For my last semester as an undergrad, I decided to give my education a twist and create my own research project. Fascinated by natures way to fabricate, I got inspired to create the Bug, a 3D printer-like robot that can create using composite fibers.
First the computer breaks down a 3D model into a path for the machine to follow. Then the machine extrudes string from a spool, this spool could be made out of different materials, in this case I chose cotton for its abilities to absorb the resin. As the cotton goes through the extruder, it absorbs the resin which immediately hardens once the fiber is in position and the high power LEDs turn on.
First, the machine fallows a 3 dimensional grid, anchoring to the base and making a rigid structural support where the later random fibers can bond. It is important to know that the fibers are not really being weaved but bonded, similar to how spiders build webs or worms build cocoons….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!