Category Archives: Products

MiniMaker Software Lets Kids (or Adults) Easily Create 3D Printable Action Figures

We recently had the opportunity to try out MiniMaker, a new software program from Digimania. MiniMaker makes it easy to create 3D printable action figures with just a few mouse clicks.

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MiniMaker is fun and easy to use. It’s a great tool for introducing kids to 3D printing because it makes it easy for them to create action figures that are completely customized to their liking.

Each aspect of the figure can be customized, including:

  • Hairstyle / hat / helmet
  • Facial expression
  • Glasses
  • Clothing (upper body)
  • Clothing and shoes (lower body)
  • Accessory being held
  • Platform type
  • Positioning of figure

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All of these options can be controlled with simple mouse clicks and drags. Positioning can be controlled with a simple slider, or by rotating individual control points in any direction.

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Once the figure has been customized to your liking, you can generate a 3D printable .OBJ file with a single click.

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For only $49.99, you get two versions of the software – one for creating boy figures and another for creating girls.

The resulting action figures require supports for 3D printing. While traditional supports can be used, this software really excels when paired with a dual extrusion 3D printer, like the Ultimaker 3. With the ability to use water-soluble PVA supports, you can produce nice, clean prints, like these:

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Check out our video demo to see the software in action:

 

To purchase the MiniMaker software, please visit: https://shop3duniverse.com/products/minimaker-software

To learn more about the Ultimaker 3, please visit: http://www.3duniverse.org/2016/10/18/introducing-the-ultimaker-3-and-ultimaker-3-extended/ 

Introducing the Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended

Today, Ultimaker launches their new Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended desktop 3D printers. Some of the key new features are as follows:

1. Dual extrusion → Ultimaker has introduced an ingenious new method for producing clean dual extrusion prints. A mechanical switch lifts one extruder so that it’s out of the way when the other extruder is printing. This opens up a wide range of possibilities for printing complex geometries using PVA water soluble filament, as well as dual color printing capabilities.

2. Swappable print cores → With the Ultimaker 2+ there used to be only swappable nozzles. With the Ultimaker 3, the user can now replace the entire print core to easily switch between materials in seconds.

3. Connectivity → The user can start prints through the network, update firmware and easily integrate with printer networking solutions.

4. Active bed leveling → The new Ultimaker 3 can compensate for minor bed leveling issues by automatically adjusting the amount of filament extruded for the first several layers in the appropriate parts of a printed object.

5. NFC (Near Field Communication) → There is a chip on the filament holder and a reader on the spool holder of the printer that identifies which material is being put on. Cura, the slicing software, adjusts the settings automatically to the best settings for this material.

6. Built in camera → The user can now watch your print through Cura when located on the same WIFI network.

7. USB → If the user does not want to start prints through the network, they can load gcode onto a USB stick and print from there.

Check out our video for a comprehensive tour of all the new features in the Ultimaker 3 and the new and improved Cura software!

You can purchase the Ultimaker 3 here: http://shop3duniverse.com/products/ultimaker-3

And you can purchase the Ultimaker 3 Extended here: http://shop3duniverse.com/products/ultimaker-3-extended

Upgrade Your Ultimaker 2 to an Ultimaker 2+

I recently installed Ultimaker’s Extrusion Upgrade Kit on my Ultimaker 2, upgrading it to an Ultimaker 2+. I couldn’t be happier with the results! It’s like a whole new 3D printer!

I’ve been using the Ultimaker 2 for a couple of years now, and I was very happy with the printer overall. Out of all the desktop 3D printers I’ve tested, the Ultimaker 2 stood out as one of the best available. However, I occasionally would run into issues with the feeder mechanism. Sometimes, the filament would slip or the feeder would grind into the filament. This would sometimes lead to failed prints. I noticed this problem especially on prints with heavy retractions.

