3dhubs

As we each continue to grow our individual 3D printer stables, there comes a point where it can make sense to put our printers to work doing more than just printing the items of our desires. A few companies have tried to find a way to allow printer owners to connect with those looking to get items printed, but few have done it well or have hit a critical mass to draw enough attention to make it all work.

This month, we will introduce you to 3D Hubs - a company that seems to have gotten it right. With over 6,000 members offering the services of their 3D printers worldwide, 3D Hubs is a growing community whose simple interface makes the process of connecting customers and printer owners easy and efficient. We will cover the basics of getting set up on 3D Hubs to help any of our members interested with getting started with putting their printers to work.

Of course – as always – this is also a social meeting and everyone is invited!  If you’ve never attended one of our meetings before, they are free and open to the public. No mater what your experience level, you are invited to come join us and share in our love for 3D printing. This meeting will be held again at the igus headquarters (257 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916), and we couldn’t be happier to announce this! So join us on Wednesday, August 13th at 7PM for all the 3D printing fun.

 

PLAStacks

With all of the materials testing we do here at 3DPPVD, we often get one question when we present our research to others:  “Where should I buy my PLA from? / Who has the best PLA?” PLA vs. PLA has not been in our purview… until now! We are proud to announce the 2014 3DPPVD PLA Shootout.

We are going to test multiple PLA products, from multiple vendors, to help determine who has the best PLA on the market. A series of tests will be given, to see which PLA 1) gives us the best print quality, 2) is the easiest to print with 3) has print quality affected by other factors; as well as answering other questions that are burning in our plastic-loving hearts. The hope is that by the end of our testing, we can give you a definitive answer on where your plastic budget should be going.

Of course there are many choices out there for PLA vendors, and it would not only take us forever to get through them all but would also break our meager budgets – so we need your help. We have created a survey to help determine whose PLA we should be testing, as well as take into account some other factors that might be influencing your purchase decisions and printing results. Please take a moment to fill out the 2014 3DPPVD PLA Shootout Survey. We will reach out to the top vendors that you guys use and ask them for filament to test with.  We will buy filament from those who don’t respond or don’t want to help out with the test.

If you are a filament vendor and would like to be included in our testing, you can ensure your spot by contacting us at info@3dppvd.org and we will arrange to include you.  While we appreciate any and all help and participation, no special treatment will be given to vendors who provide free materials, as we are going to try to anonymize the process the best we can.

 

BDayCake

 

This month we will be celebrating two amazing years of 3DPPVD!  Join us again at the igus headquarters in East Providence, RI (257 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916) on Wednesday, July 9th. This will be a social meeting to discuss the past two years and plan the next year ahead. If you have a printer or 3DP project you would like to show off (or get help with), bring it along to show the group. This event, as always, is free and open to anyone of any skill/experience level and will be starting at 7pm.

3D-Druck-Filament

Rhode Island my be a small state but it’s packed with opportunity and  sometimes being so close together amazing things happen. 3DPPVD is very excited to announce that we are working in partnership with the world leader in plastic composite linear motion products, igus (yes, they don’t capitalize their name). igus is a german company but their US headquarters is rooted firmly right here in Rhode Island in East Providence. You may have heard some of us talk about igus before, all of the linear guides in the 3DPPVD CastMax printers are from igus, we are big fans.

The igus team like the 3DPPVD team have realized that 3D Printing is going to be a big part of our future. To help drive that future, igus is releasing a new filament to the market, tribo, that is designed to help withstand mechanical wear. This means not only can you purchase bushings from igus for your project, you can also design and print your own.

igus and 3DPPVD are working on some big plans for the future and to kick things off, we are hosting June’s meeting at the igus head quarters in East Providence. As usual this meeting is free and open to the public and all skill/interest levels. We will be getting started at 7pm on Wednesday, June  11th. The new igus HQ is located at: 257 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916. If you are planning on attending, please shoot me an email info@3dppvd.org to let me know so we can get the igus team some rough numbers. Oh and don’t forget to bring your printer along to show it off to the group. We look forward to seeing you all there!

AstroPrint

 

Removing the need to keep a full blown computer connected to your 3D printer while printing has been an enticing goal since the start of desktop 3D printing. We have seen multiple methods employed to help with this issue: SD Cards with LCD interfaces, built in memory to queue prints up in, and USB sticks have all been popular. Previously we discussed the usage of OctoPrint in conjunction with the RaspberryPi as a solution for network attached printing. Now a new project, AstroPrint, aims to rocket our printers into new heights of ease and usefulness.

