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G-Code Tutorial for Beginners: Improve Your 3D Printing Skills

G-Code Tutorial for Beginners: Improve Your 3D Printing Skills
By Anatol Locker

G-code is the language used by computers to communicate with 3D printers. Using G-code, a computer tells a printer when, where, how to move and how much to extrude throughout the entire print process.

If you have never dealt with G-code so far, that’s normal. Slicers like Cura and Simplify3D generate G-code “automagically” from CAD models, so most users never see or program a single line of code. However, if you want to develop a deeper understanding of 3D printing, it is essential to know about this programming language.

A knowledge of G-code will give you 3D printing superpowers. People who know G-code are able to troubleshoot their printers better, control every aspect of the print process and identify and prevent print failures much before they happen.

If that sounds interesting, this post is for you. Our aim is to get you started with G-code basics. After reading this post, you will be able to:

Read and understand G-code
Write it yourself and test it online
Use the G-code Preview functionality of Slicers to troubleshoot complicated prints

Let’s get started!

What is G-code?

G-code stands for “Geometric Code”. Its main function is to instruct a machine head how to move geometrically in 3 dimensions. However, it can also instruct a machine to do non-geometric things. For example, G-code can tell a 3D printer to extrude material at a specified extrusion rate or change its bed temperature.

In formal terms, G-code is a numerical control programming language. For those who know how to program, G-code is an easy programming language. It is rudimentary and does not have advanced constructs like variables, conditionals, and loops.

For those who don’t know about programming languages, you can think of G-code as sequential lines of instructions. Each line tells the printer to do a specific task. The printer executes the line one by one until it reaches the end.

How to read G-code

So, how does a line of G-code look like? Here is a typical example:

G1 X-9.2 Y-5.42 Z0.5 F3000.0 E0.0377

This particular line tells the printer to move in a straight line towards the destination coordinates X=-9.2, Y=-5.42, and Z=0.5 at a feed rate of 3000.0. It also instructs the printer to extrude material at a rate of 0.0377 while it is moving.

How did we read and interpret that? It’s quite easy. Every line of G-code starts with a command. In this case, the command is G1.

G1 X-9.2 Y-5.42 Z0.5 F3000.0 E0.0377

It means “move in a straight line in a controlled fashion”. You can look up the meaning of every G-code command in a table that we have provided at the end of the article. We will also go through the most important G-code commands in a later section.

The code snippets that appears after the command are called arguments.

G1 X-9.2 Y-5.42 Z0.5 F3000.0 E0.0377

Each argument tells the printer about how to execute the command. The arguments start with an English letter and then specify a value. For example, X-9.2 means a destination X coordinate of -9.2. F3000.0 means a Feed rate(F) of 3000.0. E0.0377 means an Extrusion rate(E) of 0.0377.

Try reading the following line of G-code now.

G1 X5 Y5 Z0 F3000.0 E0.02

If you interpreted it to mean “move towards X=5, Y=5, and Z=0 in a straight line at a feed rate of 3000.0 while extruding material at the rate 0.02”, then you have already learned how to read G-code!

Commands which start with the letter G are geometric commands. They tell the printer head how to move, but this is clearly not enough to control all aspects of a 3D printer. What if you needed to tell the printer to turn the motor off or raise the bed temperature? For these non-geometric tasks, G-code implementations also define another set of commands which start with the letter M. They are aptly called M Codes. For example, the command M140 sets the bed temperature, and the command M190 tells the printer to wait for the temperature to reach the target.

Each English letter that you encounter in G-code will have a specific meaning. For example, we learned that G means a geometric command, M means a non-geometric command, X means the X coordinate, Y means the Y coordinate, F means Feed rate and so on. For your reference, here’s a table with the meaning of every G-code letter.

Code
Information
Gnnn
Standard GCode command, such as move to a point
Mnnn
RepRap-defined command, such as turn on a cooling fan
Tnnn
Select tool nnn. In RepRap, a tool is typically associated with a nozzle, which may be fed by one or more extruders.
Snnn
Command parameter, such as time in seconds; temperatures; voltage to send to a motor
Pnnn
Command parameter, such as time in milliseconds; proportional (Kp) in PID Tuning
Xnnn
A X coordinate, usually to move to. This can be an Integer or Fractional number.
Ynnn
A Y coordinate, usually to move to. This can be an Integer or Fractional number.
Znnn
A Z coordinate, usually to move to. This can be an Integer or Fractional number.
U,V,W
Additional axis coordinates (RepRapFirmware)
Innn
Parameter – X-offset in arc move; integral (Ki) in PID Tuning
Jnnn
Parameter – Y-offset in arc move
Dnnn
Parameter – used for diameter; derivative (Kd) in PID Tuning
Hnnn
Parameter – used for heater number in PID Tuning
Fnnn
Feedrate in mm per minute. (Speed of print head movement)
Rnnn
Parameter – used for temperatures
Qnnn
Parameter – not currently used
Ennn
Length of extrudate. This is exactly like X, Y and Z, but for the length of filament to consume.
Nnnn
Line number. Used to request repeat transmission in the case of communications errors.
*nnn
Checksum. Used to check for communications errors.

