Ever wondered what you can print on our platform? We’re starting a weekly blog post series to give you a taste of the different goodies you can 3D print, taking our user stories as the starting point. Last week, for instance, one of our Rotterdam-based makers placed an order for a nanocopter frame. We were eager to learn more about the curious thing, so we had a chat with both maker and Hub owner to hear more about their printing experience.

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Meet the maker: Martijn Hogenboom

Martijn is a Rotterdam-based maker with an interest in open source technologies. Recently, he’s been experimenting with a Crazyflie nano quadcopter. Martijn was able to order the basic motors and components from Seeedstudio. But he also needed a frame to protect the drone from bumps, and that proved to be a bit trickier to get.

Martijn, what inspired you to build your own quadcopter?

I’ve always been interested in technology and I’d rather try to build something myself instead of buying a consumer product. Why buy your next toy at a shop when you can build it yourself? I bought the Crazyflie kit from Seeedstudio and I managed to assemble everything pretty quickly. Then I went to Bitcraze to find some extra software and hardware options. I found a link to Thingiverse there, and downloaded the frame project. I tried to print the frame through Shapeways, but their printer resolution was lower than the one required for the file. Afterwards, I read about 3D Hubs and decided to try it out.

How did your 3D Hubs experience go?

The experience was good! I uploaded the STL file to the platform (which I got from Thingiverse) and quickly got in touch with Bouke, who runs a local Hub. It was nice to be able to print just around the corner. Bouke was really helpful. He ran prints with different types of materials and tested different cuts to see which one would work best. I was also very pleased to be able to test the final product with him.

What will you use the nanocopter for?

I’m not sure yet.I’ll try a few things with it and see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll put it to good use.

Meet the Hub: Bouke Groenescheij

Bouke runs a Hub in Rotterdam. He’s a self-professed gadget freak with an urge to make things and, occasionally, pull them apart. When he’s not printing orders for the Rotterdam maker community, he enjoys teaching his children about 3D printing.

Bouke, how did the printing process go? Was the Crazyflie frame a challenging project?

The printing process went fine, but the frame is pretty delicate so I wanted to make sure it was in excellent condition. I ran tests with four different settings. The last one came out just the way I liked it, though I think the other 3 will do their job just as fine.

Can you tell us about the different tests? Which one worked best?

Martijn requested this print in FlexPLA. However, from my point of view, this material is way too flexible. So, I ran tests with both FlexPLA and PLA. In the end, Martijn and I both agreed that PLA worked best. Since this piece needed some strength to fulfill its bumper function, my first attempt had multiple walls (the number of outlines before doing the infill). The only downside to that was that there wasn’t enough room to fill in the gap between the walls. The final PLA version was rotated a little bit (30 degrees). It had a single wall, 100% infill, 110% flow (so a little bit more material was added). The FlexPLA version was printed exactly the same, except a little bit slower - with 130% flow and without retraction.

Do you have advice for other printers that want to work with this model?

Yeah, just try it and see how it goes. I’ve printed this one on my Ultimaker, with 0.9mm layers and at a reasonable speed. It is a very fragile piece, so going for 150mm/s doesn’t make sense. And, as always, have fun :-)

Why did you decide to join 3D Hubs?

I loved the concept. Why not help other people and run a 3D print service while my printer isn’t doing anything? Earning some extra money also allows me to buy filaments in other colors. I just bought this orange and glow-in-the-dark colors, it’s Halloween time!

Join our printer listing or sign up as a maker to order your first print. And if you haven’t seen a Crazyflie drone in action, check out the video below!

Has your toaster or vacuum cleaner reached the end of its usable life? In the past, you would probably not think twice before throwing it into the bin. These days, however, you might be able to repurpose some of its salvageable components and build something awesome using 3D printed parts. This week’s Maker Tale re-imagines our relationship with these everyday products, helping us envision a future in which users are actively involved in producing, repairing and customizing their own stuff.

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Meet the maker: Jesse Howard

Jesse is an Amsterdam-based designer interested in open source initiatives. He began exploring 3D printing as a way to create traditionally mass-produced objects locally and one-at-a-time. Many of Jesse’s projects are geared towards investigating alternatives to standard production methods. He recently got in touch with one of our Amsterdam Hubs to 3D print several components for a grinder prototype. We had a chat with him to learn more about the project.

