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a celebration of amazing creations
and the parts that made them possible.
Plug your guitar into light-programmable waveforms with this unique effects box!
Tremolo—it’s that pulsing undulation of high and low volume How Does It Work?
that makes music sound like it’s being played underwater or Open up the cable that connects your electric guitar to your
through a spinning fan. amplifier, and you’ll find two wires—one “ground” and one
held at positive voltage relative to ground. The changing
Made famous by 1950s guitarists Bo Diddley (who actually electrical potential between these two wires is what carries
used a fan in front of his amp), Duane Eddy and Link Wray, the sound signal. If you short-circuit these wires, the sound
the tremolo sound saturated ’60s surf and garage rock, and goes away, because the charge finds its way home, without
was revived in the ’80s by players like Poison Ivy Rorschach bothering to go all the way through your amplifier.
(The Cramps) and Jimmy Wilsey (Chris Isaak). You’ve heard
it in hits by Pink Floyd (“Money”), The Smiths (“How Soon But what if you bridge the two wires with a variable resistor?
Is Now?”), R.E.M. (pick a song on Monster), Rage Against You have a volume control: turn the resistance way up,
the Machine (“Guerrilla Radio”), Green Day (“Boulevard of and the sound stays loud; turn it way down, and the sound
Broken Dreams”) and the Black Keys (“Howlin’ for You”). vanishes down the short-circuit path. And here’s where
Charles had his clever idea: use a variable resistor that
When MAKE contributing editor Charles Platt wrote about responds to light! If you put a photoresistor behind a spinning
DIY tremolo and fuzz guitar effects in MAKE Volume 15, transparent disk with opaque bands on it, then the volume
he proposed a Hypothetical Tremolo Wheel that would vary will follow the shadow pattern on the disk, repeating as it
the volume based on how much light fell on a photosensor. spins. And that’s tremolo—a repeating variation in volume.

Well, it’s hypothetical no more. I took Charles’ cue and built
this Optical Tremolo Box, which reads a patterned disk with
a light sensor to create tremolo effects that you can custom-
program with any pattern you like. It’s a great project for
anyone who likes music, guitars or electronics, and it’s like
no effects box you’ve seen before.


Switch, DPDT

Audio jack, ¼"



The Optical Tremolo Box is simple to build and sounds great.
A rheostat controls the tremolo motor speed, while an audio
potentiometer controls the tremolo intensity. You can customize
Potentiometer, 10K
the disks with any pattern you want and create tremolo effects
that have never been heard before.
Rheostat, 25Ω

It also looks pretty cool, with its flexible LED light and spinning
disks. Build it and I guarantee your friends will want one!
—Sean Ragan, MAKE Technical Editor

To see full build instructions, wiring diagrams, disk art and
project photos, visit the project page for this build:
To submit your own creation,
explore other great creations
and get the hard-to-find parts
Parental supervision is strongly recommended when using power tools and solder. Always wear safety
glasses. Avoid breathing fumes and always work in a well-ventilated area. Wash hands thoroughly you need, visit
after use. Follow all safety instructions on solder and soldering equipment packaging. California residents:
WARNING: Soldering products contain, or when used for soldering and similar applications produce,
chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm).

Using Tinkercad 074 Standouts from 088 Solar Sinter Subtractive 048 Cube 034 Using 3D Printing Fabrication Our Tests 090 Printcrime Services 050 Felix 1.0 012 Getting Started with 076 3D Printers of 092 Skill Builder: 036 Service Providers 052 LulzBot AO-100 a 3D Printer the Future: 3D Scanning & Resources 054 MakerGear M2 Ones to Watch 018 10 Coolest Objects 106 Scanning Options 056 MendelMaxPro 020 10 Most Useful 110 Just the Thing I Need Objects 058 Printrbot LC 060 Printrbot Jr. 062 MakerBot Replicator 2 40 What this owl’s beak will tell you about YOUR 3D printer 2 . Contents 092 038 074 020 010 088 080 018 024 034 086 082 GETTING 022 Plastics for BUYER’S 064 SeeMeCNC MADE STARTED 3D Printing GUIDE H1.1 IN 3D 006 Welcome: 024 3D Printing Using 038 Buyer’s Guide 066 Solidoodle 2 080 Objects on the Dreaming of Alternate Materials Rating System Market Now 068 Type A Series 1 3D Printers and Methods 042 3DTouch 070 Ultimaker 082 3D Printing in 008 The Promise of 026 Software Overview Medicine 044 Afinia H-Series 072 Buyer’s Guide 3D Printing 030 Beginner 3D Design Comparative Review 086 Kevin Mack’s 3D Art 046 Bukobot 8 010 Additive vs.


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developer of the Bukobot. The dream of 3D printers stirs crowdfunded as Kickstarter projects. but the The challenge for personal 3D printers competition is also confusing. we’ll Several years ago MakerBot Industries that happens. Sure. Adam Mayer. but they have the determination to 3D printing. Now Smith adapted and simplified open source I also enjoy learning more about the mak. the future. who says he first Bre Pettis. All of us will require training. the makers could realize their dream of owning to build a 3D printer himself. ready.welcome Dreaming of 3D Printers A new wave of affordable machines is democratizing 3D printing. I asked the audience. many different models compete. ers is still in its early stages but it’s becom. Each model But there’s another problem. Dale Dougherty is the founder and publisher of MAKE. commercial 3D printers to test and review 15 desktop 3D printers on along with the energy and enthusiasm of were industrial machines for a highly spe. or vast amounts of MakerBot is still the leader in personal capital. 3D and computer science classes. 3D objects that are suited to production on interesting than duplicating colorful. and WRITTEN to “lock down” some of the designs ware tools. Ben Franklin. problem is certainly the lack of a polished of them raised a hand. a 3D printer demands more of us than just tchotchkes from Thingiverse. We have to spending a couple thousand dollars on a introduces new features.. and we’re confident you will too in man in Santa Clara. we can enjoy the variety of show you how to design 3D objects easily released the Cupcake CNC 3D printer as a prototypes and their experimental nature. of the platform. picked up 3D printing in sixth grade. ers of these new models. awaiting the pioneers to explore Few of these 3D printer makers have doing with 3D printers. testing what users learn to design in 3D. general skills he acquired in metal shop American maker. competitive and prevent others The challenge for The market for personal 3D print. and I look printers were signposts for an unsettled $167. Diego Porqueras area schools and has been a guest blogger munity and produced a working model with of Pasadena. and decided with a practical mind. Calif.. Maker Faire 2012. BY all the hands in the room shot up. At a recent talk at New York a strong brand and a vibrant community. In the early and affordable to do is to make them practical and affordable to days of a new product category (think MP3 what we dream of doing. At the same players). specialized expertise. for 3D Systems. time. a homely laser-cut case. with its mixed message about the openness Many of our 3D printer testers commented mostly undergrad and graduate students. Riley teaches workshops in 3D printing at technology developed in the RepRap com. They have their belief is democratizing 3D something they really believe in — and to-run Replicator 2 in September. the challenge for anyone who justifies offering varied design choices. providing more options for buyers. Calif. Dale and software in order to remain Dougherty Immediately. Yet before clicking the Print button. 6 . The how many of them had 3D printers. we put together a team of experts (page 92). MakerBot founders amount. None of the open source hardware community. makers of the Cube printer. To help you choose among these new models captured by Kinect or 123D Catch starting off the personal 3D printing revolu. Before that. Getting more people to use 3D printers University just before World Yet the announcement caused shock waves is not just about getting the hardware right. but featured Bre Pettis on the cover. the market today. Diego raised about what Riley dreams of doing. relying on apprentice printer who was the prototype a 3D printer. from cloning them. many of them personal 3D printers? ing very hot. A new crop of 3D printers. which Riley reminds me of another dreamer taken weeks to put this model together. We learned an enormous makers like Riley Lewis. and Zach “Hoeken” our Buyer’s Guide beginning on page 38. dated into a few surviving models. forward to seeing what makers are actually territory. Then I asked MakerBot signaled that they needed user interface for many open source soft- how many wanted a 3D printer. are To make them practical our imagination. announcing the all-black. In this guide. a high school fresh- cialized design market. tion. in Tinkercad (page 30) and how to prep 3D kit that makers could build for themselves. do what we dream of doing. Turning our ideas into 3D printer is to dream of something more want and what they’re willing to pay for.410 on Kickstarter from 290 backers. plastic Eventually the best features will be consoli. I’d like to know more Like the first personal computers. machines. Built on the contributions that the software needs to be better. it might’ve told me he read Volume 21 of MAKE.


” says Dougherty. CAD-rendered objects by layer. The laser puter. — are planning to merge. for less than $1.actually been around since 1985 — ironi.” great change is now gathering pace. Revolution. 3D scanners. and manufacture a growing list of objects (toys. trol the means of production. nobody knows. What you do with all this desktop printer a revolution just yet.“ Anderson states. “A new class of users will produce a new Will being able to print 3D objects Until recently. the printer. personal manufacturing: the industrialization dimensional. even prosthetic limbs) is palm of you hand. but we currently MakerBot was named one of the top 20 the future. you don’t have to own one That’s the way big things start. as well.” create things in 2D.” Spend a few minutes talking to manufac. see. they’re “We live in a 3D world. designers.” and the internet made us all publishers. founder and publisher writes. The same can’t MakerBot. a growing community for Christmas. now available to the masses — and the tech. two pioneers in the affordable WRITTEN technology is now available to just BY be said of the 3D printer. gave the masses a computer of their own: dimensional objects on a machine in your cally the same year the standard-setting HP the Apple II. And. ing and towards much more individualized manufacturing power is up to you.” he says. isn’t ready to pronounce the 3D circle. The same can be said of RepRap and market and this once out-of-reach personal computer. of it. And it’s here today. they just democratized it.” ing precisely extruded bits of molten plastic. “It’s Wal-Mart in the 3D design software. we can all be manu. consumer-level 3D printers on the market has Anderson seeing 1983 all over again — It’s a vision from a futuristic Star resin. but that will surely change. That’s the crazy promise facturers.” ing the technology and taking it in new to do with it. The power to But the transformative potential is plain to Now with 3D printers. a third directions. and artists are embrac. but their kids will figure it out. LaserJet printer was introduced.” designs and software among enthusiasts).” movement (which encourages freely sharing weak links now. jewelry. Holbrook could be about to change. metal. Now. spare parts.of the maker movement. and other materials. “I think it’s on your desktop change the world? prohibitively expensive. turning away from mass manufactur. “I think we’re at the very early stages. Where this goes. Customization and small batches bottle. For now. “from one to to entry has dropped. What startups in New York City and was one He too sees revolution in the air: “The will it mean to have the means to live and of Fast Company’s 2012 Innovation by third industrial revolution is best seen as the create in the same dimension? Design awardees. Stett about anybody. associated technologies nothing short of of makers. making things. 3D printers were class of uses. Makers: The New Industrial new avenues for people who are creative and The personal computer. Dougherty states.” he of the machines to use them. “It’s opening long ago lost them to the emerging world. and “revolutionary. production. combination of digital manufacturing and “We may go to a very different place.” “disruptive. Anderson The dam has now burst on the 3D printing printer has become as commonplace as the notes. 8 . High-end 3D printing pioneer 3D “Global manufacturing can now work on 3D printing is the belief that now the barrier Systems bought competitor Z Corp. “As manufacturing goes digital. machines that “print” three. Two any scale. “They’re not going to be quite sure what the “third industrial revolution. Looking at the growing number of Stett Holbrook is a senior editor at MAKE.” Anderson’s book. have the so-called “Mac moment” when Apple Trek universe: effortlessly creating three. And that in turn could bring To borrow a line (paraphrased from Karl with hackers and early adopters figuring out some of the jobs back to rich countries that Marx) from Wired Editor-in-Chief Chris what to do with it. less than user friend. There are Dale Dougherty. “The wheel is almost coming full service providers that will do the printing of MAKE. for you. Industry darling are no longer impossible — in fact.GETTING STARTED The Promise OF 3D Printing Printing the world on your desktop.000. Anderson tells parents this An Economist article from April 2012 the price of the machines has reached the is the year to buy their kids a 3D printer by Paul Markillie declared 3D printing and consumer level. Apple didn’t invent the com- home (or starship). But thanks to the innovative the home as DVD players and computers? you’ll quickly hear them drop such heady efforts of makers and the open source Wonky software and documentation are the adjectives as “game-changer. But that consumer 3D printer market. the genie is out of the other big players — Objet and Stratasys millions. Part of the excitement that surrounds position. ly.” says Anderson. power belongs to those who con.” 3D printers.” Already companies are jockeying for nology fits on your desktop. historic. and hidden behind the doors of factories Will 3D printers become as common in turers of 3D printers or early adopters and and R&D labs.


mills. so if you don’t WRITTEN BY The takeaway on milling already have a favorite. any CNC router that can handle a 2'×4' sheet of plywood is capable of making the parts. Subtractive fabrication is far more common than MakerSlides and stock aluminum extrusion. wise a standard aluminum extrusion system This contrasts with subtractive fabrication tools. and it can read and write DXF files. saws. but you can get by with lesser hardware store parts in a pinch. which start (available from 80/20. the trick with Patrick’s CNC router is getting a seed unit. The spindle is an ordinary wood router. Perhaps the most significant weakness is focused on their ability to “self-replicate” by making their in the BuildYourCNC design is decreased rigid- own parts. The frame is built of custom-cut ply- wood.aspx and down- load the plans for the CNC Routing Machine Kit When Less is Version 1. especially when working with metal and wood.GETTING STARTED DIY CNC Going with milling doesn’t mean you have to give up on self-replication or on making your own machine. and others). precise Lathes. and even the MAKE forums or the Home Shop Machinist. (If you can’t find anybody to cut the parts for you. bolts. As with the RepRap. it’s possible to create a more rigid. surrounding 3D printers. go to buildyourcnc. but there’s a free version available. Most good CAM software is very expensive. machine than you could with wood. 3D fabrication. and drills are all subtractive tools. Fortunately. I use a Porter-Cable 892. and screws are available from any hardware store. stick with CamBam. just like the RepRap 3D printer and its progeny. TechShop. Gregory Hayes additive. The CAM files are in the proprietary CamBam format. The files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial license. though.3. which means you can make machines for yourself and for your friends. It can do both CAD and CAM. Videos on the website explain how More to put everything together. By with a solid block of material and use a cutter to remove building your machine out of a combination of the excess. but you can’t sell them commercially. Misumi. Patrick Hood-Daniel makes a scratch- build CNC kit capable of making all of its custom parts. Patrick sells several kits. A 3D printer’s fabrication technique is additive — most MakerSlide integrates V-rails into what is other- of them use a hot plastic extruder to “print” a plastic model. Everything else is standard hardware.) To get the CAD and CAM files for the parts. The aluminum angle. available from Inventables (inventables. But is a 3D printer the right tool for you? ity and precision due to its wooden design. 10 . Another exciting new option is the MakerSlide there’s a lot of well-deserved Excitement system. and for the avid DIYer much of it com). Check out your local hackerspace. is tremendously full-featured. and even the free version Tom Owad The lead- screws and anti-backlash nuts will probably have to be mail-ordered from McMaster-Carr and DumpsterCNC. and you’re likely to find somebody local with the necessary equipment. The step- per motors and stepper drivers are completely generic and available from countless sources.

tion involved in getting a good print. CNC milling and then export an STL file. Home 3D printers are With 3D printing. Skeinforge soft- »»Milling is more dangerous — while is a much more complex process than print. and heavier. or even often still a lot of tinkering and experimenta. This involves tools for doing 2.and y-axes are moving). then Printrun software overheat and catch fire. waste gets flung throughout the room.. There are free of Applefritter (applefritter. Also consider that it’s cheaper to work in can be easily retrofitted to support a plastic »»Software preparation is also more wood than in plastic. and no worry about the tool 20. of the stock material. What Do You One final tip: If you can’t decide whether sive and more difficult to move. crashing into your work. milling is inferior to characteristics of the end mill (cutter). I’ve already had a significant advantage over 3D printing: the sends the G-code directly to your 3D printer. subtractive equivalent to the 3D printer. You can design your models in a free without some sort of dust and there’s technology is mature. to handle the stresses of milling. and to do this tend to be complex. and a bit easier. but a mill and motors powerful enough to drive it. and that you’re likely extruder for printing. there’s no need to tweak the added danger of a blade. and editor toolpaths with CAM (computer-aided milling than with a 3D printer. but there’s cutting paths. and expensive and difficult to use. it’s necessary to generate objects is a lot more complicated with CNC Tom Owad is a Macintosh consultant in York. printing in numerous ways: speeds for the axes and spindle. the dimensions and but CAM software for 3D milling is very For the hobbyist. more structural creations. however.000rpm. object you wish to make in a CAD or 3D On the other hand. A 3D printer isn’t designed accuracy when encountering resistance. complex for milling. Subtractive Fabrication A CNC milling machine or router is the specifying the dimensions and location moves when the x. »»A mill or router is necessarily larger a 3D printer is the right choice.5D milling (the z-axis never Replica Creation. have a tool paths in G-code. If creating small 3D objects is your goal. makezine. a positioning system that can maintain If your interests tend toward larger and start with milling. ware converts the STL file automatically to it’s possible that a plastic extruder might ing is. (minor) fire with my CNC router. go with milling. He is the author of Apple I manufacturing) software. and consequently more expen. sending bits of itself. After drawing the to get substantially superior results. spinning at improving at a tremendous rate. your workpiece. program like SketchUp or Inventor Fusion. Pa. Additive vs. making complex 3D modeling program. that daunting for the first-time user. From the user’s perspective. It requires Want to Make? you want to do CNC milling or 3D printing. CNC milling does. flying at 11 . The tools Doing 3D work for 3D printing is much »»Milling inherently causes waste.

They a thin stream of molten material in layers while studying the DIY portion of the 3D create parts by adding material together to build up the desired piece. MPD. or other energy sources to fuse hackable. modeling (FDM) or fused filament fabrica- growing ranks of 3D printing households. granular materials binding (using lasers. aka fused deposition maker. describes pushing a filament of It has been an adventure both filled with Choosing a Printer solid plastic (or other materials like metal or reward and rife with frustration. choose a printer! There are many turnkey 12 . commercial slicers and modelers commonly In short. Their designs are amenable to layers of powder into the desired shape). molten polymer Turnkey. (NAMII) to foster innovation in this field. The focus is on budgets and are the new hotness in the field of Of these technologies. right). printing realm. I picked up an Ulti. Obama administration created the National EMSL’s CandyFab definitely bears mention Plastic parts are wonderful for prototyp. Buying Options: being modified and tuned to fit your needs. MPD is the most less than $2. there are a handful of 3D model off to a company like Shapeways manufacturing in common use: photopoly. Early in 2012. So hot. with a goal of producing manufacturing. though there are in layers to build up the desired shape).500. moves the extruder to a particular point to prototyping sidebar. Kit. The differentiation to have your prototype turned into a produc. and joined the used in the 3D printing community. Most of the printers discussed here are hot air. in fact. and then send the There are three approaches to additive Focusing on MPD.GETTING STARTED Getting 3D Started with a Printer WRITTEN BY Bill Bumgarner Are you interested in buying one? Read this first. extrude the plastic. Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute because any printer that smells like crème ing. put it together. different styles of printers. and the focus of this article. it’s time to is almost all open source. tion (FFF). merization (using light to cure a liquid is largely focused on exactly how the printer tion piece in the metal of your choice (see material into solids of the desired shape). or DIY The software used to drive these printers deposition (MPD. You can print that engine part in plastic. The goal The 3D printers discussed here are of chocolate) into a hot-end that then extrudes of this article is to share what I’ve learned the additive manufacturing variety. that the common and most accessible (though parts out of various kinds of plastic. brûlée deserves a shout-out). make sure it fits perfectly. extruding molten material With this information in hand.

com 13 . Autodesk’s 123D A word of warning: when buying a turn. price range. and of 3D printer anatomy. tioning systems. Removing the support. user. On the right autodesk. And there are some that are Instead of drawing what you desire. you’ll find an overview model out of cardboard or paper. the Note that Autodesk also released 123D Moving to kits. Both printers are Catch ( Alternatively. print time. The most popular repository pre-soldered and ready to go. both the Printrbot and more cutting-edge the printer version. Electronics and/or mechan. 3D models into plans for constructing the Bathsheba Grossman arrive as kits to be assembled by the end On pages 14–15. prototyping »» Generating STL files STL files are the Bathsheba Grossman’s beautiful (and lingua franca of the 3D printing world. where the consum. fit. Rostock are entirely DIY. with some electronics. On Mac OS X. The workflow for turning an idea into a (cont. which slices Ultimaker are examples of printers that more parts you’ll need to source. The Up 3D printer (same write code in a simple language that tells as the Afinia H-Series. both the RepRap printers and the photographs or videos. you quite affordable. long for very little money (less than $1 in expect the learning curve to be steep. that processes the images into a 3D model. is both more versatile and may require a bit Models can also be generated from more maintenance. With an iPhone or iPad. example of a “ready-to-print” device that Many of the mathematics-targeted pack- requires relatively little maintenance. along model (see page 92). Both are free. too. SketchUp (sketchup. increases 2. then that STL file can be sliced in-plastic. be wary of “razor vs. For example. such that the result is possible to print. Getting Started with a 3D Printer 3D print can be summed up as model (or capture). but 3 STL files. You can order pre. Generally. printed parts kits from a variety of sources using 123D and then upload them to a server able filament costs two to three times the (eBay included). any over- 1. breaking down posi. slice. elements in the modeler. etc. Often the model for what you want has assembly is focused on mechanical con. already been created by someone who struction. fixup. could tune and print the model all day Regardless of which modeler you choose. STL files can be generated allows for lots of cheap plastic drafts using a CAD program. On the left is a 3D print Autodesk has released Inventor Fusion (labs. as are a number of expensive process of procuring a fin. print-in-metal process that and printed. Both feature great instructions. of which solutions that go well beyond our targeted OpenSCAD (openscad. on page 16) makezine. which is the same model printed in stainless combines significant power with a relatively steel and brass from Shapeways. and print. seemingly cheap. and filament. you can take up to 40 pictures of a model tary filament cartridges. At each step. You easy-to-use package. the Make (123dapp. parts. an STL file. see page 44) is an the CAD system what you want. going market rates. blades” composed of a combination of 3D-printed series of photos and turn them into a 3D business models. ical packs are available. is quite popular. The plastic per print) and then commit to the key challenge is to translate what you want metal version once fully satisfied with to make into a set of primitive shapes and geometry. 3D printers exist that are parts and various metal or wood can process a key printer. there are multiple software solutions to plastic choose from. varies from printer to printer and depends on how you configure the slicer). before committing to the relatively com) is quite popular. Software for pre-made models (and full-on projects) If you’re interested in the full DIY experi. and requires significant cleanup) 3. 1 open source 3D modelers. since both include all electronics shared it online. 2 sumes material that will be tossed. of Grossman’s bottle opener. The finished draft beside the because the plastic will sag (the actual angle final piece. The ages like Mathematica can also produce MakerBot Replicator is similarly focused. If incredibly popular) Klein Bottle Opener an application can export a 3D model as is a perfect example of the prototype. models can be generated using a parametric CAD program. ished metal part. A draft print of the Klein Bottle hang shallower than about 45° cannot be Opener still attached to the print bed printed without support material (which con- with the support visible at the bottom. but which require proprie.

However. allowing for greater print speeds an alien probe is printing your favorite model. A deltabot has three the similarity ends there. one of the axes is changed by moving the Within the build volume. motion doesn’t have to be lim. Slower. The Replicator has a simpler design. Here are three heavier print bed. Usually. Recently. typically use this design.and y-axes. the printer must be able print bed itself. D tioning with relative mechanical simplicity. The these rods can be moved to control the position Ultimaker uses a Bowden cable to separate the of the head. The Rostock printers (so far) use a Bowden setup to separate the hot-end from the extruder. The Replicator control rods connected to the toolhead. while the bed ease of maintenance. Johann Rocholl adapted two. Printrbot’s models (Figure C) are examples of moving-bed Gantry This style of printer moves the printers that trade print speed for low cost and extruder in the x. entirely linear motion. the hot-end positioning is not a linear set of steps because of the non-linearity of the motion between the vertical axis and the planar posi- tioning of the hot-end. and integrates the extruder with the hot-end. (at the cost of additional maintenance issues). This is precisely extrude material within the layer being a mechanically simpler design in that the x- printed. which could knock loose primary designs in use today. The downside is increased complexity in the driver. and y-axis are managed independently using ited to the hot-end. this technology to 3D printing and created the as the Ultimaker greatly decreases the weight of Rostock (Figure D). It has the disadvantage 3D printers may move the hot-end or the print of requiring the printer to move a significantly bed in a number of different ways. Hard to explain. the printed part. Both the Ultimaker (Figure A) and the MakerBot Replicator (Figure Deltabot Industrial pick-and-place robots B) use a gantry to move the extruder. where. 14 . allowing for very quick and precise head posi. However. it looks like the print head. moves only in the z-axis. but simpler.GETTING STARTED 3D Printer Anatomy A B C 3D Positioning Moving Bed Instead of moving the print head System in x-y. a moving-bed printer to position the hot-end at any point to be able to will move the print head in the z-axis.

are often assembled within an aluminum block PLA (polylactic acid or polylactide) as seen in the Ultimaker (Figure A). it can be easily glued printed part rests during production. and cons.8mm. part that squirts out plastic. general environmental friendliness. Heated beds. can be quite versatile. keep the part and the extruder — be it directly integrated or a lower temperature of 160°C–220°C and does warm during the print and prevent warping. to which or are configured in a barrel-type shape. Others cannot. as the temperature range for extrusion materials.) ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). you can print ible with MPD-based printers. will result in objects that are squishy. the three most common materials are PLA. of 250°C may fail entirely at 300°C. makezine. which can make for extremely prob- two different materials or colors simultaneous. typically push. can be upgraded from single all materials. PLA tends to be stiffer than ABS. Note that there but the longer it takes. and all the bits in between. E G ABS creates mild. Bed through which the plastic filament is pushed together or smoothed to a glass-like finish. Getting Started with a 3D Printer F With that in mind. Extruders may be integrated into the a 3D printer squirts melted filament. something that a zone (and I have the blisters to prove it)! smaller the nozzle. is water soluble. The extruder is Plastic Filament The filament is the con- the part that feeds the plastic filament into the sumable of the printer. The can warp a bit during cooling. (Read more about materials choices on page 22 and 24–25. print support material. ABS 3D PRINTER PARTS Hot-End The hot-end is comprised of a heater. depending on style extruder that can handle materials from material. the cheapest of the three. lematic use in high-humidity environments. A printer designed for PLA/ABS at a max chocolate to frosting to various kinds of clays. This versatility comes at a cost of complexity sively with PLA because of its low toxicity and (and price). a heated bed will exceptionally problematic on some printers or fine). Note that not all printers are compatible with printers are generally tuned to filament print- like the Ultimaker.2mm and 0. plastic used on multiple-extruder printers to hot-end or they may be remote. throughout the print. it’s not hard to adapt them to support other to multiple extruders. While PLA does not require a heated bed. maintain a temperature from 40°C to 110°C on a printer that is not adjusted properly. as it requires an extra extruder. it insides of a 3D printer are not a finger-friendly typically between 0. Each has their pros a sponge. Like an inkjet squirts ink. as Note that the interface between the hot-end corn or potatoes. A non. please!). There are a handful of plastics that are compat. and by Print Bed This is the bed upon which the a temperature sensor. and does best with a heated bed to prevent warping. Hot-ends heated bed is often covered in painter’s tape. and an extrusion end mixing ABS with acetone. When heated. is typi- cally extruded at between 215°C–250°C. temperatures can be ambient or heated. I’ve chosen to print exclu. heated bed can greatly improve. PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a specialty hot-end. while trickier to Extruder The extruder is not actually the use. the more detailed the print. A common mod is to add a syringe- may vary from 160°C to 305°C. and PVA. PVA absorbs water like With a dual extruder (Figure F). with lots of overhangs. with a Bowden cable between the two — can be not require a heated bed (painter’s tape is just Depending on material. generally tolerable fumes that may be dangerous to sensitive people or cer- tain pets (personally: fume hood. PVA is typically extrud- ing the filament through a stiff PTFE (Teflon) ed at 190°C. PLA filament is extruded at seen in the Printrbot (Figure C). Some printers. Let it be noted that the The hole in the nozzle may range in size. hot. is a biodegradable plastic typically made from the printed material adheres. a printer. is a “flexible PLA” variant that. ly. Alternative Materials While MPD end. and can be used tube (this is the Bowden cable) into the hot-end Choosing filament to print support material in complex 3D prints (Figure E). ABS. Some materials may really stress ing. It can be sanded. PLA smells a bit like sweet. toasted 15 . to deposit molten material (Figure G). Personally.

but plastic.” clamp (the white piece “extrude this surface.” “fillet that corner. Note that. in particular) with practice and experience. things from Thingiverse. of linear plastic filament will fail quickly. things)? print them so the first layer of the bridge is is dictated by the etc. silverware dividers. speed. If on the inside of an object and won’t be seen. doing so often causes a lot of commands and will vary the acceleration plays with high voltage. slicing and fixup are contained to maximize print quality from your printer. number of parts. a commercial package. Have a look at how various models are Five 3D-printed constructed. this all becomes more intuitive cated to print multiple copies simultane. Try creating hangers or hooks that require a precise mea- is Thingiverse (thingiverse. giving both a feel everyday problems: phone cradles. 16 . cooks printer driver. earbud (netfabb. over a gap — work surprisingly well. a simple matter of soaking the piece in a and a pile of spaghetti. Cura ( combine can help you identify problems before they bugs with his son. the STL to be print. game capabilities. Once you’re ready to start from scratch. Netfabb object (like over a door). The key challenge in creating replacement parts for my Ultimaker: a new a 3D model is how the desired real-world drive gear. with a dual extruder It’s a careful balance between quality. cal piece. you can print PLA or ABS on one and amount of material used. in the same program (sometimes with the Each type of 3D printer has a particular Bill Bumgarner (friday. »» Fixup During fixup. see if you can add a feature you desire. sound of a successful print. as the printer software will often applicable. but OK. it’s actually a criti. working model with walls can lend elegance to an object. If you can find some models the left that holds the extruder in place. may be rotated or scaled. Often. your workflow (likely the slicer. ously. bottle opener. printable quadros). the white object can be broken down into a series of knob holding the gear on. download and print all of the While you can turn on “support material” model the motion dictated by the stream upgrades and replacement parts for your in most slicers. ter basis for fixing any problems and tuning Naturally. and tries to make stuff do things that were slicing with limited fixup. I've printed a of extra material to be used. In many the Bowden tube commands — “draw a line and a curve. have uploaded photos of their own versions There is also a balance between creating ed is often checked for errors (modelers (under the “Who’s Made It?” section). quadrocopters has extensive mesh debugging and fixup in how your printer maintains dimensions (yes. The first step is to know your tools. ter. cleanup. seen in the image above. try your hand at editing them to holder (hidden). for using the calipers and helping you dial holders.ultimaker. While the printer’s driver software but very cool. you can compare your print too thin and that single or double layer because the structure is invalid). I can be in a different room never intended. incubates microbes. “cut a hole here” — that you can use to cre- the orange piece on ate the object. or a simple charac. camera parts.01mm accuracy can be had for less than $20. along with basic layout tools throughout the printing process. which is both of the motors to eliminate print artifacts. or it may be dupli. pieces. objects with structures that tilt at »» Slice The slicer is what turns an STL Now that you have a background on all more than 45° can’t be printed without file into a series of commands — typically things 3D printing and have bought or built support material because the object will sag.” at the top of the extruder assembly). the first tool you’ll need is a set of calipers. One unique challenge is learning to think it. some of which can be wasteful and requires a ton of post-print Slicing is a critical phase of the print. You name and a powerful slicer (see page 98).GETTING STARTED and still tell when a print on my Ultimaker is about to fail just because it starts to sound out of whack. As men- points on Thingiverse. corrals com/cura) and Slic3r (slic3r. Digital slide calipers with 0. hacks code. how do you go about Note that bridges — linear spans of plastic move the print head and when to extrude creating useful things (or creating useless. The model product to others and will have a much bet. Learning it with fire and water. where you to rotate. there are likely at least a few good starting in a 3D-printer-compatible way. but can’t translate directly to a 3D print lots of examples. Thin sometimes dump 3D descriptions that look starting with a known. Your First Print Job tioned. Start with small extruder while printing with water-soluble the choice of appropriate slicing parameters items — but not too small — like an earbud PVA on the other extruder. printable 3D printers. offering the ability become serious. scale. G-code — that tell the printer where to your first 3D printer. By walls that are too thin and too thick. too). surement to fit snugly on an already-existing can find thousands of printable solutions for ent STL files in a single print run. and print multiple differ. making cleanup is the difference between a successful print holder. on Thingiverse that are in a file format you and a filament spool can edit. For the Ultimaker. Then download and print some useful printer. Choose something where lots of folks bucket overnight.

