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3D Printing Design: Additive manufacturing and the materials revolution (Required Reading Range)

3D Printing for Fashion is the first book that has been designed to give both designers and industry leaders access to the conceptual and practical knowledge needed to participate in what promises to be the biggest cultural/social transformation since the last industrial revolution.

Organized around the three key topics of materials/production technologies, computational geometry/simulation and design methodologies, 3D Printing for Fashion will provide both design students and industry professionals with the know-how, skills and confidence needed to critically engage with a rapidly evolving design landscape of tools, materials and software applications. The book will crucially unpack emerging design methodologies through a series of project-driven step-by-step tutorials and will demystify complex new design and manufacturing processes through interviews with leaders in the design and 3D printing industries.

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A truly portable 3D printer, no electricity required

Leicester University students have produced a portable, battery operated 3D printer.

Portable 3D printers are nothing new and there are a number on the open market, but taking the power supply away could make a huge difference. If a printer can operate without mains power, then that means it can work in the most remote environments in the world. It’s not a huge technical breakthrough, but we do like their thinking.

A new dawn for the world’s poorest people?

A printer like this could literally change the lives of people in some of the furthest flung corners of the globe. Remote parts of Africa and China simply don’t have access to simple things that could make their lives easier.

Leicester University builds a portable 3D printer that could give the third world a hand

They can range from a prosthetic hand to a hinge, but the sheer distance involved, the poor quality infrastructure of the road networks and the grinding poverty of these areas means they simply do without.

At the moment supplying these communities with a printer that can supply them with all manner of essentials might seem like a dream. But if it proves itself in the field and makes a significant difference, then it could change the lives of millions of people around the world.

Creating electricity might be a better option

Of course there’s another way to do this and creating electricity might have far wider reaching benefits. It is also just as feasible in the modern age with solar power and the likes of Tesla’s PowerWall.

We still want to see scientists posing questions and overcoming them, though, because this printer could still have an invaluable use. Research teams are often stuck in remote locations, so this could help them as well.

Battery life is a weakness

There are always issues with new technology and this time it is the battery life. Budget limitations meant the team opted for a simple Lithium Ion battery with a cheap charge controller. So it requires a substantial charge for a relatively short print time.

A more expensive charge controller on the finished production version would give better results right now. Battery technology, though, is coming on in leaps and bounds.

Nanomaterials, ironically with the help of 3D printing, could improve the capacity of current batteries beyond recognition. Solar charging is already here, too, so it’s simply a case of connecting the dots and making the technology we now have work together.

Teeth are causing a chatter

So the potential of this printer is obvious and the team of students has already demonstrated its talents by printing a set of teeth and a screw bearing. They even printed the mechanism that closes the luggage case that they use to transport it.

The team has also printed a set of cutlery and while it has limited itself to PLA so far, there’s no reason why the printer cannot handle ABS, Nylon, PET and other plastics.

G-code is the input system

Obviously the printer has no WiFi connection, so it is not hooked up to a network. So to eliminate the need for a laptop, then, the team settled on using G-code. Of course to download the files the students are talking about then you’ll need a laptop and an internet connection, but this is a work in progress.

“Luckily it is possible to produce the instructions in G-code format from an STL file by using Slic3r,” student Jay Vinda told Student Engineer magazine. “STL files can be downloaded directly from Thingiverse or 3D models can be saved as a .stl file on Solidworks.

“Slic3r will convert the 3D model into a set of instructions on a layer-by-layer basis and save this as a G-code file, which can then be saved onto an SD card. The SD card can be read by the 3D printer using the LCD screen that comes with the printer.”

A sustainable focus

Dr Alan Stocker, Leicester University’s Department of Engineering, added: “The design process was holistic and required lateral thinking throughout. The group was aided by computer-based modelling and stress simulations to ensure that the design choices that were made were suitable.

