3D printed gifts for Christmas!

Malta 3D Printing Wishes Everybody a Merry Christmas!


Gift ideas for the 3D printing enthusiast

What to get for a loved one or friend who is addicted to 3D printing is a question I hope this list will answer. Here are some ideas for this holiday season!


A must for anyone with a FDM/FFF based 3D printer. If you don’t know the type of printer the person has I am sure they would gladly tell you, but be sly to and ask what kind of filament they like to use. Do they prefer ABS or PLA? Is there a specific brand they like? Some printers come with their own proprietary system, such the latest Makerbots, Cube 3dDprinters along with a few others currently on the market. One piece of advice: Chinese filament manufacturers are not known across the board for being of high quality and might jam printers. Stay with sellers outside of China and that have a good reputation – in this case,  you get what you pay for.


Now if they have a DLP/SLA based 3D printer, you need to invest liquid resins. This one can be a little trickier. Some function better than others depending on the model. The best way for this is to find out the brand name of the printer and go to that manufacturer’s website to check the material requirements.

Printbed supplies

Many 3D printer users use something to put on their printbed. Here are two great items you can get for them. Blue painters tape and white glue sticks, the type you used in elementary school. They are so cheap you could get them both. These two items help the print stick to the bed when it prints and users can never have too many of them.


These are what users call nuts, screws bolts that are used in the print after it is done. Any easy way to take care of this is to get them a large variety pack with a bunch of nuts, bolts, screws, and even ball bearings. You can ask them again on the sly, what do they like to use?


There are educational resources you can purchase and that are hugely beneficial. There are books for people who want to learn to use the printer to books on ether how to make a 3D printer or which 3D printer to buy. Then there are books on how to use the software to make 3dDprintable objects. Amazon is great to see what books have the best ratings from users. Make sure you know what your printer user need first. Sometimes redundancy is not always the best policy. Check out Hod Lipson’s Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing.


Then there are some online resources. Online tutoring for software users. Two of the best is Digital Tutors and Lynda.com. Both of these are now subscription based. Have online videos done by the pros on many topics. Including 3D printing software that is used in 3D printing.

3D printers

Maybe they love the idea of 3D printing and want someone special to help them get started with the new hobby.  Two great low cost options are  Makerfarm i3 kit and the Printrbot simple metal.

The Printrbot Metal Simple comes in ether as a kit to be put together or pre-built an almost ready to use out of the box. The costs $539.00 and the ready built printer costs $599.00. It is fairly easy to set up and run and used PLA filament and Printrbot also sells that as well. This would be a great kit for your kid with adult supervision and a young teenager as a starter printer. Great for people of all ages.

The Makerfarm i3 comes only in kit form in two build size. This printer is based on the popular Reprap Prusa i3 design. The kit sizes are as follows: Prusa 12″ i3v Kit for $670.00 and the Prusa 10″ i3v Kit for $620.00. This kit can be together in a few hours and has how-to videos on how to put together these kits. This kit might be a little hard for your young 3D printer lover and might need your assistance in assembling it.

Both of these printer makers have great customer service and are open source, makinng them an easy platform to keep upgrading as your 3D printer lover advances in his or her knowledge.

You no doubt make your 3D printing enthusiast a happy camper this season with these ideas. Search around, you might come up even more ideas that are not mentioned in this article. When you find that magical 3D printing gift, please share in the comments section below – would love to see all the ideas you guys come up with!

by Mike Grauer Jr. | Nov 26 2014 , 12:21:28

3D printed replica of Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s Tomb

Preserving the Pharoah’s legacy: How 3D printing has to come to the rescue of Tutankamun’s Tomb.


3D printing has come to the rescue of the ancient burial chamber of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun. The chamber, which is over 3,000 years old, was at risk of collapse and deterioration due to the increased footfall of visitors to the site. But now, thanks to 3D specialists Factum Arte, the whole sanctum of the chamber has been preserved, by way of an indentical 3D replica.

Tutankhamun is undoubtedly the most famous of all the Egyptian kings of the 18th dynasty. His tomb was discovered by Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1922. The child king ruled during 1332 BC – 1323 BC, and despite being the least revered in Egyptian times, he went on to become the most famous in our times.

After the tomb was discovered, there followed a huge surge of interest in Egyptian culture, and thousands of tourists descended on the tomb, to glimpse into the life of what is now, the world’s best-known Pharaoh. This is partly because the tomb and the artefacts housed within it are amongst some of the best preserved in the world. Ironically this is what has led to the sheer amount of traffic in and out of the chambers, and the whole area is now under threat from the very visitors that once welcomed them.

It was the constant changes, caused by the humidity of the breath and temperature of the visitors that had started to make the paint on the walls crack, and the plaster to fail.

It was decided that if something wasn’t done, the chamber would deteriorate to the point where valuable artifacts would be lost forever. But rather than seal off the chambers, a project to replicate the tomb was agreed and 3D specialists Factum Arte were called in.

