3D Printing: The Stories We Didn’t Cover This Week — September 12

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This week’s stories we didn’t cover include several nifty 3D printed items. A laser sintered wallet is a big Kickstarter success, raising well over its initial goal; a man 3D printed an insulin pump for a little diabetic girl’s American Doll; and that 3D printed pennyboard design we covered here in July is now finished. Speaking of finishes, Shapeways has introduced a glossy resin coat for its full-color sandstone prints, and i.Materialise, which reports that its prices for steel prints have decreased 16%, offers a new unpolished black steel finish. Last but not least, we return to the old problem of printbed heat-up, with a new aerogel insulation solution from Hackaday.

3D Printed Wallet on Kickstarter

rev1A “Stealth Inspired Low Profile Laser Sintered Wallet” has done something incredible on Kickstarter. It began with a
modest $770 goal, but has grown far past this goal. With three days to go before the campaign closes on Tuesday, September 15th, the wallet has raised more than $10,808 (as of time of editing, that’s up to $10,948!) and it’s not done yet! What’s so special about the wallet? According to the Kickstarter site: “Designed with the aesthetics of the F117 Nighthawk in mind, Nighthawk provides a low profile, minimalist approach to your everyday carry. So lightweight, you’ll barely notice it in your pocket. ” Given the options for people who do not like to have clunky items bulging out of their pockets, this looks like a really good alternative. Made out of polyamide, aluminum (to break the RFID signal), and leather, the laser sintered wallet weighs 35g, and it is 15 x 64 x 102 mm in size. It can store up to 7 credit cards, or cash if you prefer. Or, you can also fork some cash over now and get in line for this phenomenon of a 3D printed wallet!

Family Friend 3D Prints Insulin Pump for American Girl Doll

rev2Madilynn McClanahan, from Missouri, is a little girl with diabetes who has to use an insulin pump. She’s also a little girl who loves playing with her American Girl Doll. The American Girl Doll series provides a number of medical-related accessories, such as an EpiPen, a wheelchair, and hearing aids, but the company does not make an insulin pump available to its customers. One of the ideas behind the American Girl Doll is to have dolls mimic their owners, but for Madilynn, this is difficult to achieve since she has a pump but her doll doesn’t. Enter 3D printing. Madilynn’s mom was on Facebook and saw that an old friend, David Rinaldi, had purchased a 3D printer, so she asked him is he could design and print a doll pump. But Rinaldi took it a little further: he also printed a blood transmitter and receiver, too. Now Madilynn feels more comfortable talking about her diabetes, and the American Girl Doll company has finally picked up on the idea too. It will be releasing a special diabetes-related accessory in January 2016.

3DNA Printed Pennyboard on My Mini Factory

skateI recently read that more and more people are taking up skateboarding as a means to get around in more dense urban environments. They’re practical, lightweight, and can be easily tucked away when unused — not like clunkier bicycles. And let’s face it: they also have a retro, throwback feel that hipsters tend to gravitate toward. Well, now you can go ahead an add some extra trendiness by 3D printing your very own pennyboard style ride. Back in July, I wrote about a cool 3D printed (penny) skateboard that was still being worked on. Well, good news for all of those awaiting: MyMiniFactory designer Simone Fontana has let us know that he has now perfected final pennyboard design. This one uses the truck from a normal Pennyboard, the pin is printed in 100%, while other pieces have an infill of 50%. You’ll also need three steel bars to make this work: one should be 52 cm long, and the other two should be 50 cm long.  550 x  149 x  16 mm. It’s as simple as that. Just keep in mind as you go out there to test your new ride in the streets: skateboarding is still not a crime!

Shapeways Introduces New Coated Sandstone Material

keanu-coatedMaterials in 3D printing is a major area of development; as people print more, they realize just how important the right material is for design projects. Shapeways has always been a leader in this arena, trying to stay ahead of the new filament curve by providing pilot testing opportunities to makers and receiving feedback on new materials. Recently, Shapeways has announced that its old standby, full color sandstone, has received a boost to make it more vivid, smooth, and stronger. This boost comes from a two-part epoxy resin coating that provides a glossy, smooth sheen to prints. (Just check out the sad Keanu Reeves figure to the right for an example of this glossy effect in action.) If you want to give this new process a try, you can go to the Shapeways pilot page and get started printing your new, smoother and shinier items, now.

i.Materialise Has New Unpolished Black Steel Finish
untitledCoincidentally, there’s more than one news story this week about finishes, one shinier and one rougher. While Shapeways is making things glossier, over at i.Materialise things are getting a little bit less polished. That’s the idea behind the new Unpolished Black finish, at least, which provides a darker and rougher finish than the usual polished effect. So, if you are going for a more rugged effect for your 3D printed item, you have this option as well now. And considering that i.Materialise has lowered its price for steel prints by 16%, as the company recently reported, you have that option to try this new finish out more.  The price for one printed cubic cm of steel has been reduced from $8 to $5, and black and gold finishes also dropped from $6 to $5. This is very good news for people who like to print in steel!

3D Printer Heatbed Aerogel Insulator

gelMoving on in materials from bureaus’ availability to the DIY realm: If you use ABS plastic, it’s necessary, but difficult and time consuming, to heat the bed up. And you also need to keep the temperature stable. A Hackaday post recently reported that aerogel, a gel with gas where the liquid usually is, can be used as insulation and is a good alternative to cork or Reflectix for this purpose, as Bill Gertz discovered. The gas properties of aerogel are said to be less than its insulating properties, and in order to use aerogel as a  heatbed insulator, you’ll also need scissors, a hobby knife, whiteboard markers, and Kapton tape.  The Internet has many aerogel recipes you can try at home, so get busy perfecting the art of heating your printbed up!

Which of these stories were your favorite?  Let us know in the Stories We Missed forum thread on

stories missed sept 12



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