End of semester thesis post


This past week was probably the most interesting from this semester. After the initial 3D printing test from last week me and Rickee went all out and spent a few long evenings at the Komodo Lab. The results on my end are two well formed prototypes and models.

Here are some process images:

I also did a quick vine as I found some of the sounds that the printer’s stepper motors make awesome.

The neck module had to be scaled down in the current iteration, so it is more of a demo of the shape. The arm module is 1:1 scale, unless that changes in the future. It looks like there is enough room for all the components, but that will come early next semester. Expect the flood of part and circuit pictures to come back (thank god my soldering skills are slightly upgraded.)

I am still really enjoying using OpenSCAD, and the 3D models are developing nicely. You can take a look at both on my GitHub.

Here are the final pieces:

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Thesis Update 3D printing

Did my first few test 3D prints this week. Very excited to keep iterating and testing out what is possible with the printers. Here are some pictures:

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The printer has quite a few quirks, there is a chance of warping due to heat that only becomes noticeable about 20% into a model. Hairspray appears to be the industry standard solution to this issue. Another issue that makes building one piece models very difficult is the way the piece needs to be as flat as possible at the bottom (With the next test I will be testing some 45 degree bevels though.) There is also the obvious limitation of this particular method that doesn’t allow for a way to print without a direct support from the base. Meaning horizontal connections and sharp protrusions cannot have open air below them.

After struggling with various desktop and online 3D tools I realized that it would be longer for me to master them then to search for non GUI alternatives. I ended up stumbling onto OpenSCAD and after giving it a try I immediately felt right at home and was able to put together some more precise STL files for printing. OpenSCAD just has two panels, code and render. There are only a few language specific commands, allowing for a very low learning curve if you know some basic programming (Just check out how tiny this complete cheat sheet is.)

With this new tool in tow I was finally able to do some rapid prototyping and ideation with just a bit of code.

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 8.06.37 PM

I am applying some pointers from the prior model to this one, upping the scale and letting the printer take care of how to hollow out the solid areas. As well as providing a more solid base to combat warping.

I am also working on setting up a well structured Thesis project repository to keep track of all my STL and Design files. ( Already have a Github repository set up but haven’t done much there in a few months now.)

Here it is: DFI-Thesis

Big thanks to the Komodo Lab and Rickee Charbonneau for all the help this week.