3D printed stormtrooper suit

http://3dprint.com/92613/3d-printed-stormtrooper-suit/

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Entire 3D Printed Star Wars Episode VII Stormtrooper Suit Shown off at PAX Prime By Barnacules

What’s the most highly anticipated movie the year? Of course it’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the first movie in the series after Disney’s purchase of the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas in 2012. While Star Wars fans are certainly excited for the next episode, many are wondering just how well director J.J. Abrams will fare in his Star Wars debut on December 18th.

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Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, since you’re at this site you likely are a fan of 3D printing, and what better way to enhance the excitement surrounding this upcoming film than with one of the more elaborate 3D printing projects we have seen in a while?

You may remember Jerry Berg, aka Barnacules, who is a bit of a YouTube sensation himself. Back at the end of last year, we partnered with Barnacules on a video in which he polished a handful of 3D printed bronzeFill ‘Bitcoins’ using various methods. Barnacules is now back to his old 3D printing habits, this time working with MyMiniFactory on a project which can only be described as awesome! Over the last several months, an entire Star Wars Episode VII Stormtrooper suit has been fabricated, which he has been chronicling on his YouTube channel over the last few months. After lots of printing, and some incredible design work on the part of MyMiniFactory, we are told that this suit is finally complete and will be officially unveiled at PAX Prime in Seattle this weekend by Barnacules himself.

The suit–which is the work of Lloyd Roberts, the lead designer on the project, who also happens to be one of MyMiniFactory’s most popular 3D designers–was created in pieces to specifically fit the build of Barnacules. Roberts was certainly not the only one who helped out on this mindblowingly awesome project. Another MyMiniFactory character artist named Francesco Orrù put his talents to use on the project as well, using Zbrush.

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While all the components making up the Stormtrooper suit have not been publicly released and have remained under wraps, MyMiniFactory has made two key parts of the costume available on their website for free download. The Stormtrooper helmet, designed by Roberts, with some special help from his friend Ricardo Salomao, is quite impressive and will certainly get all you Star Wars fans out there a bit more excited for the film’s December release. Additionally MyMiniFactory has made the Stormtrooper TFA blaster also available for download on their site. The weapon, which was designed by another very popular MyMiniFactory user, Kirby Downey, looks pretty spectacular if you ask me.

While we are sure that there will be plenty of quality images of the 3D printed suit over the next couple of days coming from PAX, we were able to obtain a handful of pictures so far, which you can see above as well as in the gallery below. Also we highly recommend following Barnacules’ YouTube channel where he is sure to show off the suit in its entirety very soon.

Let us know if you happened to attend PAX and bump into this Barnacules wearing this incredible piece of work. What did you think? Discuss in the 3D Printed Stormtrooper Suit forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 31, 2015

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3D printed brain?

http://3dprint.com/92071/your-brain-on-3d-printing/

You can 3D print your own brain.

This Is Your Brain On 3D Printing

If you’ve been through the experience of having a complete MRI brain scan, and you’re not squeamish about such things, you might be interested in building a scale model 3D print of your brain itself.

That MRI scan data means you now have the option to print your brain.

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As for that MRI scan, you’ll need the sort of scan free of surrounding structures, and a radiologist can create a range of scans and analysis for the various elements of tissues.

Why you’d do this without significant motivation is anyone’s guess, but author and editor Richard Baguley went that route. He says once you request DICOM data of your brain, it’s possible to ask for a CD which includes the various scans, or failing that, go straight to your doctor to make the request–as the patient, it’s within your purview to ask for these files.

DICOM, or Digital Images and Communications in Medicine, data represents an open format which can be utilized by a range of medical systems.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging itself is amazing technology which uses a powerful magnetic field to react with the atoms of the human body to create a radio signal, and by shaping the resulting magnetic field, the MRI can map and capture the structure of the brain and its varying tissues and blood vessels.

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Baguley says converting the images for 3D printing can be done via a host of free and open source software such as Slicerweb, Osirix, 3DSlicer and Invesialus. He uses InVesalius in his tutorial, finding it the most simple package to take on the task.

His step-by-step description of the process results in an .STL file, but he says there’s a bit of work left to be done after that. He uses MeshLab to clean up model up prepare for printing.

Brain Scan 3D Print

Ultimately, Baguley printed out his version of his brain via Cura and a Lulzbot TAZ 5 printer.

