Thanksgiving is upon us, and we here at the 3DPPVD family have a lot to be thankful for this year. Our community has thrived and grown, Ocean State Maker Mill has launched, and we have had an amazing year of exciting events and projects. Thank you to everyone who has come out and helped us this year.

Of course in todays world, Thanksgiving isn’t just about turkey, family, and reflecting on the year gone by; it’s about SALES!!!! The 3D printing world isn’t letting us down this year with many vendors offering great deals on a wide range of products. We wanted to make sure our community didn’t miss out so here are a few of the sales we are aware of and think are worth checking out:

  • SeeMeCNC has discounts running for the next week and half. The best deals are today (11/27) and tomorrow (11/28) so don’t wait and miss out. Sales flier here.
  • Printrbot on Friday (11/28), is offering 10% off everything for 24 hours only. Along with the sales, they are launching multiple new products and upgrades so be sure to check them out.
  • Lulzbot is having a Cyber Monday sale with huge discounts on some of their products. It’s hard to say no to a $10 RAMPS board! Also check out my review of the amazing Taz 4 in the latest Make Magazine.
  • Afinia is offering $150 off of their amazing little workhorse of a machine – the H480 – until the end of the year.
  • PrintedSolid will help you stock up on all of your filament needs with daily deals starting Friday (11/28) and running through Monday (12/1).
  • MakerShed is now offering free shipping on any order over $50. With lots of printers in stock, this is a great time to save a chunk of cash getting it to your door.
  • MakerGeeks not only has great filament sales going on, but is also offering $150 off all Flashforge printers, now through Monday (12/1).
  • Proto-Pasta, while not having a sale, are launching two new filaments on Black Friday: Steel infused PLA and magnetic iron infused PLA.
  • 3DXTech is offering 15% off their entire line of filaments from Friday (11/28) to Monday (12/1).

So sit back and enjoy time with your family; there is no need to go out and get trampled to swipe up these deals. Enjoy your holiday and may your printers keep humming away.


The holidays are coming and personalized presents make great gifts for family and loved ones. This month we are going to talk about 3D scanning technology that you could use to help make the perfect DIY present for a special someone in your life this holiday season.

We will have a 3D Systems Sense scanner on-hand to scan in attendees, and we will also show other tools you can use at home. If you have a scanning solution – either handheld or desktop – that you would like to show to the group, please be sure to bring it along.

This month, we are also going to start what we hope will be a regular event at our meetings: 3D print show-and-tell. If you have created something or even downloaded a cool model from YoumagineThingiverse, or elsewhere that you would like to share with the group, please bring it along for everyone to see.

We will be meeting this month again at the Focus Vision Media studio (80 Fountain Street, Pawtucket, RI) on Wednesday November 12th at 7PM. Feel free to bring snacks, beer, or your favorite beverage (or nothing at all is fine by us too, we just want you there).

We also have a ***big surprise*** that we are going to be unveiling to our community this month, so this is not a meeting to miss.



We are excited to be participating in the Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire for the second year in a row. The Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire will be held Saturday, October 11th from 11am-6pm in downtown Providence. This Wednesday, we will be meeting to preview some of our plans for MMFRI along with our standard 3D printing banter.

We are also excited to announce a new location for our meetings: Focus Vision Media in Pawtucket, RI. Focus Vision Media is an amazing marketing company pushing the boundaries of how products are presented to consumers. The Focus team is excited about rapid prototyping and the great talent pool that the 3DPPVD team has brought together. The Focus office is in a beautifully renovated factory with numerous other innovative organizations where we will feel at home.

Join us on Wednesday, October 8th beginning at 7pm at 80 Fountain Street, Pawtucket, RI. This meeting is free and open to all. If you are just starting out or have only heard of 3D printing but are curious and want to learn more, we would love for you to join us and learn from our team.

Well after two years we finally had to cancel a meeting. I apologize for needing to cancel but sometime life gets in the way. We will strive to be back in October, back on track and doing awesome things. If you can’t wait until october to hang out with us, join us at World Maker Faire in Queens, Ny (Sept 20-21).


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.



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.




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.


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!



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.

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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