Nautilus-shaped earrings 8. I have printed the following handy screw sorting efforts »»iPad stand and iPhone stand »»Multiple items to fix doors and nut handle. I can print as many as you want easily. many more. and many. The material costs are very cheap and the look of surprise when you say. Ultimaker tool holder 7. thing:19315) (thingiverse. I’ve given many of these things away as »»Fixes for our shower (rod caps »»3D models from a friend’s »»Various Ultimaker upgrade 2. Raspberry Pi case »» Earbud holders counter with rust (thingiverse. Getting Started with a 3D Printer Next Steps: What to Make Once you start to get the hang of 3D printing. Fan shroud with spacer »»Klein Bottle Opener (page 13) »»Bottoms for our soap dispens- ( »»Razor scraper »»Feeder for our »» Multiple octopodes ers so they don’t stain the 4. Case for a Teensy-based IR (thingiverse. no problem. Blaster ( (thingiverse. Aeroponic grow pods for a Not shown: »»Wii sensor bar mounts »»Alien-faced tops for our lava a large bottle of Jack Daniels winter herb/salad garden »»Flashlight wall mounts custom-fit to the top of our TV lamp collection (thingiverse. You want it? Different color? (thingiverse. a world of possibilities opens up. “Yeah. Drawer divider for my son’s and washcloth holders) video game he built in school parts on the extruder: 17 . Steve makezine. extruder lock. 1 2 3 6 4 5 7 8 1. I printed that.” is priceless! With my customized to application switches in a friend’s house Bowden lock. Replacement screw cap for 5. feet 3.

thingiverse. . Robotic Arm opus5.GETTING STARTED compiled BY Gareth Branwyn Octopod Underwater Salvage Vehicle Sean Charlesworth Until we can afford an amphibious InMoov car this model is the next best Coolest 3D-Printed objects Clutch: Printable Purse Kacie Hultgren This purse is as cool as it is compact. thingiverse. The functionality of this 10 arm is This is not a 6-Stage Planetary Gear Set Richard Horne aka “RichRap” Planetary gears exemplify the complexity you can achieve with tk 3D-printed objects and this set is a “Hairygael” Interviewed by MAKE: makezine. . How about steam plastic? thingiverse. 10 Coolest Objects McCormick D326 Tractor Juan Esteban Paz The detail on this model is 3D-Printed Bikini Mary Haung and Jenna Fizel Looks cool. Rex Mike Moceri Who needs Toys “R” Us Working Oscillating when you can print Steam Engine your own dinosaurs? thingiverse. continuumfashion. shapeways. Sue: The Model T. Joshua Harker and watch it fly. If there’s a cooler 3D-printed object than this we’re not aware of it. but not sure how cool it would feel on a hot day at the beach. thingiverse. Charles Babbage Not quite Puddle Jumper Whirligig Crania “23Meteor” Anatomica Filigre Print.

add a bulb and a power Coin Sorting Tray Xander Brown Stack them and shake them to sort. Or scale the key model up 200% and you’ve got a 10 a classic baby toy — giant plastic keys! Another fun infant toy: Roll-A-Hedgehog. thingiverse.GETTING STARTED compiled BY stett Desk Lamp holbrook MakerBot Industries Just snap this Giant Keys Baby Toy Nirav Patel Print usable house key duplicates for your visiting guests. thingiverse. thingiverse. and you’ve got light. thingiverse. print out this adapter and you’re back in business. Most Useful 3D-Printed objects AA-to-C Battery Adapter “Zero_o” If your device calls for a C battery and all you’ve got is a .com/thing:8925.

thingiverse. You can’t buy Tomi Salo that at the store. Seriously. Perfect for connecting your 3D printer to your 13:30 Printable Headphones John Mabry Because everybody loses their Mark Edmondson Broken watering can spout? Padlock Print one that’s built to last. Joystick Mark Dufour Keep the joy alive with a new . 10 Most Useful Objects Bag Clips “Jinja” A high-tech solution to a low-tech problem: stale chips. Desktop Network Socket Ralph Bolton. and Key with ⅛" walls. Watering Can Spout thingiverse. thingiverse.

recycling code Biodegradable. material or for special applications. Proof-of-concept stage. 22 . here’s the skinny on the stringy stuff. Likely to get easier to find warp/curling problems. recycling code #2. printers proliferate. water-soluble to solvent-proof. Polycarbonate Polylactic acid High-density poly- (PC) (Soft PLA) ethylene (HDPE) »»Nozzle temp: 280–305°C »»Nozzle temp: 200–220°C »»Nozzle temp: 225–230°C »»Bed temp: 85°–95°C »»Bed temp: Ambient »»Bed temp: Ambient »»Print surface: Kapton tape »»Print surface: Glass plate »»Print surface: Polypropylene sheet »»Environmental footprint: »»Environmental footprint: »»Environmental footprint: Non-biodegradable. water soluble #9. recycling code #7. may Non-biodegradable. may Biodegradable. Acrylonitrile Polylactic Polyvinyl butadiene acid alcohol styrene (ABS) (PLA) (PVA) »»Nozzle temp: 215–250°C »»Nozzle temp: 160–220°C »»Nozzle temp: 180–200°C »»Bed temp: 90–103°C »»Bed temp: Ambient to 60°C »»Bed temp: 50°C »»Print surface: Kapton tape »»Print surface: Blue painter’s tape »»Print surface: Blue painter’s tape »»Environmental footprint: »»Environmental footprint: »»Environmental footprint: Non-biodegradable. »»Notes: Flexible/rubbery. Rarely used. »»Notes: Requires high-temperature nozzle cause problems in mixed recycling streams resists almost all solvents and glues design. recycling code #7. recycling code #7 Biodegradable. may overtake ABS Likely to see more use as multi-head Most popular choice for 3D printing. in the near future.GETTING STARTED WRITTEN Not all filament is created plastics for BY Sean ragan equal. From rigid to rub- 3D Printing bery. not normally allowed in mixed cause problems in mixed recycling streams »»Notes: Used as dissolvable support recycling streams »»Notes: Available in hard and soft grades. as 3D printing spreads. »»Notes: Plastic used in Lego elements. Gaining popularity fast. and »»Notes: Difficult to use due to shrink/ limited sources. limited colors.

machine arm. Whether you’re a maker. artists. a Tormach ● Over the last decade. fabber. knobs. ● CAD CAM and Controller software programming Tormach PCNC 1100 Series 3 starting at: ● “What drew me to Tormach was the affordability examples for a CNC machined prototype innovator. ● Stanavich is also using his PCNC 1100 to machine the permanent molds for toys he uses as unique calling cards for the shop. and architectural hardware tools hold back your innovation – for a diverse commercial and residential visit www. owner David Stanavich PCNC will enable your ideas with real CNC has built a portfolio of high-end custom metal capability and precision. and keyboard. maker machines. clientele. and Tormach PCNC mills are the ultimate designers. TORMACH MAKER PROFILE . On the $8480 importance of the PCNC 1100 to his business: (plus shipping) “What’s happening now is that I’m making the shift from a contract fabricator who has never done the same job twice to small-run production work that I am designing. or builder.” ● Shown here with optional stand.BROOKLYN CUSTOM ● Brooklyn Custom Metal Fabrication specializes in custom fabrication for architects.” relates Stanavich. with installations. tool rack.tormach. ● Read the full story at: www. Don’t let your drawer . Digital design and CNC fabrication techniques are essential to his products. of the PCNC mills. LCD.

fire. Nonetheless. If you can’t justify the cost of a personal printer. including Ponoko. Shapeways. 24 . Stuart Deutsch is a DIYer who writes a whole lot about tools at Courtesy of Shapeways The powder bed/inkjet system can also be used to create food-safe ceramic models (right). improving both strength and appearance. and there are many online 3D printing services to choose from. with color binders. Composites & Ceramics Powder bed and inkjet head printers use inkjet-type print Food-safe ceramic. There has never have been a better time to purchase a desktop 3D printer. The final object is essentially a stack of powder layers finely glued together. you may be able to access one at a local hackerspace. via heads to deposit tiny droplets of liquid binder on top of a thin layer of powder bed /inkjet powder. and i. they are still too expen- sive for many users. and glaze the model. a fresh layer of powder across the surface. Once the build platform lowers. Dyed binders can be used in certain machines to produce full-color display models (above). raw ceramic parts undergo a series of heat treatments to dry. The use of ceramic powder has become quite popular with online printers who now offer a rainbow of single-color options. Treatment with super glue and UV protectants can improve model strength and reduce color fading. powder. These companies use a variety of printing technologies to create physical objects from your digital designs and can print in many other materials Bowie the Bunny in fine mineral besides extruded thermoplastic. followed by heat treatment.GETTING STARTED WRITTEN BY Stuart Deutsch Beyond the Extruder A guide to 3D printing materials and methods. a roller spreads and compacts process.materialise. via powder bed /inkjet process. After removal from the powder bed.

below. but high costs and stricter with gold or other metals. clear. Once the droplets are in posi- charge for “trapped” powder. curing and joining the the new layer. once the print is complete. Photopolymer jetting can Fused nylon powder. Most vendors also of very small jets. flexible. the of a part can be 3D printed in a wax-like resin object is printed into a bed of very fine stainless using stereolithography. surfaces and multiple materials — tinted. Finally. UV-curing acrylic. metals Direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) wicks into the empty spaces and fills them. It is not widely available from 3D printing 25 . however. in a fashion very similar sponge filled with bronze. like an inkjet printer. First. with conventional casting processes to create step method to create powder-based metallic metal parts. via photopolymer jetting. so mod. manually or by washing. and can be given a to SLS in plastics. so SLS fabrication works well for models that have thin sections. burns out the plastic binder and fuses the steel be used to print molds in silica sand or other particles together. often nylon. The laser high-intensity light. uses a laser to directly fuse certain metal pow. — in a single print. SLA produces prints top surface fuse to each other and to the layer of exceptional smoothness. For instance. The laser traces spread on top. Indirect printing methods create positive or negative models that can be used Direct metal printing uses a multi.Plastics Stereolithography (SLA) is the original Selective laser sintering (SLS) uses a 3D printing process. A support material may be at least one small hole so that the powder can printed surrounding the droplets and can be be recovered when the print is done. Other specialty alloys can be variety of surface treatments including plating printed via DMLS. the porous sintered traditional foundry media. a UV lamp moves across the platform to els printed as shells will usually need to include harden the resin. in which a liquid plastic high-power laser to melt and fuse particles of resin is selectively hardened by exposure to very fine plastic powder. which are then model is infused with molten bronze. often from a laser. a sacrificial model models. so you can often save heads. and then duplicated steel powder using the inkjet-binder process. tion. makezine. surface. molten powder particles in the resin to the previous layer. the freshly polymerized model layer is lowered the entire bed is lowered and fresh powder is into the surrounding resin bath. design guidelines make the process less acces- sible to beginners. to deposit droplets money by “hollowing out” solid models and of resin onto a build platform through a number printing them as shells. As the laser works its way across over the fresh surface. yet. mainly from stainless steel. or complex geometries. The unfused powder acts as support material. via create very finely detailed models with smooth selective laser sintering. Alternately. the powder bed/inkjet process can via direct metal printing. overhangs. rigid. A carefully controlled heat treatment then Bronze-infused stainless steel. After the scans across a leveled and compacted powder laser has drawn a 2D path along the surface. in metal using the traditional lost-wax process. and when each layer is completed. Most vendors charge by volume Photopolymer jetting uses movable of powder consumed. The finished model is a kind of stainless steel ders. removed. such as titanium. etc. SLS is one of the most economical 3D print- ing methods and is forgiving in terms of design guidelines. which used to cast metal parts in the normal way.

There are many to choose First. printer at the right time. there’s the printer control software. Each Traditionally. there’s mechanical part. a solid modeling program. method called constructive solid geometry mechanical instructions for the printer robot. type will help you turn your idea into reality. but they fall into four basic types: solid. and provides a real. and client software you need.GETTING STARTED The 3D Printing Software Toolchain An overview of the CAD. two possible differences. 26 . parametric. (CSG). Popular free solid modeling client. From back to front: union. or similar techniques. type physical objects has been referred to as but one may be handier for. WRITTEN You’ve got a shiny new 3D printer 3D Modeling/CAD BY Matt Mets and a brilliant idea for your first Software and original design — now what? Probably the most important software Matt Griffin Creating and printing your own unique choice you’ll make is what kind of modeling 3D models requires three kinds of software. used to design the shape of your creation. and intersection of concentric cube and sphere. say. program (commonly referred to as a slicer) Solid modeling programs mainly use a that converts your model into specific. program to use. the use of software to proto. read a tutorial on page 30). CAM. In and settings. and polygonal. to define com- Third. there’s the 3D modeling program from. sculpting. or plex 3D shapes. and another for sculpting the computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) an action figure. designing a computer-aided design (CAD). Autodesk 123D. and Tinkercad (which runs entirely in your time interface to the printer’s functions web browser. Second. that sends those instructions to the programs include SketchUp. simple “primitive” Beginner- friendly options: CAD: Tinkercad CAM: Slic3r Client: Pronterface Basic Boolean operations illustrated in Tinkercad.

For instance. This makes them great for forming organic surfaces such as faces or figures. (Many polygonal modeler applications such as Blender. but less suitable for precise parts or flat sur- faces. for Rhino are geared toward generating and flatten. and is often the easiest way for beginners to get started. Designers like Nervous System use them to create complex organic shapes that would be practically impossible to model by hand. Pixologic’s Sculptris allows On the other hand. such as “Convolution” bangle. Modo. press the surface of a “blob” into the desired shape. and Maya are beginning to offer built-in sculpting tools as well. often using Boolean operations.) Parametric modeling programs. and “subtracting” the smaller from the larger. Because each dimension can be specified precisely. 27 . and pyramids are manipulated to make more complex shapes. which is handy for creating mechanical parts. The 3D Printing Software Toolchain shapes like boxes. and in a cellular network. First. and Mudbox use a more stainless steel. instead of drawing shapes using a mouse. based on simulated forces freeform interface to slice. Tooltips artwork. little brother of the more expensive ZBrush. Sculptris. the software handles most issues of mani- fold integrity (“water-tightness”) for the user automatically. objects are modeled by writing simple programs that describe how to combine different shapes together. parametric modelers you to sculpt 3D are also useful for producing generative models like blobs of clay. ZBrush. and other mechanical objects. Tools such as Marius Watz’s Convolution. courtesy of Nervous System have names like ModelBuilder and the Grasshopper editor crease. the interface usually makes it easy to set precise measurements between objects. this kind of tool is great for quickly creating things such as techni- cal parts like enclosures. tug. Nervous System’s Sculpting modeling programs. inflate. abstract forms by processing other objects or data. Second. pinch. are fairly unique. one slightly smaller than the other. cylinders. the solid modeling design process tends to be more intuitive than other methods. twist. smooth. such as OpenSCAD. Solid modeling programs have three big advantages. unexpected. Third. or by pure math. Polygonal modeling programs represent objects using thousands of tiny triangles arrayed together in a mesh that defines makezine. A great tool to start with is Sculptris. despite the very large number of operations that may go into shaping a complex form. a hollow box can be modeled by drawing two overlapping cubes.

and re-meshing. but “quads” (instead of triangles or “n-gons”). Models can also be tremendous amount of control. or may produce programs can be found online. Notable examples include requires mastering a number of sometimes model in some file format. Maya. can save a lot of trouble as your reasonable toolpaths. but however. The Professional package also offers built-in slicing utilities and drivers for operating some of the printers directly. most printers have relied free. They’re counterintuitive principles like working with Depending on what software was used great for 3D graphics and animation. tell its inside from its outside. i. open source polygonal 3D on the open source Skeinforge engine for modeling program preparing G-code from model files. designing a mechanical part. include repair routines that to process the model at all.e. repaired manually using a polygonal modeler. This process is sometimes referred to as skeining or slicing. and some CAM packages. that is extremely powerful. in some cases entirely replacing the CAM/client pipeline. and using “subdivision” tools corrected before it will print correctly. as well as offering stable Boolean operations to split up a model into multiple parts. most notably Slic3r. While their Basic suite works well for solving manifold issues quickly and effectively. Recently. alternative slicing programs have challenging to started appearing. open source STL processing and editing tool that is very powerful. Slicing/CAM Software Once you have a manifold. commonly STL. an advanced. decimation. which has been slowly overtaking Skeinforge Laying out as the tool of choice. to produce it and how complex it is. and another 3D printing. without missing loop-cutting. As you become more experienced with for. The standard format for these instructions is a simple program- ming language called G-code. say. error-free 3D model. Your polygons or disconnected vertices. you might want to consider for sculpting an action figure. and whether or not to extrude plastic along the way. Blender. you cannot always rely on these to produce Polygonal modeling programs offer a early on. but G-code containing serious errors. 3ds Max. but may be intimidating One type of modeling program may be handier to beginners. available in free and pro versions. a few videos demonstrating best practices. such as holes printing to make sure that meshes remain models with operations like edge-cutting and or reversed normals. it must be converted into specific toolpath instructions that tell the printer where to move the hot end. that will need to be manifold or water-tight. challenging to learn. and Modo. learn. Effective mesh modeling Your CAD program will produce a 3D Another option is MeshLab. when to move it. Watching will try to automatically fix simple errors. If a model to automatically smooth jagged surfaces CAM software may detect these errors is not manifold. parts will print boasts some unique features. a build plate A fairly recent closed-source utility called in ReplicatorG. tive sparse infill (using more material near the edges of a print and less in the center) and multi-extruder support (using different 28 . such as adap- simultaneously. All of these KISSlicer. and may refuse covering these topics in most of the major notably Slic3r. Blender is a Historically. but are often skills develop. Extensive tutorials automatically. the Professional version allows you to target specific elements of the model for manipula- tion. your require a bit of care when used for 3D developing “edge-flow” to quickly manipulate STL file may contain errors.GETTING STARTED model surfaces. investing in a commercial STL analysis and repair tool such as Netfabb Studio. the slicer may not be able to into more organic forms.

Though most slicing engines can be run as standalone programs. in which the printer runs community support and evangelism at Adafruit. objects that teach and inspire. build plates at the CAM level. The 3D Printing Software Toolchain material for separate models. as well as set the temperature of Your printed object will inspire improve- face to adjust a number of variables related the extruder nozzle and the bed heater. support structures. a MAKE book on design for 3D printing. Untethered printing can be useful. It G-code instructions. and is currently director of Saving a series of G-code “drafts” of a figure “untethered” mode. grab Pleasant 3D (Mac) or and follows CAM instructions from an SD modeling program. Eventually. It can be tricky to set up as a freestanding application. Finally. it’s still a work-in-progress. Remember that 3D design and printing is an print support structures or “rafts. which can be useful for bed level. the essential function of the learn how the slicing software tackles the client is to send toolpath instructions to Matt Mets is a maker who uses electronics to create playful geometry of the original object. If you want to print multiple parts per way to gauge the effect of adjustments to In untethered mode. is to lay out Both Pronterface and Repetier-Host have directly. If you’re using necessary. card or USB thumb drive plugged into it many find more convenient. Many printers are designed for operation in community manager at MakerBot. stop. you tried. and whether or not to direction. as well as integrated print environ. Finally. can start. and that things rarely turn slicing engines have built-in profiles to get Historically. and will the printer over a wi-fi or USB connection. CAM information duplicating of CAD models before slicing. Experiment. observe. say. The interface allows you to scroll copy of a model is very different from the through the toolpaths one layer at a time. Another option. the G-code to print a single Visualizing G-code in Pleasant3D. and infill). for long-running prints during engines. izer to preview the print. makezine. Matt Griffin is the former reveal errors without using up any plastic. you're ready to make anything! infill in each layer. the printer automatically reads plates. or pause the printing process What next? The slicing program will provide an inter. He is writing before actually running a print job is a great on its own without a computer connection. one option is to simply lay out build the various slicer settings. there’s the client. such as PP3DP’s Up. four copies side-by- side. infill set of directional buttons that allow you to Now that you’ve got the basic workflow 29 . A visualizer will printers. repeat! Try A handy practice when getting familiar and Repetier-Host are the most actively to learn something from each mistake. if ments and new ideas. some alternatives have appeared. and Client Software computers to run them. height. which is basically is usually stored on removable media as These usually include a virtual environment the printer’s real-time control panel. Some closed-source always remember to have fun. be sure to look at others — there’s to experiment with these settings to suit and the amount of innovation is impressive. but for coders it’s really fun to play with. Scrolling through the layers can help you In use. which you may want to use your computer ments like ReplicatorG. maximum print-head speed. now provide tools Printer Control/ elsewhere. G-code to print. at will. a similar set of features. and most work well right out ReplicatorG for machine control. they’re commonly built into integrated printer client packages like ReplicatorG and Pronterface. calibration. developed and used. there's the new open source slicing engine from MakerBot called Miracle-Grue. The design pipeline to print speed and quality. and not yet as mature as Slic3r. such as layer present. ship with cus- display the G-code commands as a series of tom client software that will usually include lines to represent the print-head toolpaths. tweak. or if you have more printers than that allow easy scaling. The client will usually provide a is really a cycle. you’ll probably want though. because a 3D print proceeds layer-by-layer. as they’re called. As of this writing. If you you started. that shows how everything will fit into the provides a software interface where you printer’s build chamber. no reason to limit yourself to only one work- specific geometry or design challenges. most machines relied on out perfectly the first time around. Note that. number of “shells” surrounding the incrementally move the print head in any down. so that the same interface used to control the printer can also be used to load and slice 3D models directly. which GCode Viewer for Blender (cross-platform). no client program is job. iterative process. and manual zeroing. directly in your 3D ReplicatorG. repositioning. Many slicing built-in G-code viewing utilities. and with slicer settings is to use a G-code visual. Recently. aren’t comfortable with any of the tools that of the box. The Printrun suite (featuring Pronterface) flow. for instance.” Many ing.

Holes remove any solid material like Shapeways or Sculpteo. computer with an internet connection.GETTING STARTED 3D Design for the Complete Beginner Use Tinkercad to design a robot-head pencil topper in minutes. and to quickly box out your design and hit a Print 10mm diameter. To scale shape. so of positive and negative space. But if you’re sign up for a 15-day free trial at tinkercad. button. You can go from something in Tinkercad. Then click the Design a New Thing ware and printer hardware can be intimidat. a robot-head pencil topper. first select it by within their shape. you can place a box. To get you started and to show just how — these are called handles — and drag it. into. white rectangles situated around the object when you submit your model for print. ing. It’s about 8mm at the widest. To scale the shape uniformly in all directions. To make the hole that your pencil will fit To utilize Tinkercad to its full potential end 3D printer. positive shape. a negative button to send it off to 3D printing services wiggle room all around the pencil. new to this technology. All you need is a The height of the eraser is about 20mm. Make a hole Negative Space on your desktop. and delivered to your door. Tinkercad will give your new thing Understanding ing. WRITTEN BY Three-dimensional printing offers 1. you’ll want to I’ll walk you through the process for creating hold the Shift key while dragging. com. then click on one of the small This will become very important utes with little to no modeling experience. from art to account Maloof product design to rolling your Tinkercad costs $10 a month. Create a Tinkercad Blake exciting applications. clicking on it. which CAD modeling application that allows you “workplane” (the blue grid) and scale it to represents a solid. the modeling soft. make the object as hollow as you can. browser-based click and drag a cylinder onto the Tinkercad example. This will provide 1mm of you can also place a hole. If only you could create a simple design 2. so stretch the cylinder to 20mm using the 30 . change it by clicking the gear icon. but you can own replacement parts. Because the cost depends on the easy it is to make something fun and unique. For Tinkercad is an intuitive. The learning curve is steep as you go a name. you can! cil eraser. Positive & from concept to 3D model to printed object. have it printed on a high. measure the width and height of a pen- you need to understand the concepts Turns out. solid volume of the print. concept to ready-to-print 3D model in min.

click 4. hole into a single object Make a box for the robot head. on the horizontal plane to position the hole not the diameter. the hole (Figure B). and placed it alongside with alignment dots. which would make it impossible to fit will turn the cylinder into negative space. Don’t use the Shift key here. This To make sure the hole is in the center of box. as long as the width and keyboard to select everything. 3D Design for the Complete Beginner tips If you make a mistake. with the cylinder selected. or click-dragging your 5. with at least 1mm–2mm on each side. Click it and select Align. To do this. Look for the a single object by clicking the Group icon depth will encompass the negative cylinder small gray circle with 3 white lines next to (Figure D). made a head that was 34mm wide × 24mm Tinkercad will highlight both objects makezine. Select a pencil in the bottom. I your selection. use the Undo button or type Ctrl-Z (Cmd-Z on a Mac) to undo the step. It’s often useful to view your design from a different angle. indicated by gray stripes (Figure A). Click the 2 middle dots because you want to stretch only the height. Don’t Now. click on the arrow buttons in the upper left corner of the win- dow. deep × 24mm high. Make the robot head cursor to create a Select box around them. in the center of the box (Figure C).com 31 . the box. use the handy Align tool. You can or using Ctrl-A (Cmd-A on a Mac) on your Select both pieces and combine them into make it any size. Align the head center the hole on the vertical axis. A B C D top handle. Combine the head and 3. both the box and the hole cylinder by shift- clicking each object. because the Hole icon (next to Color in the upper and the hole that would seal the hole entirely inside the right corner of the workplane window). The + and – buttons are for zooming and unzooming.

