3D printing: un3Dprinted

Four years ago, I knew nothing about 3D printing. In my spare time I did some 3D drawing in SketchUp, mainly Amsterdam canal houses. I liked it to build 3D models of canal houses on Google Earth. It was not easy but I learned a lot about 3D by just doing it. Opqrstu3D knew 3D printers existed, but was not interested: too expensive and I had really no idea what to do with this machines.

Today, I am almost four years addicted to 3D printing. Life is never what you think it will be! On the Dutch Design Week 2013 there was a challenge: 3D-draw a light that can be 3D printed. I like challenges, had noting to loose, checked the internet for tutorials and started drawing. My light was one of the few printable models. Five lights were exposed at the DDW2013 and mine won the Dutch3Design Award 2013. With the award came a Leapfrog 3D printer. I was amazed and even more amazed when the machine arrived: it looked very cool, but I had no idea about how this robot would fit in my life. I never 3D printed before and knew noting about this machine and how to operate it.

It took about nine months before I controlled my Leapfrog; it was blood, sweat and even tears, but also very rewarding. Printing a photo at home, is nice, but 3D printing your own product and holding it in your hands is very special. And after every print, there’s always the question: “What shall I design and print next?” 3D printing became a life changer,  a 24/7 addiction

During the first two years, I designed and printed the usual stuff: cups and cups and vases and different vases. Very boring and certainly not a life changer. But life is never what you expect it will be, and one day my 3D printer went totally out of control and printed crap only. I tried and tried, but could not control the robot anymore, it printed crap vases and crap cups. No smooth perimeters, just bubbly surfaces. I tried changing all kind of settings  without results, I was very frustrated. Leapfrog Creatr weights 35 kilo, so I could not throw it out of my window, instead I told (Slic3r) the machine to print zero perimeters or infill only. A very stupid decision, but not that stupid after all. It was my first infill only 3D print and the moment an addiction started and my life changed. Infill only 3D printing creates an unique un3Dprinted look and feel and the possibilities are endless.

Today, I print incredible light shades and unseen jewelry. In regular 3D printing you want real smooth surfaces, in infill only 3D printing, you fiddle with patterns and densities to create unexpected products. The same model can and will appear in many different looks and feels. The possibilities are endless, the ‘torture’ never stops and I like it.
Four years ago, I was just a normal guy. Today, I am a designer and manufacturer of light systems and jewelry

Enjoy this pictures as an illustration of my experience in 3D printing. Wanna see more? Visit my Instagram account: @prdcz

Slic3r

Almost four years ago, I started my 3D print career on a Leapfrog Creatr. Nobody beliefs me when I tell this machine is still producing great prints. Last week, the first structural problem arrived: the fans became noisy and after some time stopped turning. A little push made them run again, but still very noisy and after some time they stopped again. I mailed Leapfrog and they will sent me new fans. After almost four years of daily use, the fans are finished: seems normal to opqrstu3D, as long as this robot still prints cool stuff.

So, for the moment no printing and some time left to publish a new post. This time about Slic3r. Opqrstu3D uses this slicer because it came with the printer. It’s free software with many options and it’s great. I am an experienced user, but the possibilities are almost endless. By changing Slic3r settings a 3D printer can produce dramatic changes in it’s endproduct. It started with my invention of ‘infill only’, resulting in ‘un3Dprinted’ lights.

thrill © opqrstu3D 2016

Next, I learned about modifying meshes, or using several infill patterns in one layer, a vey graphic kind of 3D printing. You can use different patterns in different densities to create unexpected (un3Dprinted) prints. I used this technique to create a 3D printed Picasso:

Abstract Painting 26, 3D printed by opqrstu 2017

To get this, Slic3r needs to know which part of your drawing gets which pattern and density. You transport this information to Slic3r by using multiple STL’s. If you want five different patterns in your print, you have to feed Slic3r at least six STL’s. To get these STL’s you have to do six drawings. It is a complicated and time consuming method, BUT great results. If you want to know more, follow this link: www.3ders.org

‘Modifying meshes’ works in horizontal direction. This is an awesome tool to create 3D printed graphics, but for my lights, I need to modify patterns in vertical direction.

