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Norbert Rovira

GE bracket Generative Design with Fusion 360

Autodesk workshop about Generative Design with Fusion 360

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Yesterday I went to a workshop in Autodesk Barcelona premises to learn about Generative Design, a new functionality that Fusion 360 will include in few weeks.

We first had an introduction about the new trends, the fact that Autodesk recognized few years ago that with CAD tools there will be no more growth, apart from regular economy cycles. A change of paradigm was needed. Generative Design, and everything that will come afterwards, is the first answer to this change. The EMEA Evangelist that presented the tool imagines a future where engineers, more than knowing how to create 3D models, will have to know how to code to get the full advantages the new tools will bring. Future tools will take care of the main part of design automatically.

What is Generative Design

Generative Design will be a module in Fusion 360, only available to the Ultimate license. And it goes beyond topology optimizations.

Starting with few pieces of information that you supply to the system -preserve regions, obstacles, fixed parts, loads and materials- the system calculates design variations that meet the defined objective: the most usual is mass reduction with a factor of security objective (in the examples it was 2). The nice part is that it makes designs that meet the requirements with not even needing  an input model to start with. It is also possible to start with an object already designed and improve it through the same procedure. The outcome of a generative design can even be used as input for another study, and probably optimize it even more.

GE bracket generative design Fusion 360

The GE bracket defined for Generative Design. Preserve regions in green and obstacles in red (where bolts and hook need to go through)

In addition you can choose which type of digital fabrication you are going to use, simulate the piece as it would be manufactured taking into account this particular technology restrictions, and of course you can get designs without restrictions.

Currently only 3D printing (additive manufacturing) is available as technology but there are others in the roadmap. Additive manufacturing option also has to improve because it makes permutations of the object by printing in different axis without supports (for now just +X, +Y, +Z and the opposite direction is missing). You can see the typical staircase with layers when there are overhangs.

Fusion 360 Generative Design permutations

Processing permutations in different materials and manufacturing technologies

It also takes into account the material used. You can add anything you want (titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, nylon, etc…) but in fact all of them are currently calculated as if they were metals, taking into account its linearity behavior when load is increasing. He explained to us, for example, that plastics deformation is non linear and difficult to calculate: it bends a bit and collapses suddenly.

The exercises

The titanium models are amazing!! like the GE bracket case. A bracket used to anchor plane turbines for maintenance. In this link “GE Bracket Quick Start Tutorial” there is a full tutorial on how to make it with Generative Design. This was the first exercise we did, each one with a laptop provided by Autodesk.

GE bracket Generative Design with Fusion 360

The bracket model that I took, among all options

After generation is launched you can see all results. Some of them are not valid since they do not meet the requirements (for instance factor of security < 2) but they can sometimes be interesting. I insist in this, you have not provided any kind of form, just where it’s forbidden to have material and where it is mandatory.

From all these options you take the one you like more and after giving away some credits, you can download it in SAT or STL formats. SAT is better because you can modify properly in CAD software. Here is for example the same bracket exported in SAT format and imported in Fusion 360.

GE bracket imported in Fusion 360

After this case we did another exercise, less guided, with a shelf support. The tool is pretty easy to use, since it has few options by now. Let’s see how it works when its integrated in Fusion 360.

With a bit of practice you can create models with good aesthetics that meet the weight requirement and others. Obviously this is not for everyone, since it’s focused right now in metal 3D printing, and only available in the Ultimate paid license. In addition to the annual license, there is a pay-per-use with a cost in credits. In fact it could be used for many designs, even gadgets or home spare parts if you print in metal or use plastic filaments but with a factor of security substantially higher.

PS: sorry for the pictures but I had to take them from the laptop lent to me, I had no way to get a higher quality capture.

I will be teaching a couple of courses more of Fusion 360 in Barcelona after vacations, same format as the one I gave (12h in several sessions, you have the full program here). There is no announcement yet but if you are interested just ask me.

 

If you liked Generative Design and want to know more or watch it in action, check this video from Lars Christensen, evangelist at Autodesk.

 

 

Versiones adaptador aspirador Stepcraft

Design of a vacuum adapter for my Stepcraft CNC router

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Today I bring you through the design process of a vaccum adapter for the HF500 spindle from my Stepcraft CNC router. I have shared the files at Thingiverse for those who want to 3dprint it or modify it. Everything done with the trendy CAD tool: Fusion360.