Drag a box onto the workplane. Select the hole box and the head box again. the interior hole is 30mm wide × 20mm deep × 14mm high (Figure E). Use the Align tool to align the hole box to the top of the robot head. 7. You can make one and create copies by clicking the Copy button. E of thickness. Make the head hollow NOTE Make a hole box to put inside the robot’s It’s important to know head. the to hold the pencil in place. 10mm of material at the base by making so 2mm is plenty your hole box 10mm shorter than the head. In my case.7mm. as we need material at the bottom standard plastic. This will leave the thickness of the mate- head with 2mm-thick walls. then click Group. by selecting the topmost vertical dot (Figure F). and align them on the horizontal plane (but again. Space them evenly apart and slide G X-Ray Vision How can you verify that the hole box is positioned correctly inside the head? Here’s a little hack that provides a clearer view inside your work. Move the hole box so that it intersects your design. You now have a nice 2mm border on the top and sides of your hollow robot head. or clicking on the original and holding the Option key and dragging off a clone. turn it into a hole and change its dimensions until it’s larger than one side of your design.GETTING STARTED 6. select all the objects. or using copy-paste keyboard commands. Size it 4mm smaller than the head in the minimum wall both width and depth. Select all the pieces and combine them into a single object by clicking the Group F icon. make a series of even smaller hole boxes. To create the speaker-grill ridges. don’t click the vertical align buttons or else the hole box will move to the top or bottom of the head box). So leave about minimum is 0. For Shapeways’ hollow. Now select just the hole box and use the arrow handle to move it down 2mm (Figure G). just Undo your way back to where you left off. Make your robot’s mouth Start by making a mouthpiece with a box that’s smaller than the robot’s head. Voilà! An interior view. rial you’ll be printing We don’t want the inside to be completely in. Now. 32 .

J K L M N O them into the mouth box. and turning them into workplane grid so you can place them above holes (Figures H and I).) Group the head and the mouthpiece 1mm. so when adjusting the space between 2 objects. drag 2 cylinders into the button. with only the hole boxes and the and drag on them to rotate the cylinder into mouth box selected. Make your robot’s eyes head pencil topper. (Don’t different sizes to add a little personality. click Group. Make the cylinders the front and bottom of the head box. curved arrows next to the cylinder? Click Then. select a printing service. Select the cylinders and the head and (Figure J). Use this shadow to help you place your pieces into H I their proper 8. This will the proper orientation (Figures K and L). 3D Design for the Complete Beginner TIPS By default. and order Blake Maloof is a game designer at Toys for Bob (makers of workspace and make them holes. Just hit the Print 3D To make the eyes. Be push it in so deep that it intersects the pencil sure the cylinders intersect with the head by hole. makezine. Check out the 3D model here: Tada! You now have a print-ready robot. Use the black arrow han- Place the mouthpiece so it sticks out from dle above the cylinder. you can use the arrow keys to move the selected shape in 1mm increments. and he sometimes writes about games for MAKE. the robot’s mouth. apply the hole objects to the box. the workspace has a grid snap size of 1mm. See those yourself a new toy that you designed! Skylanders). cutting out You need to raise the cylinders above the the negative shapes. Group them (Figures M–O). makezine. Notice that a selected shape casts a shadow on the blue gridded plan of your 33 .

and the models it made were fragile what it will look like. or instead of a desktop machine. thinking it would never it’s suitable for printing. I handed the flash drive with my files program like Netfabb Studio to make sure I create 3D-printed jewelry and own a busi. momentarily. as I am deciding thicknesses or other details. printing. Wearable Planter. to the lab assistant. I then create a 3D model in SolidWorks.GETTING STARTED Portable Greenery 3D printed mini pots from Wearable Planter. I begin by creating sketches of ing. The good news is but it affords you a new perspective when to mock up our projects. whether in material choice or wall and expensive. I have to wait Jordan at Georgia Tech from 2006–2010. turned out. This part of the process made. We learned how to use 3D design programs sional-quality 3D printer. When I studied industrial design Colleen Most people with the desire to When I use these services. and to create my final products. and I run checks with a would have imagined could exist. but we typically that access to this technology is increasing you’re forced to step away from your project used the resulting 3D files for product at an unprecedented rate. often takes the longest. uct don’t have immediate access to a profes. I never that I worked on a project that required 3D the file for printing. but few people knew how to of jewelry. all thanks to tools work. ness. I export that even two years ago. but often I see changes that need to be use it. Sometimes when I get my first rendering. That can seem like a long time. Of course we had access to a When I design a new product or piece print back it’s exactly what I was expect- 3D printer. 34 . After I’m done creating. 3D Printing Without a Printer How and why to use 3D printing services on the form and feel of the object. BY layer exactly as I had intended. two weeks or longer to see how my print 3D printing wasn’t a tool we used frequently. and then watched with amazement as I then use 3D printing services like and technology that have only been my jewelry piece was printed layer by Shapeways and Ponoko — both to prototype WRITTEN available for a few years. Rhino. imagine and prototype a new prod. whichever program I feel will allow me the most creativity with my knowledge of the I’m incredibly lucky to have a job It wasn’t until my last semester of college software.

aimed at beginners. no better time dollars. of materials isn’t always as good as a similar 3D-printed in stainless mass-produced piece. for example. not all of these materials are — to experiment with different materials and food-safe or suitable for use in toys. The sometimes the demand is greater than the Rocket Espresso Cup. but don’t have any 3D modeling experience. By Dan Emery. You also can Clockwise from top: create more complex and higher resolution A modified bike objects. to see what may Colleen Jordan is a designer and maker who likes to create This beats previous business models where objects that make life more interesting. While If you have an new products inexpensively and with little these disadvantages may discourage you. In the past. 35 . And. Sending your work off to 3D printing services has many advantages over using equally popular desktop 3D printers. from Ponoko. there’s limited run of items could be thousands of parts advantages. A Bit Cross by Michiel Cornelissen. 3D Printing Without a Printer The fantastic thing about using 3D print. As this is a rapidly growing field. Ponoko offers online training classes. to doctors making personalized prosthetics. 3D-printed in ceramic capabilities of these companies. Shapeways offers Skillshare classes to teach introductory skills as well as more complex. if you’d like to create your own phone case or dishware. at Shapeways. by Craig pected delays in lead times arise. Access to these technologies is now open to everyone. you can use one of the many “creator” programs to make your own customized item. Also. The technology does come with its dis. day having a pet dinosaur. and it’s developing very quickly. 3D-printed plastic steel at Shapeways. For example. and a laser-cut strap. and production of even a wasn’t available to the public even five years bring to life. and you won’t spend time tinker- ing with settings and hardware. I might have needed to order a cargo con. I’m able to keep a limited inven- tory on hand because I can restock it quickly. from beginners making character models with Minecraft. Shapeways lets you create a sake set by playing around with the shape of curves.000. that are free to watch and participate in. She is the founder of come from it. and dreams of one tainer full of pieces from overseas. match the quality of professional machines. Wearable Planter (wearableplanter. These companies have also begun to offer training so you can learn to use their tools. You won’t have the upfront investment of $300 to $2. creating a prototype keep in mind that this amazing technology could be costly. These apps let you create your own unique manufactured item with minimal cost. parts. There are more advantages to using 3D printing services than just running a busi- ness. The quality Kaplan. 3D-printed components. We’re coming into a new era where mass customization is driving the production of new objects. and unex. makezine. Stephen Malik of the original part. can be more fragile ing services is that I’m able to run a business than a similar injection-molded piece. generative software. Sculpteo and the Society for Printable Geography recently released an app to create iPhone cases with the terrain of your favorite place. idea you’d like to overhead. as desktop 3D printing still doesn’t pedal using pieces Ponoko. with tools that these companies have created importantly.

and automatic model repair Solid Concepts. They offer a preview and live those who need plastic prototypes plastics and ceramics to stainless printability check that is very use. specializes in shapeways. So it’s worth getting familiar with the growing number of 3D printing service providers. medical. Shipping time ranges from site is almost essential to getting pany’s gallery. They also same-day 3D printing and ship- Shapeways caters to hobbyists and cutting and CNC routing in a huge offer many “creator” apps for you to ping. Objects Professional sintering (SLS) machine at ponoko. steel. supplement your 3D-printed times vary from 1–30 days depend. They’re currently building a They do have a very good support i. but with produc. ing on the material (upload your around CAD and 3D design. and ceramic. based company include multi- 36 . but their on the company’s website. location. a division of 3D printing rate. And commercial providers can print in a surprising range of materials not available to the home printer user. professional services. theirs is the most visible of these objects as large as 6 feet.materialise RedEye. gold plate. ceramic. from $5. and Z Corp ful. so printing silver-plated plastic. They also offer laser inside the web interface. and reasonably priced. Even if you do own a print- er. customers who know their way including sterling silver. but it costs more. Users Fast. started selling your work. stainless project with other custom parts. objects ship in 1–5 days. They often have Prints from Ponoko are files for real-time estimates). It’s best suited for prints in a wide range of materials. to help you with any questions. out of the Netherlands. so you can begin making right away. The company prints place of designs where users can production facilities. with next-day and next-week designers. Shipping options too. like titanium or stainless steel. and resins.GETTING STARTED service Compiled BY Colleen providers Jordan AND Stett holbrook If you don’t have a 3D printer. Depending on your 1–2 weeks haven’t always been accu. engineering. it’s great to be able to turn a piece of art or technology you prototyped in plastic into some- thing enduring. the lowest prices. and meet demand. prototyping. printed in nylon on an EOS selective laser Ponoko colored plastic. Because and shipping times vary. prices. There’s Material choices from this France. Ponoko operates several regional a very clear and easy-to-use inter. having a shop on their Sculpteo you create can be sold on the com. wide range of materials. little upfront cost or giant Stratasys. offering high-quality variety of materials. and ZoomRP. you can still enjoy the benefits and fun of turning a CAD file into a physical Shapeways headquarters in New York. they have aerospace industries with rapid Shapeways also offers a market.materialise. open their own shops. The company zoomrp. materials — titanium! — and print UV photopolymers. A Strandbeest mechanism by Theo Jansen. Choose from more than 20 objects in various thermoplastics. Dust it off and Ponoko offers 3D printing in a sells a sample kit of materials for Here’s a self-service website for it’s ready to walk. i. uploading models are confusing. in a hurry. a division of Shapeways steel. generally very good quality may also post their objects for sale tion based in the Netherlands. resin. The site. serves the archi- production facility in New York to staff who will go above and beyond Another 3D printing service based tectural. RedEye their stated shipping times of 2–3 pricing structure and system for redeyeondemand.

org/wiki/List_ makezine. PLA filament in a variety of Polyimide printbl. yourself in one of these locales. a resource for Blender 3D model. Anna Kaziunas France. Books 3D Model Physical 3D Printer Practical 3D Printers — The Repositories Destinations History Science and Art of 3D Printing Thingiverse Hackerspaces RepRap Family Tree by Brian Evans. (O’Reilly/MAKE) MakerBot’s guidelines on how to design and Blender 3D Model Repository is Mortar A detailed directory of filament print your own prototypes. and their projects and printers. and New York. Calif. (O’Reilly/MAKE) submit. Visit your tronics that make them work. makezine. of RepRap. and price. on designing for 3D printing reviews. it remains an TechShop Maker Shed Getting Started with MakerBot important resource for hosting techshop. One to keep an eye out for next 298 Mulberry St. & Parts ship of MakerBot. impact-modified September 2013. Users community workshop that has Replicator 2. DIY community shares 3D models. Not only will you learn how to Michigan. operate. another free site that hosts shared Stores vendors that includes location. Deezmaker 3D printer on the market. MakerBot and MakerBlock. UltiMachine by Josef Průša. Get a hands-on introduction to the select from an array of Creative 3D printers available for members and Type A Series 1 — all reviewed world of personal fabrication with Commons licenses. including the to use. O’Reilly/MAKE) News Milwaukee. qu-bd. (Apress) 3D design with practical 3D design 37 . You’ll laser-cut files. and distributing files for many of TechShop is a membership-based Afinia H-Series. It’s designed to be There are a few 3D printer stores material Pasadena.. Printrbot LC & Declare to the world your proficiency in the world Resources of 3D printing with this embroidered skill badge from Adafruit. #5 faberdashery. and provides insights The latest 3D printing news. makezine. Along with models. You’ll deezmaker. and share their collective don't pass up the opportunity to ultimachine. check these out! RAMPS electronics. fast-moving field of makerbot. basis of nearly every inexpensive Blender tutorials. of_Hacker_Spaces Shows the development of the ines a number of different 3D ing world.S. learn how to calibrate. you’ll also get blender-models. how to model TurboSquid 290 North Hill makershed. the 3D printer that’s the the site features user-submitted and ABS filament. in this issue are available now. upgrade. and optimize Blender 3D Model Repository Printing Material Suppliers List your MakerBot. Filament print objects with your 3D printer. option for public Expert tinkerer Brian Evans Brick & makezine. notes. protoparadigm. MakerBot ProtoParadigm the passionate. Accessories too. printers and the software and elec. parts possible. If you find Getting Started with RepRap ing software users to download. There are TechShop loca. Texas. this book arms those entering 3D printing by Bre hackerspaces. and normal PLA. Although under the owner. and projects. The Grand Bazaar of the 3D print. techniques. 3dcreationsllc.Y. through interviews and year. the popular MakerBot 3D printer. This book provides an overview knowledge. and ABS. modify. printers you can try out. with over 3D Creations Printbl 3D Design for 3D Printing by Matthew Griffin (due out 161 W. #13 High extruders and heater pads. PLA. 3D model files. tions in California. Wisconsin Ave. N. QU-BD hands-on examples. and PCB layouts of local hackerspace to learn what Printers. Faberdashery learn what it can do. updated daily. New York. Read an excerpt on page 92. Adafruit’s 3D 3D printing Printing Skill Badge adafruit. North Carolina.000 models to download. and how to print the best turbosquid. Thingiverse is where the Many hackerspaces have 3D RepRap 3D printer and its progeny. TurboSquid is the leading paid 3D-model High-quality yet affordable Sign up for the MAKE newsletter for exclusive 3D content and the latest deals from the Maker Shed. sprinkled across the U. equipment they have.

BUYER’S GUIDE Ultimate 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide Here’s how we torture-tested and rated 15 machines. layer by layer. previewing still-under-wraps machines weeks before their launch at World Maker Faire New York. 38 . But first we had the tough task of working out how to test and review these machines. We reached back to 2010 and into the future. W WRITTEN hat makes a great desktop 3D printer? In September. the most popular method of 3D printing. BY Matt MAKE invited me to put together a team of reviewers from the Griffin 3D printing community to advise MAKE’s readers about the state of the art of DIY 3D printing. Our team investigated 15 of the most promising fused-filament fabrication (FFF) printers on the market — devices that melt and extrude plastic filament to form solid objects.

Our ratings indicate that reviewers disagreed strongly (1) or somewhat (2). were neutral (3). »» Scale accuracy: size and shape of resulting parts matched intention. Print Shop week- end. Ratings performance What makes a successful print? Here are key questions from our testing sheet. »» Output had no ripples or wobbles. »» Top layers of horizontal surfaces “capped” successfully. Gregory Hayes »» Post processing (cleanup. printers and the geeks who love »» Could hit print and the machine 39 . »» Vertical surfaces were “true. »» Plastic was consistent color. »» Print remained fixed on plate. »» Overall. »» Vertical surfaces lacked tool/layer- completion seams. offices became a vortex of 3D »» Rarely had to retry failed parts. »» Layer-height resolution allowed for organic curves and folds with minimal stair-stepping. During the 3D »» Machine was fast. »» Print job horizontal surfaces were “true”/no rippling/level. »» Surfaces were clean and smooth in places the artist intended. makezine. would work without babysitting. without gaps. the MAKE »» Machine interface was reliable. »» Machine accurately reproduced sharp corners. »» Print could be removed easily with tools or by hand. »» Machine could handle overhangs up to 45° with minimal dropped loops.” »» Vertical surfaces lacked gaps. support/ raft removal) was quick and easy. or agreed somewhat (4) or strongly (5). »» Layer height remained consistent. »» Registration of layers was consis- tently accurate. »» Discernable detail resolution approximated vertical resolution. this machine was precise.

com/3dprinting. or (a challenging engineering problem) but they were so that beak — the holy grail of affordable home machine. of the kit printers. The quantity and Read on to see what we found. we hope to provide balanced feed- In the early years. questions around four guiding principles: ties of machines that were bigger. which machine do I choose? »» The printer must produce pieces to speed. while Tough demands. 40 . and none of them compromise we described as the “Christmas can achieve models a newbie wouldn’t had. passionate 3D printing. toolset to make anything. there are a number of of the gate. for on a workbench or desktop. these online at makezine. to assess printers in terms of winning and digital designs for: mechanical parts. first-time users and seasoned experts. those who’d rather not tinker). and hobbyists with an affordable »» A printer should be affordable for an faster. and through-hole either. a new wave is upon us. Many test as if they had limited access to other the arrival of “the 3D printer industrial revo. and we’re confident the user experience will up — or assembled from parts in the case to the launch of the popular MakerBot improve as new talents continually contrib. But the true capabilities of each machine. We went printers to bear on the machine at hand? Do you have one of the 3D printers in our through the other machines’ test prints. face (if any) and software. the uct development. there’s a printer ready for you here. the owl print we’d done on the Afinia machines? Should each of us bring our H-Series. Then each machine Cupcake CNC kit in 2009. free bration. Grappling with these questions and test and want to share your prints of our and none were successful in printing the believing strongly that vendors of DIY 3D test objects? Have a special trick or “pro tip” nostrils on the owl. Each machine was then rated on a battery But there are two questions makers »» The hardware interface and software of questions. In addition. of the machines that rely on open source resources or customer support lines.” What’s it really like believe? Please share your tips. Also. The hole in the owl’s for a first-timer to open the box. to Printrbot and ute to improving them. and get it to fabricate that first everyone in this high-energy. As asked of industrial/commercial 3D printers. or affordable. and solid objects in one color of plastic. The model had a tiny hole all the extensive background in operating other Superusers: Participate! way through the top of its beak. from ease of setup and cali- must ask themselves: Is this the moment to control tools should be easy to obtain. practical enclosures and faster than 80mm/sec. educators. but one diversity of DIY 3D printers that launched thing became clear: while the field has in 2012 are of a new order: they perform further to go before the “revolution” offers more reliably and tackle more sophisticated desktop-grade printers suited to every techniques. Many of the more mounting hardware. lution. not only in toolpath generation each tester was a “first-timer” on the printer factory floor. tion? And if so. hackers. or finer than their peers. the software tools To approximate the beginner’s experience. —Gareth Branwyn printed object of acceptable quality? community can benefit. and reliability. toys. we settled on a tuned your slicing profile to perfection and the owl had nostrils. capable machines we reviewed are harder and artistic/sculptural prints. set up this photos at makezine. or do they require hours or even machines worthy of your serious attention. and approached the the hobbyist’s garage — has promised us also in usability (far less forgivable). spaces — whether it’s come from the are lagging. but ones that sharply and we invite you to share your results too distinguish DIY 3D printing from what’s (see “Superusers: Participate!” below). on mechanical design. smarter. DIY 3D printers were back that reflects the experiences of both balky and print jobs were limited to single. in our default tests no machine was run losing. strictly on the specs. How deep should we you want to spend. meant for the intrepid maker who’s »» The machine should be worth a maker’s “superusers” to print the same objects eager to get under the hood (though there time and money and should pull its weight and mail us their versions. But do they work well right out home and workshop. First of all. questions at makezine. Each 3D printer was unboxed and set sion of the RepRap movement after 2007. files. scale models. If you’re ready to start 3D we noticed something startling about in the pursuit of the capabilities of these printing.BUYER’S GUIDE Every cresting wave in the alien invasion brilliant solutions have been brought to bear Testing Methodology of the 3D printer into homes and maker. hardware share these flawed software tools. to the quality of the hardware inter- choose a printer and join the plastic revolu. Their printers haven’t managed the Morning Challenge. and what community of During MAKE’s 3D Print Shop weekend. (Note that while We wanted to avoid staging a shootout suit the range of purposes that users create manufacturers’ claimed speeds vary wildly. designers. Since then I’ve asked printers need to better instruct users how that might help others? Or perhaps you’ve other owners of 3D printers if they knew to operate their machines. days of tuning and calibration? It’s up to you to pinpoint which qualities are The Hole in The learning curve for operating some 3D most important.” The signs are clear. in plastic. We also invited printer vendors and their to use. there What core qualities does a maker look for at right) using the manufacturer’s default is tremendous interest in devices that arm in a 3D printer? We based a battery of test settings. how much time and money the Owl’s Beak printers can be steep. a result. we probed the capabili- individual inventors. prod. From the explo.) See the full suite of frontier days aren’t over. to print quality. dive into the forums and support resources users suits you. and documented for use. the academic laboratory. printed the same four test objects (pictured other crowdfunding mega-hits of 2011. individual to purchase and use regularly. We’ve shared are consumer-oriented options now

community director. (makers of Skylanders). Gareth Branwyn is Eric Chu is an engineer. film. all FFF printers — engineer Cliff L. complete out to their tips?) and modeled them to look great on a and you can tell instantly how Biffle built a Frankenstein’s mon- vertical registration (does each well-tuned printer. Biffle wooden toy features flexible Designer Cushwa borrowed This model gives character to makezine. Printers that well the machine reproduced the ster containing all the geometry layer match perfectly with the choke on these details may not parts from how accurately the we needed to see in one small one beneath?). He opment engineer for the She is currently in train. be suitable for character and teeth mesh and the snaps snap. sculptural work. He enjoys can print replacement by Tom Cushwa Gears by Misha T. He neer at Google and a editorial director of ing intern at MAKE. Biffle is an engi. Toys. His master plan is enjoys yo-yos. John Abella gets ribs that are a great test for both stone-cutting techniques to render the classic snap-together gears To create a real “torture test” — horizontal accuracy on the plate feathers and character features that are a popular test object a model guaranteed to challenge (are the ribs evenly spaced and for this popular owl figurine and for 3D printers. got into 3D printing in through special projects an owner-operator of 3D 2012 when he built a that highlight the poten. about games for MAKE. He Adafruit Industries’ customer service and currently owns three member of Ace Monster MAKE. from Brooklyn. arcs. at MakerBot in 2009. and without binding. tial of 3D printing. Cliff L. Matthew Griffin is Ethan Hartman is a sive about hobbies. a hackerspace in to learn 3D printing so he and fried rice. He’s been ing to be a superhero. 3D printing community. documentation spe- 3D by Cliff L. Lyra Levin builds things Blake Maloof is a game Brian Melani builds Emmanuel Mota is a Keith Ozar is a creative Eric Weinhoffer is compulsively. He is a MAKE maker.Y. It’s quick to print. Formerly with MakerBot cialist for technology Oakland. preferably designer at Toys for Bob 120-pound robots in his creative director. photographer. free time. and full-time geek. printers since interning RepRap from scratch. He worked using science as a verb. and whether the gears can rotate slopes and overhangs. he’s writing a thingiverse. N. He empowers makers Maker Shed. Torture Test This reinterpretation of a classic 41 . and he sometimes writes engineering intern. until August 2012. Ratings The Challenge Prints Snake by Zomboe Owl Statue Nautilus Dimension thingiverse. marketing professional MAKE’s product devel- things she can climb on. package. parts as his body falls book for O'Reilly on the for MakerBot from 2009 apart with age. Thin and fat features. separate towers all conspire to Team of Testers push a machine to its limits. makezine. robots. Calif. bolt holes through more than one revolution with precise dimensions.

It seemed as if it could engulf some of its competitors on its build by Ethan platform — or perhaps print one out. 7+) >> Open source? No >> Price as tested $4.490–$4. automatic support material. priced at $3. Like several printers we tested. the 3DTouch was an outsider in this group. A brief search 42 . It’s also one and Eric of the most expensive. Hartman In several Is this behemoth a beast or a dinosaur? A Tested mong this group of fairly diminutive 3D printers. there by Ethan was one heavyweight: Bits from Bytes’ 3DTouch.9" >> Print speed 15mm3/sec x >> Print material ABS.370 assembled >> Pedigree RepRap Darwin >> Print without PC? Yes. USB stick 3DTouch Bits from Bytes / 3D Systems bitsfrombytes.3"×10. it literally towered above the Written competition. best-built machine in our tests and one of the biggest >> Print volume 7.75"×7.370.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Triple extruders. touchscreen UI. Vista. one of the most Hartman impressive 3D printers aimed at the low-cost market.125mm >> Machine software Axon 2 >> Slicing software Skeinforge z >> OS supported Windows (XP/SP3. selling mainly to educators and professionals rather than focusing on the maker community. Soluble PLA y >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. Bits from Bytes started from the RepRap movement but quickly moved toward the commercial mainstream. milled-steel connectors. The 3DTouch is impressively Chu built: with its massive. PLA.

. . . machine in the roundup that evokes the while it’s nice to have the tweakability word “over-engineered. . . 5/5 up. . . . . . . . some- a new touch-based interface. . . 3DTouch with a touch-based interface? it’s possible to overlook small things. . . . . . . and we wonder if they could do 3DTouch’s sister printer. purchase a replacement ($87) at some point during the life of the machine. . as well as thing no other machine in this roundup Slicing Software . 3/5 by rapid prototyping giant 3D Systems ware. Axon 2 control software is in need of a A variant of this setup is in use for the tuneup. but it different areas of the prints. . . . . . . . . . some new profiles are in order. . . Also. . This is the only clicking through a few “Advanced” tabs. . or platform. a problem mars easily when using the included print no other printer in our tests had. machine was the slowest of the bunch. Support/Overhangs . . . . . By touching it? Well. . . available as its nearest rivals. . . . . . . The 3DTouch had When we finally started printing. multiple extruders in a single print is sim. PLA melts into. . . . . beautifully cards. . (Otherwise. . . . . . . . . . It worked well. . even compared to the Mendel-based ilar to the original MakerBot Replicator. . . . . . . com/thing:6427 Though ABS is a primary material. 1/5 it one of the oldest designs in this round. . but we were difficult to remove. . . . . . . . . . . . We anticipate a typical user will need to taking over an hour for the snake test. . .com 43 . the Cube (see better than Skeinforge for slicing. . . an Setup was minimal — check the bed overbuilt 3DTouch doesn’t quite deliver excellent touchscreen. . . rather. . Super solid construction. at the page 48). of too little for too much. Reliability. . we were surprised to find Pro Tips machined steel connectors holding every. part — impressively. . . . . . . . . . . . it offers the ability Hardware User Interface . . which worked well for the most Ease of Use. . . . its build surface is Fine textures were slightly messy. . as if made of a plastic which extruded ABS or too much plastic was being pushed out. We couldn’t did notice quite a bit of stringing between figure out what the material was. . . . . while it was very reliable. out those crazy extruders. . . . not quite what we got. . . last year. . . . . . To top it off. 2/5 goes back to the original RepRap Darwin. . made from milled steel. but Given the expense and the promise of we had no other problems after a quick this gigantic machine. That’s workable settings: thingiverse. . . . . . . . 5/5 2010 was also the year the 3DTouch to print automatically generated support Machine Software . . . . . enclosed in an attractive case. ing script could use a bit of work. . . . We prepared our test prints Setup. . . . . . . . . The massive. . . . . and filament. . . . you’ll find sizeable. . 3/5 was born. . and the MakerBot Replicator 2. . . . . . the normal. but prints Larger-scale features seemed OK. 3/5 its current moniker. . . . removal tool. . . and print. . . 4/5 You won’t mistake this for a Darwin. . . . . . . . . . . with but print quality is too big to ignore. . and did I mention there’s a It’s hard not to be a bit disappointed with touchscreen? So you can control the the 3DTouch. . . . . . . . . . load filament. .” The extruders. . makezine. Loading on its massive price tag. we had Load up the build platform. . . 1/5 exemplary. . . . . Axon 2 wasn’t without its flaws: oddly. . . . offered by that familiar program. . . . . . . Conclusions Oh. but our platform was good out several other printers in this group. . it’s quite good. . . . . .) Accuracy. . . . . . . We felt that the platform level. . Bits from Bytes was acquired using the Windows-only Axon 2 soft. The large icons and clear. . Documentation . . . . . . . . . . it seems like a case spin through the manual. . . . concise prompts. . . . . To of the box. . . . . . . . . . . There are a few other unique features. a Skeinforge window popping up after thing firmly together. The 3DTouch’s build quality is for the USB stick was labeled for SD Value. . . 3/5 machines: its DNA (pardon the pun) which is to say rather clunky. . . With so much going right. . . . . the functionality for preparing prints Noise . . . . . . . . . . everything is 3DTouch is nearly twice as expensive you’ll have to dive into Skeinforge. like the the Axon 2 software lets you print of a bolt to push the plastic. very least. we easily the best routing of internal cabling expected top-notch results. . 3/5 however. since recent posts. . . and the platform is double-sided. . with a unique design that uses the screw expected a proprietary slicer. the LulzBot AO-100 Try this spreadsheet to determine in clear or smoked acrylic. the To tweak the extrusion rate. . Print Quality . 3DTouch how it compares turns up an official forum with some filament was a bit of a chore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” It gained material with a second extruder. after all. multiple objects in one go. . . . . That makes can do out-of-the-box. . the The 3DTouch’s output was only The Details 3DTouch doesn’t use a heated chamber middle-of-the-road for this roundup. as the “BFB 3000. . as well as a defunct wiki it requires partial disassembly of the or two: a poor showing in comparison to extruder. . are also one included with the Cube. . . . Bits from Bytes says this is And. 3/5 in the fall of 2010. . and check level. . using Speed . 5/5 top it off. . . .

it’s a surprising little performer that’s ideal for beginners. PLA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. U. 44 .2mm >> Machine software Afinia 3D >> Slicing software Afinia 3D >> OS supported Windows.5"×5.S. market. But despite Weinhoffer the no-frills hardware.3" >> Print speed 3–30mm3/sec >> Print material ABS.5"×5. z Mac y >> Open source? No >> Price as tested $1.S. T Written Tested he compact Afinia H479 is a version of PP3DP’s Up PLUS by by Keith Keith 3D printer. great print quality and Easy to use.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Heated platform.499 assembled >> Pedigree PP3DP Up >> Print without PC? Sort of … Afinia H-Series Microboards Technology afinia. rebranded for the U. with no onboard and Eric controls except an Initialize button and a flashing status indicator. with feature-rich software and impressive print quality. It’s got a single extruder Ozar Ozar and runs via USB off Mac or Windows machines. tech support x >> Print volume 5.