Jesse, can you tell us a bit more about your grinder prototype?

I designed the grinder as part of a larger collection of kitchen appliances that can be produced (and repaired, or modified) by the user. Each appliance in the collection is made up of standard components and parts that can be easily reproduced by 3D printing or CNC milling, in combination with as few specialized components as possible. The grinder, for instance, uses a standard food jar as the grinding chamber, a 3D-printed housing and switch cover, and an electric motor salvaged from an old coffee grinder.

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Many home appliances are relatively simple devices. But when they stop working, it is often more economical to throw them out and buy a replacement than to repair the problem. I wanted to challenge this idea by making a grinder that could be repaired by almost anyone.

What will you be using it for?

The grinder is multi-purpose. I’m using it to grind coffee, but it can also be used for spices for example.

What was your 3D Hubs experience like?

Very good. Jan-Willem quickly printed out test pieces and posted pictures to the site for me to check. He was precise and eager to make each piece perfect, both functionally and aesthetically. Being able to work and communicate one-on-one with someone locally made the whole experience quite valuable.

Meet the Hub: Jan-Willem Wirtz

Jan-Willem is a creative consultant that strives to make 3D printing more accessible for consumers and have a bit of fun along the way. He purchased his first Thing-o-Matic earlier this year, after attending a local 3D printing seminar. Most recently, he’s been printing orders for Jesse and other 3D Hubs users on his brand new Replicator 2. We had a chance to speak with him to gather advice for other printers interested in printing Jesse’s grinder model.

Jan-Willem, how did the printing process for the grinder go?

It was a really nice job and pretty easy to print. I knew the aesthetics were important so I ran a couple of tests to get the smoothness right. Other than that, the printing process was fairly straightforward.

Do you have specific advice for printing this model?

I ran the print with 0.2 mm layers using PLA. My only advice would be not to run the print upside down but in the direction provided by Jesse’s model.

Visit Jesse’s website to learn more about this project or check out his files on Thingiverse to start building your own grinder - more files and instructions will be added soon!

 

A few days ago, Amsterdam-based industrial designer Shivan Ramdhiansing contacted one of our Hubs to 3D print a smartwatch prototype. The print required an extra smooth surface finish and precision, so the local Hub owner, Emiel Rombach, offered to print it using his brand new Form 1. The Form 1 is a high resolution 3D printer that entered the market this year. Unlike most desktop printers, the Form 1 uses stereolithography [SL] technology instead of plastic extrusion. It can print layers as thin as 25 microns with features as small as 300 microns. Shavin’s prototype was the first 3D Hubs order printed on a Form 1 and SL technology is known to produce exquisite prints, so we were naturally interested in hearing about this 3D printing experience.

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Meet the maker: Shivan Ramdhiansing (Watcher Enterprises)

Shivan Ramdhiansing is Product Development Engineer at Watcher Enterprises, a Dutch startup that is designing a smartwatch to help parents keep track of their kids. Shivan came to us to print a prototype that would help his company evaluate the watch’s form factor and aesthetics. We spoke with him and his colleagues to learn more about the product.

Tell us about Watcher Enterprises and your prototype. What inspired you to create this product?

The idea for the Kidswatcher product came to our founder Erik Recter when he lost track of his little niece Niki in the Swiss Alps. With Kidswatcher, we want to prevent this from happening to any parent or guardian. Kidswatcher is a smart solution for parents to stay in touch with their child. We also want to make something that children would like to wear, something comfortable, elegant, customizable, playful and easy to use.

What did you think of your final print?

In the quest for finding a truly new and appealing look for our product, rapid prototyping is a fast and low-cost step to validate the aesthetics. I am pretty sure we will want to check more shape studies by means of rapid prototyping in the near future, and 3D Hubs seems like a good partner for this. I am amazed by the fast delivery time and accessibility to so many hubs. Prices are reasonable too, especially when you just want to try some shapes for evaluation. The print on the Form 1 machine was quite detailed, definitely an improvement from another print we tested on a Replicator.

