Jase KeyringsSince receiving colorFabbs stunning array of filament samples a few weeks ago I’ve been printing all sorts of colorful stuff.

Again, the demand for keyrings from friends and family is still strong, so I’ve been designing and printing lot of those in various colors.

I decided it was time I created myself one so I designed a ‘Jase’ keyring and printed it using woodFill. It’s quite small so I’ve since printed it in most of the colors of the rainbow too.

This made me think, I should really make some 3DPtintHQ.com keyrings to give away to people, kind of like a business card. So I designed (Using Tinkercad) and made a few prototypes, before finding a design I was happy with. I’m just printing some now in light blue, but I’ll use some other colors too if they turn out ok.

An Improved bronzeFill Ring

As well as trying out some of the new colorful plastics I decided to have another attempt at designing, printing, sanding and polishing a bronzeFill ring.

bronzeFill RingThis is partly because the last one I made was very small, hollow and not very strong.

This was demonstrated when I broke it within minutes of making it whilst cleaning the cooker. The main lesson I learned from this was… don’t clean the cooker.

Anyway, I designed a bigger, more substantial ring and printed a green prototype with 100% infill, basically solid to give it some weight and strength.

The prototype looked good and fitted great so I committed to printing one in high resolution (0.1 mm layer height) in solid bronzeFill.

It printed really well and after a little sanding and polishing looked pretty good. It was surprisingly smooth after sanding, with no visible layers lines, just a perfect curved surface.

I polished it a number of times until you could really see the bronze shine. It was still a little dull and I didn’t manage to polish it up well, but I still really like it. Unfortunately my photography really doesn’t do it justice.

As an aside, my photography skills (or lack of) is something I really need to improve on for this blog, so I can demonstrate the true beauty of some of the things this Replicator 2 churns out.

A Fully Assembled Adjustable Wrench

If you’ve never seen ZCorp’s 3D Printed Wrench YouTube Video you should watch it now because it’s a classic. It’s one of the best demonstrations of what 3D printing can achieve.

3D Printed WrenchWell, while I was browsing Thingiverse recently I stumbled upon the download for a fully assembled wrench. Wow, I had to give this a try, even though I knew it was unlikely to be a success.

The reason I say that is because this design is very well suited to Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machines.

In these machines the small gaps between the moving parts will be filled with unsintered powder, which supports the sintered powder above and can easily be cleaned out after printing.

With Thermoplastic Extrusion printers like the MakerBots (and most other desktop 3D printers) this isn’t the case, so the separate moving parts tend to fuse together. This happened to my first few attempts at Emmets Gear Bearing but tweaking the tolerance in the customizable design helped solve this.

Well, my first attempt failed because I used supports and rafts. The raft worked well but the supports didn’t. MakerWare added supports internally to all of the small gaps I’ve just been talking about, which basically fused the whole thing together.

Attempt number two without supports was slightly better but the parts were still fused. So, I’m not sure whether to persist with this because if I succeed it’ll be an amazing print. I fear that I might be wasting my time trying though, until I can afford to buy myself an SLS machine. What do you think I should do, persist with the wrench or move on to something else?

The Largest, Coolest, Strangest Thing

After my recent issues with not being able to print large objects without extruder jams I was feeling brave again. You may remember my Failed Celtic Skull Attempt from a while back. This is a 3.5 inch high (approx) 5.5 hour print, even if printed quickly in low resolution (0.3mm layer height).

Celtic Skull with Rafts SupportsAs much as I love designing and printing little keyrings for people it was time I attempted something bigger.

So, out came the Celtic Skull Design again. I decided to print it fairly low resolution because it has more chance of being successful if it prints quicker.

Also I started at about 7pm so anything other than low resolution would take me well into the early hours of the morning.

I printed it with full supports and rafts as there are some overhangs which needed supporting and the bottom wasn’t flat so a raft should hold it securely onto the build plate.

One thing I noticed is that the filament I was using kept becoming tangled every 5 minutes or so which meant that this thing needed almost constant supervision.

3D Printed Celtic SkullI’ve since discovered that because I hadn’t secured the end of the filament after every time I’ve used and unloaded it, the end seems to have gone though one of the other loops and created a loose knot.