. . . . . . it’s printer — but we’d prefer to be able to as easy as pressing Print. . . . . It ships fully filament and resume where the extruder Documentation . . . . nozzle Preheat the platform 15 minutes to The machine also makes a loud beeping wrench. . . . You can The Details like to have support material. the overhang angle beyond which you’d USB flash drive on the Afinia. and examples of the challenge prints. surprisingly successful printing adhesion. . . . . . . . . . . . we didn’t The printer’s tidy size and appearance have to babysit it or retry failed parts. . . 5/5 been initialized. . . makezine. 5/5 assembled and takes only a few minutes left off. leveling it. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . its build volume is still decent-sized Reliability . the print speed was comparative- — it takes care of those elements for you. . 5/5 and is sturdy for transport. . . Straight out of the surprised by how great the first print box. and green. . . . . . . thanks to object with a single extruder. . can be prone to crashing. . . There’s no need print totally untethered. . . snap-together joints. . While there are limitations to how Dimensional accuracy was off by about far you can tune. . . . 4/5 were easier than expected. . . . this might be attributable to shrinkage amount of effort. . . . . prevent ABS prints from warping. . . To build large objects. . and could be cleaned easily using the it with a heat gun to regain color. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . overshadowing any duplicates. . . trol panel is a weak spot for this printer. . . . . and tweezers. . . . sound as it begins initializing and print. . . if printer comes with a 1. there is no SD card or them with moving joints or gears. . . . . . . . . . . . . using the default 0. and the holes just slightly undersized. 2/5 and a one-page Quick Start Guide for ago. . . . . . remove the raft or support. true vertical and horizontal surfaces. . . . . this can be confusing. . 5/5 easy to follow. . . . warm Using the proprietary software pack. slice models to build with a raft. . with a closed-box machine. . weighs just 11lbs. documentation that’s straightforward and While this model is about the same Slicing Software . . . . . Just select Unfortunately. . . . are appealing: it sits about 10"×10"×14" The documentation mentions the capa- high on the desktop. . . . . . . . . red. . . . though it prints quietly. too. . . or articulate and a variety of infill options. . . printing. . tweak. . . black. pliers. . . . . the Afinia offered platform performs well. . . and places models for of the ABS plastic. 4/5 to set up. . though the best printing quality with the least software slices. . Also provided are a set of FR-4 perf ing. . with an in-depth manual size as the original Up released two years Speed . and (Afinia offers additional spools in natu. . . .com 45 . . . . 5/5 those wanting to jump right in. . . . . . . generates support. . . . objects to the same platform. . . Value . . . . . . . . and choose resolution with both adhesion and removal. . . if it’s ready to print. and subsequent settings (about 0. . printing — all automatically. set variables for the port offered by the software also help creatively and glue them. hex wrench. . . . . . create support structure. . . . . . screws. . . prints like the owl statue confirmed it: we printed some of the best-looking sharp corners. yellow. . . . . its features are robust and relatively intuitive. . . . . . Conclusions The Afinia H-Series 3D printer stood performance out as one of our favorite 3D printers Print quality was quite good — we were in the challenge. . . . 3/5 the platform.2mm resolution looked (the snake). 5/5 of red and green flashes if the printer has and PLA filament can be used. . . . 5/5 The status light tells you in a series a 5½"-cubed range of motion. . but we didn’t get a chance to test Ease of Use . compared to today’s DIY printers. . blue. . . . . . . . . 4/5 if it has started or stopped printing — but ral. . . clean overhangs. . . age Afinia 3D. . . . . . or tinker with The unique perf-board build 1% on our torture-test object. since the file now resides in the Once your design is to your liking. . . hand tools that include a woodcut knife. . This technique would be a great option Hardware User Interface . . . It’s a constant ers. Afinia H-Series SETUP how it compares The Afinia was reliable. . . and calibrating the machine if you wanted to print a multicolored Machine Software . to deal with G-code or slicing software Also. . you can add multiple included tools to push plastic up through Don’t be limited by platform size. scraper. . bility of pausing mid-print to swap out Setup . . . which reminded us of a truck backing boards for the print surface that offered If the ABS looks white where you up. Pro Tips if you don’t have the manual in front of or you can buy from other manufactur- you. . . . . . . . . . . Loading the filament. . ly slow next to many of the more recently Although the software is “closed” and designed 3D printers we tested. .) It also comes with work gloves and reminder that the lack of an onboard con. . . choose the holes.5lb ABS spool. . . 4/5 the extruder is heating or extruding. . Both ABS Accuracy . . . . .008" or 8 mils). . . The style of rafting and sup. . . . and the Support/Overhangs . . of its limitations. about Print Quality . . Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . and the print from your computer via USB and software automatically creates the then disconnect once the job has started support for any angle that exceeds it. . brush.

Azteeg electronics. the Bukobots will make a lot of new RepRap fans. inspired by Prusa Mendel. and the two 46 . Poqueras launched his printer on Kickstarter around the time of Maker Faire Bay Area 2012.3mm >> Machine software Repetier-Host >> Slicing software Slic3r >> OS supported Windows. and Wallace models and Griffin augmented by his own engineering ideas. optional dual extruders x >> Print volume 8"×8"×8" z >> Print speed 120mm/sec >> Print material PLA. D Tested iego Poqueras explored his passion for 3d printing by Matt at monthly meetups at the Crash Space hackerspace in L. ABS. Printrbot. Linux >> Open source? Yes y >> Price as tested $1. Mac.. synchromesh cables. expandable. The fruits of his investigations? Written The promising new RepRap Buko framework and an entire line of Deezmaker by Matt Bukobot printers. developer of the RepRap Wallace framework. custom Tatsu drive gear. and smartly innovative. where Griffin he got to know a range of printers and their operators. including future and John Deezmaker collaborator Rich “Whosawhatsis.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Extendable in any axis. printed fan shroud. Printrbot. Recently he was joined by Whosawhatsis. PVA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0.1mm– Nimble.A.” It was a great way to learn about Abella the strengths and weaknesses of each machine.385 assembled >> Pedigree RepRap Prusa Mendel. SD card Bukobot 8 Deezmaker deezmaker. Wallace >> Print without PC? Optional. and his project was 400% funded.

. Bonus benefit: the customer can cut Deezmaker’s nimble Bukobot 8 stands her own cables when expanding the build on the shoulders of giants to leverage area. . . . . . . . . . . with a single extruder. . pulleys and help counter backlash. . . . When printing PLA. . . . granting an otherworldly you want to print untethered. pro. . . .) offers two extruders. . disks make it easy to perform small Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . . without purchasing new custom the best features of the Prusa Mendel. . . . . shroud attachment. . (The custom We tested the Bukobot 8 Vanilla version. and it offers innovations likely to keep the an idler latch for easy filament SETUP RepRap Buko framework in the public eye swapping mid-print. . . . PLA and other experimental materials. longer Misumi beams. . . . . . . . . . 5/5 and ice. . They’re constructed from a core wire wrapped by a tightly spiraling sec- of the unsupported arch. . Bukobot 8 how it compares opened a Pasadena-based storefront included with the printer provided most where they sell printers from Deezmaker of the information necessary to tune the and other vendors. . . . . . when timing belt assemblies lose tension. . . . . . . . inexpensive solution allowing small move- ments at high speeds without introducing CONCLUSIONS slop. 4/5 from the ground up to take full advantage square to the plate. while not the best in our test. . . . Our unit Slicing Software . . 3/5 ance that I found immediately pleasing. . active cooling from the extruder’s among RepRaps. . . . so get the X3 upgrade if in clear PLA. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hardware User Interface . . . . . . . . . closely with filament supplier Printbl strained projects like robotics and desktop to tune the extruders to suit rubberized 2D scanners. . . . . . . Accuracy. . . . cooling fan directly to the surface expandable in any axis by substituting The torture-test results were promising: of the printed part. . . . . . . Support/Overhangs . . . makezine. . though we did have to seek space where people can experience 3D help to figure out the baud rate. Setup. . promises that this unit. . . Printrbot. This Forget the Kapton tape — cover the number of parts and total cost. . . Setup took only out features that should attract a broader Synchromesh cables replace belt about a half-hour. . . . . . . . . . . . machine. design. . . . . . . and Wallace projects. . . . . . . 3/5 hold the machine together are fabricated X1 electronics. . for some time. . . . when really Synchromesh pulleys lock into the spiral dialed in by an operator. 4/5 The Bukobots have a unity of appear. and synchromesh tape — a common solution out in the timing system — in an effort to limit field for printers that extrude PLA. . . . . A great touch: printed cable tensioner Documentation . . . . . . . . . using Printbl’s new Diamond Age PLA. . . 4/5 printing firsthand. . . . . . . . The machine features the simplified X-Z which Deezmaker included with the unit. . . . . . . 3/5 The printed brackets and couplers that There’s no SD card slot on the Azteeg Machine Software . . . . . . the Duo version forward printer with a lot of well-thought. but the vertical and horizontal surfaces were all true. the Buko design is we had our best successes printing PLA. . . . . It’s an attractive. . . . 4/5 swapping filament mid-print. . . Printing results generally were better than average. . . a NASA Mars rover contractor. . . reducing the backlash that occurs aggressively for quality at its price point. . . . and the documentation audience to the RepRap movement. . . . . . . 4/5 With Bukobot. . (with its hidden risks of over-constraint). . . . . extruder gear is from Marples Gears. . Deezmaker introduces PERFORMANCE Noise . . The two-color Deezmaker and perhaps a little too streamlined? A noisy Reliability . . And uniquely active cooling of the top printed layer. Deezmaker is working Typically indicated for space-con. . and the owl statue in The Details ond strand that helps to resist stretching particular. . 4/5 an enticing preview of what’s possible by no issues during our testing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . planned While we felt confident the gantry was Value. . . . . . which allows for shroud attachment to provide viding rigidity and strength. . . . . adhesion issues knocked off the base The use of synchromesh timing cables is one of Poqueras’ most distinctive inno- vations. . . . . . and improved adhesion significantly. . . . . . . .com 47 . take advan- gantry and front-to-back Y build platform After shifting to the printed fan tage of the clever printable fan used by Printrbot and the Wallace. . . . . synchromesh is an efficient. . . . . . . . The Bukoschnozzle hot-end has belts for every configuration. . 3/5 look: a machine made of aluminum lacked even a power switch. which seems Speed . . . will compete cable. . . . . and we the print bed with blue painter’s avoid the temptation of overbuilding were able to print a fine-looking snake tape for better adhesion of PLA. . and offer a hacker. . . . . . . Also promising. . . . . . . . 5/5 Bukobot logos mounted to the frame offer power supply gave us pause but caused Print Quality . . . . . . dialing-in adjustments. . we had adhesion Pro Tips of its structural components — Misumi troubles with both ABS and PLA until we extruded aluminum beams. even when twisted along elliptical paths. . . . 3/5 the RepRap Buko framework. . PLA printed covered the platform with blue painter’s brackets and joins.

01"/0. The Cube brings a mix of unique features as well. The company Abella is trying to change that with the Cube. 7) >> Open source? No >> Price as tested $1. which was some of the most thorough of the machines we tested. wi-fi. “magic glue” >> Print volume 5½"×5½"×5½" >> Print speed 15mm3/sec x >> Print material ABS (proprietary cartridge) >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. touchscreen interface.25mm (10 mil) >> Machine software Cubify Client Software >> Slicing software Cubify z Client Software y >> OS supported Windows (XP/SP3. easy-to-use Cube makes a move for the With wi-fi printing and OK print quality. the name by John “3D Systems” doesn’t immediately come to mind. This level of design quality carries into the included docu- Abella mentation. easy filament install. No plywood.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Wireless printing. the reliable. great manual. USB stick Cube 3D Systems cubify.299 assembled >> Pedigree Similar to PP3DP Up >> Print without PC? Yes. its recent entry into the and Matt low-end fused-filament fabrication market. W Tested hen you think about hobbyist 3D printing. Vista. or zip ties: this machine is made to be a consumer appliance more than by John a hacker plaything. including the ability to 48 . Griffin The first thing you notice about the Cube is its style. loose Written wires.

or motion con- out of the box had a few flaws worth trol mechanisms are visible or accessible mentioning. . documented unit that prints reliably and By default the printer and software brings helpful new standard features to are configured to print using rafts and market. . . . . . . . . . . . You’ll have to dis. . . . makezine. . . small. . resonant buzz related to certain movements. . . . . the removable platform. . . . . that’s not intended to be hacked. . . . . . . . and also supports proprietary This mystery substance washes away . . wi-fi settings. and other aren’t looking to design their own files. . . It’s Soak the build platform and the interface that allows the user to configure an interesting option for people who print in water to dissolve the nozzle height. . . . . 1/5 connect from any other wi-fi temporarily. . . . . as well as showing the status of but we suspect it’ll be a hard sell while Check out Cubify Apps (cubify. . . . . . was also a loud. . The Details without any failed prints. the Cube is a sealed device almost no other device could match. 4/5 SETUP plastic on all prints. . . . . . . . . . . . .” accurate. .com 49 . a touchscreen. . . . .creation files. . . . . . . . . “magic glue. . . 2/5 filament. . current print progress and other system free options like Thingiverse exist. . . . . 4/5 platform to help with adhesion and to support and rafts. . . . steppers. . . . . The over layer height. . . Cube how it compares print via wi-fi or USB. . 4/5 open-air nature of the printer seems like shells. . and a com. humidity. a well laid-out had problems similar to many of the touchscreen control panel. . 5/5 thankfully it doesn’t take long. and the Cube performed well. Machine Software. . Both options can be turned firmware and software. something that could Ease of Use. . . . . meaning that In our standardized print tests. the Cube’s also the print quality. . . but The Cube isn’t an open source product. . . but the The Cubify software works with the included “magic glue” worked great to same STL files as the other printers we keep prints stuck to the build surface. printers we evaluated: holes were too pletely new item that no other manufac. . It looks great on your desk. . . . . . . . . . evaluated. . . printing time and post-processing time. . PERFORMANCE The Cube works with special fila- None of these industrial design accom- plishments matter if the printer doesn’t perform. we had better luck printing directly via and the Cubify software that drives it Slicing Software . . . . . . . . . . . Rather than being a printer for the bold but which helped in the most demanding tinkerer who keeps abreast of the newest The only home/hobby printer with print tests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . files to get you started. . . runs only on Windows 7 or higher. without removing the case. . . it sounds like the The Cube is a well-designed and well- problem was specific to our test unit. creations that can be downloaded (for The device is driven by a touchscreen a fee) and printed on your printer. . . . 2/5 prevent warping on larger prints. . . . .aspx) for new ways to indicators. . . . 3/5 its ad-hoc network. . . or other factors. . Testers were able to print all weekend ment cartridges available only from 3D Systems. the first of which was speed. . There a trip to the post office. . . . . . or customizing support structures. . . . . . a record that Finally. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . this is a machine wi-fi printing and dissolvable glue off. . the Cube uses a heated build are basic switches for enabling/disabling Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5 advertised and performed well. . . . . . . . . . Several testers felt that the Setup. Pro Tips it would be prone to warping. The Cube printed. . you can shut down the PC. . . . 5/5 Cube appeared to be extruding too much Documentation . . the Print Quality . but not much control Noise . . . . . . new printer comes with 25 free . . . . . . . . . . . our tests allow for endless tweaking.creation use the Cube. . . 4/5 Like most printers that use ABS plastic Cubify package is relatively stark. . . . . . and other dimensions were not turer had: “Magic Cube Glue. . many of the software packages used in Reliability. 3D Systems has a website Once a print has been queued over with water to cleanly release prints from where designers are uploading various wi-fi. . . . . . . . the Cube nice printing. . . . They weigh in at about 1lb of usable ABS for $50. . . . . . “Print” — and have a machine that looks got the easiest hardware interface — In the print accuracy tests. . . None of The default performance of the Cube the electronics. . . . . . . . . . extra Value. . . . . .” details. the Cube any necessary repairs will likely involve was one of the slowest in the field. both of which add to doesn’t offer the ultimate build quality. . . but doing so will generally degrade for someone who wants to simply hit to secure your print. . . . . . . . . . While Speed. . . . There Accuracy. . . . infill percentage. making them more costly than generic spools. . . . . . . but support structures. . 5/5 Wi-fi and USB printing both worked as be related to the color of the ABS being Hardware User Interface. . . 3/5 can use your WPS wi-fi network. Each com/apps. . . . . . . . but from discussions ConclusionS with other owners.

G Tested uillaume Feliksdal was thrilled when he bought his by Eric first 3D printer kit. 50 . large build volume. Feliksdal told himself.8"×7. rigid x aluminum frame. and a large build volume that competes with any DIY printer out there.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Extremely Quiet and capable.0 felixprinters. a rigid Chu frame made of aluminum extrusion. fine Z resolution.8" y >> Print speed 150mm/sec >> Print material PLA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. with RAMPS 1.05mm–0.4 electronics. the Felix is a true DIY printer — bring your toolbox and your patience. Finally he could prototype parts for his Chu humanoid walking robot! But he became frustrated by the days-long and Brian process of building and calibrating it. “I could do that.165 kit >> Pedigree Original >> Print without PC? No Felix 1. written I could do better!” by Eric Today the Dutchman sells his own kit. Like a punk rocker inspired to play by Melani seeing the Sex Pistols or the Ramones.2"×7. good retraction for near-string- less builds z >> Print volume 10.35mm >> Machine software Repetier >> Slicing software Repetier >> OS supported Windows only >> Open source? No >> Price as tested $1.

. Felix ultra-quiet. . including: stop (which blocks the IR beam). . and printing Z home position. . The X and Y belts are extremely easy ConclusionS to tension: just turn one screw on each If you’re ready to build it. . DryLin polymer bushings glide a wrench to loosen a nut under each of along the linear rails so stealthily that the three leveling screws until the alumi. . . . . . (ours topped out at 75°C/167°F). . . . . . . . . . . . . . ours worked well done. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . an Administrator in Windows. . . . Pro Tips Print out these handy nut captures front end. . . . . . . . . and it can warp ing steps for when things go awry. 3/5 “screwdriver-only” appeal of some other We had some roadblocks getting our Hardware User Interface . . . . . the Felix 1. . . . 3/5 5–10 hours to finish this build. Leveling the bed and setting the Z Felix’s best feature is that it’s extreme- height were a bit of a challenge. . By our review. . . . Fortunately. . screws to make them adjustable but that was fixed by running Repetier as ing in the PLA’s melting temperature. . . . . . . . . . .0 Kit Build how it compares extruder gear. . and we never ran into another jam. .5 was announced during an opaque object blocks its IR beam. . Accuracy. . there will be ridges between the layers. extruder tended to jam in the middle Reliability . . 3/5 of a print. . 3/5 ing several times. . . 3/5 built kit printers before. . . and better retrac. . . . . . »» Rigid ball-bearing linear rails by but ours only got very dim. . . . . . . due to the flexing of the aluminum. . . . . . . . 1/5 kits. . . . fast and quiet. . . But bushings on linear rails make the a ball bearing against the filament and prepare for a true DIY experience. . . . . . with other machines. . . 3/5 The kit requires hand and power tools Documentation . . with print quality on par Optical end-stops indicate their The Felix’s extruder uses a spring-load. Setup. . . 3/5 SETUP replacement extruder that had been test. 3/5 directories of files and folders. . . . so it lacks the PERFORMANCE Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . for other when slicing your STL file. 4/5 Software setup was documented at each ed. making it very The Felix is a pretty speedy machine.” num bed is leveled. The The manual guides you all the way to bed also needs to be slightly leveled your first print and includes troubleshoot. There’s minimal stringing and you the three nuts on the bed leveling trouble getting Skeinforge to start slicing can probably get rid of it entirely by dial. . The LED supposedly with rubber filament turns off when the end-stop is triggered. so you can choose one or the Retraction on the extruder is very (thingiverse. . . . . . . . . 1 ship with turning a screw on the printed Z end. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . even when the machine was “rapidding. . . . . . known as Z wobble. . thus adjusting the bly. . . DryLin polymer ed tensioning mechanism that presses tion and a bigger volume than most. . One tedious step was to file flats machine printing the way it’s supposed onto the stepper motors. 5/5 easy. . . . . which PLA. . . Aligning the Z-leadscrew is the hardest part of getting a great print. . The Z limit switch is there was hardly an increase of noise. . . . . First. . 4/5 such as a file and a drill. . The proper tension was The PDF assembly instructions are well tricky to figure out. Orders from Oct. . . Second. . . . . . . . . . Support/Overhangs . . . . Noise . We had good. and we’ve the other just spazzing out. 3/5 It took us longer than the estimated ers were bad. . . . . . . . While it has a heated bed. . . The Felix version of Repetier bundles Skeinforge and Slic3r under the Repetier and aligned. . . . . an optical end-stop that’s triggered when Update: Felix 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . which and Z-leadscrew are properly tensioned probably could have been automated. putting in the filament. Felix came The Felix was designed to print in Mind the Z-leadscrew alignment with a handful of slicing profiles. . . making it Hiwin for higher-precision prints hard to know exactly where the Z home »» Motors with flats (no more filing!) position is triggered.0 is axis to tighten them. Feliksdal promptly sent us a Print Quality . . but their settings aren’t design doesn’t allow the bed to get hot 3D prints. . . You use ly quiet. the Speed . . . . with photos and diagrams for each when we set it so that the ball bearing step. 3/5 step with screenshots. . . . . . . . easier access to hot-end. . . . . documented so you’ll have to dig or enough to prevent ABS from warping The Details experiment to see what each one does. . . . . . every couple of prints. . . to. two of the Pololu stepper driv- Machine Software . . . . if it’s off. you only do them once. . . rests against the extruder gear before Kit Build . . . . . by hand. . . . . . . Felix 1. . . . though some steps required reread. status with LEDs. . . one unresponsive and Slicing Software . . . . . its open to avoid visible Z wobble on your are nice to have. . . . . . . . . . . major upgrades. . . . . Several steps required entering Its print quality is great when the belts Value. . . . . . . . . . you »» Simpler extruder for quicker assem- move it up and down. . . . . . . . . . . .com 51 . . . . . . . . . .

029") >> Machine software Printrun >> Slicing software Slic3r >> OS supported Windows. handy accessories >> Print volume 7. T Tested he AO-100 is one of the easiest ways to get a RepRap by Cliff L. 52 . you’ll eventually find them).75mm (0. Levin and pliers. which is good because you might need to do some tweaking. so setup is a simple matter of Biffle removing clamps and ties that protect the machine during shipping and and Lyra plugging in a few cables. Slic3r and Your basic MendelMax.04 machine.9"×7. Linux >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $2.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Good manual. which are neither beautiful nor intuitive. knives. LulzBot provides Biffle copies on their website.5"×3. Mac.9" x >> Print speed z 150mm/sec >> Print material ABS. along with downloadable settings files (hunt for the Downloads link. so we used an older Ubuntu 11. SD card LulzBot AO-100 Aleph Objects lulzbot.1mm (0.004") to 0. with a better manual and accessories.500 assembled >> Pedigree RepRap MendelMax >> Print without PC? Yes. written The AO-100 uses the same software as most open source printers we tested: by Cliff L. PLA y >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. MendelMAX — it ships assembled. wrenches. It also ships with a bunch of nozzles. Installation was reasonably painless. The manual recommended Linux.

be adjusted together to set the filament as soon as we powered up the printer. got pinched between the spool and the Machine Software . how. . Phillips’ The manual provides no fix. . If these screws get out of lock. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . it. . . . Required significant tweaking and tuning. . . . . . . . . with Printrun) should have let us copy Value. . . .) even the heat. . . . accessories. . Too tight or too loose. . the printer’s speed. each screw and cranking them down (by at high speeds. . . . . . . . . LulzBot AO-100 SETUP how it compares »»Managing the filament tension. of most of the competition. . In our tests. . Budaschnozzle extruder. ConclusionS PERFORMANCE The good: Factory assembled. we tried again scar on your object. . Once we’d adjusted it. . . . . 5/5 a process for adjusting it. . . . . . . but can happen if you accidentally turn was solidly middle-of-the-road. pre-warm and a good Z height on one side of the leaving the computer plugged in wasn’t a spare print bed on a hot plate. . . . . . . The bad: features the popular and reliable process. . The Details well-written color manual. small hand). . While the LulzBot is Bad filament feed? Print B. 3/5 Like most printers. it never required manual nozzle Quality was midrange for a 2012 printer. and the Setup. .” Unfortunately. . . . . reliable. . . .500. . . This meant we couldn’t side of its frame to know when to stop print without supervising it. slip aluminum foil other. But when RepRaps and the MakerBot Cupcake. . To speed turnaround. . . . . . . . . but light on directions bly worse than either of those printers. makezine. The ugly: The software. . . Support/Overhangs . Part of the AO-100’s charm is its features often didn’t cool before more plastic was extruded. . . . . We spent one of the screws while the printer is an afternoon calibrating. The software section much as closed-source printers like the of the manual is heavy on descriptions Afinia. At 40mm/sec. . . . . . . . . for how to actually use the software. .com/3dprinting. way ahead Tall objects came out a bit wobbly. . . the going gets rough because while At $2. . LulzBot MakerBot Replicator. . the AO-100 can’t We had a print fail when the filament Hardware User Interface . Stillwell’s off — something that’s easy to do while improvement was from simply lowering modular aluminum X carriage. . . . . . it leaves a matching Accuracy. . . it uses a separate switch on the printer’s frame. the manual is wrong — we found a few but it’s unusual on a Mendel. . . . . . require some regular maintenance: Price seems high. as well positioning or adjustment. our tests indicate that quality suffers Files at makezine. . Reliability. Download- Derived from the RepRap Once set up. . . . . . . and walk Pro Tips RepRap Mendel. . . . need to be power-cycled. . . . . . . 3/5 moving down — and the position of this »»Taping the bed. . Speed . . . . . . It does. . . . . . Slicing Software . . .com 53 . . . . . . We couldn’t get this to work: the extruder carriage up and down on two printer would halt unexpectedly and screws. . . It’s great for This artifact was common on earlier newcomers to 3D printing. . ruining your print. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . With the end-stop height set and the carriage level. . . . devised one: bracing an SD card against sec. . . . . . . At 90mm/sec. to supervise the filament spool anyway. . . . . . this was markedly reduced. . but the greatest Dual extruders? Try R. . . it tension. 3/5 Instead. . . . . . . . Documentation . . . . . print quality between the heater and the glass. . . . Ease of Use. . 3/5 “feel” its nozzle touching the platform. we weren’t places — or when the user goes beyond able to find the cause. . the AO-100 is reasonably able print settings worked right away. . . We cranked out a few fun items Comes with lots of plastic. . . . . 2/5 — and the AO-100 drove its nozzle into The AO-100’s SD card slot (combined Noise . . . . but we were It’s easy to mar. the LulzBot AO-100 just by repeating the download-slice-print and a well-written manual. . 3/5 a different part of the platform. . the carriage is no longer level. . . . . . . . . . The AO-100’s manual says it’s “pre. . . The manual suggests odically reapplied to the print surface. . 5/5 drove its extruder nozzle down into the feed may fail. . . . . . . Tape must be peri. . . . . . . we got our first print on our third try. This is rare during operation. the output was nota- of each button. . adjusting the Z end-stop. . . With the factory settings. . 2/5 Like all printers derived from the a model to the printer. . . (Since we had step. . . so we capable of printing as fast as 200mm/ spool arm and feed tube support. . Two thumbscrews on the extruder must calibrated and tested. 4/5 box. . . . . . . »»Untangling the filament holder. . . . . . . . and if you print over Print Quality . the AO-100 costs more most printer manufacturers have a than some dual-nozzle printers like the knowledge base on their site. . . . . . the AO-100 moves the away. . . . . 3/5 surprised that it was so wrong out of the a scar in the tape. MendelMax. . . resulting in a droopy appearance. . as 3D-printed parts bracing its ever. . . . . . . frame and z-axis. . . . To platform can mean a head crash on the a huge burden. hit Print. 4/5 platform and had to be powered off. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5 switch is adjustable. and nearly twice as apparently doesn’t. .

big volume. SD card MakerGear M2 makergear. 54 .com Steel-solid. Teflon leadscrew x >> Print volume 8"×10"×8" >> Print speed 150mm/sec >> Print material ABS.499 assembled >> Pedigree RepRap Mendel/Prusa >> Print without PC? Yes. heated platform.299 kit. and the rest of the structural elements are stainless and anod- ized aluminum. The x. the motion is very smooth. Mac. The z-axis is two hefty rails of precision-ground shaft- ing actuated by a Teflon-coated Acme leadscrew mounted directly into the Z stepper motor. M Tested akerGear’s M2 is the long-awaited followup to their and reviewed Mosaic 3D printer. PLA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Metal construction. prints great — with tweaking. and while there is a family resemblance.and y-axes are built with precision linear rail operated by 2GT belts with aluminum pulleys. $1. The print volume has also been greatly expanded to 8"×10"×8" — one of the biggest in its price range. Forget plywood — this printer’s frame is Paul Leonard stainless steel. there’s by been a radical upgrade. the M2 could be best-in-class. RAMBo mother-board. polished frame.02mm possible) >> Machine software Printrun z >> Slicing software Slic3r y >> OS supported Windows.2mm (0. Linux >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $1. As a result of these premium parts.