Adam Lowe headed up the team from Factum Arte, and using digital photography and three dimensional laser scanning, alongside 3D printers, they managed to recreate the interior of the chambers with stunning accuracy.

The project took five years to complete, not surprising when you consider that laser scanning recorded around 100 million points of information per square meter on the walls, from reading the artwork to recording the cracks in the plaster.

Once the scanning had taken place, the whole chamber was then 3D printed tp reproduce an exact replica of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, and some experts were so blown away with the results that they cried at the unveiling at Luxor:

“We are not talking virtual reality, it is a physical reality. To have an emotional response to something you know to be a copy is an extraordinary moment,” Mr Lowe told The Independent from Egypt.

The site receives around 1,000 visitors per day, and Mr Lowe said that producing the replica meant the original site would be preserved for the future. The tombs he said, “were built to last for eternity but they weren’t built to be visited”.

Mr Lowe said the replica was of crucial importance to the preservation of the original 3,245-year-old burial chamber.

The process of producing the 3D replica of King Tutankhamun’s tomb was flimed by BBC cameras in a docmentary called ‘A New Tomb for Tutankhamun’. The documentary’s producer Joanne Whalley said:

“The tomb walls of the original are very cracked and undulating so the 3D [process] captured the cracks and dips of the surface.”

Presenting the show, Rajan Datar said: “This is the future of cultural tourism. During the past hundred years many antiquities have been exposed to too much human presence and unless that is restricted they are going to collapse completely. The mindset has to change amongst tourists.”

There is also an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK, ‘Discovering Tutankhamun’ will showcase some of Howard Carter’s original records, drawings and photographs. It runs from 24th July to 2nd November 2014.

by Janey Davies | Oct 19 2014 , 11:35:29

3D printing used to build houses

For the architecture and construction fans; How 3D printing (and mud) may play a significant role in the buildings of tomorrow.



Houses of the future could be 3D printed from mud

We’ve written about how 3D printing has not made a significant impact on construction. It seems this may be changing. One company has not only taken this industry head on, but it’s helping the poorest in society at the same time.

Italian firm WASP is using 3D printing to build affordable housing in poverty stricken areas. The printers use organic materials such as mud and natural fibers that are readily available and turns them into dwellings that can be easily transported to wherever is needed.

The inspiration for the idea came about after founder, Massimo Moretti, watched a particular type of wasp, a mud dauber, build its nest by depositing and shaping wet mud. Moretti wondered why he couldn’t use nature to build affordable houses in the same manner. And so the idea for his innovative project was born.

Using 3D printing and the natural resources, Moretti was not only able to reduce the cost of building, but the speed in which they could be constructed. Moretti’s company is rather appropriately called WASP. It actually stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project, and is dedicated to providing affordable housing to impoverished people worldwide, using inventive technology.

3D printing sturdy structures

A scaled down version of the WASP project was showcased at the Maker Faire in Rome, Italy, earlier this year. The faire is a mecca for debuting innovative technological projects from all over the world, and the WASP project was well received.

Mud huts are not a new as human dwellings, but the way the WASP project constructs them are. By 3D printing them in blocks, there is a much larger surface area, which means that they dry more quickly than traditional thicker bricks.

As the 3D bricks are triangular shaped, this also means that they are stronger and can hold more weight than a traditional rectangular brick, whilst also using less material. Using this shape of brick creates a larger interior space compared to traditional bricks, meaning homes can be built that are ten feet tall.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about all this is that you don’t need specialist printer. The 3D printer used for printing the mud bricks is fairly standard. You simply feed the mud and fibers into the extruder head and program whatever shape brick you require.

From idea to reality

Whilst no new houses have been built yet, WASP hope to start construction on their very first dwelling early next year. And although there are no plans for locations either, rumors are that the first mud houses could be situated in Sardinia, the Italian island just off the coast.

While this may be an odd choice for their first project location, the team at WASP state that they are keen to keep their first location close to home. This will enable them to iron out any problems that may occurs with the first build. After that, they are likely to move on to more remote areas.

by Janey Davies | Oct 20 2014 , 10:42:04

3D printed headdress!

3D printing helps create this headdress that responds to brain activity! 🙂


3D printed headdress maps thoughts with color. Credit - Sensoree

3D printed headdress shows your brain activity

It looks like you’ve come straight out of the shower and have forgotten to rinse your head after shampooing, but it’s far more fascinating than that. A fashion designer has created a 3D printed headdress that indicates what parts of your brain are working, by flashing different colors and sectors.

NEUROTiQ is the brainchild of fashion designer Kristin Neidlinger, the founder of SENSOREE, who used 3D printing with EEG brain sensors to create this unusual head attire.

A 3D printed brain animating accessory

Neidlinger calls NEUROTiQ a ‘brain animating fashion item’, as it maps your thoughts and then translates them into different colors. For instance, red indicates deep sleep, orange shows a meditative state, and consciousness is yellow-green. A combined color display of blue, purple and red displays indicate multi-sensory gamma brain activity.