Slic3r is a great tool, but comes with minimal information about it’s possibilities. I knew there must be a way to change patterns vertically. It took some time to get it right. It is almost like ‘modifying meshes’. Here, you use the STL’s as a part, instead as a modifier. Confusing maybe, but that’s the way it is. I cannot present a link to check this out, because there isn’t. The do this at home, you have to try and fail, try and fail and try.

Modifying infill patterns vertically ©opqrstu 2017

DoubleThrill

This weekend opqrstu3D designed & printed ‘DoubleThrill’… It looks very UN3DPRINTED. I am doing experiments in ‘infill only’ 3dprinting for two years and this is the print that says it all: ‘DoubleThrill’ really looks like it’s made of lace-like fabric. It’s not as thin as lace, but 0.9 mm comes close. It was a five and a half hour print job and took 12 meters white 3D4makers PETg. It’s printed at 0.3 mm layer height, 600 layers high. Bed Temp: 65 ºC, Extrusion Temp: 230 ºC. It’s almost unbelievable: infill printed at 0.9 mm thickness.
Only by going extreme opqrstu3D arrived at this point and created an awesome light:

DoubleThrill © opqrstu 2017

unexpected 3D print

Opqrstu3D designs models for our printer and models for our Shapeways shop. Mostly, Shapeways models are too complicated to print without support on the opqrstu3D printer. I always print without support, because I don’t like the works that come after removing the support, like cleaning and sanding.

Anyway, this week I was cleaning up the Shapeways shop (removing unpopular models) and saw a light, I designed at least four years ago. I deleted it with pain in my heart. Yesterday, it was Friday. Time to check out weird things. This week’s weird thing was to check out how Leapfrog Creatr would handle the deleted Shapeways model. The first three trails failed, but at minimum speed (10 mm/sec) the robot did an amazing job and produced an unbelievable an completely unexpected 3D print:

iLED Amsterdam © opqrstu 2017

The robot printed these things (without support) upside down. The printing of the first 30 layers was very tricky. These layers are far from perfect, everything moved when a new layer was added. The design is simply to steep to print. When the angle became less steep, the printing stabilised and without problems Leapfrog Creatr 2013 completed it’s most complicated print job ever. Layer height: 0.3 mm.
Lesson: try the impossible and you will become a wiser man. Another opqrstu3D print experience.

14 piece print

Many times people asked me if I can do multi-coloured 3D prints. I tell them it’s possible, but I will not do this. My robot has two print heads, so it can do two colours in one print, but the print quality does not meet the opqrstu3D standard.

Last week I had some spare time and used it to think about a way to print multi-coloured thingies. It took some time, but in fact the solution is very easy: design a model in parts and print the parts in different colours. To construct a light of fourteen 3D printed parts opqrstu3D used a primitive Japanese wood joining method:

© opqrstu 2017

Strong and stable fit, no screws or glue needed (even when printed on Infill Only settings). Each part can be printed in a different colour, but on this project opqrstu3D used a basic colour scheme: blue, yellow and red to create a Rietveld (Dutch designer) Light.

opqrstu3D Rietveld Light © opqrstu 2017

If you wanna see it moving around, manipulate this:

FlowerLight4

Another day, another light. From the moment opqrstu3D discovered ‘Infill Only’ 3Dprinting the possibilities are endless. Especially in light design. The grainy, silky, organic, lace-like structures, the robot prints when I program it to print infill only, are matching wonderful with 12 volt LED light bulbs. As said, the possibilities are endless, but how do they look? Nobody did it before so every new design is an adventure. Luckily, there are more adventurous printers out there. Guys like Sandro Glasius and Sjaak van der Vooren also started to explore this new 3D print style. (check their experiments at Instagram)

Today I used the Lotus experiment to design a wonderful new Flower light:

FlowerLight4 © opqrstu 2017

Another un3Dprinted product at the opqrstu3D print experience: ‘Infill Only’ rules.