MakerGear M2

how it compares
The extruder is MakerGear’s geared for the electronics; that will require the
stepper motor-based design, with their Arduino environment and downloadable
groove-mount hot end. The M2 ships Marlin firmware that’s been tweaked for
with a 0.35mm nozzle, but other sizes RAMBo support. Links to all these tools Kit Build . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
are available. The heated build platform are on MakerGear’s M2 wiki page. Setup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
is a sandwich of cork insulation, polyam- The M2 ships with an SD card reader Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
ide heating element, and laser-engraved and a card loaded with sample G-code
Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
aluminum, topped off with a sheet of files to verify that your printer is working
Hardware User Interface . . . . . . . . 3/5
borosilicate glass. It’s all pre-wired; just and hasn’t been damaged in transit. They
plug in the heater and thermistor. also include a 1kg spool of PLA filament.
Machine Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
The control electronics package is Still, there’s a learning curve. Before Slicing Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
UltiMachine’s latest RAMBo board, a you print, peruse MakerGear’s Google Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
refinement of the common RAMPS pack- Groups for tips on how to level the bed Reliability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
age, all on one board. RAMBo supports and adjust temperatures for different Print Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
dual extruders, so MakerGear (or you) plastics and bed surfaces (MakerGear Accuracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
might upgrade the printer to a dual- should put these in their documentation), Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
extruder setup in the future without and learn about the settings and options Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5
having to replace the electronics. available when printing. MakerGear has Value. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
taken some of the sting out of this by
Kit or Assembled?

Pro Tips
shipping it pretty well calibrated.
Unable to obtain a printer in time for
the test weekend, MAKE invited me to Performance
review mine, which I purchased as a kit Once I got the Z end-stop positioned Check MakerGear’s Google Groups
for $1,299. I recommend buying it fully correctly and the bed leveled, the M2 for calibration tips before doing
assembled for $1,499; it’s a small price to printed really well. The hot end got up to those first prints!
pay for the hours you’d spend (and the the set temperature quickly and remained
worry of something going wrong). stable; there’s a method for tuning the Don’t be afraid to go into the
The kit is very well organized and temperature control in the firmware, IRC chat and ask questions.
includes every tool you need except an but it’s very good without any tinkering. There’s nearly always someone
adjustable wrench. Kit documentation The heated bed worked great too. there, either from MakerGear
is very nice — animated videos, subas- Out of the box I’m getting better or just users, and they’re all happy
sembly drawings, explicit instructions for prints than I ever got from the communal to share their experiences and
critical steps — but also has confusing RepRap Prusa-ish bot down at my hacker- help you get your best prints.
gaps. Questions were answered promptly space: sharp corners and overhangs,
by MakerGear tech support on IRC.
During my build I discovered that my
z-axis platform wasn’t traveling smoothly
through its full range. MakerGear deter-
accurate dimensions, clean and true sur-
faces. The MakerGear wiki provides really
good default settings for Slic3r.
I’ve been experimenting with different
The Details
mined that the frame was welded out of layer heights, speeds, and temperatures,
square. They promptly replaced it and and I don’t think I’ve come near the M2’s
returned my M2 fully assembled. From full capabilities. Not only can I improve
my discussions with other M2 owners it the software settings to get even better
seems this was an isolated instance. output, but because the machine can
accommodate improvements in extrusion
Setup technology, I’ll also be able to expand and
Setup is simple: you can unpack, adjust upgrade my M2 for a long time to come.
the stops, load the software, and start
printing the included samples in less than Conclusions
an hour. Find a sturdy table — the M2’s For quality, service, and value, it’s hard to
metal construction makes it reassuringly find a better DIY desktop 3D printer than
heavy, and when it operates at higher the MakerGear M2. The structure is very
speeds it will shake things around. rigid, the linear motion components sec-
With premium linear motion
Jennifer Leonard

Installing Printrun/Pronterface and ond to none. The M2 is capable of pro-
Slic3r is straightforward, and you can ducing high-quality prints straight out of components and the latest all-in-
choose other software packages if you the box — with the potential to improve one motherboard, the M2 is one
wish. I have yet to modify the firmware to best-in-class with a little tweaking. high-quality machine. 55


>> Primo features 200W
glass build platform
heats up fast, high-grade
linear motion compo-
nents, LED backlighting,
LCD user interface

>> Print volume 9"×10"×7"
>> Print speed Very fast,
>> Print material PLA,
>> Resolution (z-axis)
>> Machine software
>> Slicing software Slic3r
>> OS supported Windows,
Mac, Linux
>> Open source? Yes
>> Price as tested $1,295
>> Pedigree RepRap
>> Print without PC?
Optional, SD card

Trinity Labs

This professional-grade printer is a cut above its kin,
but is it ready for your living room?

Tested he Trinity Labs MendelMaxPro is one of a recent spate
reviewed of “retail RepRap” printers (see the Lulzbot AO-100, page 52),
by but this unit has two great things going for it. First, it’s the newest in its
Griffin class, so it benefits from “standing on the shoulders” of earlier efforts. Second,
founder Ezra Zygmuntowicz has extensive experience with the MendelMax,
having built countless versions before developing this one as a product.
Trinity Labs has reimagined the MendelMax as a tool for the assembly line:
think industrial sliders, cable management, worklights, and service access. It’s
a machine meant for tech startup backroom production, but is this affordable
“professional model” ready for wide release?
The MendelMaxPro has a macho, aerospace-grade look, like it’s ready for



how it compares
deep-sea trawling or powering a winch the drive rods with the stepper motor
to rescue your Dodge Ram out of a bog. disengaged until the extruder nozzle
Counter to appearances, the fine-looking can trace a parallel path across the build
Misumi structural beams represent a platform, then adjust a bolt on the x-axis Setup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
cost savings over the traditional RepRap side bracket that triggers the end-stop to Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
threaded rods and components. Each establish 0mm layer height. We had no Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
element was carefully sourced, and many trouble starting a print and monitoring its
Hardware User Interface . . . . . . . . 5/5
extra features came about because the temperature and progress in Pronterface.
Machine Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
designer located high-grade components
Slicing Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
closer to hobby price points. We tested Performance
a prototype before customer release, so For a machine known for its high speed, Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
it was more sensitive than you’d expect. I was surprised to encounter adhesion Reliability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
Trinity Labs did a solid job redesigning problems until I read a suggestion in the Print Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
elements of the MendelMax, replacing documentation that I’d overlooked: paint Accuracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5
less-reliable parts necessary for “true a light smear of an ABS-and-acetone Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
RepRap” self-replication with industrial slurry onto the glass first. This solution Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5
solutions. Most notably, they replaced worked well, though it made me less Value. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
the rods and bearings in the Cartesian excited about having the MendelMaxPro

Pro Tips
gantry — subject to wear and drifting printing in my living room.
out of spec — with industrial sliders that Disappointingly, the Slic3r profile —
give confidence the machine will hit its combined with my first-time operator
marks after hundreds of hours of use. skills — delivered lackluster results when With Mendel-breed machines,
The team also sourced an excellent printing the snake and the torture-test the z-axis uprights can bind on
pair of precision drive and smooth guide object. Horizontal surfaces were true, but the rods if the extruder slips out of
rods for the z-axis that let them eliminate verticals were not smooth and the top parallel. To improve performance,
the redundant z-axis riders typical of caps of each part were more of an open loosen the z-axis guide brackets,
Mendels, a primary risk of over-constraint mesh. Trinity Labs customer support tilt the extruder arm until the
and binding. Professional-grade couplers suggested turning off extruder “hopping” nozzle’s path is perfectly parallel
for the threaded rods help maintain — a professional 3D printer strategy for to the plate, then run the z-axis up
integrity at high speeds. lifting up and touching back down that and down for a while to “wear in”
The custom-milled extruder has a pair allows for very fast travel — and the sides the machine. Now you can tighten
of hobbed drive and idler gears that allow of the snake, in particular, were improved. the guides to hold this position,
for fast, precise shifts between extruding The owl model, printed with infill, wasn’t without introducing binding.
and retracting without filament slippage. as clean as that of many other printers.
Folded aluminum braces clamp a heavy
glass build plate suitable for printing in
various materials. Underneath the glass,
a heater board with super-fat traces pro-
Clearly the default Slic3r profile needs
tweaking, but I suspect the real issue is
calibrating the machine. While it was
easy to get it up and running, I think
The Details
vides steady heat for printing in ABS. really dialing it in would take that entire
An LCD screen provides status hour of one-on-one dedicated care. The
updates, while strips of LEDs illuminate benefits of careful tweaking are probably
the entire work area nicely. well worth it: this is a machine designed
for high speeds and high repeatability.
Customers will receive one hour of tech Conclusions
support with each machine, but we didn’t When casting the role of battle-tank
utilize our full hour (we should have). printer in your entrepreneurial tech
After installing Pronterface and the product venture, look no further: the
custom Slic3r profile provided by Trinity MendelMaxPro is designed to impress.
Labs, we were able to quickly generate Home users should wait for complete
a model and connect to the machine. documentation and calibration proce-
(The documentation, which is a work in dures to overcome the early-batch kinks. Pro grade: With a custom-milled
progress, lacked instructions for using Clearly the potential is there; Trinity Labs precision extruder, LED lighting,
the SD card interface.) uses MendelMaxPro machines to churn and industrial-grade sliders on the
The machine required very little tweak- out 3D-printed parts for this and other x- and y-axes, this machine is a cut
ing to set up auto-homing — just rotate products, and they look great. above its MendelMaxian kin. 57

Mac.” After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in and Emmanuel December 2011.1mm >> Machine software Printrun/Pronterface >> Slicing software x Slic3r. Skeinforge z >> OS supported For the tech-savvy.4mm–0.000 in funding. speed. Printrbot offers expandability.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Extendable in any axis. as “your Maloof Maloof first 3D printer. Linux >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $799 assembled y >> Pedigree Original >> Print without PC? Yes. SD card slot >> Print volume 6"×6"×6" >> Print speed Up to 200mm/sec >> Print material ABS. T WRITTEN Tested he Printrbot is a relative newcomer to the field of consumer- by by Blake Blake grade 3D printers and is touted by its creator. SD card Printrbot LC printrbot. and acceptable prints at a reasonable price. where they received over $800. Printrbot has Mota been working to develop low-cost printers that can maintain quality while 58 . heated print bed. PLA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. Brook Drumm.

. but layer height remained consistent Speed . . . . . it Conclusions In Pronterface. Setup The Printrbot connects to a Mac or PC via USB cable and uses the popular open source print interface Pronterface. . 3/5 open frame design that makes it compact ably accurate. . . . . . . We did wish for a cleaner Noise . a print volume Overhang tests caused some issues Machine Software . . . . . All printing us that the larger Printrbot Plus ($699 Pro Tips axes can be modified to create a larger kit. 3/5 box or an enclosed case around the bed rippling could be seen. . . . . . . . . . . . . separating the power supply from the body of the printer itself. . . We hit Print and let it run without needing encountered no kinking or snags in the to futz too much. You can choose your first print. Printrbot’s getting-started guide Mounting the filament spool on tells you what you need to know to cali. . . . . . . . 3/5 (16"×16"×16"). it to print larger. . . . . . . . . . . . . Add a funneled fan to make your is a Printrbot a great machine for getting prints even cleaner. . its relative. . . . . . . but the results are certainly acceptable Ease of Use. .com 59 . . . the Printrbot features an form of the prints was solid and reason. . . . They’ve produced 3D model. . Documentation . . extendable. . . . . . . . 3/5 We tested the Printrbot LC. 3/5 lunch-money price of $799 assembled. . . . . . . . . . and curved printing. . . the cleverly designed spool reel sits on casters It comes assembled. The LC sells for the save-your. your feet wet with home 3D printing. . . the Printrbot LC is a good and Then adjust your spool to make One trick the Printrbot employs to reasonably priced introduction to this sure filament spools off evenly. . 4/5 page 60). . . requires a little calibration. . . . Support/Overhangs . . you can tweak and upgrade simplicity of its design makes other solu. . . . . and requires you to familiar- ize yourself with the software interface. . . from the Printrbot Plus Performance with its 8"×8"×8" print volume. surfaces showed visible stair-stepping. . . . . . . . . 3/5 and extruder. tech-savvy. . . . . . . . . . So not only out Printrbots can get up to 200mm/sec. . . . . . . . . see page On the plus side. a few different models to suit a variety of user needs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and print of our nautilus gears. Printrbot LC how it compares increasing portability. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 feet in height. . unplug your computer calibrate the Printrbot and send it a sliced while the Printrbot keeps printing. . Slicing Software . . some Print Quality . . . which have a precise. . . It’ll save you reports Printrbots being extended over modification it can be made even faster. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5 Unlike many 3D printers. . . and a heated bed for ABS with noticeable buckling. . . Hardware User Interface . . . . but once you’re up and running. . . . . . . . the new Bukobot. 3/5 laser-cut plywood frame. you can The Details and feeds filament to the extruder. . While this software has a slight learning curve. . . . . . the power supply is a simple but brate the machine and the software for effective solution. . . . . 3/5 of 6"×6"×6". . . 4/5 most importantly. . which allows you to unplug your of higher-priced units. taking apart your new printer. And if you’re feeling spooling mechanism in our tests. . . . . . . . . once Within a half-hour we were able to started. . . makezine. . out of the box the 46) the most flexible 3D printer we’ve Printrbot LC was relatively speedy Make sure the printed gears for seen on the market. Perched on top of the power enclosure. . . . The manufacturer compared to other machines. . . light (only 18lbs). . . . . . . . . detail so your inexpensive. . . . . . . (reviewed on high resolution or vertical smoothness. $949 assembled) has beefier smooth build volume. . . . . . . . and proportions turned out to be fairly Reliability. . . . If you’re new to 3D printing but relatively for 30 seconds to see how it feeds. . . . . . . . making the Printrbot (and guide rods that help with stability. 4/5 $549 as a kit. but the overall Accuracy. . grown your 6" build platform. . and it was on its way. and in higher tions seem needlessly over-engineered. . . . . and the adventurous. . . . . . . . . . . . . to the The final prints won’t win any awards for Setup. . computer while it prints from the card. . to print from an SD card and. . they reminded Value. . keep its desktop footprint so small is fascinating emerging technology. . . . . . compact little The LC also features an SD card slot on machine can compete with the quality the back. . extrude filament can also be expanded once you’ve out. . . . . . . faster. . 4/5 compactable Printrbot Jr. . and with the motor are secure. and others featuring a According to the manufacturer tweaked- double-wide base of 16"×8". . . In tall vertical surfaces. . with a for such an inexpensive printer. . . . .

in one go. 60 . B Written Tested rook Drumm’s Printrbot Jr.1mm >> Machine software Printrun/Pronterface >> Slicing software Slic3r >> OS supported Windows.) and By far the tiniest and least expensive 3D printer on the market. strated at World Maker Faire 2012. PrintrbotGO. (Also in this series: the briefcase printer and Cliff L. printrbot. that was demon- Griffin Emmanuel Mota. Mac.) But this pint-sized. (Some of the other printers in our test could probably print a full-scale model of the Printrbot Jr. can be pow- ered by lithium battery >> Print volume 4"×4"×4" >> Print speed 100mm/sec >> Print material PLA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. very easy to use.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Compact. 3D printing for the first time. Levin. Matt Surprisingly good prints from the cheapest. folds for portability. Linux >> Open source? Yes x >> Price as tested $399 assembled z >> Pedigree Original >> Print without PC? No y Printrbot Jr. smallest. is the first of what will be by by Lyra Lyra a series of “portable Printrbots” designed for those exploring Levin. PLA-only printer borrows enough of its bones from its parents. created in collaboration with designer Ben Heck. is a Blake Maloof baby-scale version of the original Printrbot. most portable 3D printer yet. the Jr.

Printrbot Jr.

how it compares
and adds enough unique special features, tively standard (some identical to the
to be a better experience than just “My original Printrbot, whose instructions are
First 3D Printer!™” on the vendor’s site).
When fully open, the diminutive By following the grown-up Printrbot’s Setup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
machine fits easily on a corner of your instructions, we were able to set up Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5
desk, and most of its footprint is the the software and print our “Christmas Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
4"×4"×4" printing volume. When folded morning” test fairly quickly. Links to
Hardware User Interface. . . . . . . . . 3/5
for travel, a good third of the volume is the recommended software (Slic3r and
Machine Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
packed in, with most of the fiddly bits Pronterface) are in the Instructions page
protected by the bed. It easily slips into on the Printrbot website. Having already
Slicing Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
a backpack, a theory we proved both installed and played with these with Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
before and after our test. other printers, we already knew the Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
The unit comes with a standard, standard run-time procedure. Print Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
inexpensive PC ATX power supply, and We used the slicing profile Drumm Accuracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
the vendor provided us with a premium included with the unit to prepare the Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
add-on — a laser-cut enclosure for the parts for printing. Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
PSU that does double duty as a filament Value. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
spool holder. Performance

Pro Tips
But there’s another option for power, For a $400 assembled printer, the print
unique to this machine: using a recharge- test results were tremendously better
able lithium polymer (LiPo) battery as an than expected.
optional add-on to supply power when The first prints we rolled off the Jr. You’ll need to connect the stepper
printing in the field. We ran some of our were officially “not bad.” Following these, motors to the control board. Watch
final test prints using a LiPo quadcopter we took time to carefully level the plat- the assembly videos and patch the
battery (warning: soldering required), form by eye, running the nozzle horizon- cables into the correct ports; other-
and were amazed to realize we could just tally across the plate to make sure the wise you can damage your printer.
as easily be printing them on top of a path was parallel.
mountain somewhere. The torture test printed decently on a Get a roll of 3M ScotchBlue
We began our test with the Jr. Beta, third attempt, but the slicing profile was Painter’s Tape Original Multi-
which was replaced with the final Jr. perhaps too conservative in terms of Surface 2090, from any hardware
release before we had the opportunity layer height, so the results were coarse; store, for covering the print bed.
to print all the test pieces. Thus we were and the printer extruded more plastic
able to observe improvements in the
released model, most notably a process
for leveling the platform by tightening
it down on compression springs, and
than necessary, resulting in constrained
bolt holes and runny vertical features.
The printed nautilus gears worked
immediately upon assembly, showing off
The Details
adjustments to the laser-cut folding parts the Jr.’s ability to print thin, stable walls.
to allow for pretty much one-handed Though the prints suffered from common
flipping down and closing up of the problems such as not capping the top of
build platform. horizontal flats and low resolution, they
Simplicity is a design feature for this were certainly as good or better than
printer, and while it ships assembled, some of the $1,000-and-up machines.
videos of Drumm quickly disassembling
and reassembling the unit demonstrate Conclusions
how carefully the machine has been Definite perks of the Printrbot Jr. are
reduced to the fewest moving parts its size and price: it’s the most portable
possible. In his quest for simplicity, how- 3D printer on the market, and priced at
ever, Drumm sacrificed some bells and only $400 it’s within reach of hobbyists,
whistles: the Jr. prints only PLA, doesn’t students, and other casual users.
have a heated platform or a fan, and has Plus it seems likely that the Jr.’s open
a simplified gantry system. source hardware and software will arm
Not only does this tiny printer
a dedicated community with the tools perform as well as machines cost-
Setup necessary to tweak and improve this sim- ing three times more, it’s also the
At the time of our test, documentation ple unit so that power users can achieve most compact, it folds up to be even
for setup, calibration, and use were results comparable to far more expensive smaller for portability — and it can
absent. Thankfully, the steps were rela- and beefy machines. even run on a quadcopter battery. 61



>> Primo features LCD
control panel, cold pause,
paper-thin layer heights

>> Print volume 11.2"×6"×6.1"
>> Print speed
>> Print material PLA
>> Resolution (z-axis)
>> Machine software
>> Slicing software
z >> OS supported Windows,
Mac, Linux
>> Open source? No
>> Price as tested $2,199
>> Pedigree MakerBot
>> Print without PC? Yes,
SD card

Replicator 2
MakerBot Industries

No longer open source, the Replicator 2 nevertheless
impresses with major upgrades.

Tested The Replicator 2 is the newest iteration of MakerBot’s
Emmanuel wildly popular Replicator. Now faster, quieter, and with a paper-thin
Mota 100-micron minimum layer height, the Replicator 2 is worthy of its 2.0
Eric badge. It sports a new steel frame, oil-impregnated bronze linear bearings, and
a 37% larger build volume, and it’s optimized for PLA.
written The upgrades make what was already a fantastic machine even better —
Emmanuel but a higher price and a departure from the open source platform may impact
Mota MakerBot’s current popularity with makers. The Replicator 2 single-extruder
PLA-only model that we tested costs $2,199. The Replicator 2X dual-extruder


MakerBot Replicator 2

how it compares
ABS/PLA model (scheduled for early and arrange multiple STL models on
2013 release) will set you back $2,795. the build platform with ease. Slicing for
Another $350 gets you a 1-year medium and low resolution settings is
“MakerCare” warranty on electronics now performed by the Miracle-Grue Setup. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
and mechanical components. engine within MakerWare, significantly Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
The Replicator 2 has a sleek modern faster than Skeinforge, which is still used Ease of Use. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
look with an all-black powder-coated for high-resolution printing.
Hardware User Interface . . . . . . . . 5/5
steel frame and new PVC side panels The sliced model is loaded onto an
Machine Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
that are removable, customizable, and SD card (included) and inserted into the
shaped to allow easy cleaning of any Replicator 2. Then you just hit Print and
Slicing Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
excess material that falls from the build sit back and watch (or not). The use Speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
platform. The machine has kept the same of the SD card, carried over from the Reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
overall footprint and basic design while original Replicator, frees you from having Print Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
enlarging the build volume. A larger, a computer tethered to the machine for Accuracy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4/5
more responsive LCD panel with keypad the duration of the print. Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
on the front right corner allows for easy The Replicator 2’s initial setup, out-of- Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5/5
control and monitoring of the machine. box to first print, was simple and quick — Value. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3/5
A highlight is the new Cold Pause it took us less than 15 minutes, including

Pro Tips
feature that pauses the print, cools the attaching the extruder and loading the
extruder, and waits for you to resume filament. MakerBot pre-leveled the bed
where you left off, which could come in for us; that might take you an extra five.
handy in more than a few situations. The paper-thin resolution on the
Another fun, though perhaps less use- Performance High quality setting is amazing,
ful, function of the keypad is the ability The Replicator 2 produced consistently but Medium or Low (Faster) quali-
to select the color of the interior LED attractive prints and is capable of layer ty settings are great for most jobs.
lighting to suit your mood. The build area heights as fine as 0.1 millimeters (100
of the Replicator 2 is now inhabited by a microns). Capping is visibly improved Active cooling helps sharpen fine
quick-release, frosted acrylic bed specifi- over the original Replicator, leaving our details when printing with PLA,
cally made for use with PLA (polylactic owl test print with a smooth, round top. but some types of unsupported
acid) plastic. PLA is a corn-based, biode- Our test machine did show minor signs protrusions may still droop. Try
gradable, and sustainable medium for 3D of under-retraction, leaving a small line gently tilting the machine just
printing that has a lower melting point of extra material on some prints, though while it’s printing chins, noses,
than ABS plastic and doesn’t require a this may have been particular to our or other unsupported features.

The Details
heated bed, so it uses 32% less energy machine, which was not a final produc-
to print. tion model.
The Replicator 2 failed to produce the
Setup arch in our torture-test print, though few
Without the need to wait for a heated printers succeeded at this feat.
bed, the Replicator 2’s warm-up time to Another much-appreciated improve-
start a print is much shorter than Maker- ment: reduced noise. The Replicator 2
Bot’s previous ABS-printing models. was noticeably quieter thanks to its new
Print bed leveling is also easier, thanks self-lubricating, oil-impregnated brass
to the new three-point bed leveling sys- linear bearings. Setting the printer on
tem. Instead of four adjustment screws, carpet reduced the machine noise to
one in each corner of the bed, three only the whir of the extruder’s fan.
screws are arranged in a triangular shape,
widening the center point; a twist of two Conclusions
screws can quickly level the bed. These The Replicator 2 is a definite improve-
two features make preparation time ment over the original. Print quality is
quicker and more straightforward. comparable to other machines in our test,
The upgraded features on the machine but the new software is a real upgrade,
are complemented by brand-new soft- and the hardware improvements make Leveling the new, bigger build plat-
ware. MakerBot’s new MakerWare the machine more dependable, sturdy, form is easier with the new three-
replaces the open source ReplicatorG, and consistent, with a larger build size, point system. An injection-molded
with a cleaner and more intuitive user faster print times, and quieter running. bracket holds a standard filament
interface that lets you scale, rotate, The new look is a welcome addition too. spool on the back, clean and simple. 63

Repetier. also. W Tested hile many of the machines in this roundup are root- and ed in the RepRap movement. injection-mold- ed parts. SeeMeCNC uses injection-molded connectors rather than 64 . PVA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0.1 printer kit ($189–$594) is a RepRap Huxley Ethan Hartman with a literal twist: the vertical bars have a slight bend at their ends to alter the geometry. Huxley >> Print without PC? No SeeMeCNC H1. Linux >> Open source? Yes y >> Price as tested $551 kit >> Pedigree RepRap Mendel.75mm and 3mm fila- ment. ReplicatorG >> Slicing software Slic3r. Their H1. optional heated build platform >> Print volume 6"×6"×6" >> Print speed 80mm/sec >> Print material ABS. SeeMeCNC is still very much Ethan Hartman reviewed by part of it.3mm x >> Machine software z Printrun/Pronterface. The most do-it-yourself machine we tested — how well it prints is up to you.1mm–0.1 seemecnc. hot-end takes 1. PLA.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Super cheap. Skeinforge >> OS supported Windows.

it’s a rewarding project for a dedi- I had a love/hate relationship with cated tinkerer. . . . . their help team was very made it seem a little out of place. . . 1. and I had some trouble with While the H1. . I wanted during my brief time with the Speed . . .) thing. . . . . . 2–4/5 with ArtSoft’s commercial Mach3 pack. running with basic functionality. . . . . . you won’t mistake it for a consumer. . . . 2–5/5 sensor to use with the heated platform. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2/5 territory stops and homing. . . we ran without end. and mentation. . . . . but we weren’t able to test it with ooze issues. . know- a few tweaks to the startup G-code in ing temperature settings. . . . . . standard for RepRap printers — the hot-end and filament size. . more than any other in this test. . . . . . which is good. . . this is probably not the novel delta robot-based design that uses machine for you. . . . . we got it dialed. . . . . Help team is responsive. . . . . . . . . . . . . Extruder. . . . . . . . It’s the most Documentation . .1 how it compares printed ones. . . . . . . . . . 4/5 Interestingly. . . . replace the homing The kit instructions look OK for basic users. . . . . (In the Printer Settings/Custom G-code tab. . . . . though there seemed to be just a matter of how much effort you’re no obvious place for end-stops. . . steel pinch rollers that accept both PERFORMANCE rather. . . I didn’t have my Reliability. . . . it’s code (see my tweaks in “Setup”). we can’t really give crimping and soldering to integrate it print quality ratings to the SeeMeCNC. 2–5/5 age. . . . . . . . Time ran out before was kind enough to send us an assem. . . . Among customers DIY-feeling unit in this roundup. . . Noise . read on. assembly. I had trouble locating good instructions for CONCLUSIONS Slic3r configuration. . . . . . willing to put into it. . . . . . a Bowden-based version of the Steve’s this gets your motor running. . . 3/5 Pronterface with Slic3r. . We’ll be quite interested to see After I got the machine up and how that new machine fares. SeeMeCNC’s support got that sorted. . then the H1. responsive and knowledgeable. . . 3/5 the mix. a unpleasant. . . . . felt like an old-school RepRap. 2/5 who choose RAMPS or RAMBo boards. SeeMeCNC relies on RepRap docu- For that reason. . . so we know they’re attainable. . . . . . RAMPS SeeMeCNC's “Steve’s Extruder”: while looking for a RepRap kit to integrate with electronics are a well-documented the design allowed for quickly swapping some parts lying around your tool shed. temperatures dialed in. . well it prints.75mm and 3mm filament. days of 3D printing. . . . . . . and it’s Ease of Use. 4/5 Putting the H1. And if you’re that tinkerer. makezine. . I still spent a few hours For these reasons. . . . . 2–5/5 that configuration. . . . my start G-code reads: G92 X0 Y0 Z0. . . . . . ReplicatorG. . . . . .4 to wire my electronics. and that however. . . . . But this is a tinkerer’s machine. . . And the print results? With a machine oriented machine: you’re definitely in DIY this configurable. . on the other hand. In the Printer Settings/General Settings if you're looking for a system to act as a test bed for new extruders or electronics. . . . . SeeMeCNC has also been working Spoiler alert: if this sort of thing sounds on another printer: the Rostock Max. filament. . . . very much up to you whether that’s a Hardware User Interface .1 together felt like a bit which I don’t think showcases this Pro Tips of a throwback. . . . ledgeable: seemecnc@gmail. . Even though SeeMeCNC machine at its best. . We’ve seen high-quality prints by other out end-stops.1 homing code and replacing it with a G92 might just be the 3D printer for you. . . . just like in the early I’d hardly started tweaking: if you find Slic3r — basically removing the G28 and custom start G-code. . . . . . . . it’s an even more compelling proposition. leading to some Print Quality . Value. . . . . If you print with Slic3r and with- with a RAMPS board. . . . . I set the Print Center to 0. . . . . 1/5 a popular software solution is pairing good thing — and also up to you how Machine Software . . . . a nice upgrade. . . . the H1. . . plastic sticking to its large nozzle. . A few quick emails with machine. bled machine. . .1 is a nice-looking RepRap. . . . It’s not a 3D printer you’ll unwrap and “Steve’s Extruder” has dual stainless start printing with on Christmas morning. If.0. . . . . . and Skeinforge are also in Frankly. . . layer heights. . If the bleeding edge is more your The Details tab. the platform because I didn’t have the Support/Overhangs . . . . First off. I didn’t get the results Slicing Software . there are several ingful it is to share those. . . . . . . . . . . . . Setup. I’m not sure how mean. . even after diving The H1. . This necessitated yourself itching to spend hours perfect. 4/5 SETUP And I was initially printing with PLA. And to set the current position as home. though Repetier. . .1 is also offered SeeMeCNC: for one. . . because you’ll solder tricky to keep it aligned while changing and crimp the connections yourself. . .com 65 . . . SeeMeCNC H1. . . . Prints kept popping off Accuracy. . . .1 is definitely a throwback: this into the forums. . I used reprap. . . . . . . . . it was its $189 starting price is awfully enticing. . . 3/5 electronics options. .

