Wednesday, 11 May 2016

3D Printing Community news and update MAY 2016

3D Printing Community news and update 
MAY 2016

Another community and 3D printing news and views update -

Video update for May - Or watch here in HD over on YouTube.

Hi Everyone, another update from the 3D Printing community, I hope you like it. Please leave me a comment - Thanks.

Here is what I'm discussing, and to make it easier to navigate, check these timecodes and jump to a point that interests you -

Start - Thank you for your Feedback
2:08 - Makerbot Going to China
2:48 - LulzBot Taz 6 Launch - (Not Going to China)'
4:32 - Kickstarting OLO
5:19 - Kickstarter - Two more Delta Printers
7:17 - Kickstarter - Polymaker Polysher & Polysmooth
9:21 - Kickstarter - Mr Beam II
10:30 - Kickstarter - FormBox
11:51 - Patreon - OctoPrint & Toms3DP
13:03 - Community  * Drama *
15:23 - Development & Innovation
17:15 - Materials - eSun Cleaning Filament
19:40 - Things I'm doing...

It's mostly all in the video above, but I have also included a few further notes below for anyone that wants to read. Also some images of what I have been doing with the E3D Titan extruder and a new design of a quick-fit carriage for the BigBox.

Firstly thank you for all your comments and feedback, it's really helpful for me. I have limited time to do 3D printing, and don't have adverts on my channel or blog for any sort of income. It's good to know what I post and share is worthwhile doing and still of interest to you.

Generally I had similar feedback and comments on Youtube, blogger and Google+

I have taken the general feedback to be - that you like my development projects, and want to see more - like in the early days of 3D Printing.

No one commented about facebook, so that's great - I'll continue to totally ignore that.

April turned out to be quite a turning point for some in the 3D printing community.


Image from the Pinshape blog.

We found out who saved Pinshape and that turned out to be Formlabs. Interesting as I really expected Shapeways or one of the other 3D Printing services to snap them up.

Time will tell what Formlabs brings to the model sharing community and what this means for designers using Pinshape. It looks like the original Pinshape founders are now out of the company, so maybe we will see some new direction being applied by Formlabs soon. Read more about the news on the Pinshape blog here.


Makerbot declared itself unable to manufacture in the US, and now plan to offshore manufacturing of desktop 3D printers to a Chinese company. They seem set on death by 1000 cuts. The wider 3D Printing community continues to ignore them. Makerbot blog post here. Enough said.


As an alternative and more positive view, Lulzbot announced the Taz 6 -

Lulzbot still manages to be the most open-source 3D printing company, anywhere.

Matterhackers have them on pre-order for $2.5K. More info should be available on the Taz 6 in a few weeks when the embargo is lifted.

I have not seen any recent comments from Printrbot, but I expect Brook is also still planning to do as much as possible with self-manufacturing and worldwide expansion. Looking forward to some updates from other global 3D Printing manufacturers in May.

I'm really interested in seeing how the US and European 3DP manufacturers navigate through the next 18 months. I have a feeling we are now in the productive phase of desktop 3DP, and even the temptation of ultra low-cost machines from China is starting to subside.

I just wish the RepRap Pro had managed to last out another 6 months, things seem to be turning as long as you are still innovating.

So many Kickstarters -


OLO got funded to the tune of $2.3M - over 3000 comments on Kickstarter and not a great deal of response from the creators. I actually think this could be the last big 'low cost 3D printer campaign' People are finally going to get smart that a 'very good, reliable and easy to operate' 3D printer is still some long way off, and you need to spend more than $99 to get something worthwhile even trying to use.

I wish them all the luck, but I'm also predicting this one is not going to go smoothly at all. We will check back before the September deadline to see...

Polygon Delta

Billy Zelsnack Polygon Delta 3D printer kit over on Kickstarter - $24K - all sold out - well done Billy, this has been one really interesting development to watch over the past 18 months.

Spatial One Delta

Andrew Wade - Spatial One - Delta Printer has just started over on Kickstarter. If you are looking for a rock solid Delta printer kit, than do investigate the Spatial One


Polymaker - Launched the Polysmooth and Polysher - over on Kickstarter. It's had a tremendous response and is currently at $320k - I have backed this project and look forward to seeing the end result.

Mr Beam 2 

Mr Beam 2 - just got funded, reaching almost 1M Euros over on Kickstarter. Well done!


Formbox - $245K for a vacuum forming box - key selling point seems to be that by using your own vacume cleaner make this machine possible. Very disappointed this is planned to take yet another year to be shipped to any backers, you could literally design and make one in a single weekend. Maybe I'm missing something, but what's with the 12 month timescale?