I frequently work with a CNC router from Stepcraft, built as a kit more or less a year ago. It has an add-on to connect a vacuum cleaner directly under the spindle and around the mill, so you can reduce the amount of dust small pieces fo wood floating around.

But short after I started using it I found a problem. At Artecitos I cut a lot of MDF and since it’s pressed fiber it makes a lot of dust that tends to stick everywhere, so the original adapter got clogged quickly.

Since then I spent quite some time cutting the “manual” way, which means I hold the vacuum tube 😉

But it’s not practical at all. You cannot leave a CNC router working alone, this is clear, but it would be enough to stay around with attention.

The design process

So I started hands on to design with Fusion 360. Since I wanted to reuse the rest of parts I used my digital caliper to measure anything that came to my mind.

It’s not a piece of engineering, so I made it quick and dirt as you can see from my notes…

cotas adaptador aspirador stepcraft       adaptador aspirador Stepcraft

From there I went to Fusion360, to create a sketch and have this first plane drawn in 2D. You can import pictures as canvas and I used that with this picture from above. Works better the higher you are because the camera lens deforms the perspective. You can see it a bit in this one, but I used it mainly as a guide to know where the big parts were located. For the rest I had my measures.

Interfaz Sketch

Form there it’s just a question of making extrusions and some more complex operations until you get the shape you want.

Designing is synonym of iteration

It’s very difficult to make something perfect at the first try, you usually have to make iterations, and in my case I made several. You can see here the six prints I tested with the original part.

 

Versiones adaptador aspirador Stepcraft

From left to right, back to front:

  1. first test to verify measures for the main holes are correct.
  2. almost final model, without magnets. The lateral clamp breaks and I need to reinforce it. The internal tubing is still not wide.
  3. design with holes to insert magnets. I thought I could warm the magnets with a soldering iron and push them down to their place but it was to much distance to travel and I made a mess.
  4. four magnets inserted (pause the print, insert the magnets and resume printing on top), lateral clamp thickened but still breaks.
  5. five magnets inserted, internal cavity improved, clamp reinforced and everything well adjusted. But the magnets do not hold with enough strength the curtain (don’t know in English…) so I can use it reliably.
  6. the one mounted: 8 magnets inserted, reinforced clamp is nearer but still leaving some space to mount it easily.

Well, there are more changes between versions but this is the main stuff. The point is that I got a functional part in the end and I am pretty happy with ito 😀

This is how the final design looks like.

Interfaz Model

Since I know other people found the same issue, I shared it in Thingiverse.

 

And this is the final look that it has. Cutting happily again 😀

Stepcraft HF500 spindle vacuum adapter

 

PS: you may be interested in this, only for Spain. At Artecitos Instagram we are making a draw with a price of earrings or keychain, up to the winner. Check the draw terms in the post. Everything is cut with tho machine!

 

Interfaz Model

Preparing a Fusion 360 workshop at Punt Multimèdia

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During May and June I will run a 12h workshop, split in 6 sessions, at Punt Multimèdia in Barcelona. I share the link of Fusion 360 course in case you want to join.

Fusion360 is a very powerful and complete CAD/CAM tool, coming from a fusion of several legacy tools from Autodesk. If you don’t intend to use it in a business with more than 100k$/year income, the license is free. Unfortunately the interface is not available yet in Spanish, and the software works only in Windows and Mac but not Linux.

I started to use it more than a year ago when I bought a CNC router, because the very same software can manage the design piece and the CNC router programming piece. And I love it!! it became my only design software nowadays.

I take now the opportunity to share the course curriculum that I prepared and, well, if you have any suggestions they’re welcome in the comments.

