Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Teaching and Vocademy USA

Vocademy Riverside, aka a new local "maker space" just opened a few weeks ago, and asked me if I would be willing to teach classes on 3D printing.

what is a Maker space?
its basically a work shop for rent, they have all the high priced welding and wood working and laser cutting and 3d printing equipment that you would love to get access to. On top of that if you don't know how to weld or are not a carpenter, or a 3D modeling professional, then they have classes that can help get you there. Makers space first came around in the 1970's with your first computers but it took many years for the idea to spread. Now they are all across the world. I have been reading about them in tech blogs for many years but they were always to far away like New York or San Francisco, Or even LA which is still to far to go often.

Just a few months ago Riverside got it first maker space "Vocademy" (from their website in the about section) Vocademy is an idea that I have had for many years. A place that teaches “hands-on”  vocational, shop and Do-It-Yourself skills. Then we add a “dream workshop” for those in the community that want to learn, build, create and become “Makers.”  I want to bring back “shop class for everyone!” I have witnessed the demise of DIY (Do-It-Yourself), and hands-on skills in this country. Not for lack of people who want or need these skills and knowledge, but for lack of places to learn and use such skills. Many agree that once this country loses its ability to make and build things (with our own hands), we will have lost what made America great.  Edison, Franklin, the Wright Brothers, Harley Davidson, Apple, HP and many others started in small workshops with basic tools.  Many more Americans should have the same opportunity to innovate, collaborate, and create their dreams. America used to have “shop” classes. Whether it was wood shop, metal shop, industrial arts or even art classes, it was a place for makers, inventors and dreamers.  Those who wanted to use their hands, in addition to their minds. It was the ideal place for  those that love to tinker, to take things apart and put them together. The starting place for the many people who love to to design, to build, and to create!  Some were lucky enough to have a dad or an uncle that had a small workshop and were willing to share their know-how.  But now these places are very rare, if not completely gone. For many, a personal workshop just an expensive dream.  But the people who still want these skills and need such a place still exists. That’s why we are working hard to make Vocademy a reality and create a place for you to make and learn whatever YOU desire.  Join us!   Gene Sherman Founder of Vocademy

Gene, the founder, asked me if i would teach the classes on 3D printing, and i had to take the opportunity as part of the deal i get free membership and can even earn free classes. I have wanted to learn how to weld and wood work for many years. Also this means I now have 5 3D printers to work with and I will be working on building my own 3D printer.

Teaching is very new to me, never thought before this Job, but now with a few classes behind me, I have to say I love it. We offer 3 classes for 3D printing the first is a 30min free class just to go over basic info and give some safety tips. The 2nd ID205 is the intro to both the software and the printers and where to get models to be printed.   The 3rd is a walk through on your first print and you get to go home with a 3D printed object of your choose. I am also working on a few more levels of classes where we will go over more advanced subjects. like printing on glass beds using Vapor to finish the prints, and even a class on building your own 3D printer.
I would like to invite all my friends down to Vocademy to get a tour of the place and if you let me know when you are headed there i will meet up with you.

for more info and list of class times be sure to check out their website

Saturday, November 9, 2013

an day an other 3 printed gun but this one is metal (what ever)

If you have a 3d printer and want to make some headlines print a gun its all the craze!! no criminal is going to spend 10s of thousands of $ or even hundreds of that matter just to make a gun when they can buy one on the street but here is a story about a 3d printed metal gun to give you some food for thought anyway

And here is an story that shows why im not worried

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Purple Mammals

The Printer i have is a Desktop printer which are really meant more for hobby printing then for full commercial Rabbit prototyping. If you want a high quality print you need to go with production printer. These printer can start at 20,000$ go up in price from there. In the last few weeks we have used 3 different 3D printing companies to see how their prints hold up for testing. We got the best results from a company named after 2 Mammals Purple Mammals at that. Purple Platypus is the side of the company that sales printers and Purple porcupine is the side of the company that will print objects for you. Purple is not just in their name it is everywhere in their show room. There will be lots of pictures to check out at the bottom of the post. Now they use Porjet and 3D system printers, which are now the same company. if you would like to learn more about these printers check out the main site Projet/3Dsystems. If you would like to see Purple Platypus for yourself they do hold a open house one the 25th of every month so go check it out and see all the great stuff that can be printed