Gina managed to get a successful Patreon campaign up and running so she can try to support the open-source Octoprint a while longer. Gina is still looking for sponsorship, contract work and generally anything that can help keep her in work and food.

Tom's 3DP

Tom has also decided to go for 3D printing full time - well done and good luck with the adventure. Anything I can do to help, just let me know.
Community drama - This is the calm down and chill out section of the news.

E3D and the BigBox crew caused some fuss over on Reddit with a recent mascot competition. It looks like a poor choice of wording in the competition rules (about not having to give away the BigBox as a prize if they didn't have any suitable entries) made a few people leap to the idea that designers were being used to provide free services etc. Read as much as you wan over on Reddit.

Innovation and materials -

I visited E3D last week, they are in the middle of another big expansion. This time Unit 3 is being kitted out for a monster research and development lab. Packed full of tradesmen, fitting the rooms for science. Plenty of new developments, materials and projects.

And the EDGE filament will be coming soon...

I also checked to see if they really did have the worlds supply of Haribo :)

This was Nozzle world.

I didn't take the peanut scoop... Honest!

They handed me one of their new silicone boots, this wraps around the hot-end heater block and both helps stop material build-up on the nozzle and also insulates the heater so part cooling fans can be more aggressive while also keeping the

I tried out some dedicated hot-end cleaning materials - by Esun filament, You can buy it over on the E3D website or Printedsolid - Anyone else stocking it, let me know and I'll add a link.

Some of the stuff I'm doing -

Project snowflake is finished, look out for an update on that project, done with my daughter.

The steampunk octopus is also finished, another one done with my daughter. I requested an interview with her, but was 'far too busy' out playing to comment.

I seem to be in an ever state of testing out new materials at the moment. Really interesting but also quite time consuming.

Testing out some colour gradated filament - interesting, but inconsistent and not quite as exciting as first thought.

Lots more work on paste extrusion and bioprinting applications - more on that soon.

I'm also trying to clear out all the projects, posts and video's I have not had time to finish. I'll get them all done over the next month and then get onto even more new developments.

Titan is performing well - and so is the new E3D Edge filament.

 Decided to re-design everything on the X carriage, extruder mount and 360 Degree fan cooling duct.

I have made a new quick-fit extruder carriage for the BigBox. I wanted it to fit the Titan well and also allow easy switching of extruders.

I had to jiggle (technical term) the heated bed forwards and up by around 30mm to allow the now much lower Titan setup to reach the build platform.

And for ideas and inspiration, here is a short 60 second video on what to do with all those spare ends and samples of 3D Printing filament - It was my youngest daughter's idea. Great fun.

Yea, That was April!

May is already looking interesting, see you next time.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Trying a different type of 3D Printing video update - need feedback

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to get some feedback on the way I do things - please help - thanks.

I thought I would try a slightly different type of 3D Printing update - I'm still trying to work out how I should continue with project updates / review's and advice about 3D Printers / materials and stuff.

Feel free to give me any feedback - good points / bad points and any ideas of what you would like to see from a 3D Printing YouTube Channel and/or blog etc.

I keep on going with the Blog because sometimes a video can be a great end result and a blog can be easier to follow and read. Blog posts do require many times more work than a quick update video, so I'm trying to find the balance - Do you read my Blog posts? of just watch my videos?

In the past many of my blog posts were considered too long (big developments / review's ) or TLDR.

I don't want to fall into the trap of doing great long video's (unless that's something people want) - under 15 minutes seems like a good level.

Maybe I should do more 5 minute ones? (Even this one below turned out longer than I expected, but is short 'news' actually useful?)

I'm currently updating YouTube, Blogger, Twitter and G+ and often that seems like too much.

I have no interest in posting to Facebook - is that wrong?

Anyway back to the point of this post - A roundup of things that are going on in the community, and projects / products, components and materials I'm looking at right now -

Or watch on YouTube in HD here - and please consider subscribing to my channel, thanks.

In this video I talk a little about the following and more - 

The E3D Titan extruder and EDGE filaments -

Also supporting Support Gina Häußge with Octoprint


Tom's 3DP. 
Tom's Youtube channel -


And congratulations Nils on the new baby Zelda :)

WIO Link - Kickstarter

The OLO 3DPrinter - Kickstarter

Discussing Core XY / XZ / YE - that needs much more discussion...

Please let me know what you think. I really appreciate it.

And remember to check out Gina's Patreon funding for ongoing Octoprint development -



Thursday, 14 April 2016

Simplify3D Profile for the BCN3D SIGMA 3D Printer

Just a quick one - I thought some of you may be interested to test out a new profile for Simplify3D

I have shared my Version 5 Dual extruder profile for Simplify3D - this is for the BCN3D Technologies SIGMA 3D Printer. (Profile download the the end of this post)

Feel free to download and try it out if you want to experiment with the SIGMA and Simplify3D.

