I'm slowly getting the hang of using my 3D printer to make useful things. Last week, I made sliders for the legs on our pool chairs. This weekend, I made a doohickey to hold our freezer's ice cube container lid in place. The container would often crash to the floor when the freezer door was opened because a plastic hook had broken off. It took me a lot of trial-and-error to make this little doohickey (my failed prototypes are in the picture below) but once I arrived at a solution that worked, it felt good!
If, for some reason, you want the 3D model, I put it on Thingiverse.
We have two 30-year-old poolside chairs. They might be 40 years old. They are excellent metal chairs with adjustable backs. The problem was that the plastic sliders on the bottom of the legs had long ago disintegrated, leaving nothing but bare metal. So, when my wife or kids dragged the chairs across the concrete, the legs would make a brain-curdling screeching sound. I had been thinking about making wooden plugs to stick into the hollow legs like corks, but then I realized I could easily make custom sliders with my 3D printer.
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$100 buys you a snap-fit 3D printer. Whitney Hipolite of 3DPrint.com says the resin-based Peachy Printer is "amazing."
One of the great things about the Peachy Printer is that since it is only available in kit form, it can can be completely customized to the size you want. The build volume can be modified depending on the size of an object you need printed, and even the color resins can be mixed in order to create new colors. Want a yellow-green color? Then mix the perfect amount of yellow and green. Peachy Printer will offer 8 completely mixable colors.
Yesterday at CES, Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis announced three new 3D printers, including a massive, fifth-generation Replicator capable of producing objects that are 45.7cm tall and 30.5cm wide/long. Interestingly, all three new models -- there's also a simple, one-button version and a desktop prosumer version -- sport clear plastic sides. 3D printers are very susceptible to disruption from even slight breezes (the wind cools the plastic between the nozzle and the previous layer) but there's a completely batshit patent on the totally obvious "invention" of putting see-through sides on a 3D printer, so in general printers don't ship with sides, and manufacturers don't publicly advise their customers to add plastic sides to their machines.
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The Evil Mad Scientists were presented with a challenge: inscribe one of Cliff Stoll's hand-blown Klein bottles, an object of surpassing beauty and odd topology. They modified an Eggbot plotter to etch the surface of a Klein bottle with a diamond engraver attachment.
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The Mug Marker is a Don McRae's cardboard mug-decorating robot that uses an Eggbot-style EBB controller board and stepper motors to draw precise patterns on your favorite coffee-mug. Lenore from Evil Mad Scientists has a writeup on the design process and the way it performs.
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When Jesse Vincent's boss stole his beloved keyboard, it set him on a long journey to make his perfect and ideal keyboard from scratch (ish -- he bought the keycaps premade). This slide deck documents nine generations of scratchbuilt keyboard prototypes. Vincent is now planning a Kickstarter based on his experiences, making some kind of custom keyboards for the world.
Building a keyboard from scratch
(via O'Reilly Radar)
MakerBot have announced an update to its Replicator 2 3D printer, this one an experimental model with two heads:
Targeting a higher-end market, the 2X features dual heads for printing more-complex objects. “For the daredevils out there, the Doc Browns, the MacGyvers, the test pilots, we haven’t forgotten about you,” says Pettis in a YouTube video released in advance of the announcement. Whereas the Replicator 2 uses PLA filament, the 2X — like the original Replicator — uses ABS filaments. But the 2X is supposed to run more smoothly, and print in multiple colors and even multiple materials.
“There are many ABS filament fans out there that want to keep using ABS, even though it can be a trickier and more challenging product to use,” Pettis says in MakerBot’s press release.
MakerBot Announces More Advanced Replicator 2X 3-D Printer [Nathan Hurst/Wired]