It seems to tighten then suddenly free itself, over and over again while printing, but I was taking no chances. I manually loosened it throughout the print because I really wanted this to work.

Well, by about 12:30am the print finally finished and it looked great, even with the supports and raft still in place. I decided to wait until the next day before removing them and cleaning it up because I needed some sleep.

Just before the end of the print I did remember to film it, so I’ve added two videos to my 3D Print HQ YouTube Channel which you may want to check out…

As you can see from the second video it cleaned up really well and I have to say I think it looks great. I’d love to print it in white or maybe even clear with an LED inside to light it up, especially with Halloween approaching. I only used green because I have quite a lot of this color left.

The Celtic Skull is by far the largest thing I’ve printed and when I show it to people they love it. I’d like to print one for everyone but at 5.5 hours per print it’s not at all practical. I guess I could scale it right down and print a few more out.

More than anything this print has given me the confidence to download/design some much bigger stuff to print. I also think I’ve managed to untangle the filament so hopefully my future large prints won’t need constant supervision.

A Few Last Words

3DPrintHQ Keyring DesignsOne last thing I noticed this week is that I’ve been having a few problems levelling the build plate. It turns out that my build plate itself (the standard Acrylic one) isn’t even flat any more.

It’s significantly lower in the corners than in the middle making it impossible to level it properly.

I’ve known all along that most printer manufacturers scrimp on the build plate to keep costs down, as a decent build plate made of glass or slate for example can cost a lot of money.

This was always going to be one of the first printer upgrades I made and that day is now here. So I’ll be upgrading to a glass build plate before long and I’ll report back how it goes.

Quickly before I go, after a few prototype 3DPrintHQ.com keyring designs I’ve decided on one I like. So here’s a quick picture of a few prototypes, with the final one in blue.

Thanks for reading and as ever, feel free to Like, Share and Comment. Also you should download our FREE Beginners Guide to 3D Printing at Home eBook if this has inspired you to take the plunge and have a go at 3D printing for yourself.

Until next time, happy 3D printing.

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3D Printed Salt HouseNaturally salt is usually considered to be just a cooking ingredient; Emerging Objects has managed to show a unique and unexpected function of salt, which has left many people utterly dismayed.

Thanks to their creativity in additive manufacturing architecture, they have proved that salt could be used to 3D print houses.

Emerging Objects is a design startup and agency that was founded by Ronald Rael and his counterpart Virginia San Fratello, who are both professors of architecture currently at the University of California Berkeley and San Jose State University.

Rael and Virginia founded the agency about six months ago with the aim of specializing in 3D printed architecture. Ever since this 3D printing research group came into existence, they have been using various additive manufacturing techniques together with locally available materials in producing smartly designed and withstanding architectural structures.

Their experiments and explorations have been based on their desire to print beautiful architectural designs made through the use of renewable and locally abundant resources. As a result many of the experiments they have carried out were utilizing a wide range of renewable resources and some industrial wastes including cement and wood.

According to Rael and Virginia, the sole focus of the company is to revolutionize the traditional architecture through new and inimitable 3D printing architectural techniques that will help build structures which are robust, sustainable and exquisite at the same time.

Additionally Emerging Objects has expressed its penchant to have all their furnishings to be 100% customizable and totally inexpensive. This is also why most of the resources they use are Recyclable.

Lowering the costs involved is important to them because low construction costs are what will enable their furnishings and structures to easily go mainstream.

First Salt Pavilion

Thanks to their great creativity and huge interest in introducing the world to additive manufacturing architectural designs, Emerging Objects will now go down in history as having made the first structure to ever be fully 3D printed entirely from salt that’s been locally harvested.

The design agency plans on 3D printing the pavilion using salt that will be readily acquired from the San Francisco Bay. As a demonstration of exactly how the salt house would look like, the startup has successfully created a prototype which was famously dubbed as the Saltygloo.

Salt House InteriorThe Saltygloo refers to a brilliant dome-shaped structure purely designed from sea salt.

Rael goes on to explain that the shape of the Saltygloo was mainly drawn from the dome-like forms that were found in the Inuit igloos and is partly where the meaning of its name is derived.