 

Session 1 – May 15th

  • Introduction to interface and navigation
  • License types, modules brief overview
  • Model module
    • First Sketches in 2D using dimensions and constraints
    • Extrusion of some 2D sketches

Interfaz Sketch

 

Session 2 – May 22nd

  • Model module in full
    • using construction planes
    • creation of basic solids
    • operations to create volumes: extrusion, revolution, sweep, loft, etc.
    • Boolean operations: join, cut, intersect
    • split bodies and faces
    • final modifications: fillet and chamfer

Interfaz Model

 

Session 3 – May 29th

  • Patch module – creating faces, not bodies
    • operations to create faces: extrude, revolve, sweep, loft, patch, offset
    • modifications on faces: extend, trim, stitch, create a body from faces (stitch and thicken)
  • Insert and modify vector graphics (SVG / DXF) and objects (STL)
  • Disegning for 3D printing. The watertight concept and tolerances. Be careful with Patch!!

Interfz Patch

 

Session 4 – Jun 5th

  • Body vs Component
  • Assemblies, joining components
  • Sculpt module, distorting forms and creating more organic bodies

Interfaz Sculpt

 

Session 5 – June 12th

Other modules:

  • Sheet metal, for metal lovers 🙂
  • Render, applying materials to bodies and faces, lights and more
  • Animation, show how things move based on created assemblies
  • Simulation, analyze the structure of an object, apply forces and find out where it will suffer
  • CAM, program a CNC router from the very same software
  • Drawing, to make 2D drawings showing design specifications

Interfaz Render

 

Session 6 – June 19th

This is a session fully dedicated to practice.

We will design a complex object using all the knowledge acquired in this workshop.

We will define the model to be cerated based on the attendees interest.

 

If this appeals you, you know already, join the course Fusion 360 at Punt Multimèdia. They have symbolic prices for the content it will have, probably subsidized 😉

PS: the model used in the example pictures is from a design I made of a vacuum adapter for the Stepcraft CNC router that I use. Later on it was printed with magnets inserted.

tinkercad iphone cover

TinkerCAD workshop for teenagers

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On Wednesday March 21st we made a workshop about TinkerCAD modeling for teenagers in STUCOM, in the context of their Technology Days.

TinkerCAD is a CAD design web tool which is very intuitive and recommended to beginners, that’s why it’s THE TOOL for this type of courses.

Used to 3D Print Barcelona group talks and workshops with highly involved adults, dealing with 30 teenagers is another thing because of their level of dispersion. Luckily Natalia, who is hooked up with TinkerCAD, helped me as support dealing with punctual doubts while the group continued moving forward. Anyway I noticed my vice suffering because I was talking with a higher pitch than usual 😛

The majority of students had already seen a bit of Inkscape and 3DS Max in their studies, and this helped a lot because many concepts were already acquired.

jornada stucom

So we could dig into TinkerCAD tools, including SVGs import, MineCraft export, etc… in addition to a short introduction to 3D Printing and an overview of sectors where it is currently used with plenty of examples from gaming, skateboards, etc.

It is clear to me that the content has to be adapted to the audience to make it more interesting and attractive. So in addition to the usual explanation of standard TinkerCAD functions (navigation, object modifiers, group, align, work planes,…) we saw also the following with plenty of success:

  • view in Minecraft format to export
  • view in Lego format
  • download your own cellphone cover from Thingiverse, import the STL and tune it as you wish. The more advanced brought their own SVG logo and applied it to the cover.

 

tinkercad iphone cover

During the basic functions we made a simple keychain with your nickname, and then printed it with the brand new 3D printer available in the school to shown the results.

There will be a long queue to use from now on 😀

ET final

Trying wood crafting

By | DIY, maker | No Comments

This summer while I was in Razecueillé, my grand-father little village in the French Pyrenees, I took the opportunity to craft an object from a wood trunk. Away from my digital fabrication machines and my computer, it was about making something in a more classic manner just to try.

In fact I had never done something like this and I hadn’t looked for information on the applicable techniques, just the pictures in the western movies where someone uses a knife to carve a figurine from a branch. The thing is that they do this to kill time!!! and it is not much efficient, but I will discover this later 😉

The objective is to make a mate recipient for Natalia, a mate addict as a good Argentinian!

Crafting the recipient

So I started by the beginning, choosing a wood trunk at home and sawing it by hand with an approximate size for the recipient, of course leaving some margin in case I mess something up.

The next step was to empty the inside to create the concavity for the liquid. The wood in this country area is hard, chestnut, oaks and so on.

I think the trunk was oak, and really tough oak. I started very optimistic to carve with gauges that I had there. And I spent several ours with no real progress. This job would have been a neverending thing.