(source: RepRapWiki)

A simple example of G-code in action

Now that you know how to read a line of G-code, let’s look at a simple example in action. The following video shows G-code at work in a cutting machine (not a 3D printer). The cutting machine will cut a circular edge in a rectangular slab. The G-code instructs the cutter on how to move to achieve the desired result.

Do not worry that the video is about a cutting machine. The geometric aspects of G-code works similarly for all machines that have a machine head. In the case of the 3D printer, the nozzle is the head. For the cutting machine, the head is the cutter. That’s the only difference. All other geometric aspects of the code remain the same.

If you understand the cutter’s movements, you will also know how to move a print head.

The most important G-code commands

In the last section, we discussed the G1 command, which means “move the nozzle in a controlled fashion in a straight line”. This is just one of the many G-code commands. In this section, we will discuss other important G-code commands that are used frequently.

G0 or “rapid motion”

The G0 command tells the print head to move at maximum travel speed from the current position to the coordinates specified by the command. The head will move in a coordinated fashion such that both axes complete the travel simultaneously. The nozzle will not extrude any material while executing this command. This command is usually used to bring the nozzle rapidly to some desired coordinates at the start of the print or during the print.

Example: G0 X7 Y18

Image: Make Magazine

G1 or “controlled motion”

The G1 command tells the print head to move at specified speed from the current position to the coordinated specified by the command. The speed is specified by the Feed rate parameter F.  The head will move in a coordinated fashion such that both axes complete the travel simultaneously. The printer can extrude material while executing this command at an extrusion rate specified by the Extrusion rate parameter E. Most of the 3D printing happens while executing this command. If you open the G-code file for an actual 3D printing process, you will see a lot of G1 commands.

Example: G1 X7 Y18 F500 E0.02

Image: Make Magazine

G17/G18/G19 or “set planes”

These G-code commands set the plane in which the nozzle should move. Typically, G17 is the default for most machines and it denotes the X-Y plane. G18 denotes the Z-X plane and G19 denotes the Y-Z plane.

G20/G21 or “set units”

These commands set the G-code units. G20 denotes inches while G21 denotes millimeters. This makes a big difference because

G20

G0 X7 Y18

means “move rapidly to X=7 inches and Y=18 inches” while

G21

G0 X7 Y18

means “move rapidly to X=7 mm and Y=18 mm”.

G28  or “homing”

A G28 command tells the machine to go to its home position. A home position can be defined by the G28.1 command as follows.

G28.1 X0 Y0 Z0

G90 or “absolute mode”

Absolute mode tells the machine to interpret coordinates as absolute coordinates. This means a command

G0 X10

will send the machine head to the coordinate X=10.

G91 or “relative mode”

The relative mode is the opposite of the absolute mode. G91 tells the machine to interpret coordinates as relative coordinates. If the machine is currently at X=10, then the following commands

G91

G0 X10

tell the machine to move 10 units in the X direction from its current position. At the end of the operation, the machine head will be located at X=20.

G2 or “clockwise motion”

G2 tells the machine to move clockwise starting from its current location. The endpoint is specified by the coordinates X and Y. The center of rotation is specified by the parameter I, which denotes the  X offset of the current position from the center of rotation. J denotes the Y offset of the current position from the center of rotation.

Example:

G21 G90 G17

G0 X6 Y18

G2 X18 Y6 I0 J-12

Image: Make Magazine

G3  or “counterclockwise motion”

Just like the G2 command, the G3 command creates a circular motion but in the counterclockwise direction.

Example:

G21 G90 G17

G0 X-5 Y25

G3 X-25 Y5 I0 J-20

Image: Make Magazine

Code comments

If you look at any real world G-code file, you will find that in addition to G-code commands and arguments, it also contains things written in plain English. Here’s an example:

G0 X-25 Y5  ; rapid movement to X=-25 and Y=5

The English text will always be preceded by a semicolon, as you can see in the above line.