000. Linux >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $699 assembled z >> Pedigree Original >> Print without PC? No Solidoodle 2 solidoodle. full enclosure. and Eric In 2009.1mm–0.3mm >> Machine software Printrun/Pronterface >> Slicing software Slic3r >> OS supported An undisputed value leader — and a hint of good things to come.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Heated platform. low price point >> Print volume 6"×6"×6" >> Print speed 50mm/sec >> Print material ABS. and comes completely assembled. Chu it was a shot across the bow of the professional 3D printer industry: home 3D printing is here. Mac. prints out of the box. Solidoodle is the company started by Sam Cervantes. PLA y >> Resolution (z-axis) x 0. an early MakerBot 66 . L WRITTEN Tested et’s get one thing straight right off the bat: the Solidoodle 2 by by Ethan Ethan is a machine that simply would not have been possible a few short Hartman Hartman years ago. prints better than the Cupcake. Here’s another: the Solidoodle 2 costs $499 for the base model. when MakerBot introduced the Cupcake CNC kit for under $1.

friends. . . . . but didn’t have any functional issues. . . Don’t anticipate being not to like this little bot. . . . . . The output was wavy. And check electronics sitting exposed on the back of to the design and 67 . (Tinkerers can no doubt find third-party That nozzle seems awfully hot! but none of this should have any func. 5/5 Yes. Tweak if needed. . . . . however. . . . . . . . . . . On the upside. While it’s doubtful that unboxing will Dialing down the temperature impro- generate the sort of loving pictorials given to new Apple products. . . . well. . . . . So how does it print? Not too bad. 3/5 community forums for both projects. . . . . solutions for this. . . . . . . . . so grab by trading Skeinforge tips. . the machine was fast and reliable. . . . . . . . . . . and clamps. . Rods are secured by hose a low 190°C. . . . 3/5 wiki/Sanguinololu) and Printrun/ listed. . . If you have Conclusions trouble. (We’d like to see As the machine lacks an interface. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . makezine. . . . . and ture has to be set manually. . Few things are more frustrating fall asleep and spoil a print job. Solidoodle’s email tech support Bottom line: It’s just about impossible was responsive. price point. . with an optional too much as you’re removing the top. way. . . . . Like the MakerBots. Setup than losing a print hours in. . . . . . . . . . . . . once we figured out that the build plate tempera- The Details Kapton sheet for the build surface. case. . . These are service- able. $699 with a full enclosure. . designs for these made available. . . . .org/ baud rate for Pronterface was incorrectly Machine Software . . . tional impact: score one for frugality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $499. 4/5 the price that low? Some corners had were below average for the printers we Value. That’s though a bit more tuning could go a long Accuracy. . . or $599 with a heated plat. . . . . . . but we could have spent a lot more time tweaking. . you’d better go buy the printer suggests that the community the color you’ve been really wanting with is hard at work improving the default some of that money you just saved. . . . winner on value. The single profile included with Support/Overhangs . .) Make sure your com. . . . trouble. . . . . and their design leverages the you move the Solidoodle. 4/5 But let’s get back to that price point. . . . . . . 3/5 open source RepRap community and might we suggest you enclose the Documentation . program. . . . . . . . .) most likely by tattooed. . . and petition when it comes to out-of-the-box heated platform and full enclosure you’ll tweak the USB connector on the print quality. . . 5/5 to be cut. . Speed . we had no a tiny supply of 1. . . . . . . my the machine. as well guide to find setup instructions on the as efforts to get good Slic3r profiles. . . . for value-minded tinkerers. . . . Solidoodle has adopted electronics on the next generation? Ease of Use. Performance Reliability. . Setup. . . . Visiting the websites associated with ment might be nice. . . . . USB cable. .) The Solidoodle isn’t the prettiest. The build plate was well leveled (The Solidoodle will also take PLA.word You’ll be directed by the startup press. puter doesn’t go to sleep during a long Make sure your computer doesn’t run. A number of brackets and parts overhangs dropped a bit: the owl feathers are 3D-printed and ugly. . . . . but from the factory. 3/5 form. just in you can only print from a computer. it’s an absolute no-brainer There are a few pain points. it does The scrappy Solidoodle 2 is a clear your screwdriver. . . Solidoodle website. . . and for the most part. . Cervantes. though not best-in-class. Slicing Software . . 2/5 How did the scrappy Brooklynites get the Solidoodle resulted in prints that Noise . they tested. and be careful — tilt lag a bit behind its more expensive com. . Solidoodle 2 out those hose clamps! That. . . . . . . . . though standard were among the worst of the bunch. . . . . printed startup guide. . . . . . . . . the basics are there: assembled printer. . . 5/5 Sanguinololu electronics (reprap. The frame is a basic very high. machines are assembled in Brooklyn. Mr. . . You can’t load or change filament with For those of us who don’t get excited the metal enclosure in place. . . is how to DIY. . But with just a few tweaks to keep ABS prints cozy. . . . . . . . 4/5 DIY printers. . . . . . . . . . . Solidoodle 2 how it compares alumnus. . 2/5 “3D printer in every home” money. a minor issue that cost us 15 Pronterface software. . . . . There are lively minutes of precious setup time. Bone up on your favorite slicing practice for RepRaps. Print Quality . . . . . . . . (A voltage regulator on our could easily become the machine to beat. . . Extruder temperature seemed Pro Tips were the right ones. . . . . . despite nominally being set to welded box. . . . . . . fixie-riding You’ll want to be mindful whenever hipsters. and with its low stuck for long. . . . . 3/5 what’s become the popular standard: We also discovered that the default Hardware User Interface . .) A bit more fila. ABS is recommended. one replacement ved things.75mm ABS filament. . . . . . . . . . . . . Solidoodle unit may have been bent during abound with tweaks. profiles: blogs like solidoodletips. . . . . . . .

it has already made waves in the community due to its and Keith huge build area and competitive price.400 assembled >> Pedigree Original.1mm y >> Machine software x Repetier or Printrun >> Slicing software Slic3r or KISSlicer >> OS supported Windows. accurate printer with a huge build area and lots of potential. PVA >> Resolution (z-axis) 0.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features Huge print volume. Linux >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $1. ABS. T WRITTEN Tested ype A Machines’ Series 1 is one of the newest (and larg- by by Eric Eric est) 3D printers we reviewed. rock-solid extruder >> Print volume 9"×9"×9" >> Print speed 90mm/sec >> Print material PLA. Type A’s tiny crew of Andrew Rutter and a handful of hackers out of Noisebridge and TechShop began constructing Series 1 proto- 68 . quick-release build An affordable. z Mac. Ozar Based in San Francisco. but even though it was released only Weinhoffer Weinhoffer months ago. with RAMPS electronics >> Print without PC? No Type A Series 1 Type A Machines typeamachines.

. . . . . . the machine an LCD-screen interface to boot. . . . . . . . . 4/5 make modifications at will. lacked an SD card slot in this config- The machine’s 9"-cubed build vol- ume is so big (1. . problems. . . . To them. . . . .2 liters) that one of the “bonus” prints we did during our review weekend was a full-scale. . . . . It has a huge build area and Type A outfitted our demo unit with it’s fast. and since the included spool of moving at high speeds. . . . . . . . . . meaning you can build large demo unit was loud. . .” support an SD card slot. . a problem that work with this machine. It’s also quite accurate — Accuracy. . .) The Series 1 performed extremely Like MakerBot’s Replicator 2. . . we’d like to see Type A offer this as standard. 5/5 the pertinent case and equipment files speeds of 90mm/sec and travel speeds Print Quality . . . 4/5 see someone from this community share of 0. and you don’t have to babysit the machine tightening of bolts. . . . . Its construction is rock-solid tive price. . . . . shoot and repair. . . . . the owl came Use a laser cutter to make extra material to look at. . 3/5 ing the finalized design since mid-year. . and reliable. . . A beefy torsion what’s next. . . . . . level it. which is In general. changes in filament diameter. with aluminum parts includ. . . . . . . 3/5 good reason: plywood is cheap. . . . . . which Documentation . . 3/5 cut plywood. . . and Overall. 4/5 product. 2/5 a design for a fan shroud to direct air down to 0. . affordable. . . . . . Type A and reliable. The Details The jumbo volume is also perfect for Also disappointing was the lack of printing multiple parts or even whole documentation on Type A’s website. . . . However. we’re very happy with this lift it free. . . . . Type A Series 1 how it compares types in August 2011. like many of heated print bed for printing ABS plas. . . . this is your printer. . . . . . . . . . the other machines. . We’re huge the team had several iterations of their fans. . . . . . and it’s held links and slicing profiles. If you’re their new “Winchester” extruder drive. to remove it. . . .05mm (50 microns). in our “torture test. . . . stand-alone printing. . This route is popular for typing a Double Winchester for sale in Machine Software . . . . . Also. but no trouble- in place on the Z stage between the head shooting or instruction on how to use of a bolt and a spring at each corner. . . as of the time of this review. with a minor tradeoff: PLA is more able to handle the extremely small arch the Series 1’s RAMP electronics “gooey” than other media under heat. . . . . . The Type A crew claims Speed . 5/5 from the diagonally mounted fan toward the stepping of layers is difficult to detect. . build your own. meaning you can download their frame design can clock in at printing Reliability. . . . . . . . . . and achieving a perfect snake print time between prints! removes the need (and expense) for a was no challenge. . . . 4/5 Series 1 case is constructed from laser. . . . . PLA is not only a pleasing nautilus gears in one go. . . . . . wearable hat. it’s also biodegradable out beautifully (even at the tips of the build platforms and minimize (made of cornstarch) and nontoxic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . It’s also completely exposed. . . Another benefit of the Series 1’s con- Slicing Software . . Pro Tips the nozzle. . . 5/5 from Thingiverse. . 3/5 The Series 1 is an open hardware struction: speed. and they’ve been sell. the well in our test prints. . . . assemblies at once. . . . . . . . tic. . . . . makezine. . . . . The build platform They provide the necessary download is made of laser-cut acrylic. . .1mm and will happily go all the way Noise . . especially when Ultimaker’s UltiController kit will objects. might be minimized with grease and the you SD. By the time Maker helps the extruder adjust for minor Faire Bay Area rolled around in May 2012. . . Given that many of today’s machines are moving to untethered printing. . . . . . . . looking for a PLA-printing machine that an element they’re still developing for works great out of the box at a competi- production. . . . . . . . . . . . easy to time for the holidays. . . the leads us to believe it’ll be easy to trouble. . Ease of Use. . Changing plastic is a breeze: simply machine on view. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . just pull it toward you to Conclusion move larger slots over the 4 bolts. . . and paintable. pull the lever back and slide your filament Setup. (We’d like to it will print beautifully at a layer thickness Support/Overhangs . . . . . . . . the Series 1 wasn’t For computer-less printing. out. Our easy for users to install. . . . . In fact. while it’s at work. . . . PLA rarely causes warping Series 1 has a few downsides. The large bed Type A Series 1 is optimized to print in allowed us to print all parts of the PLA plastic. . . and of 250mm/sec. . and the convenient spring keeps the filament in place. . . . . . . . . . where Value. . . . . . . giving PLA is mounted on a spindle in the back. . . has already proven that they’re quick We like the rock-solid Winchester ing a lever that keeps your filament tight innovators. and “Easy-Off” build platform. . . . you simply adjust these 4 bolts. . . . . . machine. (Type A is also proto- Hardware User Interface . . . . 1/5 Like several printers in our lineup. . . . . . This ears). .com 69 . . . We look forward to seeing extruder with its lever-action fila- against the drive gear. . uration. .) cut. ment feeder. .

1mm– 0. Ultimaker was founded in the Netherlands by one of the most active RepRap and advocates and developers. SD card Ultimaker ultimaker. active community shares improvements x >> Print volume 8. huge build volume. The Ultimaker was the only printer 70 . But even as it ages.3" y >> Print speed 150mm/sec >> Print material PLA. ABS >> Resolution (z-axis) 0. Erik de Bruijn. The first Ultimaker kits shipped in early 2011. Mac.3"×8. joined by Siert Wijnia and Martijn Matt Griffin Elserman. fine layer height. N Tested ow 18 months old. this kit has unique fea- by tures and a speed-centric design unlike any other printer we tested. the Ultimaker rewards the patient tinkerer. John Abella.BUYER’S GUIDE >> Primo features High-speed Bowden extruder.556 kit + $105 controller >> Pedigree Original >> Print without PC? Optional. and the mechanical layout has been optimized for With the fastest. One of the stated design goals for the Ultimaker is print speed. Eric Chu. and the company has grown to more than 20 people.04mm or finer >> Machine software Cura >> Slicing software Cura >> OS supported Windows. the Ultimaker is a veritable classic and reviewed in 3D-printer-years.3"×8. Let’s see how the machine keeps pace with the new crop of entrants. Linux z >> Open source? Yes >> Price as tested $1. finest prints of any DIY printer. optional controller with SD card.

. . . thanks box. . . The number of steps required makes for an intense full-day ConclusionS project or a more leisurely weekend build. The Ultimaker remains one of the fastest. . . DIY printers. . it’s a competitive choice with a bed’s leveling process is less fussy than large build area and high extrusion speeds. . lightweight. print untethered with an SD card. but there’s no easy way to prints. . . . . . 4/5 results in an extremely lightweight X-Y switches. . . . 4/5 While the printer has a theoretical layer of Cura now works for Ultimaker. Print this handy clip (thingiverse. . . . . . As a result. . . Our review unit PERFORMANCE also included the UltiController. . . . . . settings not having retraction turned 71 . process to take a while. . . includ. . . . . . lets you print anytime. . . . . . . none of the create a fast. . monitor builds. . . . . . . . . . . . . It also calculates your plastic Machine Software . Updated parts. . . . . . . Replacement and hop-up parts let users modify their system. . . . . . One The Details Kit Build such fix is a printable shim to keep the The Ultimaker is sold only as a kit. prints. . . The software costs Support/Overhangs . print from an SD calibrated. . . . . Ultimaker how it compares we reviewed to feature a Bowden-style For slicing and printing. . . . 4–5/5 with great repeatability. While the Ultimaker can print in ABS How did it do with our “Christmas com/thing:24363) to stop the or PLA. The print in PLA. . so it’s Belts for the x. . .com/3dprinting. and a script that tests the limit Hardware User Interface . . . . The Ultimaker remains a great kit for stringing. . . . 5/5 end. . . . and finely adjust the z-axis limit switch. . (Great news: the original developer Slicing Software . expect Bowden tube from moving backward dur- assembly to take 6–20 hours. . . . . . . . . . . . .5 microns. 4/5 mon for people to print at 40–50 microns from other printers we tested: a commer. . and makers can pick and choose as new upgrades become available. . . . . high. . . .) Speed . one should probably ship in the The build was straightforward. flow-rate based on your filament dimen- Ultimaker also excels in Z resolution. an add. . depending ing retraction and causing ”stringing“ on on your mechanical ability. . . . . 4/5 gantry system. anywhere. . . . . . . . interest. the open source app Cura. the patient. and (at the time) largest UltiController lets you change temp- calibrated. . . . . . . machine. . . sions. it’s the most accurate of the profiles: makezine. . . . . . . Get expert slicing temperature on-the-fly. . great. . The getting similar results. . . . As with many of the hobbyist print- ers. . . . . . . . But expect the calibration tenance tasks untethered to a computer. 5/5 height of 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cura has a setup wizard Documentation . . This combination of a that flashes the Marlin firmware onto the Ease of Use. . . . The with just a hex driver and tend to stay est resolution. . simple control optimized for Setup. . . . . to good wiki-based documentation that Another option is a battery pack kit that includes sufficient photos and step-by. 4/5 stopped evolving. . . . . . . some other printers we tested. . . . . . Ultimaker offers something else unique Reliability. Print Quality . it’s not uncom. . . . . . show a constant drive to improve the open source options instead — and Pro Tips the product and extend its life. . 4/5 ing new drive bolts and the new V2 hot. . . . 5/5 And the Ultimaker’s design hasn’t to drive their printer. . . . . . . . . . 3/5 of the toolhead. The snake and owl came out Questions? Find answers in Ulti- near-requirement for large ABS prints. These bragging rights bode well for erature and speed on the fly. . . . . . and do other main. . morning” test prints? We had mixed Bowden tube moving backward. . as we experienced this issue as well. . . . . a lot of printable upgrades exist for the Ultimaker. where the filament drive mech. . highest-resolution printers in the hobby- Setup ist market. tinkering-minded maker. . 4/5 low-mass toolhead and stationary motors Arduino. . . The newest kits ship with the latest parts. . 4/5 stepper motors contribute to the weight the Ultimaker. . . so there’s no heated build platform — a results. . . If you want to print exclusively Setup was moderately easy. . . . ideal for fast prints. . . . . . . step instructions. . . . and users have aced three tough from its Bowden extruder. and tends The company continually upgrades the Ultimaker’s V2 hot-end is separated to stay level without much intervention. . . most users seem to be using Value. . electronics have been redesigned and updated numerous times. . fast. . . Ultimaker uses extruder. . . . . . . . . . . . . . mainly due to Cura’s default buyers looking to get under the hood. . . .and y-axis are tensioned DIY 3D printing benchmarks: fastest. . . . . . . . and accurate. . cial version of Netfabb Studio designed Accuracy. it’s engineered primarily for PLA. . . card. . . . . . We achieved excellent quality prints after Use Cura’s setup wizard and any on that lets you adjust print speed and getting the Ultimaker dialed in — once slicer you like. which rolls anism is physically separated from the together Skeinforge and Pronterface to extrusion nozzle. . . . . . . $195 and while there was high initial Noise . . . . . makezine. . but the torture test had lots of maker’s forum and Google group. . . . . . . . . . . . .

299 $1. Linux Windows Optional. Linux Windows Windows. PVA PLA Windows.370 $2.2"×7. 3DTouch LULZBOT Ao-100 REPLICATOR 2 premium $2k+ midrange $1k–$2k entry level <$1k PRICE as tested $4.8" 120mm/sec 15mm3/sec 150mm/sec 150mm/sec ABS. Linux Windows.5"×3. PLA PLA OS Supported Windows Windows. Mac. Linux Print without computer? USB Stick SD Card SD Card BUKOBOT 8 CUBE MENDelMAXPRO FELIX 1.9" 7.199 available at Assembled or Kit Assembled Assembled Assembled makershed.9" 11. PVA ABS ABS.0 $ Print Volume 7. Mac.1" Print Speed (per Mfr. SD Card No . Mac.75"×7. Soluble PLA ABS. USB stick Optional.9"×7. PLA.385 $1.) 15mm3/sec 150mm/sec 80–100mm/sec Print Material ABS. Mac. PLA. PLA. SD Card Wi-fi.122 Assembled Assembled Assembled Kit 8"×8"×8" 5½"×5½"×5½" 9"×10"×7" 10.8"×7.3"×10.500 $2.2"×6"×6.295 $1.

PLA.5"× Assembled Assembled makershed.1 PRINTRBOT 8. Mac.3"× 6"×6"×6" 6"×6"×6" 6"×6"×6" 4"×4"×4" 200mm/sec 50mm/sec 80mm/sec 100mm/sec ABS. Mac Windows.556 $1.5"×5. Linux SD Card No No No Image not available .ULTIMAKER AFINIA h-series MAKERGEAR M2 TYPE A SERIES 1 $1. PVA Windows. $799 available at $699 $551 $399 available at Assembled makershed. PLA ABS. Mac. Linux Optional.3" 5. PLA PLA Windows.499 $1. Mac. PLA ABS. Mac. PLA ABS. PLA ABS.3" 8"×10"×8" 9"×9"×9" 150mm/sec 3–30mm3/sec 150mm/sec 90mm/sec ABS. Linux Windows.400 available at Kit Assembled makershed. Linux Windows. Mac.499 available at $1.3"×8. Assembled Kit Assembled makershed. Linux Windows. SD Card Onboard File Storage SD Card No PRINTRBOT LC SOLIDOODLE 2 SEEMECNC h1. Linux Windows. Linux Windows. PLA ABS. Mac.

com makershed. Best Overall Experience Afinia H-Series Review on page 44 Also won for Easiest and Fastest premium midrange entry level available at available at available at makershed.BUYER’S GUIDE The Standouts Clear winners in every .com best in class best in class best in class Replicator 2 Type A Series 1 Printrbot LC Review on page 62 Review on page 68 Review on page 58 Runner-up for Most Accurate Runner-up for Most Accurate 74 makezine. and Easiest to Use (tied with Cube) best open hardware Ultimaker Review on page 70 available at Also won for Most Accurate makershed.

com Runners-up. 3-way Tie: easiest to use (TIE) Type A Series 1.Getting Started & User Experience easiest setup Afinia H-Series Performance Notables Review on page 44 FASTEST Most Innovative best documentation Ultimaker bukobot 8 (TIE) Review on page 70 Cube Review on page 46 Runner-up: LulzBot Review on page 48 best value MOST ACCURATE LulzBot AO-100 Ultimaker printrbot jr Review on page 52 Review on page 60 available at Review on page 70 Runner-up: Solidoodle 2 makershed. Bukobot 8. and Afinia H-Series Replicator 2 Review on page 44 MOST RELIABLE Cube Cube Review on page 48 Review on page 48 Make 75 .

it boasts ently stand on it. 76 .BUYER’S GUIDE Ones to written by Goli Mohammadi Watch The 3D printer landscape is a moving target. The extruded aluminum prototyping machine from the University of Twente in frame is so sturdy. this open source Ditto printer. the Netherlands. and an open-front design prime for tinkering with Its one-piece solid steel frame prints. prides itself on print laser sintering (SLS). Eventorbot Ditto tinkerines. The Ditto boasts user-friendliness for machine aims to be the novices and pros alike. It prints in both an easy build and can be adapted to perform selective ABS and PLA. features a borosilicate gypsum.github. largely due to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indigogo. concrete. all for $899 ready to go out of the box. and sugar. Here’s a sampling of up-and-coming 3D printers that caught our eye but weren’t available for testing at press time. Usable powder materials include precision. but is priced at over $ Penn State graduate Andrew Diehl launched The Fablicator when he wasn’t seeing what he Pwdr pwdr. All plans and files available for wanted in a readily-available The Model 0. and includes an inte- grated Windows 7 computer. sturdiest low-cost 3D printer. The Fablicator fablicator. and 80% of its parts are printable. changing and morphing seemingly every day. platform. you can appar. a 450-cubic-inch build platform. which enable makers with great ideas to raise funds quickly and go from concept to production in no time. eliminates 40% of typical housing reprap. ceramics. Made from off-the-shelf Vancouver-based Tinkerine Studio made a splash at Designed by Illinois-based this year’s Maker Faire New York with their open source Duy Dang.1 is an open source powder-based rapid printer.

Ultra-Bot makezine. Plans have not yet been released. Germany). or assembled. precision cutter. and it’s unclear whether it’ll be available as a kit or strictly RepRap core developer and creator of the popular open source Prusa Medel.5"×4. The Prusa i3 boasts a build volume 20% larger than the Replicator 2. PopFab vimeo. the Rostock is a Delta robot-style 3D Indiana-based William Steele designed this clear acrylic machine based on the MakerBot CupCake but with upgrades like a larger build area (6. as carry-on luggage. makezine. Check out the video footage at youtube. a design popular in pick-and-place machines. full kit. it’s definitely one to watch. Prague-based Josef Průša has a slick new version in the and 3D printer. Rocholl (who was born in Designed by Johann C.5"×7") and super- quiet micro-step motors. Ones to Watch Rostock reprap. a parallel-arm mechanism consisting of three arms connected to universal joints at the base. but coming from Průš SeeMeCNC is looking to have a Rostock Max kit available soon at MIT researchers Ilan Moyer and Nadya Peek have fashioned a workshop in a suitcase-sized metal case with this multi-purpose tool that works as a CNC 77 . Prusa i3 reprap. The machine has been on international and domestic flights. Available as an upgrade (to convert your CupCake).