“I was quite pleased with how my print turned out. The convoluted texture of my grey matter was well captured and printed on the top of the brain, but the similar texture on the side wasn’t quite as clear,” Baguley says of the finished article. “That’s probably because of the way the scan was processed. I could get more detail on the side by using other scans and combining the results.”

He adds that with a satisfactory 3D model complete, he may well print it in a flexible plastic or laser-cut it from wood to produce an interesting ornament…because what do you really do with a 3D printed brain?

“Now I have the 3D model, the possibilities are endless. I could print it in flexible plastic to give my cats an amusing toy,” Baguley suggests cheekily. “I could laser-cut it out in wood to produce an interesting ornament. Or I could do a small print to have available the next time someone asks to speak to the brains of this organization….”

Baguley has been writing about technology for more than 20 years and his credits include work in Wired, Macworld, USA Today and Reviewed.com. You can read the exceptionally detailed documentation Baguley created for his Brain Printing Project here on Hackaday.

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3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 28, 2015

3D printed Chi flute

http://3dprint.com/91641/ancient-chi-transverse-flute/

Ancient Chi Transverse Flute Gets 3D Printed Reincarnation

If you had been living the high life near the Marquis Yi of Zeng in 433 BC, you might have been lucky enough to hear a performance on the Chi (篪), a transverse flute that was most likely used for court and ritual music. Unfortunately, in the more likely event that you weren’t, the instrument declined in favor, for reasons not entirely certain, and largely disappeared from music history. However, over the last few decades, there has been a small, but devoted, interest in bringing this instrument back to life.

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One person who has shown an interest in this instrument is the musician Cheong Li who decided as part of studying the instrument that he would try to create a 3D printed one. This application of 3D printing technology opens up a world for the study of extinct instruments, as explained by Lee in an interview with 3Dprint.com:

“I’m a musician and a novice to 3D printing. I’m not that capable in woodwork, but 3D printing allows me to draw and design my own instrument easily. One thing I’m particularly interested in is music archaeology. There are quite a lot of ancient instruments that have been forgotten or abandoned in the course of history. It would be very interesting to make them and be able to actually hear what they sound like.”

The Chi is a particularly unique instrument. Unlike the flute, fife, or recorder, the air is introduced into the instrument in the center and the holes for fingering are on either side of the mouthpiece. The ends of the flute are actually closed and the sound is produced as the air is blown into and then escapes from the holes that are used for fingering. Information about the flute is scarce and Lee is having to discover the instrument’s secrets the old fashioned way: trial and error.

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The position of the holes doesn’t seem to have much impact on the pitch but rather it is their size that has the greatest effect. The fingering itself is irregular, meaning that rather than playing a scale by lifting successive fingers, each note has a unique fingering configuration. As part of understanding the instrument, Lee has created a fingering chart in an effort to codify the relationships between pitch, frequency, and finger position.

He described the process of designing the instrument in preparation for 3D printing:

“I’ve been using Rhino for Mac. It wasn’t too difficult to draw a simple tube like this. However, the most difficult thing is to determine where I should put the finger holes. I’ve spent some time studying pictures of Chi from various sources and tried to figure out the exact measurements. The tuning is not quite accurate yet and I think I’ll need to rework it.”

He printed his instrument as a single piece with the exception of a final cap for the end which was printed separately and then glued into place. The printing was done via 3D Hubs on a FlashForge Creator Pro and took only a few hours to complete. The instrument Lee printed is created entirely in PLA and the interior dimension is 14.2 cm with an extra centimeter on each end that acts as the wall.

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Now that his flute is printed, it seems to have raised more questions than it resolved and Lee plans on diving further into understanding its mysteries.

“There are quite a few questions about this instrument that intrigue me,” Lee notes. “For example, why is the fingering so unpredictable? How does a closed tube sound different from an open tube? To understand these things, I may need to collaborate with a scientist to calculate the physics behind it. It may help to solve a mystery in music history, and if possible, I hope that this instrument can be mass produced and played by more musicians. I’d love to write a tune for it as well!”

This is the third instrument that Lee has created through 3D printing; the first was a Xun, which is an egg-shaped blowing vessel, and the second a sliding whistle. The opportunity to truly understand an instrument that is presented through creating the instrument itself adds a new level of interaction that is open to more and more people through 3D technology. We may never know the way this instrument sounded when it was played 2,000 years ago, but thanks to 3D printing, we can hear it as it has been reincarnated today.