Programmers often need to write down explanations in plain English so that other programmers can understand the motivation behind a certain line or section of code. In fact, forget about other programmers! If you are looking at your own code afta an year, chances are that you will have forgotten why you coded things in a certain way and would have a hard time figuring things out again.

To solve this problem, G-code can include code comments. Comments are written after adding a semicolon punctuation mark.You can write anything after adding a semicolon, but most often it is used to explain the rationale behind the code in a human friendly way.  Anything that appears after a semicolon character in a line is ignored by the printer while executing the G-code and is only meant for human eyes.

Here is another example of a line that has a code comment.

G1 X-25 Y5  ; I am a code comment!

The structure of a full-fledged G-code program

We are now in a good position to look at actual G-code that is used for printing a 3D model.

Most G-code programs contain three important sections. The first section initializes the printer for the printing process. The second section instructs the printer to print the model. The third section resets the printer to its default configuration after the print finishes. Let’s take a look at these sections one by one.

1. Initialization phase

Certain tasks need to be performed before a print can begin. For example, we need to heat the print bed, heat the extruder, purge the nozzle, bring the nozzle to the start position etc. These tasks form the first section of any program.

Here are the first five lines of initialization G-code from an actual 3D printing task. You should be in a position to read and understand them at this point, with help from the reference table at the end.

G90

M82

M106 S0

M140 S100

M190 S100

The first line sets the coordinates to absolute positioning. The second line tells the extruder to interpret the extrusion rate as absolute values. The third line turns the fan on, but sets the speed to 0, which essentially means that the fan is off. The fourth line sets the bed temperature to 100 degrees. The fifth line tells the printer to wait till the bed temperature reaches the desired value, in this case, 100.

During the initialization phase, the printer will not extrude any material except when it is purging the nozzle. This is an easy to way to figure out when the initialization phase stops and the actual printing begins. During the actual printing, the printer will be extruding material at almost every step.

2. Printing phase

A 3D printer prints a model layer by layer. Slicers like Simplify3D or Cura typically slices a 3D model into many horizontal layers that stack on top of each other to create the final print.

Therefore, the print phase consists of many movements in the X-Y plane (printing a single layer), then one movement in the Z direction (move to next layer) followed by many movements in the X -Y plane again (print the next layer).

Here is how it looks like.

G1 X108.587 Y111.559 F525 ; controlled motion in X-Y plane

G1 X108.553 Y111.504 F525 ; controlled motion in X-Y plane

G1 Z0.345 F500 ; change layer

G1 X108.551 Y111.489 F525 ; controlled motion in X-Y plane

G1 X108.532 Y111.472 F525 ; controlled motion in X-Y plane

3. Reset the printer

Finally, when the printing is over, some final lines of G-code bring the printer to a reasonable default state. For example, the nozzle is brought back to the origin, the heating is turned off (both for the bed and the extruder) and the motors are disabled.

G28 ; bring the nozzle to home

M104 S0 ; turn off heaters

M140 S0 ; turn off bed

M84 ;  disable motors

Input and Output

Till now, we have only talked about the computer sending G-code to the printer, so it seems like the communication is one way. But 3D printing actually involves a two-way communication between the computer and the printer. Here’s how it works.

When you hit the print button on your computer, the 3D printing software starts sending the G-code to the printer, one line at a time. The printer executes the line and responds back to the computer. If the response indicates no error, the computer then sends the next line of code to be executed.

The printer’s response usually follows the following format:

<response> [<line number to resend>] [<current printer parameters>] [<Some debugging or other information>]

<response> can be ok, rs or !!.
Ok means that no error has been detected. This prompts the computer to send the next line of G-code to the printer.
Rs means “resend the instruction”. This is usually followed by the line number to resend.
Two exclamation marks(!!) implies hardware error. The machine shuts down immediately in this case and the print job is aborted.

In addition to these 3 responses, the printer might also report printer parameters like temperature, coordinates of the nozzle etc. to the computer.

Temperature is reported in response to a M105 command.  The format of the response is

T:value B:value,

where T indicates the extruder temperature and B indicates the bed temperature. If the machine does not have a temperature sensor, then -273 is returned as a value.

The coordinatesare reportedd in response to a M114 and M117 commands. The format of response is

C: X:9.2 Y:125.4 Z:3.7 E:1902.5.

Here, C stands for “coordinates follow”. This is followed by current X, Y, Z coordinates and other  information.