Meet the Hub: Emiel Rombach

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Emiel is a 3D printing enthusiast based in Amsterdam. His interest in the the industry has led him to start a 3D copying service called Replicreate. He joined the 3D Hubs community a few months back to get in touch with other makers and meet potential customers for his business. When he’s not delving into the latest 3D printing developments, he works as a QA tester at the digital production company MediaMonks. Like most early Form 1 adopters, Emiel only received his printer a couple of weeks ago.

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3D printing has the potential to revolutionize many aspects of our lives, from manufacturing to healthcare. It may seem surprising but 3D printed bones and organs are only a few years away. A couple of months back, a member of our Utrecht community printed a knee-cap prototype for medical research purposes. We were eager to hear more about his project, after all it’s not everyday that our Hubs get to print customized body parts around the corner.

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Meet the maker: Razmara Nizak

Razmara is a student of Technical Medicine at the University of Twente. At the moment, he is working on completing his master’s thesis at UMC Utrecht’s Department of Orthopaedics. With his thesis project, Razmara aims to validate a new MRI protocol for patient-specific solutions in healthcare.

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Platforms like Etsy and Kickstarter have made it really easy for people to start their own business and make fantastic projects accessible to people worldwide. We are seeing a resurgence in artisanal industries in many ways, with all kinds of craftspeople offering unique and refreshing products. 3D Hubs is proud to be part of this resurgence as well. In this Maker Tale, we will explore SeenLight - a concrete lampshades project by Amsterdam-based product designer Elmer Seen.

Meet the maker: Elmer Seen

Elmer is a true maker with a good eye for industrial design. He works at a company that develops tanning and medical UV light treatment machines, but is always on the look out for side projects. In recent months, Elmer decided to renovate his house. During the renovation frenzy, he visited lots of stores in search for lamps. Having failed to find the perfect set by traditional means, he decided to embark on a new project: SeenLight.

Elmer, what can you tell us about your lampshades project?

SeenLight was born out of my search for a simple and elegant looking set of lamps. SeenLight lampshades are made of concrete, which is one of my favorite materials. The shades have mottled neutral colors and a contemporary feel, they fit perfectly in any home or office.

How did 3D printing help you achieve it?

I needed to make a mold to achieve a smooth double-curved surface for the lamps. I ran some tests with wood, clay and other materials, but the results were disappointing. 3D printing seemed like the next viable option.

After searching for 3D print options and quotes on the internet, I decided to try 3D Hubs. Given the size of my model, it took a while before there was a Hub that could handle it. But the guys at 3D Hubs did a fantastic job searching for a Hub. Eventually, I divided my model into pieces and submitted it to Rijnja - a professional Amsterdam Hub. Rijnja’s had just joined 3D Hubs and this was their first assignment, so there was a learning curve to overcome. Even then, they didn’t give up until they had a perfect result. The flexible silicone mold that they delivered has already produced 30 lampshades in different colors!

Would you recommend 3D Hubs to others?

Absolutely, both Rijnja and 3D Hubs were keen on getting my project ‘done right.’

Meet the hub: Michel Zoet from Rijnja Repro

Rijnja Repro is a professional printing company with offices spread across 13 different locations in The Netherlands. The company is over 100 years old and has seen the evolution of printing from press techniques to 3D printing technology. We had a chat with Rijnja’s Technical Specialist Michel Zoet to learn about their experience printing Elmer’s model.

Michel, how did Rijnja decide to venture into 3D printing?

We’ve been exploring 3D printing for a number of years now, mainly to see what the possibilities are with different machines and not miss out on the trend. At the beginning, we ran mostly experimental prints hoping to understand the technology. Now, we are trying to make 3D printing profitable. That’s ultimately why we decided to list our printing services on 3D Hubs. The platform helps us evaluate local demand and offers a great way to get acquainted with customers. Elmer was our first paying customer, we’ve completed 8 more orders since then.

What can you tell us about your experience with Elmer’s model?

The model itself was quite challenging to print due to its large size. Eventually, Elmer divided it into 3 pieces which we printed over a 15-hour period. Everything went smoothly after that.

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Visit Elmer’s shop to learn more and make sure to sign up for 3D Hubs if you’re looking to bring your own models to life!

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