What do you think about the use of 3D printing to re-create ancient instruments? Let us know your thoughts in the 3D Printed Chi Flute forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 27, 2015

Shuty 3D printed pistol

http://3dprint.com/89919/shuty-hybrid-3d-printed-pistol/

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The Shuty Hybrid 3D Printed 9mm Pistol Raises Questions About 3D Printed Gun Control

I say this as both a firearm enthusiast and an advocate for strong firearm regulation. It is becoming evident that there is a point when we as a society are just going to have to accept that 3D printed weapons are not going to disappear behind walls of legislation. Will that point be when entire guns can easily be 3D printed and constructed at home? Because it is pretty evident at this point that 3D printable firearms will be here soon, and both sides of the controversial issue are going to have to stop chipping away at each other’s platforms and start a real conversation about what kind of society we will have when they get here.

At this point, we have all heard of the Liberator created by Cody Wilson, the original 3D printed handgun that got gun nuts overly excited and anti-gun nuts wildly up in arms. For those of us in the middle, realistically the Liberator is a single shot firearm completely made of plastic and is probably not much of a real threat to anyone. And I don’t believe that even with subsequent upgrades and redesigns that have turned it into a much more reliable and dependable firearm, that has really changed. But firearms enthusiasts with 3D printers obviously weren’t going to stop with the Liberator, and they have turned to designing hybrid firearms made of 3D printed parts combined with more durable parts culled from traditionally manufactured guns.

One of the most sophisticated and impressive hybrid designs out there is the Shuty, a 9mm semiauto based on a combination of parts from a standard AR-15 and the homemade firearm designs of P.A. Luty. The design for the Shuty combines a metal bolt, an AR fire-control group and the barrel of a Glock combined with a 3D printed bolt carrier, upper and lower receivers and even a 3D printed magazine.

The 3D printed parts are all made from standard PLA printed on an Orion from SeeMeCNC. The design intentionally combines metal parts that will be exposed to repeated use with its printed parts that will encounter less wear and tear. With so many plastic parts the Shuty is obviously going to have a rather short period of usability, but because of the clever mixing of metal and printed parts it will be far longer than the one-and-done Liberator.

The unassembled Shuty.

One of the fears of those in favor of banning 3D printed guns is that they might be used in crimes, mass shootings or even for political assassinations. Anyone who has used or 3D printed a gun, regardless of their stance on the issue, is going to be able to tell you with some authority that that isn’t a fear that is based in reality. In terms of actual, practical usability the Shuty really isn’t going to score many points there, especially with no stock or sights. It also looks like a brick, and isn’t going to be comfortably or surreptitiously tucked into any waistbands without looking like an idiot.

But while the Shuty isn’t the prettiest gun on the block, it is certainly a cleverly designed one, and most importantly not only does it work, but it actually works pretty well. But it is still a work in progress, so it will undoubtedly be improved with each new iteration. So while right now 3D printed guns are probably the last firearm anyone would choose when planning to commit a crime, that is likely to change at some point. Especially as more advanced 3D printing materials far stronger than standard PLA become available.

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However, as Derwood says in the description of one of his test videos, at this point the Shuty “is now functioning perfect” and certainly looks intimidating despite its clumsy appearance. If the plastic parts are replaced with more durable and advanced 3D printing materials then it could become a little more of a threat. And even now it is an excellent example of a homemade firearm proof of concept.

Gun control advocates insist that eliminating guns in the United States would save lives and reduce (our already record low) crime rates, and they have the Facebook memes about gun availability in European countries to prove it. But you simply can’t erase the last 200 years of our history and culture, and those same European countries don’t have the right to own firearms written into their constitutions. Not to mention the fact that there are an estimated 8.8 guns for each 10 people in the country, so even banning guns isn’t going to result in a gun shortage. They’re going to have to understand that guns aren’t going away, and neither is the culture that surrounds them.

But firearms enthusiasts and gun owners are also going to have to face up to some hard realities. They can quote the second amendment all that they want, while trying to pretend that the words “well regulated” aren’t in it, but it simply does not mean all or nothing no matter how much you want it to. The Supreme Court has already ruled that regulation doesn’t violate the Constitution, and because of the fragmented nature of our country, each state sets its own gun laws that are often wildly out of sync with each other. Rather than fighting the inevitability of gun regulation, the smarter move is to implement sane, logical and effective legislation that preserves gun owners’ rights but puts a system in place to help prevent those who would misuse them from getting their hands on them.

