Friday, 25 September 2015

The RepRap Community Hub at the TCT Show - Birmingham NEC UK

The RepRap Community Hub is back at the TCT show 
September 30th & October 1st.

This year the Open-Source and maker Community Hub, centered around RepRap 3D Printing has a great line-up of companies and individuals you would be very foolish to miss.

First if you have not already registered for the show, you can get a free badge and entry into the show by signing up here, it's well worth pre-registering as it avoids the queue at the NEC.

The show is on for two days starting September 30th at 9:30AM - to 17:00PM

The Main Open-Source RepRap Community Hub all of Stand J42 

If you want to meet up with me or anyone else please come to the show and visit J42 and the surrounding stands, it always great to see people from the maker community, talk about projects, ideas and generally discuss 3D printing in all it's glory and spectacular failures.

Full exhibitor list can be found here.

TCT Show Floor-plan is here.

On the Community Hub this year you will find - 

RepRapPro Ltd. - Adrian Bowyer and the team are back with the new Fisher Delta printer, and many new RepRap updates.

Think3DPrint3D - New Duet Electronics revisions, Kossel mini Kits and a lot of 3D Printing knowledge 

Semi-Utilitronic Industries is on the Hub with a rather nice version of my 3DR Delta printer design and lots more RepRap pares and advice.

ANDORNOT - will be back on the Hub with the finished Spatial One Delta printer - Andrew had the prototype on demo at the show last year, this time it's all ready for sale - Open-Source and very well built.

Shouting out a few companies close and around the community hub, sorry if I missed you off this post, (Just too many awesome companies to mention everyone) I do plan to visit every single exhibitor at the show to see what's new and interesting.

E3D (BigBox and LittleBox) - will be on stand J41 with what they tell me is the all new and improved BigBox 3D Printer design - looking forward to seeing the changes and print quality. Obviously all the great E3D hot-ends and materials will be on display and to buy during the show.

RepRapWorld is opposite the Community Hub, On stand J39 - Designers of the Megatronics electronics, and many other very cool things for RepRap 3D Printers - do give them a visit.
BCN3D Technologies is next on Stand J37 - you really do not want to miss the fantastic Sigma dual 3D Printer, it's just about the most impressive dual carriage printing FDM machine for the price you will see at the show.

Recreus and the Amazing FilaFlex materials are on H47 - I have been using a lot of FilaFlex recently, it's really great TPU material for 3D Printing. Steve wood of Gyrobot will also be demonstrating a rather fantastic program for auto-generation of custom Filaflex insoles. That's well worth a visit.

MatterHackers are at H42
InnoFil3D - H40
Rigid Ink - H38
We Do 3D Printing J35
Floreon J34
BQ - G42

Kuehling & Kuehling H32 - Probably one of the most business-ready capable FDM based 3D printers in recent years.

Mass Portal G30 - I was blown away in Berlin by this little Delta printer - it manages some of the finest looking prints I have ever seen.

Filament Print - H41
Cinter - G40
3D Print UK - G36
STRUCTUR 3D Printing - H36

Look out for many others scattered around the show -

The 3D Printing Association - G51

3DFilaprint - C39 - Selling all manner of materials for 3D printers.

BuildTak - B22 - build platform sheets that really work well.

ColorFabb B36 - Some of the finest 3D printing filaments available.

German RepRap - E35

Hawk 3D Proto - H14

Markforged -G39

Mcor Technologies D14

Ultimaker J24

And so many more....

I am looking forward to see the Formlabs FORM 2 3D Printer - recently launched. Still quite a lot of money, but they are setting the bar for Desktop SLA based Resin printing in my opinion.
Formlabs are on D44

Another interesting development in the SLA market will be Photocentricgroup, launching a new LCD based SLA printer (low cost) and offering both daylight and UV based resin formulations.

I'm imagining their LCD based printed just uses daylight resins, but I will find out more and update on this and anything else I discover.

Hope you can visit us at the Community Hub, looking forward to another two days of highly interesting discussions with all of you.

I'll have more updates (and Intro video) on the new OpenSLA project too. Please join and contribute to the Google+ Community over here.

Thanks for reading, until next time.


Friday, 31 July 2015

3Drip - Nano UV 3D Resin Printer - LCoS Projector investigation - Part1

This will be a series of posts about experiments testing the development of low cost UV resin based printers. With an aim to deciding what technology works the best for the (low) price and then building a 3D printed Resin (SLA) printer.

The initial focus is with Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) technology - And a new open-source 3D Printer I'm calling 3DRip 

The end target works cost for 3DRip  is $250. Lets see how good we can make a low cost resin printer :)

Further on we will take a look at other technologies to achieve a similar process, they my evolve into another resin based printer, if the benefits are significant enough.

