3DPwRR Had a chance to read this extensive book of recipes by Richard Salinas. He does a nice job of touching all corners of the open source movement and RepRap as it pertains to developing 3D models and 3D prints. Structured like a cookbook as a series of recipes he has chapters on scanning, designing, printing, and tweaking. Some chapters are “how-to’s”, with detailed procedures like using 123D Catch for scanning,  as an example. Others have recipes for tweaking parameters in your favorite slicer to get the well formed print you want. Richard has compiled and documented a vast knowledge base of his experiences in the computer art and 3D printing world. Of particular interest to me was his step by step process for using the 123D Catch program as I had struggled previously getting good results. In the 3D printing recipes he makes good use of before and after pictures to demonstrate the impact of printing parameters like fill, temperature, and retraction feed. I would say this is good resource for anyone that has a RepRap printer and wants to optimize it for the best possible prints. I have an eBook version and certain sections or recipes I have printed out and posted by my printer for easy access. The book is available from Packt Publishing for less than $25.


TPM Technologies Quadcopter Renault Renault’s recent roll out of a new concept car includes a “flying companion” quadcopter to ride along in a special hangar on the roof! The story of the international design team is intriguing. Renault pulled together a design team from all corners of the globe to concept a car for 21st century consumers. Similar Studio YouTube Aerial’s “flying camera” the quad beams down a visual image of traffic conditions to a screen on the dash. A quadcopter is already a peripheral of sorts for an iPad. Is there a peripheral SUV for your iPad in your future? You can read about the concept car here. A friend of mine pointed out that a “companion copter” is not that new of an idea.Green Hornet companion copter at TPM Technologies The Green Hornet had a launch pad for a copter on the trunk lid of the “Black Beauty”. It’s not a quadcopter but a special launch pad for an aerial assistant. At that time they didn’t think about beaming an image down to your iPad. You can read about the other innovations of Black Beauty here. What other Super Hero inventions can we expect for our cars in 2014?

 Listening to the book, “The $1,000 Genome”, I was struck with the rapidity of change and the rate of progress in decoding the human genome. As a student of 20th Century science, I had to sit back and absorb the trend when it was compared to “Moore’s Law.” Moore was co-founder of Intel and made a prediction about the growth in density and decrease in costs of integrated circuits. Until now this was a benchmark of technology advances. The rapid understanding of the human genome may set a new standard in terms of  how fast technology can move and our understanding of it. Fueled by unprecedented world-wide communications and computer analysis capability, our society has met a whole new way of discovery and understanding. It is possible that the curve expressed in this chart is more indicative of change in all kinds of industries today more so than Moore’s Law.  I think we can all feel how quickly things are changing. How much change can the human mind absorb?

CIMG1944 TPM Technologies was interviewed in an article about 3D Printing in the Upper Cumberland region. Liz Engel Clark of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal visited several sites to see what was happening in 3D printing in Middle Tennessee. The advances in technology have allowed creative people to perform new capabilities inexpensively. Whether it is 3D scanning, 3D Printing, or 3D designing, the technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Better yet, the accessibility is also changing. Many programs and applications now exist as freeware to design your 3D parts. Send them through an open source “slicer” and you have the machine instructions for a 3D printer. Don’t have a 3D printer yet? You can easily find 3D printers with listing services like Maker6.com  If you aren’t ready for your own design yet you can specify your dog’s name for a customized biscuit cutter tailored to your needs. Click here for cutters and recipes. The technology also serves as a new kind of paint brush allowing artists to express concepts in new ways.  Using digital photography to develop 3D models is increasingly easier every day. ucbj-dec2013jan2014-web-coverYou can read the full story here.

 Massimo gives an energetic and inspiring talk about advances in open sourcing and what it can mean to progressing the creative process. He and five others are core to the Arduino microcontroller architecture. In his talk he relates how providing open source platforms allows a wide variety of applications to emerge because the cost of entry is minimized. He touches on an awe-inspiring list of applications in this talk. Most notably Makerbot, one of the recent additions to the TPM Technologies arsenal. (More on that later but if you can’t wait you can visit the new site.) One that is particularly intriguing is using these units to connect man and plants. Botanicalls is an Arduino based unit that allows your plant and its environment to communicate with you, maybe even using Twitter! Already there are a number of DIY sites for connecting with your jungle or garden. For the less adventurous you can find kits like those at Sparkfun. Do a quick search on Twitter ‘botanicalls’ and you’ll see plant life interacting in the Twittersphere. Already the hardwired, ethernet connection has been one up-ed with solar powered, wireless models. Feel free to comment on your plant conversation experiences.  I’ve included Massimo’s talk at TED so you can give it a quick preview.

2012-08-03 08.04.29 Display MediumShortly after the landing of Curiosity on Mars, the hobbyists are 3D printing a replica. Curiosity is a true marvel of technology not to mention the ability to launch and land it thousands of miles away and receive information from it. The scientific teams are thrilling to watch and thanks to the internet and Social Media you can feel like you’re part of it. Speaking of 3D printing, a couple of students from MIT have made great strides in the portability of 3D printing. The technology of executing a near perfect landing on Mars is truly phenomenal but back on earth manufacturing takes another stride with this advancement in portability, called PopFAB. Will the next rover sport a kiosk for selling plastic fish to the Martians?

 Will 3D printing be a new Olympic Sport in the 21st Century?

In the spirit of the Olympic Games, one industrious and energetic designer developed a 3D model of the Olympic Stadium in London. Not only did he develop this model in 6 hours, he recorded his progress in an elegant time-lapse video, sprinting through his work. Footage of a FDM printer materializing his creation is even included. Kudos to Jon Fidler for his clever modeling work, especially his neat way to share his development in time-lapse mode. Especially intriguing is his use of satellite imagery to help guide the modeling process. You can watch Jon’s cool video here.