Then I got the suggestion to try a chisel, more effective but nevertheless the hole bottom was a mess of splinters and it was difficult to move in.

Formón
Chisel

From there, the third try was quite effective. My father has a shed for his DIY hobby where he practices a lot of wood work, so I had plenty of tools. I moved in to the most effective system up to then, to use a drill with wood drill bits. And this allowed me to quickly empty the recipient inside by making many holes in it.

There was a problem though, the drill had no way to adjust the depth of the holes, and with all the chips accumulating I wasn’t able to see how deep I was going. So I ended up with holes at really different depths, and I was worried about this having in mind my objective was to make a uniform concavity.

At this point in time I was able to see how much wood I could spare, measuring form the deepest hole, and I made another cut with the saw to reduce the height.

Next steps, the sander. With one if this hardcore sanders thought to be used in big surfaces I sanded the bottom side to smooth it and also try to make it perpendicular to its vertical shape.

After that I had to deal with the outer and inner parts, and for this I used the Dremel, a rotary tool.

For the outer part I just had to sand a bit to get the bits and pieces of bark and any other irregularities, but I left some to keep some personality.

For the inside, I got a real fight! The wood was super strong inside and I had to make the inside bottom consistent dealing with all the irregular holes I made. I was not finding theNo acababa de encontrar la herramienta adecuada para la Dremel. As the tool is rotary the majority of tools work laterally, but I need something to go straigth inside. In the end I finished it with these spheric tools mainly, but spending plenty of hours:

Rolson 24680 - Fresas para Dremel

With this I finished the recipient, after sanding it by hand with fine grain sanding paper.

Now comes decoration.

Decorating the outside

I usually work with digital fabrication technology (3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, CNC routers), and it’s been some time since my partner Natalia asks me things in this style. Pacman wood ghosts, E.T. in 3D, her name painted, etc… check my Instagram to see those examples…

So the ideal decoration was clearly to make an E.T. Talking about E.T. by the way reminds me she recently watch the TV show Stranger Things and she loved it. I had already watched and I recommended it to her, and I watched it again, of course! A must watch if you love the movie icons from the 80s…

Back to the topic, for the outside what I liked best was just to engrave the wood, no paints. Just the engraved wood and the picture can be guessed.

I searched the Internet and I found this pic. If you look for “stencil” with whatever you are looking for you will find what you need to make it in two colors. In my case it was “et stencil”.

ET
E.T. prepared to be carved from a pumpkin

Then I traced it as usual with the open source tool Inkscape. When you trace a bitmap into vectors you transform a picture in bitmap format which is a bunch of pixels into lines and curves. If you enlarge the first picture you loose resolution, and the image becomes pixelated, you see small squares instead of points, the more large the bigger.

However the vectorial image is a group of straight lines and curves that make up the image. If you enlarge it it keeps the relationship between those lines and curves and the surfaces they define so you can enlarge and shrink without loosing any resolution. It’s the ideal format for any later treatment.

In Inkscape it’s the option “Trace bitmap”.

ET vectorizado en Inkscape

The result looks like this [I added the red line later by hand]. After that it is just a question of defining the document properties to the size you want, so in this case the recipient side, and scaling the vectors to this size. In this example the image was inverted, what shows in black should be white but to engrave on wood I thought it was going to be less painful and people would get it anyway.

Here comes the botched job. I have an engraving tool for my Dremel, so I thought I could use it by hand. I printed the image in the appropriate size, kept it stuck to the recipient with tape and started hands on.

I was short on time since Natalia was coming the day after, so I sped up. I just applied the engraving bit directly on paper, thinking that I would be able to eliminate easily the remaining black pieces of paper. But in fact I lost definitio, in addition to the small definition the tool already had. So I was not seen properly where I was carving.

Grabando con Dremel
Engraving with Dremel

The result was quite tough. With plenty of imagination you could guess who it is, if you identify the long finger…

ET grabado
E.T. engraved on the recipient

It as not the result I expected in any case. So with Natalia we tried to save it, first thing was to paint in black the carved parts. But something was missing anyway, specially on eyes…Natalia got inspired and she added a moon and an “explanatory” 😛

It was still ok, but after that we tried to give a touch to the eyes, with a bit of blue. But it just was not fitting the eyes size and the shape so instead of an E.T. it looked more like Chucky!

