Forme launches new 3D design library

Bring your work to life with digital tableware and animal bones!

Forme It

Sourcing high resolution models for design work (and 3D printing) can be difficult and expensive. There are a fair number of free community 3D models on the web, but many are low quality or have restrictions against commercial use.

That’s where Forme It, a new service that sells high resolution 3D models, comes in.

Forme It’s library of 3D models is broken down into three main areas: Reference, Classic, and Modern. Reference contains models of the natural world, sorted into animal, plant, and mineral. Classic is for functional designs, currently holding a variety of tableware. And Modern at present has a few patterns to texture items with.

To help people actually use the content that they buy, Forme It has started a series of long-form YouTube tutorials. The idea is show one of the available designs used in a practical way, like this tree bark scan made into a container using Blender: (more…)

Photon desktop 3D scanner surpasses funding goal

Affordable Canadian 3D scanner sees strong demand

Adam and Drew of Matterform

As 3D printing has grown in accessibility, the demand for simple content creation tools has grown as well. With the success of their recent IndieGoGo campaign, Toronto-based company Matterform has tapped into that demand via 3D scanning.

Photon, the home 3D scanner that Matterform has campaigned to produce, aims to make importing physical objects into the digital world as simple as placing an item on a turntable. Once in place, an object is set rotating while lasers map out its surface. The object is then saved as a file that can be edited or 3D printed at will.

Since I live in Toronto, I was able to check out Matterform’s studio last week and see the Photon first-hand. (more…)

Roundup of hobbyist 3D printing materials

Lots of practical possibilities

Nylon filament made by Taulman 3D

Hobbyist 3D printing today mostly means using one of two plastics: ABS or PLA. That won’t always be the case, though.

We’ve covered several alternate materials before, such as wood, chocolate, polycarbonate, and more. New materials are being experimented with often.

To help keep up, Jeremie Francois of the 3D Printer Improvements blog has put together a nice roundup of what can be used to print with at home, and what physical properties each material has.

One material that I’d never heard of using at home before is nylon. It turns out that some folks initially saw nylon weed trimmer line as a possible cheap filament, but it’s actually available these days as a spool specifically for hobbyist 3D printers.

Check out Jeremie’s full roundup of the materials here:

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

Leave some 3D printed cookies out for Santa

Festive and edible!

3D printed cookies

Want to make some cookies with a more personal touch? Tutor Ralf Holleis and some students at Designlab Coburg have set up a 3D printer that makes cookies, ready to bake.

The unit uses (as far as I can tell) an air compressor-based system that extrudes cookie dough from a nozzle. Sort of similar to how the old MakerBot Frostruder works, but with what appears to be a wider sort of nozzle.

The process is same as most other 3D printers. Start with a design on the computer: (more…)

Willit 3D Print aims to analyze printability

What’s the environmental impact of a 3D printed dragon?

Willit 3D Print

Launched earlier this year at 3D Printshow, Willit 3D Print is a web app for calculating the cost and environmental impact of 3D printed objects.

Once a 3D model is loaded into the app, users select their 3D printer, material, and layer height. The app then analyzes the part, and offers basic tools for scaling and positioning within the dimensions of the selected printer. (At present, an assortment of hobbyist and industrial devices are supported.)

The types of analysis offered are roughness:


Support material: (more…)

Joshua Harker’s 3D printed sculpture explodes on Kickstarter (again!)

Yeah… I want one.

Anatomica di Revolutis

Joshua Harker, an artist who took up 3D printing to push beyond the limits of sculpting, took Kickstarter by storm last year with his Crania Anatomica Filigre skull design.

Now he’s back, with a new project called Anatomica di Revolutis that builds on the aesthetics of his previous work and takes it to new heights.

Harker’s first Kickstarter project raised nearly $80,000, while this latest one has over $20,000 in less than a week of funding. (In fact, the $20k mark was reached in just four days!)

The project starts with an ornate skull design at the center, which combines with two other pieces to form an elaborate mechanical sculpture: (more…)

Tinkercad offering free academic software licenses

Learn 3D modeling without leaving your web browser


Tinkercad announced on its blog today that it will give away $50,000 worth of its software to qualified academic institutions, home schools, and other teaching organizations.

Launched in 2011 with a simple user interface, Tinkercad has evolved into a very capable browser-based 3D modeling (and teaching!) tool. Programmatic 3D modeling was even added to the mix recently with the Shape Scripts API.

For the giveaway, the $50,000 amount translates into an enterprise account supporting up to one thousand students. Academic applicants have until December 7th to submit their information, and must own or plan to buy a 3D printer or other making device. (Including laser cutters and CNC mills.)

For more details, see the Tinkercad blog here:

(Via M. – thanks for the tip!)

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

Eames chair reimagined as spinal 3D printed sculpture

Dont try to sit down

Eames chairs

Architects Matt Compeau and Bi-Ying Miao — previously covered for their Hot Pop Factory launch — recently participated in some new parametric design work. The pair were invited to work with Levitt Goodman Architects on reDesign 2012, which saw 40 Eames chair designs reimagined in different ways.

For the LG/Hot Pop collaboration, they 3D scanned their chair, then manipulated it using Grasshopper to produce a series of pieces that made up a spinal cord-like structure. The many pieces had to be printed and labelled, then carefully assembled by hand into the final form: (more…)

Changing the look of 3D printed wood

Closer to natural

Wood with rings

Jeremie Francois, another early adopter of the LAYWOO-D3 wooden filament for 3D printers, has created some plugins for Cura and Skeinforge that alter the look of the printed objects.

The key is that the wooden filament changes colour depending on what temperature it is extruded at. So if you print an object at 200° C, it will be lighter in colour than a print made at 230° C.

What Jeremie’s plugin does, is to programmatically vary the temperature of each layer, within a set range. The end result is an object that “looks more like wood and less like cardboard”: (more…)

Inexpensive construction with 3D printed Building Bytes

Off-the-shelf tech for custom construction

Building Bytes 3D printer

Dutch architect Brian Peters has put together a solution for custom building materials using 3D printing. The project is called Building Bytes, and it leverages hobbyist 3D printing gear combined with a custom extruder head to manufacture ceramic bricks.

By restricting the project to desktop-scale 3D printing and inexpensive materials, the result is a system that should be accessible to people around the world. At present, the printer is only capable of making about four bricks per hour, so it won’t be replacing traditional construction just yet.

However, like regular plastic 3D printing (which also isn’t going to replace traditional manufacturing), Building Bytes is more likely to expand the amount and type of creation that is possible or practical. The initial wave of design resulted in these four brick types: (more…)