March 12, 2012

His and Her Owls

posted by wes at 9:16 pm

Awesome model by ErikJDurwoodII on Thingiverse!

I printed these guys small for a quick test print with a new extrusion profile I was trying out, but it’d be worth spending a couple hours to print them huge.

Download the model here.

February 26, 2012

3D Printable Toy Figures!

posted by wes at 11:52 am

As many people may know by now, Thingiverse is an awesome platform for people to upload 3D model files that represent real, physical objects that can be created from the source files provided. This means that as the consumer-use 3D printing technology inevitably infiltrates everyones’ homes, everyone will have a place to go to download free objects and print them out right at home. Talk about manufacturing on demand.

Last month some people over at the MakerBot Workshop uploaded some very interesting 3D printable toy figures and playsets.

They first released the MakerBot Damsel and the MakerBot Astronaut; two designs that set some of the system standards for an open-source line of toy action figures.

Simple, stylized, and partially articulated, these figures would serve as a platform for other Thingiverse users to create and upload more toy figures that played nicely with the originals.

MakerBot Workshop also released 2 HUGE playsets for these figures – a Castle and a Rocket. These things are awesome.

I wanted to make some additional figures, so I created a Knight - the Damsels & their castles seemed vulnerable.

I wanted to do a Wizard next, but after I spent some time modeling the hat I decided to also make a Witch using the Wizard’s hat and the Damsel’s body.

Once the beard was finished, I made some robes and voila – the Wizard.

And of course the whole point of the interchangeable system… customization!

See MakerBot’s post on these playsets here

February 12, 2012

3D Printable Kazoo

posted by wes at 4:30 pm

Check out this 3D printable kazoo I posted over at Thingiverse

Photo of clamping up the initial prototype while some glue dries using a 3D printed clamp. We live in the future!

January 29, 2012

Oh Crap toilet paper holder

posted by wes at 1:21 pm

I liked cibomahto’s Toilet Paper Roll Holder design on Thingiverse, but I wanted to make a few changes. That’s the great thing about Thingiverse – I can download the original file, edit it, and re-upload it to share the changes with everyone.

Check out the Oh Crap! Toilet Paper Holder on Thingiverse

January 2, 2012

Some objects I’ve printed

posted by wes at 4:04 pm

Source file: Screwless Heart Gear

These models are all printed in ABS (common injection molding material – same as the material LEGO uses), but I also have a spool of PLA (plant-based, often made in USA) that I’ve been experimenting with.

I did not design any of these, they are all user contributions from the popular 3D content site Thingiverse

Depending on which manufacturer you order your plastic from and how much you order, your plastic won’t always come on a spool. Most sites will indicate if the product is spooled or not, so make sure to check so you know what to expect.

If you do order plastic that is not spooled, it can be a real pain to work with. You have to constantly keep an eye on it and help feed it in properly so your extruder motor can handle it and allow it to properly feed through as you run your print. To solve this issue, Thingiverse user randyy made a filament holder with files included for clips that the filament feeds through as it enters the machine. This allows for a seamless, smooth print that you don’t have to constantly watch and intervene.

The cool thing about collaborative sites like Thingiverse is that people see designs like this and help to improve them. RotoScan made several modifications to the original design and released this heavy duty filament holder & guide that I printed out for my filament;

Source file: Heavy Duty Printable Filament Spool with TOM Filament Guides

This whistle works! Since I don’t currently have 2 extruders I don’t have the option of using support material (this would allow large overhangs and printing objects inside of objects). That means the “ball” inside this whistle doesn’t float – it is attached to one of the walls but protrudes into the cavity enough to allow for a perfect, loud whistle every time;

Source file: Whistle

Source file: Pyramid of Kukulcan at Chichen Itza

Check out this bracelet design by Thingiverse user emmett. It is printed with thin walls which allows it to stretch and expand to fit around your hand as you put it onto your wrist.

Source file: Stretchy Bracelet

There are a lot of printable upgrades for your personal 3D printer available on Thingiverse such as this one to remove dust on the plastic filament as it enters the extruder;

Source file: Mk7 Filament Dust Remover

I accidentally broke a friend’s bottle opener the other week, so I printed a replacement from a file uploaded to Thingiverse

Source file: Pocket Coin-Op Bottle Opener

Here’s a minimal, straightforward toilet paper holder – I added some words wrapped around it for fun and mounted it in our bathroom



Source file: Toilet Paper Roll Holder (slightly modified with added words)

Hobbyist 3D Printing

posted by wes at 2:56 pm

It’s a great time to get into the world of 3D printing on the hobbyist level. There are tons of companies offering relatively inexpensive kits with all the parts you’d need to build a fully functional FDM style 3D printer. These are the type that operate by heating a thermoplastic (generally either ABS or PLA right now) and then extruding it through a nozzle onto a build platform. As it does this, each axis is moving according to a 3D CAD file. By controlling the movement of the nozzle/ bed and simultaneously controlling the plastic coming out of the extruder, these machines will build a three dimensional plastic part that is accurate to the 3D file inputted into the software.