I’d already had two days to play fully-enclosed printer (with a 4. I had the hardware up and running in minutes. I also ended up having some print bed level- English. it neverthe- Eric Weinhoffer less still has a ways to go. but unlike the improvisational 3DP art.7"-cubed build sible. a mini Up for $899? Not bad.BUYER’S GUIDE Up Mini For $899 the Up Mini is impres- PP3DP pp3dp. The PDF manual Frustrated. The Afinia is a fantastic machine. but it wasn’t enough in my case.” at least the hardware itself. It’s a cinch to set up the Mini. the Mini. play. Some of Eric: I didn’t bother with the manual! experience. I’d say print. An enclo. as he had never set up a 3D printer before. the Afinia and Up Mini also with all the tools you need: basically a hobby moving sive. MAKE product development engineer Eric Weinhoffer. was released by Delta Micro Factory Corp (PP3DP). wire cutters. Like Gareth. and a snap-down plastic hood on top. With better software. with a hinged door and Facebook page to many “Likes” and giggles. I ended up with what H-Series (see page 44). we thought we’d let MAKE editorial director Gareth Branwyn do a true “Christmas morning” test on it. The print bed never got warm enough with semi-untethered printing (you can unplug then resume printing when you return. a new low-cost version of the Up 3D printer. One of the settings listed in He had better success. address these temperature and draft problems. and a more reliable print bed. As soon as a few layers your computer once the print begins). enclosure. for the print to stay put. I spent nearly four hours over two nights with the Up Mini’s bigger brother. While we were finishing this issue. 78 . MAKE contributing editor Brian Jepson dubbed Weekend. Gareth: The Up Mini offers a great “out of box the manual has two digits reversed. with an eventual handoff to a more experienced hand. during our 3D Print Shop like any consumer desktop printer: plug. Since this printer is targeted at a wider consumer market. and it comes cooled. annoying But then my troubles began. A true consumer 3D by Gareth desktop printer with an uneventful Branwyn AND out-of-box experience. Eric Weinhoffer. I posted them on my slightly smaller build volume and a fancy black Rep 2. And I would surely rip out the loud. In fact. I expe- knife. feel. the Mini could prove a real contender. Here’s his mini Mini review. Gareth’s first print of the snake (above). the Up/Afinia area) is obviously designed to look. The software is also removing prints from the heated print bed. gloves. it’s fully enclosed. mangled product development engineer. and act trying to generate a print. weekend. Thankfully. share some shortcomings. and software are riddled with typos.” I like to think of them as the Up Mini is just a lower-cost Up/Afinia with a slick black metal and plastic case. after a few hours of use. walk away from the machine. I passed the printer on to our piezo buzzer within an hour of unboxing it. it has a cold pause feature that allows you in an unheated apartment on a cold and rainy does for some $600 less: good-quality prints to stop mid-print. they’d peel up and the piece would start Unfortunately. Also like the I think the heart of my problem was that I was the Mini appears to offer most of what the Afinia Rep 2. Eric’s final print of the snake (below). The the on-screen error messages are incomprehen. and if you’re willing to futz Tested and you’ll likely find it a solid beginner reviewed machine. the Mini has a “transporter accidents. ing issues. destroying the print. a readable manual. Like the new Replicator 2. closed source and somewhat clunky to navigate. Still. and a spatula for sure like the one on the Mini is supposed to rienced software crashes. and errors.

instead of melted plastic printed from the end of an extruder. A digital light processing (DLP) projector shines an image onto a layer of photo-initiated polymer resin. resin-based 3D printing system that boasts superior print resolution. B9Creator b9creator. makezine. these machines cure liquid resin layer-by-layer using South Dakota-based Michael Joyce raised more than a half-million dollars — 10 times his intended funding goal — on Kickstarter for this open source. solid cure of the entire layer in one operation. Pro-grade prints with 300-micron features and 25-micron Z resolution are David Cranor. and Natan Linder of the MIT Media Lab created the Form 1 and raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter for the project. yielding the highest-resolution prints. Prints as fine as 50 microns X–Y resolution and less than 10 microns Z resolution are possible. Formlabs form 1 formlabs. Their stereolithography system directs a laser across a tray of liquid photopolymer resin to solidify one layer at a time. 3D Printers of the Future Step Into Liquid Resin-based printers are the hot new tech in 3D printing. The team previewed the Form 1 at World Maker Faire New York to raves. In a nutshell. with the build plat- form raising the object after each layer. Maxim Lobovsky. resulting in a 79 . at a minimum 100-micron resolution.

com WRITTEN BY Eric Chu 3D Products Now on the market 8-Bit Eyewear San Francisco-based Protos Eyewear sunglasses are stylishly oversized. designers. rubber on the bottom for Cinemo (Sculpteo). Polychemy 80 . 3D-printed bikini (see page 19). After printing. they’re fitted with a an amazing variety of custom- patent leather inner sole and coated with made or customizable objects.MADE IN 3D All kinds of makers. and the company promises custom fitting soon. and made to in 3D printing services to sell order. artists. The Here’s a sampling of what’s designers also made headlines with their out there. $250 protoseyewear. Their Hal Pixel model stands out with its Lego/8-bit look. and startups are Rubber Sole Continuum Fashion’s Strvct nylon shoes taking advantage of the boom are strong. $900 continuumfashion. lightweight.

or even 3D terrain from Google makezine. 3D Products Now On the Market Make Your Case Customize Sculpteo’s iPhone cases using a web or iPhone app: choose a base model and color. $111 shapeways. and you can have your name custom-printed into the Vintage Verve MakerBot Mixtape is a twist on the old-school cassette mixtape and the modern MP3 player. The electronics are also available as a kit for those who want to print their own 81 . some can be printed in glass.sculpteo. $25–$40 3dpcase. load it with tunes for someone special. Sculpteo also offers a mar- ketplace for 3D artists to sell their works. flexible nylon plastic called polyamide. and add your own text. Su is printed by Shapeways in a glazed ceramic material that feels exactly like traditional ceramic- ware and is food-safe as well. photos. Known for their 3D-print-and-ship service. design parameters like custom curves. The Singapore-based design boutique also sells 3D-printed jewelry and sculpture. and sterling silver. The 3D-printed case holds an MP3 player circuit that stores 2GB of Polychemy’s iPhone cases are printed in a Teeth Time Teeth Tea Cup by artist Lily X. designs. stainless steel. Shapeways also has an online marketplace where makers sell prints of their designs. $39 store. $42 polychemy.

more than enough to melt the objects using a desert’s two most WRITTEN load its sandbox. produces temperatures between 1. Kiniry electricity to charge the battery that “[In the future] printing directly onto “what if I could build a machine drives the motors and electronics of the desert floor with multiple lenses melt- which would act as a kind of translator the selective laser sintering (SLS). The MIT research includes a large Fresnel lens that’s always while the lens focuses a light beam that assistant with a master’s in product design facing the sun by way of an electronic sun. “Once I input the design markuskayser. as well as be a real prospect.” Kayser muses.” The objects are built layer by layer abundant resources: sun and sand. Think that deserts lack resources? replicas of his digital designs. BY photovoltaic panels that provide over the course of several hours.400°C has created a 3D printer that can make glass tracking device. Not to Markus Kayser.MADE IN 3D Desert Manufacturer Markus Kayser’s sand and sun 3D printer. Based on a type of 3D printing known as a sculptural piece. Markus Kayser 82 . Kayser’s Solar I’m trying to produce via an SD card. produced both a bowl and a tile.” he Sinter uses the sun’s rays as a laser and sand says. Kayser architecture in desert environments could direct result.” says Kayser. Laura “I began asking myself. The printer x and y coordinates at 1mm per second. “the machine reads its code and then Laura Kiniry is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and rather than resins to create exact physical moves the sandbox along to the correct regular MAKE contributor. stepper motors to move and and 1. and two 60-watt sand.600°C. ing sand into walls and eventually building between the two?” His Solar Sinter is the His first time out with Solar Sinter.


These processes resulted in driven to create art that no one unique virtual artifacts that imbued my has ever seen before. where I could explore and exper. modeling and volumetric sculpting. photographed BY along came 3D printing. I’ve always been methods.MADE IN 3D Dream Machine Dissolving the boundaries between imagination and physical reality. As an artist. I recognized the potential for As these newfound capabilities enabled digital technology in art and WRITTEN & my wildest art ambitions. early 80s. like procedural dream come true. immersed myself. They were new. Rapid prototyping lacks many of the 84 . I learned pelling is that it enables production of to build brand new tools and processes that objects that could not be made in any other made no attempt to emulate traditional way.physical world. and One reason I find 3D printing so com- apply them in unintended ways. which Kevin Mack A career in visual effects put made it possible to manifest me at the cutting edge of this my digital creations in the technology. My search for digital objects with a surreal and mysterious the innovative led me to computers in the quality. It was like a science fiction iment with digital 3D tools.

I predict methods. Kevin Mack When you experience these objects and hold them in your hands. artifacts of the fabrication processes. but they tion and physical reality. In the future. limited part complexity. I am creating and discovering unimaginable forms and sculptures that couldn’t exist before. limitations of traditional object-creation constantly advancing. Mack uses science and technol- are made. 3D printing enables the creation of objects that conspicuously defy these expectations. there is an immediate intuitive awareness that you are seeing something that wasn’t possible before. and our brains have Kevin Mack is a pioneering digital artist and Academy Award- an intuitive understanding of how things winning visual effects 85 . such kevinmackart. We’ve come to expect certain ogy to make art that depicts and inspires the transcendent. that creative technologies will completely I’m able to add a powerful dimension to my dissolve the boundaries between imagina- sculptures: not only are they new. but I can’t wait. Humans are immersed in the world of manufactured objects. Technology is makezine. there is an immediate intuitive awareness that you are seeing something that wasn’t possible before. Digital tech- nology and 3D printing open up a vast space of entirely new aesthetic as seams. When you experi- ence these objects and hold them in your hands. By exploiting these capabilities. This can be a profoundly surreal experience. and lack of compound curvature. This is just the beginning. I don’t know if the appear to be impossible. My dream of creating art that no one has ever seen before has come true. world is ready. This can be a profoundly surreal experience.

Revolutionary Replacements Researchers at Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina have created a one-of-a-kind 3D printer designed to print replacement tissues and organs. The team has successfully engineered a minia- ture kidney capable of producing urine-like fluid when implanted in a steer and aims to 3D print similar versions for humans. the future of medicine is 3D printed. where they continue to develop. makezine. Data from CT or MRI scans is used to first create a 3D model. using Wake Forest University the body’s natural regenerative processes to complete the 86 . Living cells and biomaterials that hold the cells together are then printed into 3D shapes and implanted in the body. The structures are not functional until implanted.MADE IN 3D 3D Printing in WRITTEN BY Goli Mohammadi and Craig Couden Medicine From tissue to organs to bones and beaks.

raptor spe- cialist Jane Cantwell of Birds of Prey Northwest took her in and began looking for solutions. lighter parts. The final beak was 3D printed in titanium. or preen her feathers. Cantwell met Nate Calvin. researchers discovered they could Birds of Prey Northwest. Printed using a Stratasys Dimension 3D printer. her tongue and sinuses exposed. who was moved to help. Calvin spent 200 hours designing a replace- ment beak by making a mold of the remaining 87 . Despite rec- ommendations she be euthanized. Beauty the Bald Eagle was found emaci- ated. unable to eat. makezine. the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) gives patients with underdeveloped arms a wide range of arm motion. modeling in SolidWorks. drink. During a presentation in Idaho. made from machined parts. founder of Kinetic Engineering Group. A titanium baseplate was affixed to Beauty’s remaining upper beak to act as a guide. and the new beak attached. The original WREX. makezine. Despite having no previous experience with prosthetics. scanning Magic Arms Using hinged metal bars and resistive rubber bands. Stratasys 3D print smaller. the ABS plastic exoskeleton allows for easy customization and fine-tuning for the 15 children now using it. fit chil- dren as young as 6. but for 2-year-old Emma makezine. and having a temporary beak 3D printed in a nylon composite. 3D Printing in Medicine Beauty and the Beak After a poacher in Alaska shot off her upper beak.

com 88 . Organovo self-organize. capable of print- ing tissue structures. organovo. and another that fills the armature with a bio-ink of living cells (each drop containing 10K to 30K cells) that naturally flow together and fuse. The fun- damental nature of biological materials is to Bespoke Innovations. The machines feature dual extruders: one that prints a water-soluble gel that acts as the scaffolding.MADE IN 3D Tissue Engineering San Diego-based innovators Organovo have engineered several custom. The team has been able to print a 1mm-diameter. and after an incubation period. commercial NovoGen MMX Bioprinters. the cells continue to develop and grow without the gel component. 5cm-long blood vessel in 30 minutes.

com 89 . that surround an existing prosthetic makezine. It could eventually lead to pharmacists mak- ing small. researchers printed customized vessels. and Not Courtesy LayerWise (jaw). called Fairings. Conceived by industrial designer Scott Summit and orthopedic surgeon Dr. the replacement was made of titanium and covered with a bioceramic coating. called "reactionware. The Cronin Group University of Glasgow Your Average Chem Set Researchers at the University of Glasgow have developed a way to synthesize custom labware on a much smaller scale. bespokeinnovations. Kenneth Trauner. customized batches of medicines for individual patients. The replacement weighed just over an ounce more than the original. designing." out of polymer gel laced with chemical reagents that foster chemical reactions (think of an Erlenmeyer flask infused with chemicals for that day’s lab experiment). Belgian company LayerWise modeled the replacement from a CT scan of the original bone. including leather. 3D Printing in Medicine Designer Prosthetics Bucking the typical one-style-suites-all model of conventional prosthetics. Using a low-cost 3D printer and open source CAD software. Bespoke Fairings are designed in collaboration with the patient. and tattoos. Jaws of Innovation A Dutch woman in her 80s was fitted with a 3D-printed jawbone after having her infected mandible removed. San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations makes custom coverings. makezine. and the woman was reportedly speaking within hours after surgery. aiming to reflect the individual by offering a num- ber of material and pattern options. recreating the user’s natural leg shape through 3D scanning. Using selective laser sintering. chrome plating.

I’d visited him three had a cup of tea. to let Da out of prison. and that my Da. I was embar. and he looked over his shoulder so ear. Come here cage as a big. They brought him out ”Lanie. What they did to him. God knew what he went through in prison. When he was distance from this ruined. I know that. ate villain. There’s no hat or laptop For the in contraband. of course. a sip and then a long. done. they were ready print none of that rubbish.MADE IN 3D Printcrime A futuristic excerpt from Overclocked: Stories of the Future Present. ”I’m not stupid. since I’d last seen him and he was in bad back in his chair. He closed his eyes and leaned one she’d brought from the old country. smashing anyone and any. You ”Lanie. It was made out of printed parts. My tweetybird limp. ”You’ve been in prison for 10 years. trophy for the newsies. I remember the is a science fiction author. the kind of things you could print at wouldn’t know where your old Da could home. That’s while a spokesman told the world that my get a printer and some goop?” worth going to jail for. the desper. It had been two years exhalation. Back then. the objects that came out of it. Its little shrine in the cling-film-in-a-microwave smell of it. I saw it all from my phone. anything that could be printed. ”What. in front of the estate. Lanie. watching it on the screen pharma. and tried to keep my I felt a guilty pang about ticking him off. memory supplements. that much was clear. I’m not going to collection is With a Little Help. if you didn’t mind the risk of having get a printer and some goop?” your kitchen filled with a sudden crush of big. and he drank it now like it thing that got in the way. on his fiftieth. Da?” I said. Let me tell you the thing that I decided escaped death by hiding in a corner of his often it was like he had a tic. You of things that cost a fortune over the coun- ter. a young adult novel. my eyes. hard truncheons whistling By the time I turned 18. They took the print- father’s printer when er away. I could take apart and reassemble One of Da’s customers had shopped him. kitchenette seemed horribly empty. T he coppers smashed my organized crime kingpin. journalist and blogger. One for everyone. had resisted arrest. Da. and the author of the bestselling Tor Teen/ and wondering how. Ten. Years. fresh-baked feel of ing tweetybird. in the remains 10 years to print out more blenders and activist. times — on my tenth birthday. more laptops and designer hats?” (boingboing. the door and let the newsies get a good look ”You’re a smart girl. his latest short story estate and mistake it for the home of an that’s worth going to jail for.” Da’s organized-crime bootlegging operation I squeezed my hands into fists so tight had been responsible for at least 20 million my fingernails cut into my palms. I know that. one of them reciting print new bearings and other moving parts. while I spent 10 years in lockup. never again. Cory Doctorow the flat and rescued my poor peep- and the warm. All the wouldn’t know where your old Da could Lots more printers.” he said. His latest novel is look at our little flat and our terrible. beefy bodies. limping skeleton He was off his rocker. let me whisper in your purifier unit over the window. The ipolice paid in high-grade pharmaceu- ticals — performance enhancers. as he sat me down. Lanie. the terms of the warrant through a bullhorn.” of it into a sad tangle of printer wire. was whisky. You’re going to risk another Cory Doctorow (craphound. booted foot crushed most rassed when the minicab dropped us off and listen to your stupid Da. co-editor of Boing Boing of the sitting room. at him as they tossed him in the car.” He through the leaning in close. so The coppers came through the door with it would only last a month before I’d need to truncheons swinging. 90 . I put a blender there. and displayed it like a I was 8. They smashed our little refrigerator and the shape. Da. just how anyone could He grinned. an entire rugby side. A prison fight had left him with a ”Come here. satisfied They destroyed grandma’s trunk. That’s worth anything. he looked like he’d been brawling with as we went inside and up the stairs. WRITTEN and Da’s look of ferocious concentra. the and when Ma died. I've HarperCollins UK novel Little Brother. manky learned my lesson. BY When I roused myself and picked up tion as he filled it with fresh goop. I closed Copy this story: craphound. I’m going to print more printers. The kind “You’re a smart girl. metabolic boosters.

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com). and then printed of a 3D object. A mesh is similar camera and depth sensors. new from MAKE and O’Reilly. for 123D Catch is performed in Autodesk’s tion of it. There are now This point cloud is processed (or recon- an increasing number of affordable ways structed) using scanning software into a to digitize physical objects. but you can also single points (or vertices) it groups each Getting use your phone or a digital camera to cap. Y. The Kinect and Xtion both work cloud-based systems. and 123D Catch to capture 3D models of stuff in the real world — then clean them up for 3D printing. You no into a collection of points called a point cloud BY Anna longer need an expensive high-end 3D (Figure A). France are suitable for 3D printing. ReconstructMe. WRITTEN Welcome to the bleeding edge. Some of them digitized representation of the object. are made of Bre Pettis Anna Kaziunas France triangular meshes. monly used for 3D printing. Anna Kaziunas France A B 92 . Excerpted from Getting Started with MakerBot by Bre Pettis. and MakerBlock. (The analysis of an object and creates a 3D representa. and create of light is. cleaned up using enclosed by edges) that describe the shape with mesh repairing software. but instead of using only A HANDS-ON INTRODUCTION Kinect or an Asus Xtion. What Is 3D MakerBlock 123D Catch. STL files. vertex with edges (straight line segments) TO AFFORDABLE 3D PRINTING ture images. Each point in the cloud is repre- Kaziunas scanner to create good-quality scans that sented with an X. known require additional hardware with a RGB as a mesh (Figure B). which are com- MakerBot on your MakerBot or other 3D printer. 123D Catch is able measuring how far away each reflected point to isolate an object in the photos. for instance.) By performing image by beaming infrared light at an object. and analysis on the photos.3D SCANNING TIME REQUIRED: A Few Hours DIFFICULTY: Moderate Skill Builder: 3D Scanning Use Kinect. and Z coordinate. These images can then be that combine to form faces (flat surfaces Started converted into 3D models. Anna Kaziunas France. like a Microsoft to a point cloud. works by analyz- Scanning? ing a group of 20–40 images of an object A 3D scanner collects data from the surface taken from different angles. item 9781449338657 from Maker Shed (makershed. It then turns each individual point a 3D mesh from the collection of photos.

trouble with symmetrical Point-and-shoot cameras. Catch Tips object at all angles. shoot from. project is to methodically take pictures of focal length. If possible. Thanks to these free programs. Higher-resolution ing. Do not attempt tures for the reconstruction software to cre- ate a model. Transparent always visible from any of photos aren’t needed and cessing power to stitch together your photos objects like eyeglasses will the positions you plan to will be compressed down into a 3D model and then sends the model appear as holes. symmetrical. Planning colored surface. like a white What software you use to scan your out how you’ll approach tablecloth. This will help 123dapp. Here are some Consider using some sort to use both of these. posi. access 123D Catch from 123dapp. objects You’ll need 4 points for reg. Watch the Autodesk 123D Taking Photos out the order in which you’ll utilize background objects Catch tutorials. the object you want to Catch. There is no ‘way. 3MP or higher will work photos to a cloud-based server for process- warped or bowed. your Catch so that you obtain ible features or is highly you no longer need to spend big bucks to desirable results. markers will help the application to register like those in a regular digital camera. We’ve and turn them into 3D models. stationary object and then submitting those reflecting light will appear object. optical scanners have trouble scanning transparent or shiny Rotate around your 93 . For placing high-contrast tape quality of your model when digital photos that have been shot around a example. ground with patterns that is dependent on the quality Two popular applications are 123D Catch help the 123D Catch software and consistency of the photos Mark your territory. plan objects. and ReconstructMe — we’ll show you how clearly differentiate between you provide. Place enough mark. take the best captures. These image and 3 other images using an iPhone 4S. All of the software programs discussed here have their own strengths 123D remain equidistant from the to Catch objects on a flat- and weaknesses. 123D Catch has What kind of camera? get printable scans. When choosing objects to scan objects. You’ll need to to Catch on a table that you blank wall background with provide enough information with your pic. Before you Utilize background start a capture project. ers so that at least 4 are well. to 3 megapixels by the 123D back to you for editing. Consider can choose the resolution for Windows. avoid different sides of the object. windows that are or sticky notes on a large you upload your captures. Plan of attack. For video with 123D Catch take your photos. When possible. the software parse depth. and digitizing C probes can only scan the top surface of an object. an app for the transparent surfaces. 3D Scanning Skill Builder “This is all experimental. It works by taking multiple generating 3D models. have been reported to Autodesk that enables you to take photos reflective surfaces. You can download or Catch cloud server. 123D Catch Objects to avoid. The goal is to get least 50% makezine. It’s available with glare. tion the object that you want 123D Catch does not like a Provide enough information. visit Your first step after planning out your important to decide on a capturing. like fun. The cloud server uses its superior pro- house mirrors. It’s also around the object you’re tutorials and tips. iPad. For exam- ple. and a desktop application objects won’t work well for in the phone camera. You iPad and iPhone. using 123D Catch. and mirrored or istration between any one been getting great Catches as a web-based application. cap- turing a frame every 5–10 degrees (Figure C). or 123D Catch is a free application from using 123D Catch. You’ll get better The quality of the scan that model depends on the size of the model and your subject is key when results by using a back- you receive from 123D Catch your computer’s hardware configuration.’” —Bre Pettis Limitations The limitations of 3D scanning depend on what technology is being used. it's resting on. Each of these scanning the object you’re attempting tips on how to select objects of marking system when packages has its own set of advantages and to capture and the surface to Catch and how to plan out your subject lacks discern- limitations. can move around easily and flat paint.

Also keep the orientation of the photos consis. or tone alterations submitting them for processing. so retake any blurry photos before trols. We’re getting great that you won't be able to your photos to the cloud images before leaving the scene of the Catch. try tapping time to see how your catch will confuse the reconstruc- iPhone/iPad. come out as planned. your scan may have a solid block of mass where there should be empty space. Consider planning »» Shutter speed should be had Catches done this way get a feel for the process and your outdoor catches around these light 1/60 second or faster completely fail on the iPhone how to minimize problems. always do one tion software and lead to less images before submitting. mize exposure problems: possible to get both very fine camera zoomed in on the Direct light alters the exposure by creat- detail and the entire object. and from left to right. What’s important are the regular intervals and the capture of the —Michael Curry (aka Skimbal). Sometimes on large object in one scan and then images. make sure to review your capture. We find »» M mode (manual) for Catch. On the Catch iPhone app. results with the camera in the return to. like app. like statues. consistent “depth of field. Keep that many of our best Catches were shot on complete control iment. objects. Make sure each point in your object is appearing in at least 4 shots. you can review and retake the screen to set the focus/ turned out. it’s not creating a new scan with the trying to capture. I got really good 3D detail. Make sure there’s uniform NOTEs WARNINGS If you’re using a digital Capturing both detail and If your Catch fails. keep this consistent throughout the shoot. don’t lop it off or shoot from too far away. If you’re using the 123D Because it can take some size. If you’re using exposure before taking each or two catches of an object than optimal results. The more »» AV mode (aperture You may need to capture Don’t be discouraged consistent the exposure of the photographs. fine detail. we’ve practicing and you’ll quickly overcast days or at dusk. Really and stick to it.” not necessarily better. Fill the frame. avoid zooming in or out. You’ll need to exper. Try to fill the camera frame with your image (Figure D). or a gaping hole where there should be mesh. priority) to lock the f-stop the fine detail in a separate if your first few catches don’t the more consistent your model. 94 . Choose either portrait or landscape just at one level. Move the camera at regular intervals and in a predictable pattern (from left to right and from top to bottom). Blurry images won’t produce accurate have built-in exposure con. con- light around the thing you’re trying to Catch. you can use the tricky. before uploading! Any Catches.” If you’re focused exposure quite well. appear after processing. and orienta- that in the iPhone 4S and 5. Some phone cameras. If your photos don’t have enough information. Too many Thingiverse superstar pictures will take much longer to process and if they’re not capturing the object uniformly. and a large white X Maintain depth of field. It’s helpful to work consistently from high to low.3D SCANNING overlap between images. as it controls the one doesn't complete. Don’t edit or crop photos tion. D Zooming distorts your capture and may make it impossible for the application to align your images. “ By taking a whole series of close-up pictures tent. very small depth. Uniform light. How many pictures? More pictures are good reproduction of very. as they hide the features you’re following settings to mini. on the item that you’re Catching and the background is blurry in your photos. Upload a digital camera. ing shadows and reflective spots. conditions for best results. Once you start capturing frames. nally taken. Occasionally. focus. color. just in case the first server as they were origi- In addition your images must have a iPhone 4S. This will help you iden- tify errors (should they occur) later after the models are created. camera with exposure the entire object can be sider capturing the entire Avoid overexposing or underexposing your controls. overlapping angles of the object.

and you’ll need to log into Pleasant3D (see page 98). a new window will open to enable online and desktop versions of 123D Catch. then login processing your scan. download it. 123D Catch will ask you to sign you’re limited to 40 95 . If this is the case. the techniques described in “Cleaning and click Create Project.stl. and upload them at once. you can select all your images to the Cloud under Models and Projects. photos onto your computer from your digital a zipped mesh package. your Autodesk account (or create one). if you haven’t already. to create the scan. Those photos will then be models for 3D printing. Regardless of your upload In the Windows desktop or online appli- Uploading Your Photos method. when your scan is ready. Make sure to have transition photos that capture 50% overlap between the transi. Netfabb. Be careful when transitioning from don’t have to wait around.123dapp. and select a completed a full sweep of the entire object. or photoscene. Once your photoscene is available. A login using MeshMixer. Repairing Scans for 3D Printing” on page 98. (You can select Wait instead. Then open 123D Catch you can convert the OBJ file to an STL als at 123dapp. but it may take some time. How you do download the STL file. Go to 123dapp. ister the desktop and log NOTEs into your account. Make Model. describe. depending on the number of photos and the server availability. edit your mesh using After your photos have been uploaded. They’ll email you shots of the whole model to detail shots. off sections. you can edit iPhone or iPad application: Submit the your photoscene. between 20–55 photos. you to locate your photos on your computer they’re not yet well suited to preparing and upload them. If you’re using the iPad or iPhone. object. While there are some editing tools in the Next. the distance photos and the detail photos. your scan to fail. After you’ve need to title. depending on the After your photos have been uploaded. If this file is available.) Browser-based application: Load your photos onto your computer. or to manually stitch photos. but you together. a “mesh package” automatically generated files have this depends on how you took the photos. Fill out the form completely and click Email Me. Instead. you’ll a distance that fills the frame. tag. and describe your capture. 3D Scanning Skill Builder will still produce poor results. you need as this will produce poor results or cause to retrieve the file in an editable format. tag. or the images you used it using the app’s photo stitching options. click Finish. You can has additional editing options. You may need to reg. Refer to the tutori. Your photos will then be submitted sure you maintain the 50% overlap between for processing. Then click Add makezine. download. fine details. If your via your application of choice. window will open. then scroll The Windows 123D Catch desktop app above and then submit them to 123D Catch down to the Downloads section. in (or create an account) and then begin Capturing detail. and edit your scans. category for your Catch. A dialog box will then ask you to name. If you need to capture uploading your photos. through the application and navigate to Windows desktop application: Load your However. photos via the iPhone/iPad app (Figure E). Create an Empty Project. When you open the application. Take your photos using the process outlined Click on a project to open it. camera or phone. The optimal Images to locate and upload your images number has been reported as somewhere to the cloud server. After going through the welcome info. containing a textured OBJ file that looks like missing sections or errors. it’s difficult to slice submitted for processing. sometimes there will only be My Corner in order to to upload them. first capture the entire object at After the photos are uploaded. your processed scans will be there cation. Don’t suddenly zoom in on the detail. select Create New from the menu. then go to apps. Downloading Your Mesh E for how and select Create a New Capture. Then click Create then move in and capture the details. MeshLab. so It can take some time for the 123D Catch that the software can still stitch the photos cloud server to process your photos. select The app will inform you when it has finished The STL will often be named viewable.