ET pintado
The chucky E.T.

So nothing more here, undo and start again. In this case it was easy because we could sand it, it’s like the CTRL-Z but on wood as long as you have enough wood thickness haha.

Thsi time we were going to do a transfer. I modified the vector image in Inkscape to invert it and got this:

ET vectorizado en Inkscape inverso

It’s just not black replaced by white, I also mirrored it. The transfer method is to apply the image in paper on top of the material where you want it to stick. It has to be printed with a laser printer, because the trick is that the toner powder sticks to the material below with a substance you add on top. That’s why you have to make a mirrored image to get it on the correct side once transferred. An horizontal flip does the job with Inkscape 😉

We also had problems with the transfer, because the surface was not flat. It was curved either in vertical and horizontal directions, and the paper was not staying stuck to the wood at some points, creating fails. I think Natalia tried something like seven times. She had a “magic” pen for transfer that she had already used some time ago and I think it was not working as well as the first day. The usual way is a liquid you apply on top of paper. But I believe the problem was mainly due to the curves.

After these attempts and the “Undo” sanding afterwards, Natalia finally decided  to paint it with a pen on top of the messed transfer using it as a guide.

¡¡And it worked!!

ET final
E.T. final result

It was a bit off from the center after so many tries, but there is no doubt it is E.T., otherwise just read the text next to it!! 😛

After this she applied a layer of spray lacquer just in the outside, and now we just have to treat the wood inside having in mind that it will be exposed to hot water and yerba when she uses it.

Conclusion

Well, we learned plenty of things:

  • the usual one, use the appropriate tools…if you have access to them, of course.
  • to empty the inner part a drill is very effective. But ensure you can put a depth limit stopper so the hole is homogeneous.
  • If you are going to do something like this don’t take very hard wood, with pine it would have been really easy.
  • Using the Dremel with round bits is too slow, still have to find something more effective to polish the inside. But it is perfect for the outside.
  • The gauges were not much useful.
  • Inkscape works perfectly for the job,to use a stencil, trace the bitmap, rotate, mirror,scale it, etc. And in addition it’s open source.
  • Engraving with the Dremel si a very delicate job that requires a lot of precision with hands. Can work with things that do not require much detail. If I had a planar surface i could have used the CNC router, but for an object like this you need something I don’t have yet: a probe to obtain a 3D representation of the object and then be able to apply the engraving on this surface.
  • The transfer is a good technique to apply something quickly, using a laser printer. If you retrace with a pen it will not have the vintage looking that is typical from transfers, but on the other side you get a hand made touch.

Here is an an example of a transfer made by Natalia with a nicer result:

No molestar

 

I will be exhibiting at the Printer Party

If you follow me for some time you will know that I am the founder of 3D Print Barcelona group. And we organize the Printer Party to be held on Saturday October, 28th. A full day event we make every year dedicated to 3D printing and other digital fabrication techniques used by makers. You have more details and the agenda schedule on the web. It covers all levels of knowledge from those who want to know about the topics to those that are pretty involved, with workshops for all ages, presentations and exhibition.

I am mentioning this because in addition of being there as organizer, I will also have a stand exhibiting some of the stuff I make and other I will prepare for this day, helped by Natalia.

I ammainly focused in decoration objects and/or geek stuff in wood or 3d printed, usually customized, and painted or not at your wish. A bit of everything 😀

¡More details shortly!

Introducción a Fusion 360

The free meetup events and the no-shows

By | 3D Printing, Events, Thoughts | No Comments

Today I am a bit angry, but I can’t do much in respect apart from venting out through my blog as a megaphone to share my pain.

The 3D Print Barcelona group about 3D Printing exists since 2013, and we perform events through meetup platform from the beginning.

Fusion 360 módulo Sculpt

Fusion 360 interface in Sculpt module

 

Today it was my turn, an introduction event to the Autodesk Fusion 360 tool. I’ve been using it for some months now and I love it.

So I felt I was empowered enough to give an Introduction session, obviously with the corresponding prep work that was a couple of days.

During the 2h that the session lasted we were going to see how to model a revolver starting from a picture model.