3D print a 3D printer

If you follow my blog you will know that I use a Solidoodle 3 printer in my office. You will also know that I have fallowed 3D printers for a long time and have wanted one for my home. This brings me to the idea of using my Solidoodle to print a 3D printer. RepRap is an open source 3D printer that is meant to be build and printed on another printer. if you would like to know more check out their main site This is meant to be more of a long term project and i can only print a few pieces at a time. I will also need to buy all the parts that can't be printed like motors and belts, mother boards etc. The system I am going for can be found on at and is based on a RepRap design the best part is the zip come with full detailed institutions and all printable parts. This will be an on going project so be sure to check back but here is the first 3 parts i have printed they took about 8hrs to print together and i have to print one more set.


basic maintenance

like any system 3D printer require maintenance to keep them running smooth. In the last few days i have had to replace the Kapton type on the print board and also grease the system. Some parts stick to the print bed a little to well and when removing them you can damage the Kapton type, however you can buy small rolls to replace the damage, you can also buy large rolls and i was able to find 8" by 36 yard roll of Kapton because i had let the damage go on for so long that it was much better to replace the whole sheet. If you are looking to buy large rolls of Kapton check out this site when it come to grease it can be picked up at any hard ware store White Lithium Grease works great it what i was told to use buy members of the solidoodle IRC. amazon also carries it but Home depot is just down the street from my offce and we already have a home depot card.

Friday, September 20, 2013

vapor acetone hot plates and hit and runs

so today was a busy day at the office. We have been working hard to take are 3d printed parts and put them out into the filed for testing but we want them to look high quality. a few weeks back we found a video on youtube that showed someone using heated acetone vapors to give a nice gloss finish. So we bought a hot plate some acetone and a glass jar. so we put everything outside to start testing and just a few mins later someone ran over the hot plate. It was a hit and run on a hotplate that was sitting next to a cement wall and a dumpster so they had to have been aiming for it and just missed wrecking their car. Which means we had to buy a new hot plate thankfully they are only about 30$ each. Next we had to get the vapor treating temp and time just right 5min with it acetone preheated to 200F turned out the best.  we have also been working on the best way to seal the top and bottom of the casing together. so you will see pictures of us testing with a heat gun. The last project of the day was to create supports for some of the smaller details of the 3d parts those are printing right now.  

here is the video we fallowed.

this is the parts holder we made

one of our test pieces

testing if we can uses a heat gun to melt the top and bottom of the casing together

on the left is the smashed hot plate you can see the cement wall and the dumpster and the new hot plate with the glass Jar 

Vapor sealing a part 

it had a very sort life only got to be use once

they hit it dead center i hope it messed up their tire

the vapor needs time to cure


Thursday, September 19, 2013

building your own 3d printer

If you want to build your own 3d printer, a project i plan on starting next year after my wedding don't tell my GF she might kill me i already talk none stop about them. anyway check out this story on HackaDay to help control the heading nozzle accurate-temperature-control-of-your-3d-printer-extruder/

print all the materials

Always love Hackday and here is a great story all about printing nylon, wood, stone and all kinds of different materials check it out 3d-printering-alternative-filaments

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Glass, Mirrors, & Blue sheets

a few weeks ago i read about how if you print on a glass board you get better prints and don't have to worry about ripping the Kapton tape, it use a blue sheet (know at Pet) that can be easily replaced by using water and a credit card like putting on window tent, also read that a cheap mirror can be used in-place of a costly glass bed. got all the supplies in and got the mirror ready it takes over night for the blue sheet to set in place so will see how it turns out tomorrow

to find out more about PET sheets check this link 

short fall up: glass is very difficult to get to work just right when you printer is not built for it so this project has been put on hold until i have more time to play around with it. More to come 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

the next boom in 3d printers

Came a cross a great read on Hack a Day about the next group of 3d printers patents that will expire next year leading to what many are calling the next big boom in 3d printers well it may not be what you think but i hold out the fact that everything gets cheaper and easier over time and its always great to have more open source projects anyway check out the story and make up your own mind

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hairspray, Bondo and other 3d printing basics

