FMP: 3D Printing

By May 3, 2017Practice

I’ve wanted to play with a 3D printer, but there’s never been specific purpose for this using the machine. Misfits, however, has provided this opportunity.

A potentially tangential avenue to pursue for Misfits is to rapidly produce a set of hollow block forms. The intention of this kind of game is that every Misfits block is filled with a weight (or otherwise heavy, fluid substance) to enhance the difficulty and experience of the stacking the blocks on top of each other. In terms of cost of block material, plastic is also more affordable way to go. Additionally, once the designs of the blocks are as 3D printer compatible files, you can open up the design the blocks to those that are keen to explore within the Maker community, extending the game’s possibilities. (In the no so distant future, a player could simply download and print out the game at home). In this capacity, you can allow players to personalise their own blocks. As a future marketing campaign, I could envision an online platform to allow players to customise their shapes, opening up this type of printing to those not as tech-savvy.

Today, I went to the Digital Maker Collective at Chelsea, and with some help with Chris Follows, I had one of my more obscure shapes from the game printed using an Ultimaker 2. There’s some decidedly low tech solutions to getting the block to stick to the printing bed (using glue), as well as removal (a painter’s spatula).

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For the future of small manufacture and speciality parts, I was surprised by how much time the process takes to create a three dimensional object. I also made a rookie mistake in preparing the 3D file. Every layer is supported by the layer below, as the printing process is an incremental layering to form the shape. If the top of the object is filled in, without any support structures placed in the layers before, this section could potentially collapse in on itself, as the machine prints into thin air. Fortunately, this was avoided, but this was more luck.

Your 3D printed Prototype is still going well so far @akn.design #digital #artschool #3d #3dprinting #design

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The @ultimaker is giving its best shot at 3D printing the top of your prototype in thin air @akn.design

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I think I got overzealous in my use of non-Chelsea workshops. As part of their wood/3D workshop, LCC has several 3D printers (including a very fancy Formilabs 3D printer). I found out that there is actually more than the coloured plastic filament—you can even get a wood filament (the spools of different types of filament are next to the Formilabs in below photo).

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However, after writing down my UAL email address, the technician mentioned to me via email I don’t have access, as my email contact info shows I am a Chelsea student. My days at LCC may be numbered !