G-code Visualization Tools

Now that you know how to write G-code, it’s your turn to write some code and test your understanding. You can use an online G-code visualization tool, where you can write some G-code and see the machine head move according to your instructions. It’s a lot of fun! We recommend that you try out this online visualization tool to test your skills.

Slicing software like Simplify3D or Cura also come with a G-code viewer. In the G-code viewer, you will be able to visualize the path of the extruder for actual 3D printing tasks. Check out this must-see video for an excellent demonstration of the G-code viewer in Simplify3D.

Preventing print failures with G-code preview

The G-code viewer can be the difference between a successful and failed print for tricky 3D models. In general, whenever you want to print a complicated 3D model, we advise that you run the G-code viewer and go through the print simulation step by step.

We need to do this because the automatically generated G-code is often not ideal. You will often find that there are problematic areas that do not have enough support, leading to a failed print. In this case, you need to modify the G-code to ensure successful printing. Most of the time, this can be done by adding additional support structures using the graphical interface. Here is a video that shows how to do this for a complicated model of a 3D puppy.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we learned about how a 3D printer prints a CAD model by following an instruction set written in G-code. We learned how to read G-code, and saw some realistic examples of G-code in action. We discussed the most common G-code commands and some ways of visualizing and testing them. Finally, we introduced G-code viewer, a common feature of Slicers, which can be used to prevent failed prints.

We hope that an understanding of G-code helps you become a more knowledgeable and powerful user of your 3D printer. If you found this article useful, share it with other 3D printing enthusiasts and spread the word. Do you have some questions or remarks about G-code? Let us know in the comments below!

Appendix 1: Compatibility notes

Each 3D printer comes with a firmware. There are many firmwares, and developers of these firmwares tend to implement different flavours of G-code. This leads to major compatibility issues. The G-code that works for one machine might not work for another.

This problem is usually solved by connecting the Slicer, which generates the G-code, to a machine specific post processing driver. The post processor detects the incoming G-code flavour and converts the G-code to the specific flavour that the firmware understands.

Therefore, the G-code that you see on the Slicer might not necessarily be the code being executed on the machine because of this subtle implementation detail.

Appendix 2: G-codes

List of all G-codes from Wikipedia

Appendix 3: M Codes

Insert table of M-codes from Wikipedia

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April 28, 2017 at 11:01PM
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Annunci

Using 3D Printed Bolus for Effective Cancer Treatment

Using 3D Printed Bolus for Effective Cancer Treatment
By Hanna Watkin

bolus

Cancer patients at Banner Health’s NCMC Oncology Department will receive 3D printed precise molds, called bolus, for radiation treatment. 

Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system in the USA, is utilizing 3D printing to improve treatment for cancer patients. By using a LulzBot TAZ 6, Dr. Alexander Markovic and his team have developed molds, called bolus. These are essentially flat pieces of rubbery material.

The reason for using a bolus is to increase a patient’s radiation dose, allowing it to reach the tissues below the skin. When it comes to methods of covering a cancer treatment area, materials often include tape or gauze. However, by using a 3D printer, doctors can better target the radiation dose. This means a more effective treatment method.

Markovic is the Medical Physics Program Director for NCMC’s Radiation Oncology. He and his team are behind a new 3D printing program at NCMC’s Cancer Institute. He explains: “The sky’s the limit when it comes to 3D printing.”

Earlier this month, NCMC’s Oncology Department began treating a skin cancer patient using a 3D printed bolus. Markovic was happy with the result.

NCMC is the first center to test the new 3D printed bolus. However, Banner Health intends on using 3D printing to further aid cancer treatment. Other Banner hospitals later this year will begin the 3D printing program including McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colo. and Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert, Ariz.

bolus

3D Printing Offers Effective Cancer Treatment Methods

Jeffrey Albert, MD, specializes in radiation oncology with Banner Health, he said: “The new 3D printer allows us to create custom molds that perfectly conform to a patient’s skin, ensuring more accurate and timely treatment delivery.”

3D printing a bolus takes just six to eight hours to print. As well as this, it’ll have a 0.5 millimeter accuracy. However, Markovic points out that a 3D printed bolus isn’t a solution for all patients and cancer treatments.

But, he’s optimistic and points out that this is just the beginning of using 3D printing to offer effective treatments. As well as developing the 3D printed bolus, Markovic’s team is also printing 3D body parts. The reason being to demonstrate different treatment plans to patients.

So far, Marokvic’s program has great results. For example, Darrel French is six weeks into his radiation treatment. Surgeons removed cancer from his ear.

