LulzBot Mini Enclosure by Printed Solid

Minimize warping caused by drafts or cold 3D printing environments with the LulzBot mini enclosure by printed solid. This enclosure helps keep curious hands and PAWS away from heated and moving parts of your 3D printer. This laser-cut acrylic enclosure has a modular design, meaning pieces are easily removable for access and/or printing with large spools of filament. Have questions need replacements contact printed solid directly by calling +1-302-439-0098.

Product Features

  • Not gluing, drilling, cutting, or engraving is required for assembly
  • Use your current printer to 3D printer four brackets to complete the knit
  • Required assembly tools: 2 mm, 2.5 mm hex driver
  • Optional recommended items: painters tape, flat razor
  • Built-in location to mount a 40 mm fan to vent air from the enclosure

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The Growing Trend of 3D Printed Toys & What it Means for Manufacturers

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A recent study points out that, 3D printers have enabled parents to save anywhere from 40 to 90% on children’s toys. The study also highlights how this trend is cutting down on manufacturer’s profits.

Additionally, desktop 3D printers have given prosumers the ability to create a manufacturing hub. As a result, home entrepreneurs are taking a slice of the toy industry, poised to grow to $135 billion by 2020. As of now, there are no certain figures on just how much domestic production can off-set this titanic industry, but cost efficiency is on their side. 3D printed toys can reduce costs by about 90%.

Another advantage is the ability to create unique toys that aren’t available on the market. Or perhaps even substitutes for massive branded toys. Perhaps LEGOs are a bit expensive as famous, branded goods tend to be. Parents could instead make their own LEGO knock-off blocks at home, after all, they aren’t remotely complex in shape or size.

However, one has to wonder where that leaves manufacturers. A lot of toy makers are already grappling with this issue. Many see it as a threat, whereas some see opportunities within. This also has wider implications for those who want to produce toys at home.

Opportunities for Manufacturers

Manufacturers don’t need to despise a world full of 3D printers. If (or maybe when) it does take shape, they will have to readjust. There are potential waves they can ride within this new environment. One way is to join them if you can’t necessary beat them. Mattel announced its plans to sell desktop 3D printers of its own. They saw this as an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and produce 3D printers they had designed specifically for toys.

Manufacturers can also see this as an opportunity to add longevity to their toy lines. They could release a basic toy with add-ons that you can print at home to improve it. It would be a move similar to how the games industry uses DLC (though hopefully not as divisive among consumers). It would add value to their products and maybe even allow users to customise their toys.

While we’re at it, why not give the consumer the ability to produce the whole toy at home? Companies (and even domestic producers) could potentially release designs that user could pay for and print at home. This could cut down on production, manufacturing and storage. Sites like My Mini Factory are already doing this and are making hefty sums of money with it.

Regulations

Manufacturing at home opens up a can of worms for federal regulations commissioners. Should someone be allowed to sell toys out of their garage or should it go through quality controls? Regulators will have to check for material toxicity and assign appropriate labels for choking hazards. They would also have to request safety tests before they could hand it over to children.

Then there’s the issue of what workplace regulations will apply. Essentially, a lot of people will be working from their garage. Rules, when it comes to 3D printers, have been quite relaxed but this could present a need for establishing new guidelines.

Similarly, rights issues can be tricky. Copyrighting toys and digital models and ensuring that no one is stealing anyone else’s designs can be tricky. It’s already tough enough restricting music and movies online, now actual physical data and computer models. I imagine, some form of registration will be necessary to ensure legal processes are being followed.

LulzBot TAZ 6 Enclosure by Printed Solid

Minimize warping caused by drafts or cold 3D printing environments with the LulzBot TAZ 6 Enclosure by Printed Solid. This enclosure helps keep curious hands and paws away from heated and moving parts of your 3D printer. This laser-cut acrylic enclosure has a modular design, meaning pieces are easily removable for access and/or printing with large spools of filament.

Product Features

  • The smaller footprint adds only 62 mm (2.44 in) along the y-axis (from front to back)
  • Not gluing, drilling, cutting, or engraving is required for assembly
  • Use your current printer to 3D printer four brackets to complete the knit
  • Required assembly tools: 2.5 mm, 3 mm, and 4 mm hex driver
  • Optional recommended items: painters tape, flat razor, zip ties
  • Please note, the LulzBot TAZ 6 Desktop 3D Printer does not come standard with the LulzBot TAZ 6 Enclosure by Printed Solid and must be purchased separately

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Autodesk patent seeks to improve flexural strength of 3D printed objects with support posts

Jul 7, 2017 | By Benedict

Autodesk has had a patent approved for a “support posts” technique for improving the flexural strength of 3D printed objects. Originally filed in 2014, the newly approved patent gives Autodesk ownership of a different approach to support structures.

As with other industries, the filing of patents in 3D printing is a long and occasionally drawn-out process. That’s why this newly approved patent for Autodesk might not seem like the hottest news: new approaches to “support posts” on 3D printed objects have been discussed by the 3D printing company since at least 2015, and the patent was originally filed way back in August 2014.