What Congress thinks a 3D printed gun is.

As much as both sides of the gun debate, as well as the 3D printed gun issue, want their problems with it to go away, that simply isn’t going to happen. The fact that both sides can be less than mature when responding to the opinions of the other certainly isn’t helping settle the issue either. (As I can attest with the hate mail from both sides that I often receive after I write anything on the issue.) Ultimately, some things are going to have to change with the way that we debate and discuss the politics of firearm ownership, especially as it relates to the 3D printing industry. If we don’t, then history has taught us that the option for us to debate the issue is going to be replaced with poorly thought-out laws rammed through Congress.

How long until laws are passed requiring manufacturers to include blocks for 3D printed firearm parts? The fact that it is almost un-implementable wouldn’t alter the fact that it has already happened with other technologies. And beyond guns, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the law regulating what someone can and cannot print on their printer. It isn’t as far a leap from preventing the printing of gun parts to preventing materials considered obscene, or preventing trademarked materials from being printed at home. 3D printing is still highly emergent technology that, while opening entirely new possibilities, is still struggling to find its proper place in our world. Things rarely go well when governments step in to regulate technology that they don’t understand.

Let us know what you think of the 3D printed firearm issue (or call me a pinko scum or a fascist or a micro-penised gun nut, depending on your political ideology) over on our Shuty 3D Printed 9mm Pistol forum thread at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 19, 2015

Huge 3D printed scorpion!

http://3dprint.com/88633/3d-printed-scorpion-2/

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This Huge Scorpion is 3D Printed in 53 Articulated Parts

When 3D printing really began catching on among at-home users about 2 years ago, it was fairly common to see various designs for figurines, most of which were not very poseable or articulated. Over the past year or so though, we’ve begun to see designers start coming up with ways to make more articulated figures, figures which feature several movable parts.

For one 25-year-old Greek designer, named Vasileios Katsanis, moving to London presented him with an opportunity to use his creative ability to fabricate unique 3D printable objects when he joined the MyMiniFactory Academy.

“I believe that 3D printing is an amazing way to express yourself, create art, useful objects and interesting mechanisms and I think that there is a lot of future in it,” Katsanis tells 3DPrint.com. “Since I joined the academy, I was flirting with the idea of creating a poseable creature.”

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And that is exactly what he ended up doing. Katsanis didn’t just create any 3D printed posable creature though, he took it to the extreme with a very unique, and very large 3D printed scorpion. It consists of 53 parts, and measures 110cm x 40cm x 60cm in size.

“The body of insects bend only at specific points – they are like ‘mechanical’ creatures,” Katsanis tells us. “So, I thought that a 3D printed insect with moving parts would look way more natural than, for example, a mammal with moving. From that point on, I had to decide what insect [I was going to design] and I chose the scorpion because I think it is one of the most fascinating beings in the world of insects.”

Katsanis’ scorpion was modeled in Zbrush, and then he used Rhino to split it into the 53 individual parts. Then joints were added, which he downloaded the design for from MyMiniFactory. The joints all had to be resized to fit the various body parts of the scorpion. Instead of adding all of the joints vertically, Katsanis instead had to angle them to different degreess in order to ensure that they moved in a similar fashion to how a real scorpion does.

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The head of the scorpion is split into 6 parts and the upper claws into 2, in order to avoid the need for any support material going into the joints. The parts were glued together once printed on his Dremel Idea Builder 3D Printer. In all, the 53 parts took approximately 35 hours to print out. After fully printing it out and assembling it Katsanis proceeded to paint his creature all black with a grayish blue color on its sides, the stinger and the eyes.

Katsanis has made the design files for his scorpion available for anyone to download and 3D print free of charge on MyMiniFactory.

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3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 14, 2015

3D printing with light

http://3dprint.com/89024/calarts-3d-printing-with-light/

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CalArts Student Experiments with 3D Printing Light

Not all 3D printing is meant to last. When CalArts student Aaron Bothman decided to print something for his short film The Red Witch, his thesis project, he wanted it to be less permanent. Having seen the work of Beijing-based artist Ekaggrat Singh Kalsi, who has used a modified 3D printer to ‘print’ in light, he found his inspiration.

Not something that you can pick up with your hands, the product of this technique is something that can be captured on film, which is exactly the medium in which Bothman works.