This is for Dual PLA at the moment, on the standard SIGMA with dual 0.4mm nozzles.

I have experimented with many more nozzle sizes and materials, so expect more profiles and tweaks in the future.

I wanted to see how more people get on with using the SIGMA under Simplify3D, so please do comment if you try it out - also please comment on what material / type and manufacturer you used / tried.

Above - Nervous System dual colour tree frog - very good model to test out dual extrusion printers - get it here

Above - Another great model for checking dual printing capability - The dual pen pot by Mark Durbin (MakeAlot) - Download the model here

One thing you will notice is that the tool change retraction is short, this is deliberate - so make it longer at your own risk! - I found that many complex dual prints would fail after many, many small retractions and rapid tool change-overs if the tool-change retraction was long (more than 6.5mm) - so it's shorter now, with added restart distance to make up for the ooze of a stationary tool.

The YouMagine Entry is also in open Wiki mode so anyone can edit it, and upload more profiles if you wish. If you make a new or improved profile, share and upload over on the same YouMagine page (Download here)

I'll have an update on using the BCN3D Sigma 3D Printer very soon.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

3D Printing with Proto-pasta Magnetic Iron filament

Proto-pasta - Magnetic Iron PLA

This is part of a focus on 3D Printing materials series, I hope to cover as many materials as possible, from a wide range of manufacturers. From everyday to experimental filaments, print results and views on using them.

If you want to get involved, please feel free to contact me. (details at the bottom of this post).

I will be discussing all the Proto-pasta materials, first up is a rather special one, and it's my favourite material from Proto-pasta - Magnetic Iron. Making rusting stuff very, very cool again.

I you decide to try any of the Proto-Pasta materials, I would strongly recommend this one, it's really nice to print with and is so much fun to post process by allowing the printed parts to rust.

You can view my video on printing and rusting Proto-pasta Magnetic Iron filament below, or in HD on Youtube Here

I have tried both 1.75mm filament and 3mm (2.85mm) in various machines and drive systems - bowden feed and direct / geared. All operated correctly with only minimal adjustments over printing with standard PLA. Normally a little more retraction and slightly lower temperature - then check your flow rates and adjust +/- 5%

I was sent a roll for testing and feedback, so here is what I did with it - And I also need to thank Ben from Hawk3DProto for sorting me out with another roll when I rather quickly ran out.

You can get 500g of material on a standard sized roll, that's only around 42m in length for the 3mm filament (around 129m for 1.75mm). At the time of writing Proto-Pasta have some special offers for their Iron filament, so now is a great time to pick some up and experiment.

They also sell 125g samples and large 12" 2Kg spools if you are feeling adventurous.

The exceptional thing that Proto-Pasta seems to achieve very well, is that their composite filaments are easy to use. Wherever possible they try to make them as similar to using 'normal' PLA as they can. You are really going to appreciate this fact. It means you will waste less material getting it tuned in and you can be confident to print something almost straight away.

For the Magnetic Iron I found that dropping the temperature by about 9 degrees C (from 205 Degrees, to 196) was about right.
The other change was with flow rate -
  • On one RepRap machine running with the 1.75mm filament - Into a wade style geared extruder and a hardened spur drive, I had to lower the extruder flow by -3% to get perfect results.
  • On the BCN3D Sigma (Bowden) machine running with 3mm material I had to increase the extruder flow by +8% for perfect filling.
For choice of hot-end, I used E3D V6, and I tried both standard brass nozzles (0.6mm - with the 1.75mm filament) and hardened versions (0.8mm - with the 3mm material). Both work fine and showed no significant sign of wear after 500g of filament was used in each machine (1Kg in total).

Obviously when you use exotic or more costly material that's designed to be on show, you want to use as little as possible on a print. Here are a few tips I would recommend for minimizing material use.
  • Check what minimum level of infill you can use. Rectilinear will tend to use the least, and still provide some support for overhang and slopes. I typically use 6% in complex metal prints and for many vases, statue figures or busts you can use 0% and just have a single perimeter outline.
  • Select a slightly bigger nozzle - and then only do one outline. Using a 0.6mm or 0.8mm will print quickly, still show up all the detail you usually need in a metal print -considering that you will most likely post-process.
  • Don't print the bottom layers - in almost every metal print I do, I always leave off the bottom, it's almost always not going to be seen and I like to fill the object after printing, so it makes that process easier too.
  • Using minimal material means you may get a small hole or two occasionally, that's not the end of a print or a failure. Just melt a section of filament with a lighter, and drip or wipe into the hole, sand and post-process and you won't be able to tell it ever had a hole or defect. 
  • Fill with plaster for that added weight and feel.