I hope I didn’t lose too many people on that explanation. For a growing number of people, that is pretty basic information about these printers. However, it is still not fully adapted by the masses, which is why it is currently in the hobbyist phase. These 3D printer kits are getting cheaper and more reliable each day. There are huge communities of smart, helpful people that are testing, troubleshooting, and contributing knowledge to these projects.

Many of the kits are open source, which allows knowledge to be shared amongst anyone interested. Open source basically means that the “source” (original backend work to create final product) is openly revealed and provided to anyone who wants it, free of charge. Open source is common in software development and has led to awesome, well-rounded products due to the immense knowledge being contributed and reviewed by anyone interested.

Last October I ordered a 3D printer kit from one of the better known personal 3D printer kit companies, Makerbot Industries. Their newest model is called the Thing-O-Matic and I got the kit of parts to build it for about $1200 USD directly from their online store.

Although there are several companies and models being offered from different people, Makerbot was relatively inexpensive, has a very user-friendly appeal and therefore attracts a large community for support/troubleshooting help, and they’re doing a good job in the current hobbyist climate that these kits are in. They’re also behind the immensely helpful and popular site Thingiverse, which offers free 3D models (user-submitted) free to download and print at will.

Other good 3D printer kits are Ultimaker (known to be a faster machine) and MakerGear  (great site for kits and parts/ extruders/ plastic/ etc.). These are just 2 other sites I was considering when making my purchase, but there are tons of companies with offerings. Check out this helpful post on the Fabbaloo blog for a list of some.

The grandfather of all these extrusion 3D printer kits is the Rep Rap Project. What an awesome initiative and project! There is a huge community constantly developing add-ons, updates, and improvements and helping to make personal-use 3D printing widely adapted and able to improve our quality of life. Imagine never having to go out to the store to buy simple things – just download or create them in 3D and click print.

I’m planning on starting my first RepRap build soon, and if anyone else is interested you should check out this awesome visual guide to the Prusa Mendel build. Very informative and detailed, I’ll definitely be referencing this as I build.


March 20, 2011

Consider Furniture

posted by wes at 10:44 pm

Check out the latest updates on our furniture design venture at

Be sure to let me know what you think!

August 29, 2010

Furniture Venture

posted by wes at 7:33 pm

The Reconstruct Furniture project from my senior thesis last year was an interesting project to work on.  During the Design Does senior show, Reconstruct received a lot of feedback, both positive and negative.

Reconstruct Furniture at the Design Does exhibition last April.  Photos of the exhibition taken by Lou Caltabiano and Amy Li

In order to further push the line, I knew I needed to recruit a team member who had skills and knowledge that would benefit the furniture most.  For that, I looked to Matthew Malesky, who is also a University of the Arts alumni.  Malesky was a woodworking major and now practices his art professionally in the Philadelphia area.

In order for us to make this project successful, we are trying to garner help from a lot of our contacts around the city and its outskirts.  Our material is waste from a local Pennsylvania-based panel manufacturer with a keen eye for sustainability and responsible industry practices.  We’re planning on devising better marketing techniques and entirely rebranding the project.  Branding and marketing aren’t our strong points, so we’re going to Brolik Productions for that.  Brolik is an interactive marketing agency that has built a reputation for top-notch service and hugely successful projects.  Our friends over at Postgreen are helping with consultation and advice, as well as providing a setting for photographs in their beautiful homes.  Production of the furniture is going to be done at NextFab Studio.  NextFab is an awesome place in the city that not enough people know about.  It’s a high-tech, efficient “gym for innovators.”  Their equipment ranges from plasma cutters, laser cutters, CNCs, and 3D printers to traditional shop tools like table saws, miter saws, and various bandsaws.

Our experimentation and development of this project wouldn’t be possible without funding help from The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy.  Their Creative Incubator program offers a chance to compete for various grants to be used to grow creative ideas into both non-profit and for-profit businesses.  Senior fellow of the Corzo Center, Neil Kleinman, is extremely helpful in both advising and expanding contacts for more particular advice.

Please stay tuned, as we’re ironing out the branding/domain/hosting now as we finalize designs.  We’re both very excited to be working on this project, and we hope that some people out there may be too.

April 29, 2010

Design Does Exhibition

posted by wes at 8:43 pm

Come to our end of the year senior exhibition at the Icebox in the Crane Arts building

There are five majors coming together from The University of the Arts collaborating on one show.  Industrial Design, Graphic Design, MultiMedia, Masters Industrial Design, and Museum Studies will all be featuring a wide variety of work.

Check out the exhibition’s website

April 22, 2010

Upcycled OSB chair

posted by wes at 2:32 pm

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