He and his father worked together on building the printer, a small delta model constructed from a kit but with a particular twist. When assembled, an LED was placed where the hot end would usually have been installed. This allows Bothman to capture the light on film by using a long exposure while the printer runs the model, tracing out the shapes as a 3D light painting.

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This isn’t the first 3D printing project that Bothman junior and Bothman senior have worked on together. In an interview with 3DPrint.com, Aaron talked about his experience printing with his father and how it has influenced his work both while at CalArts and after graduation:

“I’m an animator and artist based in Los Angeles. I graduated from the animation program at CalArts a couple months ago, and am currently working as an artist at JibJab, a small studio in LA. I originally learned about 3D printing in middle school from my dad, who teaches mechanical engineering at UCSB, and who helped a lot in thinking through this project. As a stop-motion filmmaker, 3D printing allows me to tackle more ambitious projects on a short production schedule than I might be able to otherwise.”

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In order to create the light animation, each Maya image to be captured is sent to the printer one frame at a time. Over time, these images create the illusion of movement, just as is done in more traditional stop motion filming. The result is a piece that is built up in layers, requiring the same mode of conceptualization as a 3D printing project but with the option for movement and, of course, no support materials. In fact, no materials at all, something that makes this a particularly appealing way to engage in a 3D printed project if there is no need for the product to be tangible.

Somewhat akin to the old question about a tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it, the question that could be asked of this technique could be: when a 3D printer creates something that cannot be touched, is it still 3D printing? The creations don’t truly occupy space or at least they only do for a fleeting moment but as they dance before your eyes, I think you may be willing to set that debate aside for a moment. Just think of it this way: with this technique, you could print all you want and never run up a bill for filament and never have to worry about storage space.

And that sounds pretty ideal to me.

Let us know what you think about this concept in the 3D Printing with Light forum thread at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 15, 2015

Galactic Civilizations III !

http://3dprint.com/88731/galactic-civ-iii-3d-print/

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Galactic Civilizations III Shakes Up the Universe for Gamers with 3D Printing & Mega Events

“What do you search for? Do you seek friends and allies, or will you take what is yours?”

“Space isn’t empty…it’s waiting.”

While you are busy exploring new galaxies within the vast universe opened up by Stardock’s Galactic Civilizations III, a new opportunity allows you to explore the world of 3D printing as well with release of update 1.2, which offers a number of new features for gamers.

While 3D printing and gaming are certainly not a new pairing, it is a new addendum to this particular video game which has a focus on serious space travel, navigation, creating galactic territories, and but of course–some major battles with enemy factions.

After completing the challenging task of creating their own ships within the game, users are able to click their way to a new area and site that actually assesses the design of their ship, performs several standards checks, and then it can be 3D printed from the desktop of through the ordering of a 3D print that can be delivered shortly after, straight to the doorstep via Sculpteo.

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For gamers entrenched in the excitement of Galactic Civilizations III, the 3D printing aspect offers a new journey within the game, and is also accompanied by numerous ‘mega events’ and more. It’s all a pretty big deal for everyone hooked on this game.

“Mega Events,” says Galactic Civilizations III designer Paul Boyer, “are galactic events that shake up the game. You might be heading toward diplomatic victory when suddenly a leader is assassinated. Maybe you’re trying for a conquest victory when the Dread Lords return. Each event is an unexpected incident that will require your skill and strategy to overcome if you hope to be victorious. ”

Mega events, generally random occurrences according to specific conditions, are special and affect the entire galaxy as new challenges occur with, according the game’s site, certain anomalies, new enemies, other planets, and emerging resources.

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The update also leads into other new venues like allowing for greater navigation and sharing of maps in Steam workshops. Players make the maps themselves, so sharing them just allows for more fun, learning, and bonding between fellow gamers.

The update, also referred to as a patch, also includes improvements to the AI side, in allowing for better defense, and better building and re-building mechanisms. Visuals are also improved; for example, planets are now able to reflect what their specific class is. Lots more is included, along with a variety of bug fixes. The Mega Events DLC is free for Elite Founders users, and also available at a nominal fee of $4.99 for regular players.

