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Teachmeet – The 3D Printing Revolution


Just a little bit of a “heads up”… on 23rd June 2011, at some time between 17.30 – 20.30 I’m hoping to do a 7 minute “micro presentation” at the Clevedon “Teachmeet”. … and the theme… “The 3D printing revolution”!!

Teachmeets are organised all over the UK and are intended to allow teachers to showcase interesting or innovative classroom activity.

It is hoped that this Teachmeet will be broadcast live (and also archived) on the internet (details to follow). Lots of interesting “teaching and learning stuff” is already planned for the presentations…. But of course the best bit should be about my quest to introduce as many students as possible to the 3D printing revolution…. Democratising 3D Printing ( just borrowing 3D Systems catchphrase J )

Keep an eye on the following link for more details http://teachmeet.pbworks.com/w/page/39496551/Clevedon-23-June:-Inspiration,-Awe-and-Wonder   … or check back here to my blog.



BfB Axon2


I just noticed that Axon 2 (Beta1) is available for download from the BfB website… (Resources>Technical Resources>Downloads (software, profiles, firmware and print test files)) . or try this link http://3dpedia.3dsystems.com/login.action?os_destination=%2Fhomepage.action&os_username=bfbcustomer&os_password=3dprinting

Axon is the program that converts .stl files to g-code for printing on RapMan and BfB3000 printers

I have done a bit of Alpha testing on this and it looks to be a big improvement on Axon1.

Lots of new goodies!!!…………..Multi material support, new visualisations, better workflow and much more…. perhaps most importantly it is built on a recent version of Skeinforge that can easily be updated to newer versions (just drop the new version on top of the old one inside the program folder)

The last alpa version seemed to be pretty stable and i think Andrew has ironed out a few wrinkles before releasing the Beta1 version… But I’m sure that he will appreciate any comments or feedback to make the final release even better.

I’ve included a screenshot … just to tempt you!


Oh and one final thing … take a look at the "About" screen (on the blue tab, top left of Axon)… COOL!!! and thanks to the guys at BfB for this!!!

Autodesk 123D… Sketchup with attitude ??


I’m always on the lookout for new software for creating new parts/objects and especially software that is both "powerful" and yet intuitive to use… especially for students to use. And even better if it was "free". Ok so there are other options available such as Sketchup, AOI etc but I’ve never been really keen on these for one reason or another. The other day I came across Autodesk 123D and although it wasn’t released I signed up to be notified when it became available… today I received the email and promptly downloaded and installed it. Being a Creo elements/Pro (Pro/engineer) user I think it’s going to take some time to get up to speed (it looks like Autodesk inventor user will get up and running very easily)… BUT… I quite like what I see so far…. sort of like "Sketchup with attitude".

I think you need a fairly decent PC to run the software (my old laptop is groaning a bit under the demands of the program) but it does seem to produce good .stl files. There is also a library of free standard parts (nuts, bolts, bearings etc) and you can purchase ready-made models. It’s early days yet but it looks to be worth a try so if you are interested have a look here www.123dapp.com/

It is also worth noting that Autodesk 123D is geared towards "3D Making" with links to "Techshop" and "Ponoko" but even more interesting is the link to 3D Systems… AND Bits from Bytes machines!!!! www.123dapp.com/make

Anyway, here is a screenshot to have a quick preview

31 years ago

It was 31 years ago today 18/5/1980 that Mount St Helens erupted. So perhaps it is a good time to have a look at a teaching and learning resource about 3D printing a model of the volcano before and after the eruption.


The models in this project are created from 3D terrain satellite data downloaded from the internet and converted to .stl files that can be printed with Bits from Bytes RapMan or BfB3000 printers.

The full details can be found here http://wiki.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php/Geography_-_Mount_Saint_Helens_Volcano together with free downloadable pdf and .stl files for teachers and students.

Why not give it a go??

An alternative to sketchup?

Creating 3D designs for students … well there are several alternatives. Many schools will use PTC Creo Elements Pro (the new name for Pro/ENGINEER) under the “schools program”… this is absolutely fantastic as schools can use this free and students are able to install the program at home too. A similar scheme also allows students to use Autodesk software. However…

Both programs are “pretty full on” professional packages and students have a steep learning curve. The alternative is to use Google Sketchup (with the .dxf/.stl export plugin), and students seem to like the sketchy way to created their 3D designs ready for printing. But there may be another free alternative on the horizon from Autodesk – “123D” see http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/05/democratizing-design/ . Ok there are going to be links to Ponoko and Techshop but this may prove to be a useful alternative 3D design tool.

If you would like to be notified when this download becomes available try visiting http://www.123dapp.com/ and registering your e-mail address. Watch this space for more developments.

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