Background - 

I have always wanted to experiment with UV active resins for 3D Printing. Many DLP projector and LASER based printers are now available and some more reasonably prices resins are now available from Makerjuice and Madesolid

Many years back when b9creations were looking into resin printing I was almost tempted to build up a UV resin printer from a DLP projector. Various projects like Lemoncurry were also being developed, but cost, size and time shelved that as an active project for me.

Fast forward to a time when projectors are smaller, higher resolution and UV resin is really easy to get hold of. I decided to attempt the design of a small machine for detailed 3D printing.

A few machines have successfully been built using low cost LCD panels and UV LED's. LCD panels have a few factors that make them less than ideal. They usually have a UV coating and polarizing films, these may need to be removed to allow UV light to pass through. Resolution is usually low for smaller sized panels, so bigger panels can often bulk up an LCD based system.

Other developers are also working on LCD based resin printers.  So to start I decided to take a look at LCoS based pico projectors. Even High resolution LCoS and DLP based optical engines can now be bought for well under $100.

Portable LCoS projectors are based on similar principals as a DLP based design. Light from an RGB LED is channeled and reflected (bounced) off an LCoS panel around 1/2" in size. Lenses and focus produce a sharp colour image. Many low cost portable LCoS projectors tends to be a 16:9 display with QHD screen resolution of 960 x 540 Pixels. (Getting higher resolution all the time).

I decided on a HYDUNDAI (re-branded generic) model with QHD resolution. I only paid ($105/£68) but recently the price seems to have increased. You can no longer get this specific model from Chinavasion, so take a look over on Aliexpress and do some haggling.

Hacking - 

After checking it operated and giving it a charge (they often have built-in batteries) I started to take it apart.

This one had a lot of very sticky tape holding thin metal panels into a plastic and aluminium frame.

Much of it is battery. A thin PCB with HDMI and power in connection, speaker and the all important optical engine.

Here I have lifted out the optical engine, the cable still connected is for powering the RGB led light source.

Once open it was nice to see a separate optical engine. This means that I can rotate that part to reduce the overall size of the machine required for correct focal distance.

RGB LED rated at about ~3W in total.

Light guide removed.

Very quickly parts were separated and I had to try and remove the existing RGB LED, this was surprisingly a die-bonded device with the culminating optical guide. This had been fixed directly onto the bare LED with silicon or clear resin, breaking the seal would stop the LED from working.

You can see the optical path above that captures all the light from the tiny RGB LED, this is only about 1mm across.

Optical - 

But I wanted to see how the optical guide was made to give some insight into how I could modify it or make another one for a replacement UV LED.

I decided to experiment with a 1W White LED to see how much light I could get to pass through the optical engine and also how best to mount a bigger led for heat control and transmission of focused light.

A neat trick for using these LED's and any similar to this, it that the little plastic cover can be popped off, and what you have remaining is a silicone rubber dome, this can be pressed up against an optical light guide and transmit light very well onto it's destination.

A polished section of Acrylic.

My main concern with LCoS was if enough, or any UV light would successfully pass through the many optical components and reflect off the display panel.

I marked up an aluminium angle bracket as a heatsink and way to mount the optical projector in the printer.

Led was removed from the heatsink 'star'

Add some heatsink paste

Fit and superglue around the edge to hold in place.

Now install the light guide- it's wrapped in black tape here.

Focal testing - 

Refit metal cover.

The last job was to connect it up and power it on.

The reason why I'm doing this and also using a White LED at this point, is to allow the fixed setting of the focus for a picture size normally smaller than the projector focus wheel will allow. - Above you can see the tiny screw thread that sets the focal distance. Normally this projector would only be in focus with a minimum 10"+ sized screen. I want around a 70mm sized screen size.

UV light is dangerous to look at so using a White LED for this part allows me to experiment and take all the measurements I will need to make the projector housing and UV resin tray for the 3D Printer.

Projecting some pixels to get the focus nice and sharp, then a drop of superglue on the focus screw fixes it in place.

I know know the exact distances, angle and elevation of the image - so I can design the 3D printer to accommodate this re-modified LCoS Pico Projector.

Now we can switch over to a UV led in the design to make out 3D resin Printer.

Still designing this one in Sketchup (Jan2015) - but I'm also getting more proficient in solidworks and Autodesk Fusion360.

Cool stuff you may want to know about UV and LED's - 

One of the reasons I never wanted to use standard high-intensity DLP based projector's was that they waste a lot of energy when used as a 3D Printer, they also have quite high running costs. DLP projector's produce a wide spectrum of light, only a small portion will be at various UV wavelengths.

UV LED's should prove to be a better solution. The best wavelength for most UV Resins is around 365nm. Many UV LED's produce light at around 410nm, this will cure UV resins, but if you can find LED's with a 365nm output it will provide the fastest cure time even with a much lower rated power output.