But the approval of this patent could be important news for Autodesk, with 3D printing software companies each seeking to develop better ways of stopping 3D printing objects from falling apart while printing. In the patent, inventor Ryan Michael Schmidt discusses several “embodiments” of his proposed support posts technique.

Embodiment 1:

A computer-implemented method for generating a 3D printed object having support posts for improved flexural strengths is provided. The method includes identifying a portion of a 3D model corresponding to the 3D printed object to which one or more support posts should be added. The method also includes for each of the one or more support posts, adding a support post descriptor to the 3D model within the portion, wherein the support descriptor defines a position and at least one dimension of a support post cavity and a position and at least one dimension of a support post, both having a height corresponding to at least two layers of 3D printable material. The method further includes transmitting one or more instructions to a 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to print at least two layers of the 3D model, the[n] at least two layers defining the support post cavity. The method also includes transmitting one or more instructions to the 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to generate a support post in the support post cavity.

Embodiment 2:

A non-transitory computer-readable medium storing instructions that, when executed by a processor, cause the processor to perform certain steps for improving the flexural strength of a 3D printed object is provided. The steps include identifying a portion of a 3D model corresponding to the 3D printed object to which one or more support posts should be added. The steps also include for each of the one or more support posts, adding a support post descriptor to the 3D model within the portion, wherein the support descriptor defines a position and at least one dimension of a support post cavity and a position and at least one dimension of a support post, both having a height corresponding to at least two layers of 3D printable material. The steps further include transmitting one or more instructions to a 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to print at least two layers of the 3D model, the[n] at least two layers defining the support post cavity. The steps also include transmitting one or more instructions to the 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to generate a support post in the support post cavity.

Embodiment 3:

A system for generating a 3D printed object with improved flexural strength is provided. The system includes a processor. The processor is configured to identify a portion of a 3D model corresponding to the 3D printed object to which one or more support posts should be added. The processor is also configured to for each of the one or more support posts, add a support post descriptor to the 3D model within the portion, wherein the support descriptor defines a position and at least one dimension of a support post cavity and a position and at least one dimension of a support post, both having a height corresponding to at least two layers of 3D printable material. The processor is further configured to transmit one or more instructions to a 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to print at least two layers of the 3D model, the[n] at least two layers defining the support post cavity. The processor is also configured to transmit one or more instructions to the 3D printer that cause the 3D printer to generate a support post in the support post cavity.

The differences between the three suggested embodiments are slight, but cover different ways in which the process could be triggered. The patent also specifies that this new approach to supports could improve the flexural strength of tall 3D printed objects (an upright candy cane is provided as an example) that cannot, for whatever reason, be reoriented to have fewer overall layers.

The patent was first published on February 26, 2016, the usual 18 months after the filing date. Read the approved patent in full here.

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

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Thermwood tests 3D printed carbon fibre-filled PPS panels without coatings

Thermwood has taken a major step toward its goal of 3D printing autoclave capable tooling from high temperature carbon fibre filled thermoplastic materials.

The manufacturing company 3D printed 50% carbon fibre-filled PPS panels on its LSAM additive manufacturing machine, maintaining the part’s vacuum to an industry-standard level, without coatings. Testing of the part was conducted by the Fleet Readiness Center, located at MCAS Cherry Point, NC, under a previously announced Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) partnership. The results met FRC-East acceptance criterion that the bag must not lose than more than 2 in Hg over five minutes.

As an added benefit, Thermwood believes it will soon be capable of producing moulds and tooling that function properly under vacuum in a heated, pressurized autoclave, also without the use of any type of coating to seal the printed tools.

Previously, other unaffiliated companies have tested actual tools printed by Thermwood from 20% Carbon Fibre-filled ABS and have also found that those tools held vacuum to an acceptable level without the use of any sealer or coating; however, the ABS material is not suitable for high temperature applications.

Yet, several parts have been made from those tools under vacuum at room temperature and at slightly elevated temperatures. Thermwood has also already printed a 50% Carbon Fibre-filled three dimensional PPS mould which has not yet been tested. Thermwood’s goal is to produce moulds that will be used in a production autoclave, moulding finished parts suitable for actual end use.

Thermwood’s additive printing process differs fundamentally from conventional Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printing. Most FDM processes print parts by melting and extruding a relatively small bead of thermoplastic material onto a heated build plating that is contained within a heated chamber. The heated chamber keeps the extruded material from cooling too much before the next layer is added.

Thermwood machines print a large bead at such a high rate that a heated environment is not needed. It is basically an exercise in controlled cooling. Print speed is adjusted so that each layer cools to the proper temperature just as the next layer starts to print resulting in a continuous printing process that produces high quality parts. Thermwood believes this fundamentally different approach produces superior parts.

One other feature that Thermwood engineers believe helps produce solid, void free parts, is a patent pending compression roller that follows directly behind the print nozzle, flattening the bead while fusing it tightly to the previous layer.