Revolver S&W_60_3in Fusion360 Revolver SW render

I obviously modeled this before hand to have a clear view of the steps to follow. Here is a picture of the real revolver and a simplified version render.

The damn no-shows

The question is that for today we had RSVP of 27 people.

From these years experience I am used to see that more or less 1/3 do not show and do not cancel or anything at all. We are so civilized.

Buttoday, after an hour and a half preparing the eventes in place setting up all the computers software, only 8 out of 27 came.

And honestly after this shock I looked backwards and realized that there is a growing trend this last year in this no-shows behaviour. Which is to RSVP for an event andthen don’t show up, don’t give notice, don’t cancel, or anything at all. If it was a third in the past, now I think it’s more around half or even more.

I was once in a Woocommerce event, free of course, where more than 20 people had RSVP and I found myself there with just two other guys that sowed up. I was really feeling bad for the presenter who had all the chairs setup and in place for a normal group size.

I don’t know what can be done about it, but I surely have an opinion in respect, and this is that I find it completely unacceptable.

Introducción a Fusion 360

In today’s event

Solutions

There is in fact no miracle solution. I was once in meeting of meetup groups organizers to discuss the topic of no-shows and how each one was trying to solve it, with no clear conclusion.

There are groups, e.g. those of mountain activity, that directly ban the members after two no-shows because in general it implies to leave someone else without room. or if he drives to leave others with no option to come. But applying this implies creating a list and checking in every event, to setup and perform a no-show control for every member of the group. Then the group instead of being a meeting of happy and open people becomes something else. And this control job is not appealing to anyone.

Other groups request a symbolic payment of 2-3€ because when people pay they think better what they do in terms of RSVP and they value more the event. It’s sad but it is like this. But the drawback is that it implies someone has to become responsible for the money collected, and worse, those who cancel within the appropriate timeframe are entitled to a refund and you will have to manage a new control again.

Others just send email reminders stating that there is limited room and they have to cancel if they don’t come. It has some effect but I don’t think it is much. When we have done this we kept having no-shows. It is tru that for this Fusion360 event the date was scheduled before summer, and it can ahppen that people that RSVP at that moment already forgot, but unless the platform is not working as it should anymore they keep receiving messages in particular with the event details update few days before.

In our meetup group 3D Print Barcelona we are not in favor of setting up controls or any other coercive measures. We like to spread  and share our knowledge for free, and the reward is the people that appreciate this and then join us to share also themselves.

But these behaviours sort of blur the group intrinsic motivation, which is just a pure hobby.

The future ahead of us

I don’t know what I will do in the future, I think the next event I will be presenting myself and that implies preparation work is going to be paid, as per this experience. For the usual events in presentation format with no preparation required like Introduction to 3D Printing that we are used to perform, I don’t care if people does not show becuase we don’t have RSVP limits or anything like this.

In any case, I keep for myself the satisfaction of being useful for those eight people that came today and enjoyed the event at full 😀

If anyone has any suggestion, I really welcome them in the comments!

And I take the opportunity to remind that on Saturday, October 28th we organize the Printer Party, an open event for everyone. More info at 3D Print Barcelona.

 

Draudi paso3

First experiences with a BCN3D Sigma

By | 3D Printing | No Comments

This week Tresdenou delivered tome a BCN3D Sigma R17 3D printer.

I was looking for a Dual Extruder and that it was quite plug’n’play for once 😉

And my choice was between this one and the one from Ultimaker. I went for BCN3D being cheaper and local.

Sigma R17

The first experiences this week are very positive, still few things could improve.

The packaging shows a good deal of thought behind, interface is simple and there are plenty of improvements compared to my BCN3D original 4 years old already.

As you start an assistant kicks in that lets you load filament and calibrate heated bed and the extruders. Very simple and effective.

And then you make it work as usual with a SD card.

The software seemed to me a bit basic because it is a customized version of Cura for BCN3D and it is not updated. So I am missing some functionality for example the support options are limited. There is also the option to use Simplify3D but I haven’t tried yet.

With the software you also get profiles for different materials and quality by default which makes things easier.

