3D Printing: The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — March 28, 2015

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This week’s stories we didn’t cover include several creative projects, including 3D printed zoetropes, a slide scanner to preserve old photos, a chair made by over 70 makers, and a printable katamari. Also, new user-friendly online platforms help 3D printing enthusiasts access STL files and printing services. There is so much project- and service-based innovation in the 3D printing world, it should come as no surprise that the White House announced $240 million for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiatives while also hosting its fifth annual Science Fair — featuring 3D printing projects, of course.

White House Hosts Science Fair, Announces More STEM Funding

untitledWith all of the ongoing interest in 3D printing and STEM education, the White House is also throwing its support behind these initiatives wholeheartedly. On March 23, 2015 the 5th Annual White House Science Fair featured some of the best science projects from all 50 states. The White House also announced $240 million for STEM education initiatives. The “Educate to Innovate” campaign has already raised about $1 billion, and this latest round of funding continues these initiatives in all 50 states.

There were many 3D printed items on display at the science fair, too — two of which we’ve covered before. One of the projects comes from Massachusetts’ NuVu School, which has fabricated an open source “hand-driven” lever-powered wheelchair propeller. One of this project’s creators, Mohammad Sayed, who uses a wheelchair himself, is also in the process of designing a 3D printed universal wheelchair arm that can hold various objects, like a food tray or camera tripod. Another example of 3D printed devices included in the event is fully functional 3D printed prosthetic front legs for Derby the dog.

3D Printed Slide Scanner for Old Photos

dutch-hobbyist-3d-prints-a-slide-scanner-7Some 3D printed items are far-fetched and some, like this next story, are very practical. If you are someone concerned about preserving family photos and other data for future generations — there’s some good news. Rotterdam-based printing devotee Luc Volders recently completed a 3D printed slide scanner that links to your smartphone. Volders explains he came up with the idea by taking a slide in his hand and holding it against a white background, which allowed him to make a “reasonable quality” picture out of it. He then designed his new scanner based on another Instructables scanner; his new version is more functional than an old-fashioned scanner. Using a toilet paper roll to establish optimal distance between the camera lens and the slide holder, Volders designed his own phone holder and base, but these have to be designed based on your own phone size. He then used his own Prusa i3 3D printer and printed everything in PLA — he printed it in green, but noted that color can affect the scanning quality, and he glued white paper in so that would be the color reflected, helping the quality. All of his STL files on his blog are included here, but you will have to tweak it based on your own phone size and the 3D printer you are using.

77 Makers Collaborate on One 3D Printed Chair

over-70-makers-collaborate-3d-printed-maker-chair-3France’s Makershop took a unique approach to celebrating its first anniversary by organizing 77 makers to collaborate on a jigsaw puzzle style chair using pieces bearing each individual maker’s signatures. The chair was based on Joris Laarman Lab’s open source “Bits and Parts” chair and makers were allowed to 3D print their own piece in whatever color they chose. Then each piece was assembled into one chair, representing all of the project collaborators.

3D Printed Zoetropes

vfxIn other 3D printed art news, visual effects (VFX) artist Alexandrovich Friderici’s company, EyelandArts, has begun working in the art form of 3D printed zoetropes. For anyone not familiar with this old-fashioned animation technology, a zoetrope produces an illusion of motion similar to a flipbook using hand-drawn images, photographs…or 3D models. Most zoetropes are made by creating a cylinder with vertical slits or a strobe light that alternates frames providing the effect of movement. But Friderici’s is updated, making it easy to spin by hand or using a record player adapter with an iPhone app for a strobe light effect. Friderici uses Luxology MODO for his zoetropes. Using his Formlabs Form 1+ SLA 3D printer Friderici printed zoetrope prototypes in less than four hours at .1mm resolution, and his zoetrope designs are available on Shapeways.

3D Printed Katamari

katamari-damacy-3D-printing-thingiverse-gameIf you are familiar with the video game Katamari Damacy then you’ll be interested in 3D printing artist Arian Croft’s latest project — a Katamari — that adds to the simple ball first posted on Thingiverse. Katamari Damamy is a third-person puzzle-piece video game in which you, as the small prince, digitally add objects, growing a ball (Katamari), to see how much you can add before the timer runs out — because the prince’s father, the King of All Cosmos, accidentally demolished the stars and moon, which need to be rebuilt thing by thing. And now that ball can become a reality as more and more gets added and the “limits of 3D printing” are tested at the same time!

Zurich Company Consolidates 3D Printing Suppliers

additively-launches-additively-application-connect-3d-printing-suppliers-5While Katamari makers are busy adding objects, in the arena of new 3D printing focused platforms, Zurich-based Additively, a spin-off of ETH Zürich, has launched an application that provides singular access to hundreds of 3D printing suppliers. This application includes over 300 3D printing suppliers offering more than 250 different materials. If you are a new user, the app can help filter the right 3D printing technology for your needs and identify a list of suppliers. Experienced users can work on an SSL-secured list of preferred suppliers through the app. The app is free, but for a subscription you can access additional features, like a central NDA solution, instead of multiple NDAs signed by each supplier for keeping designs private. If a large company has a distributed team, a single interface is available for all internal and external 3D printing suppliers to use.

New STL Finder Is User-Friendly and Mobile

STL-finder-models-1024x577Keeping with the idea of consolidating 3D printing information, a manager at Spanish 3D Systems’ distributor Impresoras 3D, Miguel Angel Villar Alarcón, is working on an online tool to consolidate all major 3D printable model databases with a handy STL Finder that is user-friendly and works on mobile platforms. The STL Finder allows you to explore 3D model databases and websites, like Shapeways, 3DaGoGo, Thingiverse, Youmagine, and GrabCAD. It also allows you to set up your own profile with your favorite 3D models, creating a personal database that is conveniently accessed.

That’s the stories we didn’t cover this week! Let us know what you think in the Stories We Missed forum thread over at


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