With the Iron filament, you really want to be rusting it. It's not really possible to get a shine onto the Iron, so it's also not all that important to smooth or sand the object before rusting.

However if you do lightly sand or scrub areas of the print, then they will start to rust first, I have tried various methods of rusting, here are some good and bad options -

Don't fill your prints with cement or concrete! - That was the very first material I used and it done some serious damage to the structure and integrity of the printed model.

Plaster is not as aggressive and can be used as a filler for Magnetic Iron Filament (and other metal filled materials).

Expanding gap-filling polyurethane foam works very well, obviously not adding all that much weight, but great to help with strength - especially with 0% infill objects.

I have now settled on filling most hollow objects with dry sand and sealing with a plaster cap. This provided good weight and causes no damage to the Iron material.

You can use many different chemicals to generate rusting - ( just be careful and don't mix things if you don't understand what they will do together - Chemical reactions and gases can be very nasty )

Whatever rusting method you decide to try, I strongly recommend that you do not submerge the object or add substantial amount of fluid at any one time.

Proto-Pasta also have various tips for rusting here, and other people use soaked cloth or tissue for different and selective rusting.

Below is what I used - I'm not recommending any particular method, do this at your own risk.

I originally wanted to make a gel type solution I could paint on, but after much experimentation with various gels and substances, I reverted back to a known method. I'll attempt the gel idea again at some point in the future.

I like using a 100% saturated salt solution - That's 500ml of water at room temperature with as much table salt dissolved as you can. Stop when salt crystals remain and won't dissolve.
Then I added 100ml of white vinegar.
And 20g of oxy-action laundry stain remover.

Mix all this up and put into a spray bottle. - If you can warm up the liquid and ideally the printed objects it will help with the rusting process.

Wear protective glasses and gloves, then in a ventilated area spray onto the Printed object, leave to stand, or for accelerated rusting put in a warm place, spray again as required - usually after 4-5 hours and again 10+ hours. You should end up with a nice level of rusting in any area that has been lightly sanded. If you continue to spray and keep the part lightly coated, you will get more and more rust.

 Place in a plastic tray.

 Lightly spray with rusting solution.

 About 5+ hours later you should start to see rusting. Add more spray as you like.

Some salt crystals may form, these can be washed off after rusting.

I like to allow more rusting fluid to sit in pockets or gaps, then scrub, sand or polish off some of the other areas of rust, for a really nice old looking finish.

The longer you keep Magnetic Iron printed objects damp, rust will continue to form and grow.

Why would you not want a rusted old skull?. My only wish was that I printed it even bigger... Maybe next time.

Support structure works well with the Iron filament, it's strong and takes a little more effort to remove, but it breaks away cleanly.

I have much more to come in the materials series - (Continuing with Proto-Pasta, then looking at many other filaments - I'm also open to suggestion of whatever other materials you would like to see used and tested, just let me know.) -

Proto-Pasta Stainless steel filament requires a lot more work to get a pleasing shiny finish, I will take a look at that in the next blog post and video.

Proto-Pasta Carbon fibre (V1 and V2) material is strong and also really nice to use - look out for my thoughts on using that and where if can be a good option over other materials.

High temperature PLA (including the coffee material).

And finally I will be also looking at their conductive material (not tested yet). - And as a note on this - I have tested so many 'conductive' filaments in the past and still am yet to find a really good one.) < Yes, that's laying down a challenge to any filament manufacturer - We want real conductive, not just high-resistance / 'anti-static' and/or brittle carbon loaded materials that don't really work well as a conductor in an electronic circuit.

I will leave you with an extended collection of images and links to the 3D design files - from the Magnetic Iron printing and rusting experiments (October 2015 to March 2016).

Thanks again to all of the Proto-pasta team Over in the US. And Ben at Hawk3DProto in the UK.

Thanks for reading. Please leave a comment, subscribe to me on Youtube and if you want to get in contact -

Twitter - @Richrap3d
Google+ - RichardHorne_RichRap3D

Until next time, happy printing.


The EasterEgg Generator from 2015 - by Richard Swika -

Another set of great models by David Mussaffi - Bottle and screw cap 41 -

Above is the fantastic Skull keychain (printed bigger) By Paul Badeuille

The Celtic Skull is an essential print in any material, especially good in Rusted Iron - by -

 The fantastic terracotta warrior - Great model by Lolita kuma -

One of my favourite designers designed this amazing shaped vase - Bump vase 1 by David Mussaffi -

Pirates of the Caribbean Coin 1 piece -  by cyclone -