The same night I unboxed I was already printing, after doing the setup process 🙂

With BCN3D I have a problem that I need to sort out. It doesn’t print with exact size on Z axis. Since I had to change the electronics a couple of months ago, I don’t have a clue of the reason behind…and I think it was happening already before that. The fact is that for 3D printing services that require exact measurements I was not in a condition to provide them, wile for figurines and other objects without precision there was no issue at all as we speak of a difference of 1 mm over 150 mm total height.

And now with the Sigma I just got a couple of requests packed in this week about parts for 3D printer kits. Waiting for the feedback 😉

 

While I am writing this I am 3D printing a Draudi in two colors, a must!!

Cura con Draudi

Cura customized version for BCN3D

The progress up to now:

 

From this four days here is what I liked more and what I liked less:

More

  • Initial experience. The packaging is well thought, with documentation, tools and first steps properly guided.
  • The 3D printer management is simple with clear menus, and the usual functions maximum two clicks away. Filament change and calibration are walked through and easy to perform. The slicer piece could be simplified a bit more, but they already provide default profiles and their website has a profile generator that makes its use even easier. However, I think Cura shows too many options if it is for a newbie that only wants to always get good 3D prints and that’s all.
  • Dual independent extruder. It looks pretty good and has plenty of potential. After the Draudi in two colors, PVA supports is the next thing to try 😀
  • Quite silent, as fara as I heard it is an important improvement to the previous Sigma version.
  • Amazing jump compared to my first 3D printer, the BCN3D, from the same company called RepRapBCN at that time.

Less

  • The interface is simple but the trade-off is that it is also limited. For instance if you have a problem in filament load process you cannot stop it. It happened to me that I started the setup again since I did not complete it in the first round and I messed up (user fault :P). The filament load started when I already had filament loaded and I could not stop it, unless I switched off the machine. The outcome was that the motor kept pushing filament as in normal procedure and made a dent to the filament while it was blocked in the end. Then it could not push anymore. I had to find a way to push the filament a bit more so it got grip again. It also happened to me that when the filament is not caught at first try it pushes following the procedure but may get only to half the bowden tube. Then, following the next procedure step of fine tuning load you have to keep pushing the button many times at low speed until you get it loaded properly, caught in a process that was thought for the last mm probably.
  • I understand it has bowden because there is enough complexity in X axis with the IDEX system, but it does not seem to me that it get the speed advantage that a lighter carry would bring. Like in Delta printers for example. For now I 3d printed properly at 100 mm/s.
  • LEDs are nice, but I am afraid there is no way to switch them off. If oyu leave the printer working at night, you know the drill…

Several disclaimers

Although I know BCN3D Technologies and its CEO Roger, I have no relationship with them. I bought this printer because I think this is a good machine among Dual Extruders.

In fact I bought it at Tresdenou, a shop in Poble Nou (Barcelona) managed by Rafa and César. They are members of the 3D Print Barcelona group for three years I guess, but less involved lately since they have to cover the commercial schedule and we meet just at the other side of Barcelona.

Good people, always willing to help, and I did not doubt for a second buying from them since I know I would have excellent local support if I need it. ¡¡Very recommended!!

I bet for local. You know, if you buy from China you better be independent to repair all the issues that the machine may bring at the beginning, or those that you can make afterwards.

This post is not in any case a review of the machine, simply my first impression as advanced user. I do not perform thorough reviews and I do not have intention to perform them. For this you have several youtubers that have already published.

Stepcraft kit

Starting with the Stepcraft CNC router

By | DIY, maker | No Comments

About three months ago I bought a Stepcraft CNC router, following the advice of a friend that already has it.
It’s not an industrial CNC router, but you can play quite with some stuff given its size and the ability to cut aluminum.

Stepcraft is a German company that also has a branch in the USA. The machine went through a kickstarter campaign successfully.
Since then they have improved documentation and the available information, and have also added optional upgrades to perform tasks such as laser cutting, wood engraving, vinyl cut, 3D printing, etc.

What I liked more from Stepcraft is the community behind their product. The Facebook group is very active and there is a lot of sharing, ideas to make, suggestions, solutions, etc. And of course there is the brand support.

I bought the 840/2 kit version, the biggest one. And with this the HF500 Spindle and aluminum base to add sturdiness.
Assembling instructions are excellent, with step by step videos.
So the assembly did not have any relevant issue.

