Andrew Plumb “Clothbot”: 3Dx2013 Year In Review #AdafruitTopTen #3DThursday #3DPrinting #3DScanning #3D
We reached out to a handful of 3D printing pioneers and designers featured on the Adafruit blog this past year for their thoughts on the year-in-review — and what we have to look forward to for 3D printing in 2014!
Early to join the desktop 3D revolution (with MakerBot Cupcake Serial #09!), Clothbot has put in countless hours exploring materials and methods towards new ways to use 3D printers, particularly in the context of wearable electronics and soft circuits. (Check out this early Shapeways interview with him here and MAKE in 2012 here.)
They are the closest examples yet of Reproducing Rapid-prototyping machines. I like the symmetry of the delta-like Simpson, and the Wally is one of the few designs out there that can print *larger* versions of itself.
The technology is simple (existing inkjet printer cartridge on a cartesian motion platform), the chemistry is simple (silver nitrate combined with ascorbic acid to make conductive layers), and they have committed to making the project open source.
For only $299 you get a complete 3D printer kit! While it’s not as completely “free open-source hardware” as I’d like – the mechanical CAD files are CC-By-NC-SA licensed (see license) – the Printrboard electronics (see license) are CC-By-SA licensed and the firmware is GPL’d (see license), where it matters most.
3D Printing as a mould-making tool, because 3D printed objects shouldn’t be considered the end in (and of) themselves.
Q: What’s a project you shared this year?
This is a harder one because I haven’t really *finished* anything this year. A couple of works-in-progress include a more effective clamping system for printing on paper and cloth – see image – and a first version of a sensor+controller board to close-loop control the peristaltic pump that Adafruit carries.
Q: What are you most looking forward to for 3D Printing in 2014?
More patents expiring! The most intriguing ones to me are those covering basic Selective Laser Sintering & Melting.
Being able to extend projects like Pwdr to sinter powder instead of just inkjet-bind it (needing further post-processing to strengthen the print) will allow for the creation of those more complex interlocking, floating structures that would require some sort of dedicated sacrificial support material+structures in other technologies. See this list for a convenient subset hunted down by Jenny.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.