How to get a surprising material to 3D print while traveling towards Mars

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Almost two years ago, I wrote a blog (in French 🙂 ) with my son about the use of recycled material to 3D print on the planet Mars. The idea was to turn into powder anything we didn’t need anymore once arrived on Mars. It could be plastic parts, aluminum or other metal parts. I even mentioned that we could melt the sand we can found on the red planet to build shelters or buildings. Scientists are already working on all these ideas.

Researchers in the Canadian University of Calgary have found a new source of material to use in a 3D printer. It could even be useful during long space travel. They will recycle the “result” of your short stay on the toilets. That’s right, thanks to a special process and a hard working special enzyme, they will create a solid material that will work very well in a SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) 3D printer. If dogs are allowed for these kind of trips, we will get even more material 🙂 .

Modern Space Toilet

Going back to the use of sand, it reminds me of the 2010 adventure of Markus Kayser, an industrial designer and pure genius. He designed a 3D printer able to 3D print by melting sand. He did his experiment in the Egyptian desert. Solar cells were there just to deliver the energy for motors, the sun tracking system and the electronics.

Markus Kayser and his Solar Sinter

The melting energy was provided ONLY by the sun through a Fresnel lens. The concentrated sunlight, thanks to this Fresnel lens (like the lenses at the top of lighthouses), was enough to melt the desert sand in order to print objects like this bowl.

Bowl made of sand

As you can see, the kind of material you could use in your 3D printer is sometimes surprising. Thanks to the imagination and genius of some people, new possibilities are created all the time. These guys don’t limit themselves to the usual.

I encourage you to apply for yourself and your kids, my today’s take-away advice: Always look beyond your habits to break your limits.

Have a great day!

Recipe for a Fun Plane in Blender

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Check out our new recipe for designing a fun plane in Blender, which you can make with your children!

Tools:

A computer

The Swiss army knife among 3D software: Blender!

A few minutes

1 brain (or more)

 

Ingredients:

2 spheres

2 cones

Salt, pepper…

 

Here we go!

  • Delete the cube (Right-click on it and press X + Enter).
  • Add the first sphere (Shift + A and select the UV Sphere in the Mesh list).
  • Rotate it 90° following the X axes (R+X+90).
  • Quadruple the size following the Y axes to create the fuselage (S+Y+4).
  • Go to Edit Mode (press the Tab key).
  • Select and delete the two extremities of the fuselage (in side view, Press B to activate the “Box Select” tool).
  • Go back to Object Mode.
  • If you want, you can decrease the size following the X axes (S+X+0.5) to make the fuselage narrower.
  • Give some thickness to the fuselage using the Solidify Modifier (thickness value = 0.2).
  • Add the second sphere (Shift+A and select the UV Sphere in the Mesh list).
  • Decrease the size by half (S+0.5).
  • Make it longer in the Y axes (S+Y+1.5).
  • Move it upward (G+Z+1 or more).
  • Move it a little bit toward the front of the fuselage (G+Y+”-1”). Only the top half of your second sphere should be visible.
  • Add the first cone (Shift+A and select the Cone in the Mesh list).
  • Rotate it 90° following the X axes (R+X+90).
  • Quadruple the size (S+4).
  • To create the wings, decrease the height of it (S+Z+0.2 or 0.3).
  • If you want wider wings, increase the width (S+X+1.5 or 2).
  • To create the tailfin of your plane, duplicate the first cone (Right-click on it, press Shift+D, press Enter).
  • Rotate your new “flat cone” 90° following the Y axes (R+Y+90).
  • Decrease the size (S+0.5).
  • Move it backward until the vertical part of the tailfin and the horizontal back part of the wings create a perfectly flat cross along the X axes (G+Y and move your cursor toward the back of the plane).
  • Move the tailfin upward until you get a nice fin.
  • Select the fuselage, the cockpit, the wings and the tailfin together (Right-click on the first one, while holding the Shift key pressed, Right-click on the three other parts).
  • Press “Control J” to join these four parts together to form a unique object.
  • Your plane is ready and looks like it is made of many facets, like a cut crystal.
  • If you want it with a smoother surface, use the Subdivision Surface Modifier (View value of 2 or 3 should be ok).

Good job!

To get the best result with your printer, print your plane the nose upward and its rear part on the bed of your printer. Enjoy!

The Not Yet So Obvious Benefits of 3D Modeling for 3D Printing

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3D printing technology makes progress every day. It reaches more and more areas in our lives. In the years to come, it will be a common thing to get something through a 3D printing service. Today I would like to spark a new idea in your mind and the mind of your children.

3D printing just a few years from now

Imagine for a minute your kids have grown up a little bit. You are about to build a new house in the countryside, on the seaside or in the mountain (or anywhere else you would like to have your new house). You are having a meeting with your architect to decide how to design your house. He tells you all the requirements for energy efficiency, comfort and safety. Suddenly, he looks at your child and asks him:

“Do you know how to create 3D model for 3D printing?”