As an example, check out the photo below. I tried printing this on my Ultimaker 2, before installing the upgrade kit, and the print failed about half-way through. When it got to the part with all those small arches, it had too many retractions for the printer to handle. The filament was ground down by the feeder mechanism, leading to an “air print”.

After installing the Extrusion Upgrade Kit, this was the first print I tried, and it worked flawlessly! Since then, I’ve printed all sorts of things, with almost no failed prints. The difference the upgrade kit made is very noticeable.

Castle Printed on the Ultimaker 2+

The Ultimaker Extrusion Upgrade Kit retails for $395 in the USA, and each kit includes the following:

  • Fully assembled print head
  • Swappable nozzles aka Olsson Block (includes 0.25mm, 0.4mm, 0.6mm, and 0.8mm nozzles)
  • Geared feeder motor
  • Geared feeder
  • Print head shafts
  • Ultimaker calibration card
  • Filament reel holder
  • Axis tools
  • Build plate clamps
  • New ‘+’ stickers

Ultimaker Extrusion Upgrade Kit

Detailed installation instructions can be found here: https://ultimaker.com/en/resources/19641-installing-the-extrusion-upgrade-kit

Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be finished with your upgrade in about an hour.

If you have an Ultimaker 2 or Ultimaker 2 Extended, I strongly encourage you to consider the Ultimaker Extrusion Upgrade Kit! It’s like having a completely new printer!

Buy your Ultimaker Extrusion Upgrade Kit here:

Ultimaker Extrusion Upgrade Kit

 

Taulman 3D Launches Kickstarter for Six New Filament Types

Looking to expand your 3D printing horizons beyond ABS and PLA? Then look no further… Taulman 3D has launched a Kickstarter campaign for SIX new specialty filaments.

These materials are already developed and community tested. The Kickstarter campaign is strictly to raise enough money to go to full-scale production.

3D Universe is proud to be one of Taulman 3D’s testers, so we were lucky enough to get our hands on samples of all these materials, and we were very impressed with the results and ease of printability.

Taulman3D-Toolbox

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Tritan

Tritan is a new high tensile strength material.  Tensile Stress (PSI) of 6,600 lbs, Modulus (PSI) 53,000, E@B was 18.7% “When 3D Printed”.   The reports from testers continue to confirm that Tritan is the strongest material they have printed. To include bonding, bridging, non-stringing and extremely low warping.

Summary:

  • Glass clear
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Excellent bonding makes for shatter proof parts.
  • Prints at ~270C on clean glass heated to 85C

PCTPE (A Plasticized Copolyamide TPE)

     An extremely flexible yet durable and strong TPE and nylon based material.  PCTPE was designed to be both highly flexible, yet retain the durability of nylons.  Single perimeter parts can be wadded into a ball, yet are difficult to stretch out of shape.  With a lower printing temperature than our nylons, PCTPE easily prints on any 3D printer, as it requires only 225C – 230C. While extremely flexible, the nylon insures 1.75mm line is no problem for direct drive or bowdens feed systems. That determination was made by our testers, as every sample of PCTPE sent out was 1.75mm.

Summary:

  • Prints at 225C – 230C on glass w/PVA heated to 45C
  • Elongation @ Break = 370%+
  • Excellent bonding even at 0.3mm nozzle size

ARCbio PLA

ARCbio is a new high strength, crystal clear PLA, biodegradable material. ARCbio is a very new polymer developed specifically for it’s strength, clarity, and light transmission. The natural color of ARCbio is clear and Aspen Research has worked to develop a PLA the stays clear during thermal processing, thus eliminating the common “yellow tinge” seen in other PLAs. Unlike t-glase, ARCbio is more optically transmissive rather than reflective.

