Multi-colour prints from a single extruder

Tutorial shows how to liven up your 3D prints

Are you finding the monochromatic output of your 3D printer a little drab? According to Andre Tiemann, coloured prints are easily achievable and he has written up a neat tutorial explaining how to achieve multiple hues… and you don’t even need to have the latest high-tech equipment.

With dual-head extruders becoming more and more commonplace, coloured prints may not seem so exceptional – but what sets Andre’s efforts apart is that he is producing multiple colours from a single extruder.

Referring to the prints as 2.5D (rather than full-blown 3D objects), he explains the process of colour swapping based on layer height to radically change the appearance of the printed object.

“…while this isn’t a breakthrough in 3D printing, it is a fun technique to liven up prints.”

Instructables via 3Ders

10 excellent tips & tutorials on 3D printing

So you’ve seen the famous wrench video, you’ve got yourself a 3D design program, and you’re ready to try out 3D printing.

But where do you start?

If you’re not using your own desktop 3D printer, you’ll want to check this out:

Things you must know for 3D printing with Ponoko. This forum post lists 6 key considerations when using 3D printing — things like minimum wall thickness, hollowing out your geometry, and material selection.

For details on all that stuff plus a lot more, jump into these super helpful tips and tutorials.

1. Strength guidelines of 3D printing materials

You need to pick a material before you start designing, so you can take the benefits and limitations of each material into consideration as you design. This strength guideline depicts what proportions are suitable for which materials.

2. What does wall thickness mean, and how do I get it right?

This is one of *the* most important things for getting a successful 3D print. This post explains how to determine the minimum wall thickness you’ll need to get a sturdy result.


Ten tutorials on digital fabrication

Best of the blog 2011 – Tutorials

Knowledge-sharing is central to the open design and distributed manufacturing movements. Here are ten of the best tutorials from 2011: 3D printing and laser-cutting techniques, online resources, and software help.

1. Guide to optimising lines for laser cutting

David halves his lasercutting cost with a few simple line optimising techniques. (more…)

Ten sinteringly great 3D print articles of 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – 3D Printing

To celebrate the new year, we’re running a best of the blog 2011 for each category 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing, art, hardwear, materials etc. 2011 was an impressive year for 3D printing. It was a real challenge selecting only 10 from all the amazing articles. I think you’ll agree this snapshot of ten (in no particular order) showcase the exciting possibilities with the technology…

1. Solar Laser Sintering in the Sahara

This generated an enormous amount of buzz on the interwebs and is probably my favourite 3D printer so far. If the future is destined for a Mad Max-esque distopia this is what I’ll be taking to my desert island!


3D Modeling mesh decimation tutorial in Blender

Low polygon mesh tutorial image

The faceted low polygon look is en vogue judging by how many design blogs are featuring furniture, consumer and transport products designed with this look.

This tutorial looks at a simple feature in Blender 2.59a that helps reduce the polygon count of your models while maintaining a watertight mesh for 3d printing

David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly 3D print or CNC article for Ponoko. You can follow him on Twitter @dizymac

Incredible pictures from Junior’s DIY 3D printer

This homemade printer has achieved a remarkable level of detail.

Back in May we featured a story about the ultra high detail 3D printer being developed by Junior Veloso. He recently posted the incredible pictures you can see above and below. Instead of using the extrusion process favored by the RepRap and Makerbot, Junior is using UV-sensitive resin and a projector. This process uses far fewer moving parts and can achieve much greater detail at a low cost.

Follow the progress of his project on his blog as he develops his printer for sale.

Via Shapeways

Tutorial: creating spaceship models with Shipwright and Blender

The creator of Entoforms evolves some spaceships

Shipwright is a Blender addon by the creator of Entoforms (previously covered here) that generates spaceships from a file full of existing parts and a user-inputted “DNA” string. The resulting models are complex, but they are printable.

I’ve just added a new tutorial to the Ponoko forums that covers how to use Shipwright.

(And check out 3D printing with Personal Factory if you want to print out your spaceship model.)

Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts weekly on the Ponoko blog. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

Online training: the basics of 3D printing with Personal Factory — Tomorrow at 3pm pacific

Get in on the extrusion action & learn how to 3D print!

Learn how to use your Personal Factory to create 3D printed stuff.

Ponoko 3DP guru Rich presents live, online training sessions to teach you the basics of digital making with 3D printing.

The training is live so you can ask any 3D printing questions you have.

The next sessions is TOMORROW, Wednesday June 1 at 3pm Pacific time.

3D print for low volume silicone molding

How to build for low volume silicone rubber tool injection moldingPersonal Factory 5 Tutorial

We know 3D printing has some advantages over larger volumes of manufacturing, such as plastic injection molding. You can completely encapsulate objects and not worry about undercuts, part lines or tolerances.

What if you want to use your 3D print to cast a mold to make many more from? It is possible to produce small runs of plastic products reasonably cheaply with silicone molds – this is common practice for prosthetics and props in the film industry, where dozens or hundreds of objects may be necessary.

I’m going to show you a simple plastic part line example – that you can apply to your 3D prints – if you ever need to do small scale plastic molding.

Online 3D mechanical resources

Useful content for your projects


For those of you making or interested in making mechanical projects, there is plenty of helpful content available on the net. There has recently been some fantastic examples of working 3D printed mechanical components including Syvwch’s clock – that I covered a few weeks ago. Component manufacturer’s are starting to upload their cad libraries. I looked into a few mechanical precision component manufacturers this week…