Mixing the two technologies of 3D printing and gaming has always been a no-brainer as makers are often gamers too, and vice versa; no matter the case, both groups have a tendency toward great enthusiasm in trying out new technologies that offer another angle of fun and interest–and especially those that offer a way to bring the game into physical form via figurines and 3D models. 3D printing is, in fact, quite a boon to the marketing angle for industries like gaming, movies, and more, as consumers are thrilled to have mementoes in physical form–and production companies are able to invent and expand on their brands, with the sky being the limit for related consumer offerings.

Are you a player? Discuss your thoughts on the integration of 3D printing with gaming, as well as other exciting aspects of this update in the Galactic Civilizations III forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 12, 2015

3D printed circular saw

http://3dprint.com/86755/tiny-3d-printed-circular-saw/

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Man 3D Prints the World’s Smallest Working Circular Saw And It’s Amazing!

“Honey, I shrunk the power tools!”

Perhaps you remember a story that we broke back in March, concerning a New Zealand man, named Lance Abernethy, who 3D printed the world’s smallest working power drill. Lance’s creation garnered him the attention of the international media, and apparently enticed him to continue his efforts of creating even more miniature working power tools.

Now Abernethy has revealed his latest creation, perhaps even more impressive than his previous. He has unveiled a miniature 3D printed circular saw, which he 3D printed on his Ultimaker 2 machine, after designing the individual parts using a software called Onshape. The parts were printed in PLA at a layer height of 21-40 microns and shell thickness of 0.5mm. The printing process took less than 1 hour to complete in total.

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The miniature saw is printed in 4 pieces, including 2 halves for the main housing, a saw guard, plus a blade holder, just like your typical full size circular saw would have. It is powered by the same hearing aid battery that powers his miniature drill, and it has a button on the handle that turns it on.

“The saw was just a natural progression from the drill,” Abernethy tells 3DPrint.com. “I would like to be able to make a whole set of power tools just like my Makita set I have. I’m not sure how many I will get around to making though.”

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While the saw operates like an actual full size circular saw, Abernethy says that it can not cut through anything at this point in time. Although he plans to iterate upon the design and create one that actually can cut in the near future.

“I also printed little brief cases for them to go in as you can see in the video (below),” Abernethy explained. “I actually made this a few months ago and will start making more stuff soon, once I get back into 3d printing. I will eventually get around to making something with parts people can easily buy and print, and then do a tutorial on how to make it.”

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It should be interesting to see just what Abernethy comes up with next. Obviously this won’t be the last we see of him or his extremely minute creations. What do you think about the world’s smallest working circular power saw? What tools would you like to see 3D printed next? Discuss in the 3D Printed Circular Saw forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 4, 2015

US Navy 3D prints custom drones

http://3dprint.com/85654/us-navy-3d-printed-drones/

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US Navy is 3D Printing Custom Drones Onboard the USS Essex

Back in April of last year,we reported that the United States Navy had installed a 3D printer onboard the USS Essex. This was quite a significant move at the time, allowing sailors to print replacement parts and surgical tools when needed, at sea.

Boy, has a lot changed within a year. Today we get word that the US Navy is now 3D printing custom drones onboard their ships. They’ve apparently been testingthe use of the onboard 3D printers to print out parts used to construct and assemble the drones.

The idea of printing drones, as needed, is one which could greatly improve intelligence while also decreasing the likelihood of Navy personnel being put into harm’s way, and has been on the minds of military planners around the world for some time now. In fact, just last week we reported on a story in which the British Royal Navy had launched 3D Printed SULSA drones from their ships.

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Data files and models of the drones can be sent via satellite from land to the USS Essex, and eventually other ships within the Navy fleet, and then these files can be 3D printed in a matter of hours. Once printed, the parts can be assembled together with other electronic devices held in storage on these ships, to create virtually any type of drone that may be required.

The project, which is being carried out by researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School, looks to provide sailors with modern-day technology which could benefit them and the United States in more ways than one.

“The challenge aboard a ship is logistics,” explained Alan Jaeger, faculty research associate at the Naval Postgraduate School. “Once a ship leaves, getting additional parts to that ship becomes difficult.”

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The idea that ships can leave port with just a small supply of electronic components and parts, common to the majority of drones, means that completely custom bodies can be designed on land and then quickly sent to the 3D printers on these ships for quick fabrication. While the drones could be designed to perform many different tasks, the example drone that was 3D printed on the USS Essex, this past December, was designed to carry a transmitter and tiny camera that was capable of sending live video back to a head-mounted display worn by one of the sailors on the ship. Its mission was to fly over ships in order to help stop piracy and drug smuggling at sea.