Lotus

3D printing allows you to design and manufacture your own lighting: create your own atmosphere by saving money and energy. An example: yesterday at noon opqrstu3D wanted to have a light based on a Lotus Flower. I opened SketchUp, started thinking and drawing …. Two hours later I was satisfied and decided to print the first prototype …. 2h:56m:28s later the robot finished it’s print job in red 3D4makers PET-G:

Lotus © opqrstu 2017

So, there was an idea and five hours later there is a product: 3Dprinting rules. Combined with other materialised ideas, this is what’s happening in the opqrstu studio today:

Lighting © opqrstu 2017

No title

In a recent post opqrstu3D printed Rembrandt on ‘infill only’ settings. Today the Leapfrog robot reprinted the same file on ‘modified meshes’. In the yellow ‘infill only’ Rembrandt, a graphic appearance is generated by one ‘infill’ pattern. There are six layers and every layer contains a part of the print. Layer 1 is the complete print, layer 2 the complete print minus the neck, layer 3 the complete print minus neck and shirt and so on. In a smaller space ‘infill’ behaves differently and this creates the interference or a graphic look.

Rembrandt by opqrstu 2017

In the grey self portrait opqrstu3D used the ‘modifier meshes’ function of Slic3r to build  g-code. I printed three layers to give the print some body, but for the graphic appearance one layer is enough. Instead of one ‘infill’ pattern, this Rembrandt contains five ‘infill’ patterns on the same layer! To get this, you’ll need the ‘modifier meshes’ functionality of Slic3r. (As mentioned before, it’s not easy, but if you wanna know more follow this link.)

‘Modifier meshes’ brings forward a whole lotta new 3D print possibilities. One by one, I am checking them out. For instance in opqrstu3D bracelets:

Yin Yang bracelet © opqrstu 2017

The bracelet is a warped flat print, containing several ‘infill’ patterns.

bracelets © opqrstu 2017

This is a time consuming design process, so there’s almost no time left to write decent posts, but if you want to keep track with the opqrstu3D print experience follow me on Instagram.

Slic3r modify meshes

Today, there was some time left for new experiments in Slic3r, or designing and printing multiple infill patterns in one print. This only makes sense when you use ‘infill’ as decoration in the design. In this session opqrstu3D designs and prints a coaster, or a thing you put under a glass if you want to avoid direct contact between the glass and a table.

I won’t explain the process, but to give an idea; every infill pattern has it’s own STL.
This coaster contains three patterns, which means: there are at least three designs involved. At least, because I also need a general STL (the object) and a contour STL.
In Slic3r, you load the object.stl and set zero top layers, zero bottom layers and zero perimeters. Next you load the other STL’s. These are the modifiers, they change the settings/content of the ‘object’ anywhere you want. I learned this method from publications of Steve Wood at 3ders.org. He explains ‘modifying meshes’ perfectly in a four-part series. If you wanna know more, follow this link.

Today’s experiment resulted in four very un3Dprinted products. With some fantasy, these coasters look like they are made of some kind of fabric. ‘Modifying meshes’ rules!

Coaster © opqrstu 2017

Printed on 3D4makers PET-G. Five layers, layer hight 0.30 mm

Customize a light

It’s hard to earn money in 3D printing, because 3D printing is a much too slow production method. What do you do when you do not sell products?

Well, today I upgraded an old light system. This system was made for old fashioned, environment unfriendly, light bulbs. It’s too difficult to build a 12 volt trafo in this system, so I use an energy saving 220 volt light bulb to light it. But these bulbs are a too big for this system, so I need a new light shade to dim and upgrade the ugly light of energy saving light bulbs. In SketchUp, opqrstu3D customized an earlier light shade and printed it ‘infill only’. Creatr printed a beautiful light shade on an 5 hour print job. The print turned a lost light system into a trendy and friendly energy saving light. Instead of earning money, 3D printing saves money and energy!

customized light system © opqrstu 2017