The AstroPrint team is part of the current crop of startups working to build their products at BetaSpring, Providence’s startup incubator. I stopped by last week to talk with the team and take a look at the project. AstroPrint is based off of the much loved by our group OctoPrint distribution but heavily modified for a cleaner more simplified interface. They have also replaced the RaspberryPi with the more powerful PCDuino which sports built in wifi making networking greatly simplified. To round out the package they also include a cloud component capable of slicing your models without the need for you to pre-slice on your own hardware. The result of all of this work is a system that allows you to browse for models, slice them, and control your printer from your smartphone or tablet without the need for a computer.

I was pleased to see how far along with the system they are and was able to see a full working demo of the system. Over the next few months the team hopes to add in a few more features and work on scaling the system for the large number of users it will need to handle when it goes live. The team who hale from California only have a few more weeks left here in Rhode Island and hopefully we will get a further peak before they head home.

AstroPrint was launched live on Kickstarter a few weeks ago and fully funded in the first day. Any kickstarter backer who purchases a kit will also receive a lifetime free Pro membership to their cloud component. You can explore and hopefully consider backing their kickstarter campaign here.

More photos and video after the break.

Read More

 

I went out to Bay Area Maker Faire this year to present and represent 3DPPVD. We had a great time hanging out with many of our fellow 3D printing friends and fellow Makers. Above you can see my presentation “Advanced Materials for 3D Printing” from the Faire. Of course my wife and I were not the only members of our community representing out on the west coast. 3DPPVD attendees Brian Jepson and Anna France were both there fulfilling their duties as Make employees. Our Past presenter and frequent attender Wayne Loose was showing off his new company Modio, an offshoot of Modibot. Check out their demo video after the break. Read More

digital_city_rhode_island_logo.2

Our May meeting is here and we are pleased to announce that 3DP PVD is making some big changes. Firstly, we are changing the location of our meetings, this month we will be meeting at Digital City. Digital City is located at 131 Washington Street, this is the same building that we have met at in the past, just down the hall. We will be kicking off this Wednesday May 14th at 7pm. Along with our announcements, we will be getting together for our normal jovial banter regarding the happenings in the 3D printing world. If you have a printer that you would like to show to the group (or one that you would like the group to help you fix), please feel free to bring it along. This meeting like always is free and open to the public. If you feel like bringing snacks or beverages, that would be great but is not required. We look forward to seeing you there.

PartyTime

 

It’s time for our April meeting and this month we are going to hold off on any organized presentation and instead give more time towards showing off (or working on) our bots.  Feel free to bring in your printer or any projects you want to present to the group. Snacks and drinks are always appreciated but are not required. Of course as always, this meeting is free and open to new comers. We will be kicking off at 7pm at AS220 Labs on Wednesday, April 9th.

3DPrintedPipes

 

Often we get too caught up with the technology behind 3D printing and don’t spend enough time thinking about the wide range of things we can do with our printers. Sometime we need to stop and smell the roses and listen to a merry tune. Now with the Dreaming Pipes project on Kickstarter, your printer can create you a set of bagpipes (or a few other traditional instruments) so you can play your own tune. I’m really excited to see a project that is not only looking to use 3D printing to take a classic instrument to new levels but also make it affordable and easy for anyone to build. For a pledge of £35 you can get all the STL files you need to create a penny whistle, practice chanter, small pipes, and highland pipes. Of course instructions and bag patterns are included too. Continue after the break to see the creator demoing a set of 3D printed small pipes. Read More

BlenderPrinting

Many of you have asked to learn more about the free open source 3D modeling tool, Blender. This month longtime 3DPPVD member Kelly Egan will guide us through the basics of using this powerful but daunting tool. From Kelly on the presentation:

Blender may have been designed for CG Animation but like many other 3D design tools they are adding features to help with 3D printing. In this presentation I’ll talk about those features, how I have designed a few 3D printed items using Blender and some of the benefits parts and drawbacks to using a animation package for solid modeling.

Join us Wednesday, March 12th at 7pm for this and our usual banter and idea exchange. This meeting is free and open to the public and will be held at our usual location, AS220 Labs on Lucy Way in the Mercantile block.