The bulb used in a standard DLP projector tends to use an ultra high pressure (UHP) lamp module. At around $200/£150 each and 180+ watts of power, you will get around ~3000 hours of life and a large waste of electricity.

We should be able to use a single $5/£3 (5 watt) UV LED having a lifetime of around 20,000+ hours

Ultraviolet light has a number of wavelength bands - UVC (100nm to 280nm) and UVB (280nm to 315nm) is not much use to us for curing resin and it's not all that easy to generate either.

UVA light falls in the 315nm to 400nm range, and most UV reactive Resins cure in the range of 350 to 410nm.

The lower the wavelength the more UV curing power it has, so where many DLP projectors produce light from both the visible and UV spectrum it's towards the 400nm range, so it can take a few seconds to cure each layer.

UV LED's or LASERS can be tuned to emit UV light at around 365nm, and that's really ideal to cure many of the resins used today - really fast.

A few companies are starting to use dedicated UV projectors, the Autodesk Spark and Ember platform uses a modified UV projector and the team from Carbon 3D claim to be using a high powered UV projection source for their continuous printing - CLIP technology.

Lastly, resins can also be tuned to cure in visible light, but this has issues as you don't want your resin to start going hard in a well lit room.

Next time we will switch over to a UV led and start to build the 3DRip SLA 3D Printer.

In other news - 

I hope you also had a chance to take a look at some of my Blogs over on Disruptive - There are plenty more to look at now -

You may find my Disruptive blog post about how to finish your 3D prints useful, I take a look at some ways to make your prints look good after printing, and also some of the tools you can buy or just standard tools for processing.

3D Print finishing - do you need a special tool? or can you do it yourself.

(The image above is from an awesome progressive cavity pump I'm tinkering with - using both hard and soft 3D printing materials to get a really good pumping system for chocolate and other fine things) - More on that soon.

BigBox 3D Printer - 

I'm also going over to visit the E3D (BigBox team) next week, I'm planning to pick up a BigBox 3D Printer for some testing and evaluation. - Let me know if you have any questions about the printer.

If you are not aware of BigBox - It's got 15 days to go and looking for more funding over on Kickstarter - with the team from E3D and Littlebox behind it.

I should have lots more things to blog about in the following weeks, stay tuned and don't forget to ask me questions or post your comments, here, on G+ or anywhere else you like.

I'm on Twitter @RichRap3D too.

Back soon.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June 2015 Developments update RepRap 3D Printing - 3DRip 3DRAuto Wax printing Disruptive posts

Hi Everyone,

It's been a good few months since my last update. And I have been busy with 3D Printing shows, many new developments, investigations and lots, and lots of testing.

I'll have a lot more to share soon, just the usual problem of time to edit images, write them up and post...

I'll get posted the first of a series of articles on one of my new 3D Printer developments - 3DRip (drip) - It's a low cost experiment with a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) based 3D Resin RepRap 3D Printer.

A few pictures to get across the idea -

Projector is mounted inside the base of the unit, making for a very small printer that's self contained.

LCoS Projector (HD) optical engine (less than $100) - Fitted with a 5W Ultraviolet 365nm LED

Test print for UV exposure testing.

- Mixed and Multi-Material printing - 

Another big project has been the evolution of 3DRAuto this is a machine that can automatically change tool-heads and print with many and mixed materials. A big and complicated project. But a lot of fun.

Version 1 Prototype, it's now on version 3... (And it looks nothing like the above printer now :)
Lots more on this during the summer months.

- WAX - 
And I got really deep into wax printing during the winter. Really interesting stuff. I made a heated cover for my big 100ml Syringe extruder, and tested many different types of wax, and then mixed and filled wax composites. I now know much more abut wax than I ever imagined possible.

So many different types of wax, some are as hard as concrete!

You may have missed some of my more recent posts - Over on the Disruptive Website - Do take a look, they are fun, hopefully interesting and all part of my further developments in 3D Printing.

A few from earlier this year to get you started -

First up is Totally Puzzled - I have always been fascinated by handmade puzzles, my farther used to make some exquisite designs from exotic woods, sadly I don't have a single one of them, just photographs. I would really appreciate them now...

Another post was my Test drive of 3DShare - (anything goes!) - And on that note, the site has a lot of stuff you will not find on any other 3D sharing site, I'll let you discover the wide variety of models and designs. It's certainly getting popular. 3D Share have also sorted out the Licensing and other bugs I spotted mentioned in the blog post.

And one more for now - My thoughts and comments from the first few 3D Printing shows of the year, - Standing out on the 3D Printing desktop - Who and what technology is standing out or leading the 3D Printing future?

Thanks for reading, and do get in contact if you have any questions or comments.

Back again soon.