“The students were given a specific focus on sustainability to meet current industry regulations. With this in mind they included a load-sensor, which allowed the user to precisely compare the amount of material required for a printing operation with the amount of material leftover. This addition meant that the user wasted fewer filaments which saves money and increases the emphasis on sustainability for the project.”

It’s an ingenious concept and if it turns into a total gamechanger or not then we’d still like to take a moment to applaud the students at Leicester University. We look forward to seeing what they come up with next.


Brandon library 3D printer available to; workshop required

11:01 p.m. CDT September 19, 2014

It’s no secret that technology is causing libraries to adapt – from the use of eReaders and libraries offering digital books for download, to the use of computers and the World Wide Web, to now 3D printing.

The Brandon Public Library has a 3D Printer available for public use. 3D Printers let you print a wide variety of three-dimensional (3D) objects, such as jewelry, home appliance parts, toys, phone accessories and anything else you can imagine. Design your own or download ready-to-print designs from websites such as Thingiverse.

With its recent increase in popularity, you may have read somewhere or heard about 3D printing on TV. This new technology is already being incorporated in industry and in the medical field for prosthetics or for knee and hip replacements. “For about five bucks of plastic and another five bucks of wire and screws, you can actually build a functional hand using 3D technology” states Dan Freedman, the dean of the science and engineering department at the state University of New York at New Paltz. 3D printing is described as “endless and can be life changing.” To fully understand its potential, we need to know and learn about the technology. And what better place to do that than the library.

To help people who are interested in learning about 3D printing, the Brandon Public Library is offering workshops you must first attend. The workshop will teach the basics in design and getting started. Upcoming workshops are on Fridays including at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19, Sept. 26, Oct. 10 and Oct. 24, with more to come as needed.

The workshops are limited to 15 persons maximum, and registration is required. To sign up, stop in at the library located at 117 E. Main St., Brandon or call them at (920) 346-2350 or email them at ross@brandonlibrary.net or Like them on Facebook ‘Brandon Library.’ Following the workshop, attendees will be able to start designing, creating, downloading and signing up for a time to print their creations.

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RepRap Mendel Printer Hardware Kit, Required Shafts and Bearings

This linear motion hardware kit contains the shafts and ball bearings required to build the RepRap Mendel printer project. Six 8 mm shafts are supplied, two each of 495 mm, 406 mm, and 330 mm lengths. This kit also includes five bearings with inside diameters of 8 mm and dimensions of 8 x 22 x 7 mm and forty-eight bearings with inside diameters of 4 mm and dimensions of 4 x 13 x 5 mm.

Mounted bearings combine a bearing mounted inside a housing unit. The bearing housing replaces the need for a casting or weldment to position the bearing securely for reliable operation, and its design determines the type of insert bearing. Insert bearings use rolling elements (ball, cylindrical, spherical, barrel, needle, spindled, or tapered) to maintain the separation between moving parts to reduce rotational friction, and to support radial and axial loads. Available in a variety of materials and mounting configurations, mounted bearings can be one- or two-piece, they can have an extended inner ring and locking device, and they can have seals and end caps that retain lubrication and protect the working parts of the bearing from environmental debris. Mounted bearings support shafts in a variety of mounting configurations (flange block, hanger, pillow block, and take-up block), and are used in a range of applications from light duty shaft guidance on conveyors to road building equipment and crushers.

What’s in the Box?
  • 8 mm shafts, 495 mm length (2)
  • 8 mm shafts, 406 mm length (2)
  • 8 mm shafts, 330 mm length (2)
  • 8 mm ball bearings (5)
  • 4 mm ball bearings (48)

Product Features

  • Linear shafts and bearings required to build RepRap Mendel printer
  • Chrome plated and case hardened carbon steel shafts for resistance to corrosion and wear
  • Carbon steel miniature ball bearings for durability
  • Shielded bearings to retain lubricant and protect against contamination
  • Part dimensions specified for accurate fit

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