MakerBlock: 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!


Writer and OpenSCAD superuser MakerBlock has devoted thousands of hours and and even more blogposts introducing new users to how to design 3D printed objects and PlotterBots! You can follow bushels and bushels of his posts on 3D printing topics over on the MakerBot blog!

Q: Top three printing moments from 2013?

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Robo Hand:

Watching the development of this project over the last year has been inspiring. The Robo Hand project is probably the most noble use of 3D printing to date. It’s really amazing that children and adults can now have a more functional, more comfortable custom prosthetics plus a 3D printer to make more at just a fraction of the cost of a single commercial prosthetic.

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Dalek Transformer:

This and the Tardis Prime model by Elindsey are just incredible feats of engineering. These kinds of models push the boundaries of what’s possible to print with FDM 3D printing technology.

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Emmett’s Customizable Preassembled Secret Heart Box:

A cute customizable print that can easily show people the promise of 3D printing – single step manufacturing of complete moving assemblies.

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Customizable Drill Bit Handles:

I use drill bits all the time to ream and clean printed parts. A handle like this makes them so much easier to work with.

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Safety Shuriken:

I love this super simple way to create a safe fun toy that still manages to look menacing.


  • Literally any project by the designer DutchMogul: These are always thoughtful, thoughtprovoking, and amazing.
  • Snap-Fit Dalek: This is a great toy model and I love how it’s been designed with assembly in mind – with the parts just snap fitting together.
  • Rotator Cuff Bracelet: This is an imaginative and fun printable that kids can wear and show off.

Q: What’s a project you shared this year?

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Tiny 3-Axis CNC Drawing Robot

Last year I started work on my simple drawing robot, the Tiny 3-Axis CNC. The current version is smaller than a paperback novel, uses eight 3D printed plastic parts, three micro servo motors, the parts snap-fit together except for the servo set screws, and it can be controlled by an Arduino over USB. I just finished the Arduino code and Processing Sketch to be able to draw SVG files. Since the robot is not just a drawing robot, but an actual 3-axis CNC, it could be used as a platform for lots of other purposes. I’ve published all the 3D printable files, the Arduino code, and Processing code and my website explains exactly how to build a drawing robot with step-by-step photo tutorials.

Q: What are you most looking forward to for 3D Printing in 2014?

I’m looking forward to everyday people creating more DIY prosthetics like the Robot Hand project. No where like homemade custom prosthetics does affordable home 3D printing truly change lives.

I’m also looking forward to new people being exposed to 3D printing and becoming the next wave of 3D designers.

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