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DDiMIT Workshop: 3D Printing



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  • The workshop ended with a GREAT discussion; however, our recording equipment cut out halfway through! So, in an effort to recapture the insights shared that evening, please do not hesitate to reiterate and/or add your opinions on 3d printing here.
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  • 1. 3D Printing Workshop
    Designing Digital Media for the Internet of Things (DDiMIT) Consortium
    Hosted by Bob Ree, MI Candidate, University of Toronto.
    October 7, 2010
  • 2. Welcome to Desktop Digital Fabrication (DDF)
    Workshop and research session.
    Become acquainted with the current state of desktop digital fabrication (focusing on 3d printing).
    Learn the basics of digital model manipulation for 3d printing.
    Observe 3d printing in action.
    Discuss issues & ideas.
  • 3. Background
    Digital fabrication has been around for quite some time in the form of costly ‘rapid prototyping’ tools for large industry.
    For example:
    • Stereo Lithography (SL)
    • 4. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
    • 5. Fused Layer Modeling (FLM)
    • 6. 3D Printing (3DP)
    Stereo Lithography machine.
  • 7. Background
    The principle behind many of the ‘additive’ industrial processes involves translating data from digital models and building the object up in layers (much like making a clay coil pot).
  • 8. Background
    In recent years, rapid prototyping machines have become more compact and available at ‘semi-affordable’ price points, allowing in-house fabrication capabilities for enterprises such as industrial designers, small-run manufacturers, research labs and architectural firms.
  • 9. Culture of tinkering, hacking & DIY
    Paralleling other grassroots movements such as open source software, peer production platforms and social networks, certain savvy communities turn their attention to the physical aspects of digital culture - appropriating hardware and experimenting with self-made devices.
  • 10. Culture of tinkering, hacking & DIY:RepRap
    RepRap is a seminal UK-based project that seeks the ongoing development of an extremely affordable, open source 3d printer that is designed to be self-replicating (capable of printing all of its own key structural components).
  • 11. Culture of tinkering, hacking & DIY:“RepStrap”
    Some choose to appropriate RepRap electronics to make customized Cartesian robots (‘RepStraps’) – in this case, to produce ‘painterly inscriptions’ of financial market behaviors.
  • 12. Towards desktop fabrication:
    Building on the intellectual and physical resources borne of the RepRap project, a team of NYC hackers start MakerBot Industries, a company that manufactures and markets affordable 3d printer kits. (Some assembly required - a kind of “DIY-lite”.)
    Their mission: to hasten the forthcoming 3D Printing Revolution.
  • 13. Towards desktop fabrication: Thingiverse
    The folks at MakerBot also realize that once people have 3d printers, they need things to print – but not everyone is adept at 3d modeling.
    They establish Thingiverse, a user-generated online database of free, ready-to-print models.
    A kind of “wiki-of-things”.
  • 14. Towards desktop fabrication:
    Shapeways & Ponoko
    The race to bring DDF ‘to the masses’ is on.
    Rather than provide hardware or software, Shapeways and Ponoko launch web platforms aimed at making the outsourcing of digital fabrication much more streamlined, accessible, entrepreneurial and social.
  • 15. Towards desktop fabrication:
    To enable users to customize digital objects without the use of 3d modeling software, Shapeways, Ponoko, StudioLudens and others leverage ‘co-creation’ interfaces through which objects are tailored to a set of preferences, parameters, sketches or other input uploaded by the individual.
  • 16. Towards desktop fabrication:
    While there are countless choices available in 3d modeling software, the barriers to entry are high. Google takes notice, and in attempt to capture the growing market segment, they acquire and develop SketchUp, a free modeling platform billed for ease of use.
    A user-generated “3D Warehouse” of SketchUp models is also established and linked with Google Earth.
  • 17. What are people doing with DDF?
    1. Making custom enclosures.
  • 18. What are people doing with DDF?
    2. Extending / connecting things.
  • 19. What are people doing with DDF?
    3. Reinforcing their brand.
  • 20. What are people doing with DDF?
    4. Visualizing problems & solutions
    Reconstruction of levitation illusion by Devon Elliot, UWO.
  • 21. Tinkering, hacking & DIY continues…
    Hacking digital cameras to build 3d scanners.
    MakerBot automated build platform, allowing assembly line-like production.
    Edible 3d printed objects in caramelized sugar.
  • 22. As does commercialization...
    The ‘UP!’ 3d printer manufactured in China
  • 23. Tutorial
    From the ddimitThingiverse account, download and open ‘pendant.aoi’ in Art of Illusion or ‘pendant.skp’ in Sketchup. (username: ddimit password: ddimit)
    Find a simple object in Thingiverse (preferred) or Google 3D Warehouse that you find either meaningful or useful with respect to your work. Why did you choose this object?
    Import your thing into the template file. Resize the object appropriately, then place it on the pendant base provided.
    Export your model as an STL or DAE file, and rename.
    Open your model in Meshlab and check for printability issues. Save as an STL.
    Upload your model to Thingiverse.
    Upload by 7pm and Bob will print it for you this evening!
  • 24. Tutorial
    Google 3D Warehouse
    + meaningful object
    + meaningful object
    Art of Illusion
  • 25. *For a digital model to be
    3d printable, it must:
    • Be in .STL file format.
    • 26. Have closed (“watertight”) bodies.
    • 27. Be “manifold” (no edge line defines more than two faces).
    • 28. Have correct normals (faces facing outwards in consistent directions).
    • 29. Conserve material (be small in size or hollow).
  • Activity
    For the remainder of the session, please explore the possibilities of the four categories previously mentioned:
    A custom enclosure for a device or ‘smart’ object.
    A useful part that extends or connects discreet things.
    An object that 3-dimensionally reinforces your brand.
    An object that helps visualize a problem.
  • 30. Discussion
    1. What is the meaning of the term “digital object”? What does it mean for a digital object to be “materialized”?
    2. How do various populations create and share information in material forms? How does this compare and contrast to the ways in which other forms of information are shared?
    3. How does digital desktop fabrication alter notions authorship, intellectual property, and profit? Of work, labor and tools? What are the resultant business models?
    4. How might new forms of local manufacturing, design thinking, and community involvement co-produce future social dynamics of labor and the organization of work?
    5. What effect might these developments have on the built environment, particularly with regard to issues of economic and environmental sustainability?