Summary:

  • Prints at 205C to 210C on clean glass/acrylic or warm bed with Kapton/Blue Painters tape
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Glass clear
  • Non-Yellowing

Tech-G

Tech-G is an extremely tough PETG polymer with full FDA approved raw polymer documentation and certification. Tech-G will be released as a technical “Fully Documented” material with the intent to provide Engineers, Design houses and Industry with a material that comes with hundreds of specifications as to strength, chemical resistance, worldwide certifications and technical data sheets. A simple scan of the QR code on our label will take you directly to our documentation site for Tech-G . You’ll be able to download all of the documentation provided from the chemical company and the St. Louis Test Labs. Working with one of the largest Chemical companies offering PETG variants, we have selected and tested the one chemical configuration that provides the best viscosity, lowest shrinkage and best bonding for 3D Printing.

Summary:

  • Fully FDA approved PETG polymer with extensive certifications and documentation
  • Low shrinkage and high bonding
  • Prints at 238C

Nylon 680 FDA

After almost a year of testing by users worldwide, nylon 680 FDA approved raw material polymer is ready for release. Nylon 680 is an extremely tough semi-transparent line with one of the highest impact ratings and least shrinkage of all of the taulman3D nylon materials. Nylon 680 FDA will have “traceability” via QR codes. Nylon 680 is currently under evaluation for CE Dental use.

Summary:

  • Print temperature is 245C
  • FDA approved raw material
  • Double Vacuum sealed

Bio-G

Bio-G is a new BPETG that has significant biodegradable features. When your design, idea or invention requires a biodegradable super tough polymer, one that you can count on to survive significant shock and resist harsh chemicals, Bio-G is there to support you. Bio-G is relatively new on the market and has gone through significant testing to meet several certifications. Like all taulman3D materials, you can count on printing huge pieces with no delamination.

Summary:

  • FDA approved raw material
  • Prints at ~238C on glass heated to 45C with a coat of PVA

 

 

The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with the FlashForge Creator X

Here at 3D Universe, we’ve been using the FlashForge Creator and Creator X almost around the clock for months on end. We have been very impressed with what this printer can do, given the very reasonable price.

However, in getting started, we found the need to reference a variety of different information sources on the Internet and had to go through a good deal of trial and error to get everything working the way we wanted.

Now, after months of using the Creator and Creator X, we wanted to give something back to the 3D printing community, so we have prepared a new guide containing all of the information you’ll need to get started in one place.

This is our gift to you – free of charge. No need to fill out any forms or give us your email address.

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Free download: The Unofficial FlashForge Creator X Manual

The official FlashForge manual isn’t bad, but it only covers the initial hardware setup and Replicator G software. Many users prefer to use other software options, of which there are many available. Our unofficial guide covers some of these other options, as well as the process for upgrading to the popular Sailfish firmware. We also show how to install and use a glass build plate and explain why you may (or may not) want to consider doing so.

In addition to the PDF version of the guide, we are also releasing a series of video tutorials that correspond to the topics in the PDF.

Been thinking about getting a 3D printer, but feeling hesitant because you’re not sure exactly what you’re getting into? Watch these videos, and you’ll know exactly what to expect!

For the entire playlist of videos, click here.

Part 1: Unboxing and Initial Hardware Setup
Part 2: Overview of Software Options
Part 3: Installing and Configuring Replicator G
Part 4: Installing and Configuring Slic3r
Part 5: Installing and Configuring MakerWare  (coming soon!)
Part 6: Installing and Configuring Simplify3D™ (coming soon!)
Part 7: Upgrading to Sailfish Firmware
Part 8: Installing a Glass Build Plate (coming soon!)

A note about FlashForge support:

Please refer to the official FlashForge manual included with your Creator X (on the SD card) before contacting FlashForge support. The FlashForge support team will not provide support for anything not covered in their official manual. FlashForge only provides support for their hardware and the Replicator G software.

For any questions related to other topics covered in this unofficial manual, 3D Universe customers are welcome to contact 3D Universe at support@3duniverse.org or 800-689-4344.

To purchase a FlashForge Creator X, please visit shop3duniverse.com.

Formlabs Introduces the Form 1+ 3D Printer

Formlabs made a big impact when they released their original Form 1 3D printer. Instead of using extruded filament, the Formlabs printers use lasers to cure a light-sensitive resin. The resulting print quality and ability to print complex geometries is very impressive.

