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One of the cooler concepts of home based 3D printing is that it originated out of a movement with a philosophy that these would be self replicating machines.  You find someone to build the plastic parts for you, purchase the metal parts (screws, rods, bearings, etc) and electronics, put it all together and you’re all set.  Once you’ve done this, you can print off parts for someone else to build their own printer or for you to build a second printer, etc.  This is the RepRap project.  If you’re technically inclined, you can check out their wiki site, look at some of the different printer types, and make your own! Read More

A few weeks ago, my wife and daughters were out of town.  I missed them a little so I decided to try to figure out how to turn one of their pictures into a 3D object on my Makerbot Replicator printer.  

I stumbled across a cool program called PhotoToMesh.  This program converts 2D pictures into 3D surface mesh files, which can then be printed.

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So far, I have posted examples of more ‘artsy’ type things I have done.  Today I am going to go with something that is a pretty drastic departure.

The object is a bearing made of gears.  Each gear is a herringbone gear.  For those of you that are not into mechanical things, this means that the gear looks like a tractor tire.  The use of the herringbone gears gives the bearing very good thrust load capability(when you push against the face of the center or outer gears while the others are held in place).

There are a few really cool things about this. 

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Recently, I purchased a 3D scanner.  The scanners that we all know convert two dimensional objects like paper, photos, or maybe if you’re feeling a little ‘cheeky’, a 2D representation of a 3D object like your…  hand, into a computer readable file.  You can then take that file and do all kinds of things with it.  Drop it into animations, change it, resize it, print it on a 3D printer. Read More
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