3D SCANNING ReconstructMe ReconstructMe is a 3D reconstruction system that gives you visual feedback as you scan a complete 3D model in real time. It’s more expensive than is constantly being updated. It doesn’t have a software- nology to market. other folks that uses the PrimeSense ware written for Kinect. Asus Xtion machines or Boot Camp on a Mac. You can get the OpenCL CPU runtime for Windows from Intel at software. 3D scanning to develop awesome soft. It’s also picky about the ver. drivers for the virtual machine by download- ing an update from the manufacturer. Machine an early version of ReconstructMe and You will also need the C++ as well as the appropriate driver Windows on a Parallels or VMware Fusion If you fail to do this. make sure to ables from Microsoft Visual Studio 10 without using Boot Camp. if you’re looking for Kinect (for Xbox or for Windows) or your released a software develop. Currently there is both a free noncommercial version and a paid commer- cial version of the software. First. You also As soon as the community that some people. download the appropriate version for your PrimeSense. but there are a few unavoidable limitations that come with this type of realtime scanning. PrimeSense 1. made it do things it wasn’t (Profactor GmbH). by hardware developed which has some advantages can use for moving the me. but not great for small objects with fine detail. brought the exact same tech. You can install ReconstructMe on a Mac now wish to upgrade. over the Kinect: cam-era around). You’ll need to install OpenCL support separately. ReconstructMe the list. It doesn’t require a sepa. See reconstruct virtual machine. have used connection). It works with the Microsoft Kinect (Xbox and PC versions) and the Asus Xtion Pro. a portable depth camera for Asus Xtion Pro or Pro Live. ReconstructMe is excellent for scanning larger objects. the documentation and video card speci. As wonderful and great thing about this is that 1. Go to reconstruct. This means you’ll have to update your display and CPU Installing ReconstructMe NOTE drivers to the latest version for your installed on a Mac with a Virtual If you’re an early adopter who installed Nvidia. 3D scanning. you’ll need OpenCL. AMD. ReconstructMe is Windows-only. in the same way you would continue to find and use the old drivers me. it wasn’t the only device of to work with other hardware 2. installation for the necessary links for the You won’t be able to install your graphics software dependencies. such as people. by running remove the old drivers before updating. worth considering. Kinect has one you Download en-us/vcsource/tools/opencl-sdk. sion of OpenCL (a computer library that can intended to do. such as the rate power supply (it can need a fairly high-end graphics card to run cracked open the Kinect and folks behind ReconstructMe be powered over the USB the software. so refer to disruptive as the Kinect its kind. The Xtion has some disad- run instructions on your graphics adapter) was one of the first items on ware tools for Kinect. In (Open Natural Interaction) install it on Windows. controlled motor (the Installing ReconstructMe with the Kinect is powered ware is the Asus Xtion ($160). with one exception. Scanning One such piece of hard. ReconstructMe is currently the easiest way to get quick and complete scans. ment kit (SDK) called OpenNI 2. the Xtion is well Download the dependencies and drivers. though: installed on your and by an Israeli company. reconstructme-console/installation. order for ReconstructMe and the other driv- ers to work. It’s much smaller (about Still. ReconstructMe is Windows-only software and you need a high-quality video card to make it work. In fact. 3. And the vantages. or Intel graphics card. technology. but can be run cross-platform using virtual Kinect vs. It’s lighter (half a pound). their software can be made Kinect for Xbox ($110). It doesn’t work with all soft- fications at reconstructme. half the size). ReconstructMe will package for your device. installed. 96 . and repeatedly crash.

F refer to the manual at reconstructme. you can play back the recording with ReconstructMe Replay and save your file as an projects/reconstructme-console/usage for tip The graphics card was a Nvidia GeForce GT how to launch the application. a Kinect handle (thingiverse. Save the file as an STL — and make sure to do it after you finish your capture. Sit in a spinnable office chair. we were not able to install OpenCL on VirtualBox 4. ties. the program will crash. With this configuration. but able for scanning with ReconstructMe and you. Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of memory. If your graphics card or memory con. Installing ReconstructMe on virtual mach- ines is experimental. make computer to start and end the scan. here are some basic tips for scanning people. to the Kinect with your computer in front of able to run realtime reconstruction using the record feature to record your scan or a Kinect tripod mount (thingiverse. while the console is open. 3D Scanning Skill Builder If you go this route.” We were able to run ReconstructMe on Windows 7 using Parallels 7. 5. you won’t be able to perform a live scan. 4. Slowly. Instead. If you experience crashes in both the standard and high-res modes. captured when you press the keys on your ReconstructMe. then complete the scan with ReconstructMe Replay. However. Position your Kinect or Xtion so that only your upper body is visible in the scan area. so “your mileage may vary. 2. sit with your back 330M 512 MB. we were several different resolutions and modes avail. Pro running OS X 10. After saving the STL. try If you’re scanning other people or things. spin yourself around in the chair while keeping your upper body in a static 97 . you may need to run the ReconstructMe Record tool. 1. facial features in the scan reflects these con- sure you scan using the correct mode for straints. and then playback to reconstruct the mesh.66GHz like shirt collars. After saving your scan. The lack of definition in the When starting ReconstructMe. or you’ll lose your scan. captured well. so I wore a hat and Compatability Matrix at makezine. ReconstructMe is excellent your sensor. open it up in MeshLab or Pleasant3D and take a good look at it (Figure F).1. 15-inch MacBook of facial definition. Other smooth fabric items is capable of running the high-res version. Tips for Reconstructing Yourself (or Someone Else) Once you have ReconstructMe can come in handy.2. However. There are When scanning yourself. After you have ReconstructMe up and running on your machine. Get a Handle on It straints are causing the program to crash. That way your arm movements won’t be unable to run the high-resolution setting for new features are being added all the time.1 (Lion) with a 2.8. All our ReconstructMe scans were done using scarf during the scan to make up for the lack go/rmmatrix to see if your graphics card Boot Camp on a mid-2010. you’ll need to first record your subject with the ReconstructMe Record tool. and smooth hair are also If it isn’t. 3. Check the company’s Device NOTE at capturing folds in fabric.

when used together. I Netfabb (netfabb.3D SCANNING Cleaning AND Repairing Scans for 3D Printing Use powerful. but not part of the model »»open objects with faces that aren’t closed. In most cases. Pleasant3D also strange artifacts that can show up in scanned makes a fast STL viewer and is great for files (Figure H). It’s also as a 3D model viewer for iOS and enables you to MeshLab (meshlab. available as an STL viewer with a connection Pleasant3D (pleasantsoftware. scans are: »»holes »»disconnected parts »»“junk” captured from the environment around the model or used to map the object in space. you need to clean up. “capping” models that are missing a side/ looking scans. top/bottom to make them manifold. but the Poisson filter STL files. a variety of functions that can be used to lent repair and analysis capabilities for your repair and edit meshes. It also G-code visualization of a is great for mashing up individual meshes shows G-code visualizations (Figure J). It can also convert ASCII J Autodesk MeshMixer (meshmixer. It’s available as a cross- Netfabb is available as a desktop applica. Netfabb developer/pleasant3d) is a great Mac-only Studio is available in both a Professional and application for resizing STL files by specified a (free) Basic edition. excellent STL viewer. you’ll want to slice off it’s easy to rotate meshes by dragging them the bottom of your model to create a flat around with the mouse. and other your model will print. It’s also an excellent tool for quick STL previews. Netfabb makes it easy to slice off to smooth out surfaces is the most useful bits of jagged scans and quickly repair those for cleaning up scans for printing. While it is becoming easier to create high-quality has MeshLab rendering of 123D Catch scan of another face from a fountain. or ReplicatorG).com/ to the cloud service on the iPhone. Before you can print your 3D scans. It works well which can be helpful for previewing how for smoothing out bumps. free mesh editing software to make your scans print-ready. 98 . units (as opposed to scaling in MakerWare Linux. blobs. edit. creat- ing valid input files is sometimes difficult. ReconstructMe scan in Pleasant3D. Each of the following software packages has strengths that. MeshMixer rendering of 123D Catch The most common problems with 3D scan of a hand detail from a statue. G However. platform desktop application (Figure I) and tion (Figure G) and a cloud service. can make it simple to edit and print great. Because scans. or Mac. It runs on Windows. view and edit meshes and provides excel. together into a new STL files into binary STL format. and repair H the files to make them printable.sourceforge. scan of a stone face from a fountain. analyzing STL files for errors Nettfabb rendering of 123D Catch and buildability has never been easier. it also makes an surface against the build platform.

to minimize droopy loops of Open Netfabb Studio Basic and open the »»When the selection tool is over the extruded plastic. you need to re-orient the model: the shoulders are at equal height. MakerBotters call this the “45 Repair and Clean Up then move the selection tool over the green degree rule”: avoid overhangs greater than in Netfabb corner that appears around the model. »»To move the part to the origin of the change your view from the View menu or Here’s how to do it.) »»Click on the selection tool (it looks like that can develop under the chin of a person an arrow). The model shown has a severe chin underhang (an overhang greater than 90°). However. the front or “relief” of a building or sculpture. tilting it so screen to cut a flat bottom for the model. Try to place the model so these scans will usually have holes. 3D Scanning Skill Builder K L M NOTES To pan in Netfabb. Click on the model to select it. If you can’t You’ll have to change your view and rotate ware programs described here will have see the yellow platform. select Part → Move. but they still N O printed OK! Repairing Project → Open from the menu (Figure K). then select click on the cube faces in the main toolbar at (If your scan is missing large areas of the To Origin button from the dialog box the top of the screen. makezine. Support was not used under the brim and chin. junk. Rotate the model. ing down toward the platform (Figure L). Next. Make sure to tilt the head back using you can use MeshMixer to “cap” it — see ing View → Zoom To → All 99 . You should try to minimize this when creating your scan. 45 degrees. by selecting tion symbol. select View → Show Platform. the head is pointing up and the body is point- Most Scans To help you see your model’s orientation. the Rotate tools to help with the overhang page 102. or is just and click Move. then you may need the model several times in order to orient a mesh that’s mostly complete. Most scans that you create using the soft. »»Now zoom in on your model by select. use Alt + Mouse Drag. Use the Cuts tools on the right of the ReconstructMe or 123D Catch. The back of the head where the hat juts out also has a severe overhang. STL file of the model you created using green corner bracket. External support material was used to help with the overhangs when printing the hat back. it on the platform. Align the model within mesh and has huge gaping holes. You can and other issues that you’ll need to edit. it will appear as a rota. (Figure M). the “box” relative to the platform. to zoom out. platform.

shiny print. Export an STL file using Part → Export Part → STL. red cross). The model will turn blue and you open your STL file in MeshLab. Then select around with the cursor to get a good look at delete the part. Netfabb may warn you that there are issues with your file. dialog box pops up that asks you if you want played in the top right-hand corner of the There will be yellow spots where repairs to “unify duplicated vertices. you can drag the model to remove (the jagged parts of the scan) to the Automatic Repair button. then select the To Origin button from the dialog box that opens. Select the Repair tool (it looks like a Project. In the dialog box. click In MeshLab.3D SCANNING asked if you want to remove the old part. Q R 100 . When the Go to the Parts section that’s now dis. and select the Execute Cut There’s probably a large hole under the chin in the model.” click OK. Then select Cut. Save your project as a NetfabbProject. After applying the Poisson filter and hiding the original mesh (right). this step will allow you to keep more detail of the scan. Move the part to Then click the Apply Repair button at the Filter → Surface Reconstruction Poisson. The X will become a green checkmark. Click the X next to the part you want are necessary. skipping blue cut line is cutting off the jagged edges Next we’ll repair the holes in the model. select Yes when higher number the better. Click OK. using Project → Save As. screen. The select. Netfabb will ask you if you Default Repair from the dialog box and press it. page 99). open MeshLab and You can then click on the part of the cut tion and likely a hole in the top of the head. To smooth the surface. Netfabb will ask you if and select Show Layer Dialog. click Yes. click the Repair button on the dialog box. Then select File → Import Mesh to ed part will turn green (Figure N. In the platform (Figure O) by selecting Part → bottom of the right side of the screen. can see the triangles in the mesh (Figure P). You’ll now have a nice clean edge at the you want to remove the old part. create a new project from File → New Empty model that you want to remove. To repair the model. you may want to smooth it out a little for printing. Then click Export to save the STL. button. For normal- Drag the Z slider so that the bottom of the the dialog box and click Move. Go to the View menu in the top toolbar really want to remove it. resolution ReconstructMe scans. Smooth the Surface in MeshLab Sometimes you want a smooth surface on a model so it makes a smooth. MeshLab has a Poisson filter that will nicely smooth out your mesh. Now select Filters → Point Set → Poisson bottom of your model. “good” is 11 — but The original mesh shown in MeshLab (left). (The Move. the Execute button. in case you want to edit it later. set Ochre Depth to 11. If you see a big red X when you attempt to export your model. Look at all those triangles! P If you’re able to create a high-resolution scan from ReconstructMe. where the scanner couldn’t gather informa.

U Repair the model and export as an STL (Figure T). you may want to remove some bumpy areas or blobs that are on your model. 3D Scanning Skill Builder if you go any higher than 11. You’ll see visible smoothing on the surface of the model. If your model needs no additional smoothing. S T Open MeshMixer and import the STL that deeply informed this chapter of our book. you can skip this step. re-slice the bottom off your model to make it flat. Click and drag on the bumpy or lumpy areas on your model to smooth them out (Figure S). To fix 101 . Use the mouse wheel to adjust brush size. Remove Bumps and Blobs in MeshMixer Depending on how your scan came out after repairing and (optionally) smoothing. or you can adjust it in the menu on the right side of your screen. Click on the green “eye” icon of the filename to hide the original file and keep the Poisson mesh (Figure R). there will be 2 layers: one with the original file you imported (Figure Q) and one labeled Poisson mesh. Use the default export options. then resize or rotate if necessary and print it out (Figure U). Save it as an STL file. the for- merly smooth bottom of your model will be bumpy. When you’re satisfied with the appearance of your model. Final Cleanup/Repair in Netfabb Open the STL back up in Netfabb. and ready to print! Open it in MakerWare or ReplicatorG (or the equivalent software for your printer). Tony Buser created the seminal video tutorial (vimeo. repaired. After applying the Poisson filter. If you used the Poisson filter in MeshLab. Print Your Model Your scan is now cleaned. MeshLab will crash. export the file as an STL. Go to File → Export Mesh As. Select the Smooth Brush from the top navi- gation. U makezine.) Click on Apply.

Your model will now have a number of colored spheres attached to it (Figure V): emphasis) and make sure that you edit it problem is resolved. we missing areas. indicating that the From the Action Bar. The model shown here is a fountain. First. close all the holes by clicking on fold areas holes first. of the mesh. the Inspector button. as this and disconnected components. a big auto-repaired blob. represents the large area of missing/open nected components lem. Non-Manifold NOTE Areas. Orbit around your model (Alt + Left Basic MeshMixer View Controls V »»Alt + Left Click: orbit camera around an object »»Alt + Right Click: zoom camera »»Alt + Shift + Left Click: pan camera Fixing Holes. On the “Action Bar” menu at the top. as well as filling minor holes it in MeshMixer. left-click on any red or magenta so you can edit the mesh. (Here we want to cap and reconnect stray components. Meshes generated from 123D Catch scans TIP often have these issues when you’re only If your model has a lot of able to scan the front part of a large object. slice it off MeshMixer and Netfabb can easily help you in Netfabb before editing fix this problem. The blue edges that represents the large hole in the model spheres to close the non-manifold areas will now have a dark orange tint to them that we want to cap. or removing disconnected parts. extra “junk” in it. Each where the mesh is selected (Figure Y). When you right-click. you want photographed from the front for 123D Catch. top. don’t click will address the holes. Here are the basics (see also meshmixer. MeshMixer doesn’t have any labeled controls for panning and zooming around your model — you need to hold down key combinations while dragging your mouse/ trackpad. the blue spheres. non-manifold areas. In addition. right-click on the last blue sphere drag your mouse) to identify which blue options will appear on the side of the screen. to close the back of the You can see the original Catch and grab model yourself. You don’t want to follow along. Orbit around the model to make sure »»Blue spheres represent holes area and allow you to edit the selected part you get them all (Figure X). AutoRepair All. click W you want a smooth cap. or back and you need to create a closed model by “capping” the object so you can print it. that represents the large area of open mesh sphere is directly on the blue outlined edge First. Clicking on a sphere will repair the prob. can cause the program Open MeshMixer and import your STL or to immediately crash. and Disconnected When repairing mesh- Components es with large holes or We’ll attack each problem in turn. Right-clicking on a sphere will select the mesh.) Take note of this sphere and its indicator line will disappear Next you need to smooth out the edges. because the STL and OBJ mesh files at 123dapp. particular sphere (circled in Figure W for after you click on it. OBJ file. select Modify Selection 102 . then cap the back of the model. the back of the fountain. except for the sphere that »»Magenta spheres represent the discon. »»Red spheres represent the non-mani.3D SCANNING Repairing Relief Scans by Capping Sometimes you have a mesh of a building or sculptural relief that’s missing a side. last. you want to control how com/stl-Catch/Gothic-Fountain/849545 it's closed. You want to close all of the other minor Next. editing Next.

boundary as outlined 103 . You can also drag the gray Arrows in the X. On the Action Bar. accept them (Figure AA). then Extrude. of Missing Mesh ward (Figure CC). click Accept to For your extrusion properties. You extrusion. choose an offset number on at the open area. After you select Extrude. BB). select Erase & Fill (Figure FF. and Z planes will appear First repair the model and smooth the bar behind the Offset label to the left or right (Figure DD). It will usually allow you to open the model again. Then be highlighted (Figure Z). Flat from the EndType drop-down menu. Don’t close Edits on the Action Bar. Save often in the default MeshMixer . on the Action Bar. choose click Accept.mix format to ensure that none of DD EE your changes are lost. Smoothed areas will properties panel will open up on the right. we changed the the hole yet (Figure EE). to change the offset. → Smooth Boundary. click To Close Large Areas that’s negative. Now you need to close the hole. click change the Direction option to get a straight white box between the arrows. From the better view of the missing mesh area (Figure click Accept. may need to rotate your model to get a direction to Y Axis. Then click Accept. click Modify page 104). Edits menu. When you’re satisfied. to extrude the model back. Deformations and select Transform Faces. an Extrusion Next. Rotate your model so you’re looking head- Under Offset. You might also need to Scale the extrusion in by dragging the With the boundary still selected. Y. WARNING Sometimes MeshMixer will crash when scal- ing the extrusion. makezine. Click Accept. 3D Scanning Skill Builder X Y Z AA BB CC NOTE Mesh selections in MeshMixer stay selected until you manually click the Clear Selection button from the top menu. In this example. Selection and select Smooth Boundary.

Learn more about her at kaziunas. Export your file as an STL and then open it up in Netfabb (Figure II). On the Action you’re ready to scan anything that you can convince to sit still. Anna Kaziunas France teaches the “How to Make Almost All 3D models used in these tutorials Anything” rapid prototyping course in digital fabrication at the are available on Thingiverse: Fab Academy at AS220 ( Click on Select and click Clear Selection. so we need to use the Volume Brush. and ready for printing (Figure KK). This model has some ridges in the roofline that occurred from extrusion that need to be smoothed out and the Dean of Students for the Global Fab Academy program (fabacademy. cropped. And even if you end up with messy meshes.3D SCANNING FF GG HH The model should be manifold and appear “capped” with a flat back (Figure GG). She’s also and check out her things at you can clean them up well enough that you should be able to print anything you can scan. Select Brush1 and use the Flatten and Reduce brushes (mouse over them to see their names) to flatten out the bumps (Figure HH). It’s time to digitize KK the world around you. 104 . Your model should now be capped. repair the mesh. These ridges won’t smooth out with the Smooth Brush tool alone. Then use the Smooth Brush II JJ tool to soften it out. As described previously in “Repair and Clean Up in Netfabb” (see page 101). click on VolBrush/2 and brush options will appear. Scan Your World With the tools and techniques outlined here. slice off unwanted parts of the model. and then export it as a binary STL (Figure JJ).


David Laserscanner soft. and image-based the model developing on-screen. It can stitch 2008 “House of Cards” video. scanning is The addition of a rotating platform under. visible so. but is otherwise fully functional. The a scanner turns real-world objects makes it easier to scan it on all sides. mentioned above. modeling (aka photogrammetric modeling). or even more so. is Structured-Light source structured-light project. most popular DIY 3D versions support visible structured-light com/id/structured-light-3D-scanning). the shape of the projected pattern. Much of the sometimes printed with a special black Scanning structured-light suite is written for Mac OS calibration pattern. system (makeprojects. and ThreePhase. and an image analysis IDE and works on any OS — Mac. depending on software. X. program to produce a low-cost DIY 3D or Linux — that can run Processing. software can use to infer depth by analyz- the yin to printing’s yang. There are three ware (david-laserscanner. Fortunately. scanning — in which a real Sean the backdrop. The backdrops are not This method combines a light projector. 3D Scanning at Home Cheaper and easier than ever before! special backdrop. The projector “paints” the subject with a geometric pattern. together scans of the same object taken multimedia artist Kyle MacDonald posted from multiple angles. as Laser-line scanning works best with a neu. and in 2009. The free trial version has Software options for visible structured-light under illumination with a laser-line generator.000. almost astoundingly developing a low-cost program specifically Before the advent of Kinect. as instructables. to put together DIY 3D scanners capable for this purpose. Ragan 3D object is imaged to produce a vir. and export directly to a landmark Instructable that popularized Laser-Line Scanning several popular 3D file generates DIY technique. which the in desktop publishing. Windows. since 2006 imaging world by storm. and laser-line generators a digital camera. doesn’t interfere with ambient room light- can be printed. tion cap. you simply turn off human eye. scanning method involves imaging a subject scanning as well. are inexpensive to buy and easy to make. often In desktop not including the multi-drive subject platform shown here. as in the DIY SplineScan ing how the surface of the subject changes a printer turns data into real-world objects. commonly IR. Perhaps the first. ing. turn on the camera. the lights. scanning include David Laserscanner. however. it was used to produce common methods: laser-line scanning. structured-light scanning was a common of very impressive results. Software does the rest. Microsoft’s interactive motion-sensing Pro-grade 3D scanners are available but for instance.) a grid of light and dark stripes. (One method improvises a line generator scanning system that’s generally faster than Since Microsoft’s introduction of Kinect from a laser pointer and a wine glass stem: laser-line scanning. but ThreePhase runs inside the Processing difficult to prepare. Whereas neath the subject. it’s easy. often a white 90° corner decoder utility developed as part of the open backdrop that. Germany’s David Vision Systems has been ible structured-light scanning in the IR band. and Invisible structured-light scanning has tual 3D representation — is the other “paint” the subject with the laser advantages.3D SCANNING The NextEngine Laser Scanner represents the low end of the professional 3D scanner market at about $3. perhaps foremost that it major method for making 3D models that line from all sides. The latest the technique among DIYers (instructables. Along with modeling from BY With the subject in place before scratch. some restricted options and a scan resolu. operates by invis- 3D printers. to extract 3D shapes from raw Kinect controller. and doesn’t require a in late 2010. 3D data in real time and allows you to watch much of the 3D imagery in Radiohead’s structured-light scanning. a basic tral background. the DIY 3D scanning 106 . projected light can be in the visible spectrum WRITTEN or it can be at a wavelength invisible to the into data. Though it’s possible to use which has taken the 3D these can be as expensive as professional image data gathered in this way.

and Autodesk’s Computertechnik. mono- and a video projector. There is significant overlap between the working scales for the three methods. process is sometimes called photogrammetric without assistance from a human operator. light. or image-based scanning depends largely on your available equipment. somewhat. and matte surfaces all make new Kinect sensor costs about $100. Kinect has proven Windows and Mac OS X. a only on 2D photographs. the frontrunner is ReconstructMe space by triangulation with the position (see page 95) from Austria’s Profactor of the camera. After two years noncommercial projects. the practical advantages of invisible SLS graphs of your subject. Kinect provides a high-perfor. so after-the-fact scaling Image-based modeling works best arrays. Common reference chrome colors. the Kinect sensor itself for developing custom apps. a neutral background. numbers and generate the 3D models. most of which Image-Based Modeling For simple. and subjects with these qualities Among 3D scanning programs for analysis software — and then located in will be harder to model photogrammetrically.” makeprojects. buildings. 3D Scanning at Home landscape has changed a lot. Structured-light scanning covers the middle ground between head- sized and room-sized subjects. mounted on a servo. and a monochromatic CMOS is only available for Windows. Ultra simple DIY laser-line scanning setup: a laser Which One pointer. GmbH. Kinect. with five major sensing matically capture models at their real. photo coverage and clear reference points. and the degree of access you have to move. Between If you have a good set of all-around photo. the camera positioning between shots. Sean Michael Ragan is technical editor of MAKE magazine. the invisible structured-light scanning. some manual identification of at very little cost. visible-wavelength SLS methods has faded a 3D representation of the subject. and the more consistent Generally speaking. c't – Magazin für software suite that can be freely used for D Vision Works’ D Sculptor. It’s available both 123D Catch (see page 93) provide an inter- in production and hundreds of millions of as a command-line “console” and as an SDK face that makes it easy to mark reference dollars in research. an IR laser isn’t required. As of this writing. His work has appeared in ReadyMade. For large outdoor statues. Complex organic shapes. and presents a very cation of the same forensic techniques used reference points between photographs — attractive alternative to cobbling together to reconstruct crime scenes. the size of the objects you want to 107 . The more images. automobile a process known as stitching — is usually a visible SLS system using a digital camera CMOS pair allows for depth sensing by popular. ReconstructMe is a commercial Programs like Eos Systems’ PhotoModeler. In practice. and topograph- ical features. from France’s Manctl. and is a fairly advanced appli. Unfortunately. software back end to actually crunch the controlled base. works at a variety of scales and can auto. ReconstructMe points between photographs. program that provides support for both better the lighting. laser-line scanning is the highest resolution method. angular shapes with good exploit its native 3D-imaging ability. components — left and right microphone measurable sizes. ReconstructMe when you have free access to the subject projector. Should I Use? and a video camera. but as a rule of thumb. and points are first identified among photo. an RGB video camera. and best for precisely scanning detailed objects smaller than a human head. graphs — either manually or by smart image images. This and produce a fairly accurate 3D model. a wine glass stem. there are programs software can automatically identify and and Kinect’s very low price point. it harder to identify reference points between the software is widely available for free. structured-light. and photograph your subject as needed. interest in that can use those images to reconstruct correlate reference points between images. is another (“Print Your Head in 3D. to capture as many pictures as you need image sensor to match the laser. as well as the is an oblong black bar. The laser/ Skanect. and archeological sites based necessary. the an incredibly fruitful platform for developing better the results are likely to be. Tim Anderson makezine. free-to-use Kinect-based scanning project/p/2194). and The Wall Street Journal. image-based modeling may be the only practical method. The choice of laser-line. mance out-of-the-box 3D scanning system modeling. all kinds of hacker projects.

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chases was a printer/plotter for his and since it was the last one on the shelf (who Sharp PC-1500A pocket computer. I replaced them both! ” and printed one out! ”
 —Chris Krueger. The tabs have to be bent first. do a replacement from photos of the existing clip not. sells out of tackle boxes?) I wouldn’t be able to Although the printer 110 cont. Nor are they still available. so OpenSCAD. The replacement I took out the calipers. Austin. being almost 30 years electrical components. the exchange it. on pg. Unfortunately I didn’t junkie and one of his recent pur- realize until I got home that it was missing a clip. ” —Sean Michael Ragan. 112 . Arlington Heights. Ketchum. busted out actually snaps tighter than the original. ” —Bozo “ I have this trick of making chain mail from soda can tabs. Eagle Rock.MADE IN 3D Just What I Needed Print what you want. Idaho thingiverse. —Miles Lightwood. So and caliper measurements. Texas “ I bought a tackle box to help organize all my “ A friend is a vintage computer thingiverse. so I just designed and printed my own. fired up the MakerBot. “ My old Bosch 1611 is a killer router. So I designed and printed a custom jaw insert for an off-the-shelf pair of jeweler’s pliers that bends the tabs exactly the same way each time. I fixed my problem by modeling pens. when you want it. and the mail looks best if they’re all bent to exactly the same angle. I couldn’t find a stock pattern collar adapter. Ill. Calif. but it’s 20 years old and almost impos- sible to find parts for. thingiverse.


better — not sure about the 112 . ” “ When some plastic part breaks in your car.Y. —Gian being able to buy it without getting a second mortgage are slim to none. Calif. “ I ordered a KitchenAid stand mixer and its ice cream maker attachment. ” —Michael Gregg. My Thing-O-Matic allowed me to replace a broken plastic fitting in my car’s luggage cover. The auto parts store was not open drill). excessively pounding on it. Palo Alto. so it couldn’t go on the seat post. I wanted ice cream “ A good friend of mine on Tuesday. ” until Monday. but the mixer itself wasn’t going to arrive until the following Thursday. Not just shower head holders. it looks exactly the same. the chances of finding a replacement and then thingiverse. The rack already had holes for a license plate. The ice cream maker attachment arrived on a Monday. I have now and broke my mother’s doorbell by helped many others make vacuum cover clips. Ontario thingiverse. faster part. so I whipped this up for him —Lee Holmes. but you get the idea. N. so I made this simple adapter that goes on the rack using the exist- ing holes. using SolidWorks and my MakerBot. Wash. ” money on buying another doorbell —Miguel Angelo de Oliveira.MADE IN 3D Just What I Needed “ I wanted to attach a rear light to my bike. thingiverse. and many other hard-to. Hartsdale. button. but now its stronger — a solid mini-brick instead of a hollow shell. Instead of spending find replacement parts. Stony Creek. I print- ed it in natural ABS. so that I can attach and remove it quickly. but I have a rack installed. Seattle. I decided to make something stronger. I can’t even tell a difference from before. and he broke the window crank socket adapter (and a strong in his Miata. which saved me from having to buy a whole new one at roughly “ Some blockhead came along half the price of my 3D printer kit. This is my solution: was interested in 3D print- an adapter to drive the ice cream ing. and then has a spring clip that fits the bike light directly. In your face. either. doorbell murderers! ” —George Banovac. We were hanging out maker with a standard ⅜ drill one Sunday. San Francisco.

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