Now, Formlabs is introducing the new and improved Form 1+, with 50% faster speed and improved durability. Along with the introduction of the new Form 1+, Formlabs produced a video that I have to say has the highest production values I’ve ever seen in a product overview:

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For more information, please visit:
http://formlabs.com/

KICKSTARTER JUST LAUNCHED! Strooder: A Consumer-Oriented Filament Extruder You’d be Proud to Have on Your Desktop

The KickStarter campaign for the Strooder just launched! Check it out here!

Anyone who spends a lot of time with 3D printing eventually starts to look at how to reduce the cost of filament. It’s the biggest ongoing cost of 3D printing by far, so it’s where we naturally look for savings. A typical spool of filament weighs 1kg and typically costs around $30-45 (USD) for ABS or PLA, the most common 3D printing materials. Costs vary for other kinds of materials, but most of them are more than ABS or PLA.

Once my wife saw all of my filament orders, she started asking if there was a way to make our own for a lower cost. I told her about filament extruders, which have been around for a while. She loved the idea, but when we looked at available options, we found that 1) everything currently available was either in a kit form, over-priced, or both. A kit would have been fine and could have been a fun project for us, but . . . 2) the available designs tend to look like something built from spare parts out of someone’s garage, and 3) the general consensus in online discussions seemed to be that it was difficult to obtain consistent results from available models and that it may end up being more hassle than it’s worth currently. So, I continued buying filament online.

Several months later, along came Strooder:

strooder

I had a chance to talk to the founders of the company behind this attractive device via Skype the other day. Greg Gruszecki and David Graves are two robotics engineers in Bristol, UK who joined forces and founded OmniDynamics. They started out working on an overall robotic system but they found themselves limited by the lack of materials available for prototyping. Strooder, therefore, became a vital stepping stone to enable the company to achieve those initial goals in the future, by enabling faster, lower cost prototypes and the use of more exotic materials.

They turned their attention towards developing a consumer-oriented filament extruder. As you can see from the above and below photos, design was an important consideration from day one. It was important that the final design be something people would want to have sitting on their desk, next to that fancy 3D printer. I’d say they hit the mark there:

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Along with design, their focus was on being able to help lower overall filament costs and increase the range of material options available for consumer-level 3D printers.

The initial investment seems reasonable, especially compared to other existing options. The Strooder will have an early-bird Kickstarter price of about $250 (149 GBP) and a final retail price of about $420 (249 GBP).

OmniDynamics plans to sell ABS and PLA pellets for somewhere around 20% the normal cost of filament spools. They also plan to offer a variety of colors, and eventually additional materials, so that users can mix up custom colors and obtain specific physical properties by mixing different pellets in the hopper.

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Aside from being cost effective, the Strooder is also environmentally friendly. I have bins of material left over from failed prints:

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So now I’ll be able to cut up those failed prints (into pieces no larger than about 1 inch) and feed them into the Strooder to make new filament! Recycled prints can be combined with new pellets to help prevent the material from breaking down from too many repeated extrusions.

Of course, I haven’t had the opportunity to use one myself, but having spoken to Gruszecki and Graves, I can tell you this much: I intend to back their Kickstarter campaign. Here’s why:

  1. Having seen other similar Kickstarter campaigns, and knowing the demand for a solution like this, I have a feeling their campaign will succeed, so the risk seems fairly low to me, given the early-bird cost
  2. It comes fully assembled and ready to use
  3. It includes an easily-swappable nozzle for 1.75mm, 2.85mm, or 3mm filament
  4. It has an interactive onboard display so you can easily select what material and nozzle size you’re using, and the machine will determine all of the appropriate settings for you
  5. It’s designed with safety in mind (i.e. active protection against overheating, no exposed parts that could burn someone)
  6. Once their company has revenues coming in, they plan to develop and offer a filament spool winder, as well as a grinder for recycling failed prints, which, when combined with the Strooder, will provide a complete desktop filament production solution.