Stepcraft kit

Stepcraft kit in the middle of the assembly

I did some screw ups, like tightening one of the axis too much to the point of making it bend without noticing because it was covered.

Or break the first mill out of stupidity. Looks like the “Hello World” for coders applied to CNC routers 😛

First cuts were done with MDF, making basically siple 2D cuts. I painted and varnished them afterwards.

I made names, hashtags, logos, PacMan and its ghosts, etc…

First thing Natalia name, my girlfriend 😉

Next steps are testing with other materials and other mills. But I’ve been over a month now tied in a 3D project for a multinational company where I am 3D modeling a prototype and 3D printing several versions and materials options. When this is over I’ll come back to the CNC router.

I leave a small gallery of stuff I’ve been making or still work in progress 😉

Nexus 5 sin cámara

Nexus 5 camera replacement

By | DIY | No Comments

It looks like planned obsolescence is quite applied to smartphones, since they don’t last more than a couple of years without issues. It may be because the battery slowly dies or because or failures that are piling up.

Nexus 5 camera

In my case the rear camera started to fail. Looking at the screen before shooting you were seeing the image vibrate, and the pictures were all blurry. It was not happening with the front camera, and the same issue was happening with other camera apps, so I assumed it was a hardware issue.

As usual Internet is the knowledge source, and pretty soon I identified a video explaining the replacement process.

 

Same as I did with the sticky button issue, you have to take out the cover and unscrew more covers until you reach the camera. This time there is no need to take the battery off 🙂

So don’t follow all the step in this video. In the Sticky button post you have the video with with the part explaining how to get access to the camera without disassembling the battery.

I bought the camera at Repuestos Fuentes and it had a price lower than 20 Eur. At least it’s a cheap way of extending my smartphone life…

A couple of pictures:

Nexus 5 camara

You can see here the location of the camera once the covers are out, with no need to unplug battery or connectors.

The camera gets out easily, disconnect and lift it smoothly. You only have to replace it.

Nexus 5 sin cámara

Same picture with the camera out

Then you just mount everything back and that’s all.

Nexus 5 microphone

The bad thing, after so much opening and closing of the phone, is that some connector suffered in the process and one day the microphone stopped working, well intermittently.

Looking up again in Google it seems it is not an isolated problem.

It’s simply because the connector stops connecting properly. All solutions applied were about adding more pressure to keep the connection well joined.

And I decided for the option that seemed more clean and simple. To add a piece of duct tape on top of the connector to put more volume and ensure proper contact under pressure.

Micrófono Nexus 5

You can see the piece of red duct tape, with the protection on the upper side kept. Anything that keeps there and adds volume works well.

makerfaire rome

Enjoying our 3D printing project: the VIT

By | 3D Printing, Startup | No Comments

We are just few days from the Makerfaire Rome, after the craziness of Barcelona Printer Party this Saturday where I am also part of the organization. And in just a couple of days we leave for Rome.
makerfaire rome

Days of intense activity. We continue at top speed with the last external finish details of the third VIT prototype, a low cost laser sintering 3D printer. There are few options in the low cost range for 3D printers of SLS technology, and we expect high demand at least from the request received up to now from interested resellers.

VIT 3D printer front

The VIT 3D printer prototype version 2
In addition, we are preparing a crowdfunding campaign for Kickstarter, to be launched when I return form Nepal. The initial aim was to launch by mid October, but the campaign preparation requires more work than we thought.
When you watch others campaigns you get the feeling that it’s two guys that met, made a video and took some pictures and that’s all…but everything needs to be thought and calculated. The major difficulty is to define what you get in exchange of the rewards. Because if you make a mistake it goes against you, and it does not happen often to ask for additional money and it is not well considered anyway.

One aspect that is becoming more complex than expected is shipment, for example, since the volume of a machine plus the 10kg powder is a European pallet of 130cm height and almost 140kg.
Well, I said this before shooting the video!! this will really be difficult 😛
These are intense moments, but also very exciting. What we do now determines the future of the Natural Robotics company and its growth. Let’s see how we remember this in a while!!
I got friends that started an entrepreneurial activity related to 3D printing and had to shut down. I hope I learnt something from the mistakes they shared with me…