I have been working with the Office Solidoodle 3 for about 2 months now that there are lot of basics every 3d hobbyist should know. First there are a lot of online site that host 3d parts just ready to download and print the one i use the most is you can search for just about anything you can think of and likely someone has made it or something like it. From there you just download it and open up your printing software and hit print right? well I wish it was that easy but its not like using a desktop printer. All parts need to be sliced into layers and not all printers use the same slicing software. So therefore many times models that where designed to run on a Makerbot will not print right on my Solidoodle. sometime just changing some setting can help. next is making sure that system is heated up to the right temps which once again is different for every printer. Thankfully Solidoodle has some good default setting for temps. Next step is heading the print Bed which once again has good default setting. Even with all this I soon learned that parts don't always stay in-place and if a part come loose from the print bed you might as well kill the hole job because it done. even if just the edges come up the part is warped and not usable. So when all the heating and other setting fail the trick is Hairspray. Yep good old aquanet hairspray its make the object stick much better if you coat the bed in it. You will not find this little tip on may of the basic user guides but if you as for help in the IRCs they will turn you on to it. Once your part is printed they don't always look perfect. The outside layers some time come out clean but other times come out with uneven melting. So now it bondo to the rescue to really clean up the edge and give it a more manufactured look. Now this just covers if you are using designs downloaded from a site like thingiverse. What if you want to make your own parts? well then you need to know who to use CAD or 3d modeling software. Thankfully there are a lot of free programs out there and if you sit down what a few how to videos you can learn them in just a few days, but it will take years to be a master. For the office I use Solidworks which i have been teach myself to use for over 7 years now. this is just a short write up to give you an idea of what you will need to know before you jump into 3d printing its not for everyone. However like any Job or Hobby its is a labor of love. for list of free 3d programs check this site   

The Road to 3D printing

I have been working with a 3D printer for about a month now, but the road to get here is much longer then that. It started more then 10 years ago when i was still in college and my school got a few printers that were really just the beginning of the technology. I was enrolled as an Architecture student and we shared class rooms with many of the Engineering students. Meaning we all used the same drafting computer lab. Often I would come into class and find my PC already on with 3d models opened from the last student that forgot to log out. Or there would be 3D printed objects left out on display. I didn't have access to the printer, because it was in the CNC lab. I took a few tours of the lab when i got a chance but i would have to change majors to get access to the lab and work with the 3D printer. so I could only read about 3D printers for many years to come. Fast forward a few years and i was working in the drafting side of Architecture, right about the time of the big housing boom of the early 2000s. Jump a few more yeas to about 2005 this is when a lot of Architecture firms started to feel the market dropping and started laying off their drafting staff. So now I was with out work and no one was looking for draftsmen  in my field. Luckily I had a background with CAD and engineering because some many of the CAD classes had me molding simple production parts. I had taken these classes as a crossover so I could learn more CAD to use in my Architecture classes which still made most students do about 60% of their work on a drafting board. So I applied for any drafting Job I could find. I ended up at a X-Ray Security manufacturing job (think of x-ray systems at airports)  that need Drafts men to take the work load off the Mechanical Engineers, they new my work was all in a different field but were willing to teach me, because i knew AutoCad and they did all their work in that same program. However the company was also making a big change over to Solidworks and needed someone that knew both programs to translate all the Drawings from 2D autocad to 3D parts in Solidworks. I had played with solidworks in my down time when i was in that same CAD lab I shared with the Engineering students back in college. I was still a beginner but they gave me the job anyway. I spent the next 6+ years teaching myself how to use solidworks like a master, going as far as redesigning our office and creating many of the companies best selling products. My greatest being a Mobile X-Ray unit built into a van. we started with selling one and before I was laid off we were selling entire felts of 10+ to countries all over the world. So if they company was growing like mad why was I laid off? Well all their success lead to more government contracts, and governments like to work with Engineers with degrees, also the manager that haired me had moved on to a new company, and was replaced by someone who only had only thought Engineering. These 2 factors led to this manager taking on all the projects as and then having me do all the work and then taking full credit for the project. we had a team of about 6 ME but i was the only one that did not have a degree so i had to work under his direct supervision. This really hurt my reputation with the company and after he left to go back to teaching, I was left to only getting the simplest of projects until the company just figured they no longer need a draftsmen. In all this time I had still been tracking the progress of 3d printers. so once again I was out of work. Thankfully a long time friend of mine was looking for a expert in solidworks to handle prototype design, and this new office was looking to buy a 3d printer for their prototypes. So here I am. who knows where this road will lead next?

for anyone that would like to see my work check out my facebook album
work projects

        this is one of many mobile x-ray units I designed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Welcome to 3d print that... this will be my blog for the day to day use and fun of working with my new 3d printer maybe if i post it here i will not talk my GF ears off so much... never mind. anyway I am working with the Solidoodle 3 it sales for about 800$ my office bought it about 3 weeks ago and i have been teaching myself how it works. I have taken a lot of video downloaded and printed lots of object from thing verse and even fixed a camera on it with a Ustream account so i can remotely check in on long print jobs over the next few weeks i try to this get this back log of info on to this blog. after that the plan is to get a printer for my home i just might build one from a 3d printed kit. or just save up the $.