3D Printing

What Would You Do With Your Mojo?

Your don’t need a sorcerer’s talisman or a wizard’s charm to turn ideas into tangible prototypes. You can do that with the industrial magic of a 3D printer. We have the power to give away one such printer — Mojo from Stratasys.

The Rapid Ready Sweepstakes is back! Like last year, you can enter to win a Mojo 3D Print Pack, which includes:

  • a Mojo 3D Printer;
  • print wizard and control panel software;
  • WaveWash 55 support cleaning system;
  • Start-up supplies.

Last year’s sweepstakes winner Joe Lutgen, who owns and operates the RSI Mechanical LLC. consulting business, began offering affordable printing services to his clients. When we caught up with him a few months after he collected his prize, Joe said, “I’m printing everything, from blow-molded parts and brackets to fixtures that can be glued together. One of my main clients now regularly asks me to print stuff, and smaller clients sometimes also ask me to print designs. It’s been nice to be able to bring [a prototype] to their office, show them what I’ve made already so they can see how it works.” Continue reading

The 3D RV, Collecting Stories of Design and Innovation Across the U.S.

A blue RV painted with and gadgets and branded with high-tech logos is making its way across the U.S., from California to the New York Islands. The vehicle is commandeered by TJ McCue, a writer and 3D enthusiast. The road trip’s goal is to “[celebrate] the creative process, while illuminating the impact of design through firsthand customer stories, consumer creativity and student innovations,” as TJ puts it in his blog.

The 3DRV, as the journey is called, will cover more than 100 stops in eight months. The road trip is made possible by Autodesk, NVIDIA, HP, and Stratasys, among others. So far, TJ has met with people developing a 3D printer that’ll work in space, an underwater camera that could survive shark bites, and footwear that could double as a cellphone charger. As of today, the RV has covered 6,209 miles, made 54 stops, and TJ has gulped down his 269th cup of coffee. Continue reading

Go Go GADgET: Girls Take on Design Engineering and Manufacturing

When you think of summer camp, you usually think of silly songs, lots of new games and running around in the woods exploring. Except at GADgET, its 16 participants spent part of their summer learning how to use SolidWorks and visiting several manufacturing companies in the Chicago area. The program aims to provide its all-girl participants aged 12 to 16 with a window into the engineering and manufacturing world and empower them to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) careers.

Short for Girls Adventuring in Design, Engineering & Technology, the first GADgET camp ran in 2011, running for just one week with an initial grant from the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation. As interest grew, so did opportunities for participants. The camp ran for two weeks in June this year. “The kids were so excited, so they learned a lot, but they wanted to do more. It was an interest by the family members and the youth [that brought the two week camp],” said Antigone Sharris, coordinator, engineering technology at Triton College and camp co-director. Continue reading

Sensing the World in 3D

The growing popularity of 3D printing among the hobbyists as well as professional designers suggests a comparable rise in the use of reality-capture devices — hardware that lets you scan and capture the shape and geometry of physical objects. With 3D printers, Microsoft is betting the consumer models will pave the way for costlier, bigger professional models. (For more, read “Microsoft Adding Plut-and-Play 3D Printing to Windows OS,” May 7, 2014.) There’s good reason to make a similar assumption about 3D scanners as well.

Priced $399, the Cubify Sense seems ready to capture not just geometry but also the attention of early adopters and curious tech users. Measuring roughly 7 x 5 x 1 inches, the 3D scanner is smaller and lighter than a typical hardcover book. The device has no independent power source. It operates through a USB connection to a tablet or computer. The computer is also required for downloading the Sense software to activate and drive the device. Since whatever you want to scan may not be located close to your desktop, a laptop or a mobile tablet you can carry around is the best option for operating the scanner. Continue reading

The Da Vinci Codex, Decoded in 3D

Leonardo Da Vinci, remembered for his artistic masterpiece Mona Lisa, also left behind quite a lot of engineering drawings that were never realized or tested. They’re preserved in his sketchbook, known as The Codex Arundel (now digitized and archived online at the British Library’s site). Many of his ideas — like his mechanical wings, flying ships, and war engines — would have required crews, carpenters, and craftsmen to properly prototype and test. Suppose he could travel in time and gain access to the type of 3D CAD programs designers and engineers use today for concept exploration, what might he have done with it? How would his ideas look as digital prototypes? Continue reading