“This kind of concept — the flight controller and the major parts — doesn’t matter if it is a four-bladed or six or eight(-bladed drone), or whether it is 18 inches across or four feet across, as long as the electronics stay the same, the sailors can essentially create a platform, based on what their need would be,” explained Jaeger.

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While the testing of this process onboard the USS Essex has been deemed very successful, there have been some problems that the researchers have run into.

“Even with a small amount of wind, something this small will get buffeted around,” explained Jaeger.

This isn’t exactly an issue with the 3D printing process, but rather an issue with tiny drones in general. Certainly continued research into the 3D printing of drones will result in better, more well equipped UAVs for the US Navy in the future. What do you think about this latest breakthrough? Discuss in the US Navy 3D Prints Custom Drones forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3dprint.com

by  | JULY 30, 2015

Full skull reconstruction via 3D printing

http://www.medicaldaily.com/chinese-girl-becomes-worlds-first-receive-full-skull-reconstruction-3d-printing-343390

Chinese Girl Becomes World’s First To Receive Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing

A 3-year-old girl in China will finally be able to lift her head from the pillow after receiving the world’s first full skull reconstruction surgery via 3D printing technology. The toddler, referred to as “Han Han,” underwent 17 hours of surgery at the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province in China after suffering from a rare condition that caused her head to grow four times the normal size. The procedure, translated from Chinese as “whole brain shrinking plastic surgery,” involved a full 3D reconstruction and 3D printing of a new titanium skull to reposition her brain.

“CT results showed that Han Han’s brain was filled 80 percent with water,” said Dr. Bo of the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province, 3Dprint.com reported. “If she was not sent to hospital for treatment, Han Han would not have survived the summer. We had to first eliminate the infection in Han Han’s head because the brain wound area was too large, and we needed to do skin graft surgery and insert a shunt to help eliminate the infection, and remove the fluid from her brain.”

She was first diagnosed with congenital hydrocephalus at the age of 6 months. This type of hydrocephalus is present at birth and can either be caused by events or influences that occur during fetal development, or genetic abnormalities, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Typically in congenital hydrocephalus, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Excessive accumulation of CSF leads to abnormal widening of spaces in the brain called ventricles. This creates potentially harmful pressure on the tissues of the brain.

In infancy, the most notable symptom of hydrocephalus is a rapid increase in head circumference of an unusually large head size. For Han Han, the pressure of the excess fluid on the brain made her head weigh more than half her body weight, so much so she struggled to lift it from the pillow or get out of bed, the DailyMail reported. The toddler also developed medical problems, such as a thinning skull and poor blood supply. This prompted the family to take immediate action.

Chen Youzhi, Han Han’s father, was left to scramble for cash after the toddler’s mother left when she was 1 year old. Youzhi was able to collect 100,000 Chinese Yuan in donations from family and friends to meet the goal of 400,000–500,000 Chinese Yuan (approximately $64,000–$80,000) to pay for his daughter’s surgery. It was through online donations that Youzhi was able to get his daughter the life-saving surgery that would change her life.

Surgeons were able to use 3D data and a CT scanner to create models for 3D printing three titanium mesh skull implants that would together replace Han Han’s entire top portion of her skull. During the procedure, her scalp was peeled away from her skull and then attached to protective saline pads. Drainage tubes were then put in her head to slowly release the CSF. Lastly, the surgeons took the three 3D-printed titanium implants and inserted them into her head to recreate a new skull for her.

The world’s first 3D printer full skull reconstructive surgery was successfully completed once Han Han opened her eyes and was breathing before being transferred to the ICU for recovery. As she continues to grow, the titanium implants will become surrounded by her own bone, which will lead to the strengthening of the top of her skull. She is expected to make a full recovery.

3D printing has helped improve the lives of many infants like Han Han, including Gabriel Mandeville. The infant with epileptic seizures started to forget the fundamental things he was learning. Gabriel successfully underwent hemispherectomy treatment with a 3D-print brain replica to ensure his mental development and to help him become seizure-free.

The evolution of 3D printing has led the medical world to envision a new kind of future. Medical 3D printing began with devices such as hearing aids. Now there are 3D-printed implants, bone replacements, and soon human tissue. Advancements in 3D printing have helped change how people view medical illnesses.

medicaldaily.com

by  | Jul 16, 2015 02:17 PM