I want to hear about 3D Printer in real applications in daily life.
September 02, 2014 06:11PM
Can I use it as effective engineering / design tool to build real stuff?

Long story to short, I've been studying Geodesic dome technology of Buckminster Fuller
for two years to build dome structures including house. It is major part of my Open Source House project.

First model, few hours

2nd model , two days

3rd model - 1st half dome, few days

4th model - 2nd dome, a week
From this one I started using a dome design program called Geodome.

5th model - 3rd dome, a week

Assembly diagram of the 3rd dome generated by Geodome

4th dome - 1st real size dome made out of steel pipe, 210 struts, radius is 153 cm, height is 230 cm.
It took me two weeks to manufacture 210 struts, 10 hours to build the dome.

Blender can import a dome file in DFX format.

Buckminster Fuller with dome houses

I feel this is the right time that having a 3D Printer and use it as design tool for building stuff:
windows, doors, curved furniture, and etc. But I'm still debating myself how much time I'll invest for learning 3D Printing.

Thanks in advance,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2014 06:13PM by janpenguin.
Re: I want to hear about 3D Printer in real applications in daily life.
September 02, 2014 08:19PM
i think that you could think of it this way. If you go back in 1976-77, you would be asking the same question about computers... Was that the right time to buy one? It depends on what you would've bought, and what use you would've made of it. But it would've been easy to regret not getting in the train when the time was right. I can't say for sure, of course, that 3D printing would generate the same kind of revolution. But i think that there is enough hints in the air to tell that, over time, it could get bigger than the industrial and computer revolution combined.

i like what you did with the geodesic stuff, i'm pretty sure i've seen a automatic generator somewhere for 3d printable parts. So you can build your own out of wood sticks. You just input the size of the dome, print the parts, get the vitamins and assemble.

if you can learn openscad programming, you can create your own parametric objects. its probably where i would start looking if i was you.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2014 08:20PM by swe3tdave.
Re: I want to hear about 3D Printer in real applications in daily life.
September 02, 2014 08:54PM
The printer that I just built is now the tip of the spear to my business. I build carbon fiber race parts for racing car applications. I used to build everything by hand with air tools, now everything is going to be designed either in CAD or 3d scanned and altered in CAD, and then split up into chinks and printed on my 3d printer. Once I have the 3d printed part, if correct on design, I will switch back to my composites skills: making a mold, and then making a production part. The big boys (race teams and large companies) have done this for decades now, but for a little guy with a startup company this was the stuff of dreams and- sort of an "If I win the lottery I would buy this..." Sort of thing, but with the reprap community, I have been able to build this printer for about 1 grand (I pimped my ride if you will with lots of cool extras/3d scanning included in that).

The thing about 3d printers at the moment is that it takes a tinkerer to get it right. You will need to work out all of the bugs before it is a reliable machine, so for people who don't want to play with it and get it right, it may be discouraging; however, like most things in life, if you want it, and work hard for it, you can achieve it. I have recently got my Rostock working perfectly and I can rely upon it to work correctly everytime I turn it on. Now, I am in the phase of learning Autocad so that I can start using it for my business.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2014 08:58PM by Wildcard.
Re: I want to hear about 3D Printer in real applications in daily life.
September 04, 2014 08:43PM
There was a geodesic dome home manufacturer near where I live. There were a number of homes built in the area. We also had a school with a geodesic dome. For frameworks like the pipe frames you built it is really neat. The problem comes when you try to cover it. You find out that sheet materials that start as rectangles produce an unbelievable amount of waste, so the material efficiency is very low. The angled joints are also very difficult to seal, especially at the points where 5 or six panels come together. So you need to build with non-dimensional materials. Concrete, fiberglass, spray foam, etc. That still leaves joint sealing, and they tore the school down finally because every type of roof covering failed quickly and the leaks did an enormous amount of damage to the interior.
Re: I want to hear about 3D Printer in real applications in daily life.
September 11, 2014 02:43AM
You've got a lovely looking dome! What different lengths of struts did you use? Does your open source home project have a webpage? If you don't yet know it, do take a look at a book called 'Tiny Homes, Simple shelter' for some inspiration. Good luck!
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