OpenSCAD project: Replacement analog sticks

My introduction to OpenSCAD through a quick, practical project

OpenSCAD project - Logitech WingMan Rumble Pad

My friend Alex came to me with a project last week. His Logitech WingMan Rumble Pad gamepad was missing an analog stick and could I possibly print a replacement? (Answer: yes!)

It came up when talking with Andrew Plumb – if you’ve got something small and measurable to do, OpenSCAD is a great way to go. It lets you precisely script 3D primitives into position to make cool stuff. And of course it exports to STL format, perfect for your home 3D printer or your Personal Factory!

First I’ll show what the printing process on my MakerBot Cupcake was like, then I’ll walk through making a similar stick in OpenSCAD. Here’s gamepad as I received it: (more…)

Digitise objects with an ordinary digital camera!

New 3D scanning web app…

My 3D scanner

This week we’re looking at a new 3d scanning web app  that scans real objects and you can digitise them for 3d print output on your Personal Factory here at Ponoko! launched recently and is rapidly becoming popular. It allows anyone who owns a digital camera that records EXIF data to 3D scan real life objects! (If you don’t know what EXIF data is, don’t worry – as long as you have a camera newer than 1998 it probabley does this.)


How to compile, set up, and use Beautiful Modeler

Multitouch modeling fun with STL export

Beautiful Modeler

Beautiful Modeler is a tool for creating 3D models using multitouch input from the iPad. Its release was covered here in November, but today I’m going to show how you can try it for yourself.

I’m using Xcode 4.0.2 and iOS 4.3.2 (the most recent releases as of this writing), so your mileage may vary if you have different versions. For simplicity I’ll use direct links to all of the necessary downloads where possible, followed by links to their original sources.

It’s a long process, but I guarantee that using your iPad to manipulate 3D models is awesome. :) (more…)

3d modelling software

How to start out with 3d printing

In the first of the Personal Factory 3d printing tutorial series we’re looking at popular software packages you can use to create your designs. Not all 3d software is created alike – some is intended for creating vast landscapes, others specialise in rendering and visualisation. We’re interested in software focused on both organic & primitive geometry modeling with support for stereo-lithography (.STL) files.

Thanks to years of 3d software development there are now many methods to build a 3d models, below are some of the means you may come across… (more…)

More Processing fun with Toxiclibs

Powerful tools for programmatically generating 3D models for export as STL files


Last week I showed how you can use CodeThread to create GCode files for direct control over your 3D printer. Today I look at more portable solution. (more…)

Using CodeThread to create 3D objects

Programmatically generate GCode of 3D objects for your 3D printer
CodeThread example 1

Diatom Studio, the folks responsible for the SketchChair project that’s been mentioned here before, have created a neat library for Processing called CodeThread. It can be used not just for making objects, but for developing new styles of printing. As Diatom says on the CodeThread page on Thingiverse:

“One of the things we love about makerbot in contrast to commercial printers is that you have complete control over every aspect of the print technique. We think there is a lot of opportunity to develop new printing styles with makerbots, beyond traditional solid prints.

We wanted to experiment with the materiality of makerbot prints by working directly in gcode with processing, so we made this small library that provides some simple functions for generating gcode commands, and prints a gcode file.”

Here’s how you can try CodeThread for yourself:

  1. Download and install Processing
  2. Download and install CodeThread
  3. Run CodeThread
    • – Open your processing-1.2.1 folder and run processing.exe (or the appropriate executable for your platform).
    • – Click File –> Open and navigate to “processing-1.2.1-expert\processing-1.2.1\libraries\codethread\examples\simpleCube”
    • – Open simpleCube.pde and click the Run icon in the toolbar

You should see a new window called simpleCube that renders this output:

CodeThread example 2

Each time you run the simpleCube script it will overwrite code01.txt in its own folder with the newest version of the GCode.

From here you can begin reading the documentation,or start messing with the script in the main window and see what alterations you can make!

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

Previewing Your Ponoko 3D Designs

preview feature in Personal Factory 4

When you upload a 3D design file to Ponoko, you can preview your design before making it.

Having a preview lets you know you have uploaded the design you wanted. And you can directly share the 3D preview of your design in your Ponoko showroom.

Learn how to get the best preview of your design after the jump.


Announcing the Google + Ponoko Challenge Winner

the winning Instructable!

Congratulations to Ed Lewis, aka Fungus Amungus, who created an all-around fantastic Instructable for using Google SketchUp with Ponoko 3D printing to win the Google + Ponoko Challenge.

His prize package is worth $1,500 and includes a Google SketchUp Pro license, a 12 month subscription to Ponoko Prime, plus a $537 Ponoko digital making voucher.

In the Instructable, Lewis walks you through 7 easy steps to go from a simple cube in SketchUp to a 3D printed, level-3 Menger sponge. (Shown below in Ponoko’s durable plastic.)

When asked what he likes about SketchUp, Lewis answered “I like that I can quickly jump in and get a 3D rendering of an idea out in a few minutes. For getting an idea across to someone, it often takes less time to make a model than it does to describe it verbally. You can quickly move on to the stage where you’re trying out several different variations, which is great because that’s the fun stuff.

I’ve tried a couple of other 3D programs and they’re pretty amazing, but for my purposes SketchUp is my go to program. Having a free version means I can share ideas with anyone else in the world. I can push a project as far as I want to, put up the file, and then see someone else take it even further. That’s awesome.”


Create 3D Models with Photoshop CS5 Extended

oh em gee

Repoussé is a feature of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended that allows you to create solid 3D objects. CLICK HERE for a pretty amazing tutorial on generating a 3D model, exporting it as an OBJ file, and having it 3D printed.

This is huge for someone like myself who knows how to use the Adobe Suite but finds learning 3D software programs like AutoDesk, Rhino and Solidworks to be more than a little intimidating.

While I’ll still have to learn the basic concepts and thinking that goes into designing in 3D, knowing that my good friend Photoshop is always there is a big comfort.

Many of the Repoussé tutorials out there focus on creating 3D type – which can easily be translated to any object, but I came across a two part video that focuses on making a 3D shape without using type. Check out Part 1 below.

via the Shapeways > Duann > Dan grapevine