double it's width in horizontal build space (except for the width of the mounting bracket, which is already accounted for). The build space is effectively the overlap between where the leftmost syringe can go and where the rightmost syringe can go. In future tools, this fact should be remembered.

I do not plan to post this tool to the wiki, since it is so wide and I plan to make a better 4 valve tool. If anyone wants me to build this tool, however, I will happily post it and instructions on how to build it on the wiki.

I am currently working on another 4 valve tool that will not be as wide. The motors will stick out sideways instead of forward, and they will be staggered so that the motors that point in opposite directions can interlock. It should be done by the end of the year.

Future Valve Tool

Waldo - Posted on 06 December 2010

Since I finished the old valve tool, I have been exploring different motor options which should make the valve tool cheaper and smaller. I found some servos which are considerably smaller than the snap motors, and I am working on a four valve tool that uses them.

Glasses Nose Pad

Waldo - Posted on 06 December 2010

The nose piece on my glasses broke the other day, and then I lost the pieces. I tried just wearing my glasses without it, but that made my glasses sit crooked. Then I came up with an excellent solution: I printed myself a new nose piece.

It was originally meant to be a temporary solution, since I did not have time to try to get a new nose piece right then. I have been wearing it for several weeks now, and I still haven't gotten around to getting a new nose piece. I am not sure if I will, because the printed one is more comfortable than the original nose pad. The silicone is actually soft, as opposed to the fairly rigid original nose pad. Plus, it is so convenient to print another one when I get tired of this one I can just print another one, perhaps a clear one.

Redesign of Makerbot's MK5 Plastruder

NatashaGangjee - Posted on 28 November 2010

Makerbot’s MK5 Plastruder is a significant improvement to the previous MK4. The new model is designed for reliablity, low maintenance, and ease of use. They have completely redesigned the heating element, barrel, and nozzle to make the extruder as long-lasting as possible. In comparison with the MK4, the components screw more tightly together, and the tool is smaller in general. The resistors in the heating element heat very evenly and provide a very consistent temperature. The new filament guide system and drive gear have been redesigned to produce a much greater push strength and a smoother slide than the MK4. The new tool can extrude smoothly for extended periods of time.

I have redesigned this tool so that it can be powered by a snap motor by JrKerr. In order to accomplish this, it was necessary to turn the entire assembly upside down so that the filament moves downward during printing. The filament now runs alongside the right side of the drive shaft instead of the left as in Makerbot’s version. All the acrylic plates have been modified, and the tool now includes top and back plates so that it fits on a standard Fab@Home tool mount. The Plastruder needs to be heated to 230 degrees, and it sits at just the right distance from the build base, which is heated to 100 degrees. Once calibrated correctly, the tool can be used in almost the same way as the MK4 was on the Fab@Home, and will produce ABS models with a high level of accuracy.

Thermoplastic Tool on the wiki page: http://fabathome.org/wiki/index.php/Fab%40Home:Tools#Thermoplastic_tool

Pictures, DXF files, and assembly instructions on Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4892
Full View of PlastruderFull View of Plastruder
Side View to show tool mountSide View to show tool mount
Plastic printed butterflyPlastic printed butterfly


jl2222 - Posted on 25 November 2010

It is my pleasure to introduce svg2fab: a lightweight alternative to FabStudio, useful for quickly producing working FAB files for primarily 2-dimensional Fab@Home toolheads. Two input files, an SVG and a toolscript (.xml), are specified either in a simple GUI prompt or as command-line arguments, and a FAB file is written to a default or specified output path.

svg2fab provides an advantage over FabStudio for efficiency in producing print instructions for tools like the new vinyl or foam cutters, which don't have a heavy reliance on height (i.e. multiple paths in the z-direction). Vectorized graphics (SVG) serve as a convenient medium to make these essentially 2-dimensional print jobs. Software options for SVG creation include Inkscape (free) and Adobe Illustrator (commercial), and these programs are much easier to use than 3D modeling software.

As of svg2fab v1.3, only straight lines are supported--curved lines are approximated as straight ones--and single-material outputs are produced. Check out the most current release at the Launchpad page!

High contrast text on acrylic

mb766 - Posted on 19 November 2010

If you didn't know, here's a way to get snazzy high contrast text onto acrylic.

Theoretically the Epilog laser we use should be able to use color mapping to simultaneously etch raster and vector outlines - but I haven't been able to get that to work with the software at hand.

So, I export the cutting layout from SolidWorks as an Adobe Illustrator file. Then I open it in Inkscape, add some text where I want it, then delete the outlines and send it to the laser cutter as a raster file with a fairly high power setting to get deep surface etching. Leave the sheet in the cutter.

From SolidWorks, cut the parts themselves in vector mode. Remove the parts.

Now, run over the area with the text with a permanent marker for light colored acrylic. Don't worry about overflow - if you wipe over it with a paper towel immediately afterwards, you should get ink soaked into the text and a flawless surface elsewhere.

And there you have it:

Actually - even more awesome: white correction fluid on black acrylic:
Fab@Home Pro Vinyl Cutter