You are surprised. The architect goes on:

“As you probably know, building technology has improved greatly these last years. I was wondering if your child could design his own living area, so we can 3D print his model for him. You too could model some parts of your house to make it unique.”

Two scenarios

Now, dear parents, you have two possible situations:

Situation 1: Your child and/or yourself have never created anything in 3D. Needless to say, something specifically for 3D printing.

Situation 2: Your child and you have already practiced several times 3D modelling for 3D printing. You had lots of fun and have already several Family Made 3D printed objects at home.

In which situation would you like to be? 1 or 2? I would personally prefer the second situation.

Maybe you are telling yourself:

“Patrick is a nice guy, but it will be long before we can do this kind of thing, like modeling all or parts of our living area.”

Really? Think about it. Building constraints have considerably changed. New concrete allows funny shapes as strong and durable as reinforced concrete without iron rods. 3D printing technologies specifically for the building industry are popping all around the world. They progress quickly. Sooner than you think, you will be able to 3D print the house of your dream.

My advice for today

Begin as soon as possible to think about your new house in the shape of a concert grand piano or the shape of a delicious mango.

The Modifiers Bracelet, a nice model created for 3D printers

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Want to learn how to make this “modifier” bracelet?

The video below will teach you how to create this and other similar bracelets using the Modifier tools in Blender, which you can then 3D print!

 

Do you have sculptors in your family?

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Hi families! Do you have artists in your family? Any sculptor among your ancestors? I love sculptors for one main reason. They take a piece of something, like a piece of wood, a rock, you name it, or they start with a pile of clay, and they will find a way to create a piece of art by adding or subtracting material. They are magicians.

A few weeks ago, David (one of the great dads within 3D Roundhouse) talked to me about sculpting. I found the subject quite strange at that time. Did he found some stone to play with in his garden? Had he put a big trunk in his living room and started to smash it, cut it and scratch it to create a funny wood statue inspired from his daughter? Not at all. He was talking about sculpting in 3D on his computer.

Blender can sculpt!

Long time ago, I have done it using Blender. I found it interesting but it didn’t become a passion for me. As David has aroused my curiosity, I decided to check the evolution of the sculpting tools in Blender. That’s the beauty with this opensource software. You feel very much at home once you know it a little bit. But you have many other choices available if you want to quit your comfort zone and challenge yourself. And developers take an immense pleasure to continuously improve Blender. Great guys! To know more about the new possibilities with the Blender Sculpt Tools bundle, I decided to meet the daunting Dyntopo.

But who is Dyntopo?

Is he a nice guy or a monster? Is he Italian or Colombian? To see him, they told me to check my Symmetry, if I have Accumulated enough and got the “Ctrl” key to subtract material. I arrived on time in front of a huge grey door. “Radius of the brush” was the password. The Snake Hook lets me in. I was finally in the Sculpt Mode room ready to meet Dyntopo…

Will your host survive the test and see his son again? Could it be possible to learn some incredible and frightening secrets? Will Dyntopo be magnanimous or dreadful?

To know the end (or maybe the beginning of something), stay tuned in the days to come. I will do my best to keep you up to date (maybe a video or two). If something terrible happen, never forget to do great for you and others. Life is sometimes shorter than expected.

See you soon, maybe…

What if your child could become even more creative?

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Hi parents!

Has your child ever given you some jewelry made by himself? What a great moment, do you remember? How was this piece of jewelry? Did you like it? I am quite confident the answer is yes. Was it a necklace or a bracelet or a ring? Did you ever wear it at work or when you were outside for some activities of yours? Probably not. It was maybe too fragile or not very convenient to wear.

Have you ever researched on the internet about the subject “kids creating jewels?” If you do it, you will find many things. From noodles necklaces to Lego-like plastic parts to assemble the way kids want. In addition, some websites have services to create a copy of your little loved ones’ drawings in different kinds of metals.

It’s all very nice but now, you have a new and much more “brainy” way of creativity. He will be able to create exactly what he has in mind. In order to do that, he will have to learn some new tools. And he will have to think in a new way: the 3D thinking way.

 

Thanks to the 3D printing technology, it is now possible to give your kids the tool they were craving for. They will be able to 3D print their own jewels creations for you. It will be at the right size for you. It will be beautiful and easy to wear. You will enjoy it much more than before because, this time, you will be able to wear it and show it at work or when you participate to your leisure activities.

First, your kids have to break one more creativity limit. 3D modelling software are here to help toward this progress. And we, at 3D Roundhouse, are here to teach your children and you how to use these new and fun creativity tools. We can do it online or in real life during our workshops.

Now is the time to have brainy fun. Email us (workshop@3droundhouse.com) to register to our brand new 3D Printing Jewelry Creation Workshop. As you already know, places are limited. Reserve your seats now to enjoy a family brainy fun.

See you in our next workshop!

The Brand New Way to be in Fashion in Your Own Way (Round 2)

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Parents, do you agree or not that the pace of innovation and change is faster now than one year ago? Do you want a real-life example?