SENSOREE specialize in creating wearable technology with a difference. Their designs often include bio.media, which reveals something about the wearer that they themselves might not be aware of communicating.

Futuristic materials

To create these designs, Neidlinger chose futuristic materials and typically embeds them with bio sensory technology. This not only provides an emotionally based creation controlled by our bodies, but allows others to be aware of our most intimate feelings.

3D printed neuron globules embedded with bio.media . Credit: Sensoree

“I love materials,” Neidlinger told 3DPrint.com, “I am a tactile enthusiast and have always loved the qualities of textures and structures of shape. The NeurotiQ was my first work with 3D printing. It was a grand experiment with materials. Currently, 3D prints are solid objects and it is challenging to find comfort and movement on the body. The fashions are more like armor.”

Mapping the inner workings of the human brain

The headdress itself has been 3D printed as a knitted design, which could been seen as representing the complicated pattern of neurons and synapses within our own brain structure. Embedded within the 3D knit are small light points that respond to Emotiv Epoc EEG brain sensors called neuron globules.

There are 14 of these LED 3D printed globules, which once embedded into the nylon ‘wool’, then had to be hand knitted into the headdress. This, as you can imagine, was not simple task, and took 102 hours to complete.

“To make the forms flexible, I thought to combine traditional hand craft of knitting with the new technology of 3D printing,” said Neidlinger. “3D printing offers sculptural detail that is so fantastically intricate. I love the fact that you can dream up any design and make it tangible. The possibilities seem so vast – from designing jewelry to automated space stations, so why not space station jewelry? I am especially fond of working with Formlab’s Form 1 3D printer. The resolution is so fine and the resin has a nice capture of light. So far we are delighted and cannot wait to see what will happen on the runway!”

3D printed fashion fads?

MACHINIC, a San Francisco based digital prototyping and consulting company, helped Neidlinger with her NEUROTiQ headdress. Her colleagues at SENSOREE Grant Patterson and Nathan Tucker also lent a hand.

What's next for 3D printed fashion? Credit: Sensoree

The headdress made its debut at New York Fashion Week, where it was accompanied by other 3D printed designs, including several 3D printed dresses.

As for wearable technology, it appears that we are now becoming obsessed with creating items of clothing that reveal more than we could possibly say on any social media site. But when will it be enough, and is anyone apart from ourselves actually that interested?


by Janey Davies | Sep 26 2014 , 09:00:50

3D re-printer

From discarded plastic bottles to 3D printing filament; the industry provides yet another outlet for sustainable recycling! 🙂


3D Re-printer

Global warming, chemical and physical pollution and other environmental issues are no longer the far removed issues they once used to be. The world is changing quickly as a result of human life and people are finally starting to take note. In contrast to life fifty years ago, environmental issues have become such potential imminent threats that it seems everyone has a general awareness of their existence.

Companies are now morally obligated to conduct environmentally friendly business practices and include them in their code of ethics. Whether by recycling or using energy-saving electricity, everyone seems to be doing something to lessen the carbon footprint.

3D printing and the environment

3D printing has garnered some negative attention for the amount of plastic it wastes. To combat this many companies have attempted to reduce the environmental harm caused by 3D printing. There are companies like ProtoPrint and The Plastic Bank who kill two birds with one stone by employing underprivileged people to pick up and sort through plastic waste that is then converted into 3D printer filament. There are also people trying to steer away from plastic completely, like researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology who are developing a way to produce printer filament from foods like spinach, cocoa and rice.

Leading 3D printer manufacturer 3D Systems even made a 3D printer called the Ekocycle that extrudes recycled plastic bottles and uses them as filament to build products. Now, a team of designers has followed suit and created a 3D printer that has an automatic built-in plastic waste extruder.

Designers Yangzi Qin, Yingting Wang, Luckas Fischer and Hanying Xie have created what they call the 3D Re-printer. The machine works by recycling plastic bottles and converting it into raw material for 3D printing. The 3D Re-printer isn’t publicly released yet and there isn’t much information available online, but the designers revealed details of its basic functions.

“Plastic products and waste material are part of our daily lives, be it at home, in school or the office,” writes the team on itsdesign concept photo. “We don’t know where to put most of these products, or feel that it is such a waste. The quantity of plastic waste is constantly rising and thus affecting our lives in the future and causing damage to the environment due to huge landfills and the long time it takes to degrade. In addition it affects the overall beauty of our cities by creating “visual pollution.” 3D-Reprinter is a device design that allows the user to recycle the home waste plastic bottles into new products.”

From the little available information on the 3D Re-printer, it seems almost identical in functionality to 3D Systems’ $1,199Ekocycle. The 3D Re-printer doesn’t have a listed price tag yet, but if its designers choose to sell it for a relatively reasonable cost then it may be worth looking into.

by Shanie Phillips | Sep 15 2014 , 11:24:42