Their testing so far has yielded very consistent results. They claim you can load a full hopper of material, push the button, and walk away. I pointed out that, while that may be true, you would probably come back to find a tangled heap of filament on the ground. That’s when we started talking about their plans for the prints grinder and filament spool winder. They might end up offering those as part of a stretch goal for the Kickstarter campaign, but that hasn’t been determined yet.

In order to help ensure the highest quality results, the OmniDynamics team has been focusing their testing primarily on PLA, which is somewhat more challenging to extrude properly than ABS. Most other designers of filament extruders seem to focus more on ABS and sometimes have difficulties with PLA. Later, OmniDynamics plans to offer the ability to work with other materials in addition to ABS and PLA, such as HDPE, PP, and LDPE.

Strooder’s specifications are as follows:

  • Screen: 2.4inch, 340 * 220 Pixels
  • Hopper Volume: 1 litre
  • Pre-set Material Options: PLA & ABS
  • Extrusion Rate: 0.7m – 1.5m/minute
  • Extrusion Temperature: up to 250°C
  • Enclosure Size: Height 225mm, Width 165, Depth 285mm
  • Feed Screw Speed: up to 10RPM
  • Input Power: 115VAC and 220VAC
  • Power Draw: ~200W
  • Filament Diameters: 1.75mm, 2.85mm, & 3mm
  • Filament Tolerance: (+ .1/ – .1mm)
  • Pellet Sample: 100g

For more information, please visit: http://www.omnidynamics.co.uk/

The KickStarter campaign for the Strooder just launched! Check it out here!

Review of Simplify3D All-in-One Software for 3D Printing

Simplify3D is designed to be a complete solution for 3D print preparation, and has features not found in other popular slicing programs. It also has a price tag of $140, with no evaluation version available, which makes many people hesitant to give it a shot.

To help with your buying decision, check out our four-part video review on YouTube:


Part 1 provides a 20 minute overview of what Simplify3D has to offer:

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Part 2 shows a specific use-case where the custom support features of Simplify3D prove to be especially useful:

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Part 3 demonstrates how the visualization features of Simplify3D can be used to avoid failed prints:

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Part 4 shows how Simplify3D customized support allows for “stacking” parts, positioning smaller parts underneath the overhanging portions of larger parts:

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Purchase Simplify3D now at shop3duniverse.com.

First Impressions of the Flashforge Creator X 3D Printer

I recently received the new Flashforge Creator X and figured I’d provide a side-by-side comparison with the original Flashforge Creator in this video review.

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This video doesn’t focus so much on technical specifications, as those are readily available on the Internet. Instead, the focus here is on the differences between the Creator and the Creator X.

In summary:

  • Same technical specs – both have dual MK8 extruders, 6x9x6″ build area, and a heated build plate
  • The Creator X costs $100 more than the Creator ($1299 vs $1199)
  • Improved build plate, with 6.3mm thick aluminum to prevent warping and provide a level print surface
  • Aluminum frame for improved rigidity
  • Side panels for better results when printing with ABS (keeps the temperature higher within the build chamber)
  • New mounts for y-axis rods to improve stability
  • LED strip lighting mounted inside for improved visibility
  • Noise level seems to be about the same between the Creator and Creator X

Purchase the Creator X now at shop3duniverse.com.

 

Video Review of Taulman 3D’s New Bridge Nylon Filament

Taulman 3D recently released a new nylon filament called “Bridge”, so named because it bridges the excellent qualities of other nylon filaments with the lower cost and ease of use found in more common ABS and PLA filaments.

Unlike other Nylon filaments, this one can be printed on glass, with a thin coat of PVA glue. Bed adhesion and warping challenges have been significantly reduced. This filament also absorbs much less moisture than previous nylon filaments.

Here’s a video review.

Purchase the Taulman Nylon Filament at shop3duniverse.com.