In October last year, I wrote an article about a French shoemaker that wanted to use 3D printers in its stores. The idea was to allow customers to personalize their shoes, more specifically the heel.

Most of these projects never reach retail stores. They are marketing material just to create a buzz. Eram, the French shoemaker, sees it differently. Eram seems to walk the talk (which is quite funny to walk the talk when your core business is the manufacture of shoes 😊 ).

 

Ladies, if you live in the lovely west part of France (or want to take some holidays there), you can go to the City of Nantes and ask to personalize your own pair of shoes. Using a tablet, you will be able to choose the shape, the color, add or remove some details and validate your own creation. Once printed, you will be able to leave the store wearing a unique pair of shoes. If a few weeks later your taste or your mood has changed, you can get a new pair of unique heels designed by you for just 10 Euro.

 

Why am I coming back to that story? I want to make it really clear that creativity, critical thinking and imagination will be the kind of skills your children will not have the luxury to live without if they want to enjoy their lives.

Do you want your son to be the guy who opens the gate where you live or work? Do you want your daughter to be the cashier where you buy your morning coffee? I am sure you want something more fulfilling for your loved ones. And you know what? These kinds of jobs will no longer exist once they will have grown up. Automation and artificial intelligence will make people at this level of competency useless. Yes, useless. I am quite confident you will continue your good parenting work and stimulate, encourage and boost your kids as much as you can. I am really extra sure that you don’t want them to get the Universal Basic Income once it will be available.

 

3D THINKING is more than ever the way to go!

 

Enjoy your day!

Has Michelin just created something great using 3D printing technology?

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Today, I just want to give you an update about an industry that was quite conservative until one day the 3D printing revolution took off.

Your kids would love it if it was already available. So much funnier than the regular ones.

What is the common point between your car, your bicycle and the pair of roller your kids like so much? Yes, the wheels. And that’s the expertise area of Michelin, the tire manufacturer. Like all the big player in this industry (Michelin ranks year after year in the top three), it is doing intensive research for the future using 3D printing technology.

I already wrote an article about the Good Year project using 3D printing. Amazing concept but, in my opinion, quite far in the future to reach the market. Michelin has a less revolutionary approach but is also really creative and much more pragmatic. The idea is to commercialize a wheel with no air, designed to last as long as your car (and maybe, one day, bicycle, rollers…).

The tread of the wheel could be 3D printed when it is excessively worn out or when a different kind of tire could be required for your safety, for example in snowy conditions.

Dear dads and mums, please bear in mind that everything you see that has been unchanged for so many years could be challenged by the 3D printing revolution. Play with your children and try to imagine what all the things around you could become if you could 3D print them. Challenge them and ask them to challenge you. In the future, the only limits will be the ones our kids will have when they will have grown up. If we do a good parent’s “job”, it should be very interesting and creative.

Have a great day!

What if I had found the best 8 years old birthday gift ever?

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Hi parents!

My son’s birthday comes up soon but let me tell you what happened last Monday night. The scientific and business development departments of the French Embassy in China organized an event around 3D printing. Of course, I jumped on the occasion to see and learn new things.

To make a long story short, a delegation from France comprised of entrepreneurs, teachers, and researchers was there. It was really high level in industrial 3D printing and research (I will probably give you more details in another blog post). There were some Chinese speakers too. One of them was a great Architect-Artist-Entrepreneur named Lei Yu. This amazing and creative guy is a specialist in 3D printing. To work on his projects in the best conditions possible, he has created the best place I have ever seen to let creative minds like himself and his team do amazing pieces of art for his lucky customers.

Just look at the pictures. I am sure that lots of you would like to spend many hours and days there with your children to give birth to all your funny and crazy ideas. For sure, my son and I would like to do it.

More than 1,000 3D printed pieces!

Lei Yu has assembled his own big volume 3D printers. He has even designed his own model of a 3D printer head to meet the requirements of his projects. He can easily switch from one kind of printing material to another simply by changing the head. Smart idea, don’t you think? One of his creations has more than 1,000 different 3D printed pieces.

And do you know what incredible tool he uses for some of his projects? A robotic arm! In fact, he has several of them. The biggest is at least four meters long! He and his team have coded their own program to make these robotic arms 3D print huge structures. It seems that these robots are writing in the air. Impressive.

And what do you think I asked Lei Yu?

My son will have his birthday in about one month. I asked Lei Yu if it was possible to come back to see this incredible place in a few weeks with my son. He kindly agreed.

Can you imagine an 8 years old boy, with his “under construction” brain, in a workshop like this with so many 3D printers, tools and materials? He will be more than excited. And when he will see these incredible robotic arms in action, he will be amazed beyond limits.

Why do all of that?

I want that my son to see this kind of place because I would like him to have an open mind on possibilities and opportunities. Department stores and malls are sometimes useful but they do little to enhanced our loved one’s mind in a way that will be mandatory to have a great life.

I encourage all of you, parents, to shut down the TV screen and to create or find places that will ignite the brain of these future adults.

I wish you a creative day!