The name was also derived from the fact that the dome is made using a combination of salt-made panels and glue.

A powder-based 3D printing mechanism was used where layers of salt are made to solidify using a binding agent (glue). The resulting substance of salt and glue, “salty glue”, is found to be robust, transparent and waterproof making it qualify as a good building material.

The pavilion would be connected and held together by a total of 336 panels that will be randomly combined to form a large structure that has got unique tiles all the way up. The panels are reinforced with lightweight aluminium rods to express the crystalline element of salt and add onto the strength of the structure; in a much similar way to how aluminium poles are used to support a tent.

Due to the natural characteristics of salt, it is generally translucent allowing light to penetrate through hence beautifully illuminating the inner parts of the pavilion. For this reason, the professors point out that it should be expected that the illumination of the pavilion will keep on changing depending on the natural day light.

The prototype was a success and proved that it’s possible for sustainable, outwardly stunning and Environmentally Friendly structures to be created using 3D printed architecture. Consequently Emerging Objects has decided to begin the actual creation of the salt printed pavilion under the project named ’3D-Printed House 1.0′.

The Saltygloo Experiment

The Saltygloo experiment was conducted by Emerging Objects to determine just how practical it was to fabricate a salt pavilion using additive manufacturing architecture. The salt would be harvested from over a century old (109-year-old) crystallization ponds found in Redwood City.

Salt CrystalsThe ponds are normally used in the salt making process which typically involves passing salty water from the San Francisco Bay through several ponds where evaporation takes place.

When the evaporation process is finally complete, usually about 9-12 inches of crystallized solid salt can be harvested to be used for industrial purposes.

It is estimated that around 500,000 tons of sea salt are harvested from the bay annually. What’s most exciting is the fact that the giant part of the process is often completed by the use of solar and wind power, which are highly available resources that go a long way in making the whole process inexpensive.

Overall, the outer parts of the building would be made using a cement polymer that Emerging Objects has already patented and the Saltygloo would primarily be used to design the inner areas of the house such as bathrooms, bedroom and the dining room.

No Giant 3D Printer Required

Emerging Objects is not the first company to try and use 3D Printing Technology to Print a House. There have been several trials in China before. However the main difference here is that unlike the case with the China trials, Emerging Objects will not be using any gigantic 3D printer.

The construction of the house will instead be done via the use of a 3D printer farm and not a 3D powder printer. This in addition to the fact that recyclable and renewable materials will be majorly used will make the construction a lot cheaper than if a 3D powder printer would have been required.

What’s more, using the 3D printer farm will enable the designer to build the house in a shorter time currently estimated to just one year. The 3D printed house is designed to be built at the Jin Hai Lake Resort in Beijing.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to Like and Share this article with your friends and Leave a Comment.

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What I Think of colorFabbs Wood and Bronze Filaments

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If you’re wondering why things have been a little quiet here at 3D Print HQ over the last week or two it’s because I’ve been on vacation. Well, when I say vacation it was a 192 mile, 12 day Coast to Coast Charity Walk across England. It was a great experience and I met people from all [...]

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Why I Fitted a Mini Wireless Camera to My MakerBot

August 5, 2014

In my previous post from this 3D Printing Beginner Series I was still in the situation where some things (Emmets Gear Bearing in particular) just refused to print. Larger curvier objects still seemed to print well, but small intricate details where extrusion speed slowed down usually resulted in extrusion stopping. This week I feel much closer to [...]

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Amazing 3D Printed White Matter Model of Human Brain

July 19, 2014

The human brain is a fascinating organ and one of the most complex things known to mankind. In this 1500 gram organ, billions of nerve cells send thousands of connections to other cells making a total of approximately 300 trillion connections in an adult brain! The nerve cells of the brain are collectively termed gray matter [...]

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Thermocoupler, Cooked Nozzle, Copper Finish, YouTube

July 13, 2014

In my last few Beginner Series blog posts I may have mentioned once or twice that it looked like my thermocoupler was dying a slow death. Well, I was right. After logging a support ticket with MakerBot I received a reply quite promptly. The email was very detailed and explained a few things to try, basically [...]

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