Markovic’s team used CAT scans to model a bolus and printed it in NinjaFlex. The resulting print closely fits French’s ear. He said: “It works really well and it hasn’t bothered me at all… After three weeks, the inside of my ear is fine.”

Source: Press Release

The post Using 3D Printed Bolus for Effective Cancer Treatment appeared first on All3DP.

April 28, 2017 at 09:00PM
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Zortrax Now Open to Third-Party Filaments for 3D Printing

Zortrax Now Open to Third-Party Filaments for 3D Printing
By Bulent Yusuf

third-party filaments

With the latest update to their Z-SUITE software, desktop 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax is rolling out support for third-party filaments

Desktop 3D printer manufacturer Zortrax is doing the unthinkable. They’re opening up their 3D printers to third-party filaments. The changes are effective immediately, with the release of the latest version of their Z-SUITE slicing software.

What does this mean, exactly? It means that users of the Zortrax M200 and Zortrax M300 3D printers are now able to fabricate with materials from outside the Zortrax ecosystem.

Previously, Zortrax customers were confined to using the Polish company’s own range of proprietary materials. But it appears that growing demand from the maker community (like the video below from 3D Printing Nerd Joel Telling) has encouraged the company to adopt a more open approach.

According to the Zortrax Chairman of the Management Board, Rafał Tomasiak:

“We have received signals from users who wanted to experiment with external printing materials not included in our current material range. The newest software update is a response to those signals.”

Intriguingly, this monumental change is bundled together with a list of other “business-as-usual” updates for the Z-SUITE update. That means stuff like managing infill level, model splicing, size control and printing speed, plus separate settings for the printing material.

Third-Party Filaments a Big Step Forward for Zortrax

Adopting support for third-party filaments is a significant move for Zortrax.

The open source philosophy is a cornerstone of the desktop 3D printing revolution, as championed by the likes of Prusa Research, Aleph Objects, Ultimaker and BCN3D Technologies. Zortrax is a big brand that’s one of the few holdouts.

And while that position is unlikely to change in the near term, allowing their customers to experiment with third-party filaments is a big win for consumer choice.

The company maintains that its initial drive for a closed ecosystem was to ensure quality and reliability. And naturally, it will continue to encourage customers to use their own-brand materials to guarantee the best results.

“Please keep in mind,” cautions  Tomasiak, “that the only way to ensure the top quality and hardware reliability of our solutions is by using Zortrax materials.”

Zortrax current range of 3D printing materials includes:

Z-ABS — designed for printing concept models and mock-ups, available in 11 colours.
Z-PCABS — an ivory coloured durable material for items such as casings, moving parts or structural elements.
Z-PETG — provides models with a shiny surface immune to damage caused by mechanical factors, time and light. It is also highly resistant to salts, acids, bases and solvents. Available in grey and black.
Z-ULTRAT — an original Zortrax polymer available in 22 colours with increased resistance to external factors and easy mechanical post-processing.
Z-GLASS — a light-transmitting material for printing items with transparent surfaces.
Z-HIPS — reduces risk of deformation and time required for post-processing. Its unique structure absorbs light and reduces visible imperfections.
Z-ESD — a black filament, resistant to electrostatic discharge, ideal for electronics casings.

The latest version of Z-SUITE 1.10 is available to download now.

Source: Press Release

third-party filaments

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April 28, 2017 at 04:59PM
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The Only Threatening Thing About This Trump is its Sugar Content

The Only Threatening Thing About This Trump is its Sugar Content
By Matthew Mensley

Gummy Trump 3d printed

Well, it’s 100 days later and all we have to show for it are these fruity Gummy Trumps, made possible with 3D printing.

As President Donald J. Trump and his actions, inaction, and first-100-days pledges come under scrutiny, there’s certainly one good thing that has come from his reign: these colorful Trump gummies that look pretty damn tasty.

The Gummy Trump is designed by self-proclaimed internet entrepreneur Cornelius Wilson, who based in Atlanta, Georgia. Unsurprisingly, the project is a bit of an attention seeker, creating a bombastic and frightening representation of the Commander-in-Chief.

“The greatest gummy bear of all time” comes in five tongue-in-cheek flavors: Watermelon Wall, Make America Grape Again, Blow My Berries, Thank You Russia!, and Trump Orange.

A pack of Gummy Trump will cost you $10, containing approximately a dozen POTUS pieces. Each individual squishy snack stands just over 7cm tall.

3D Printing Gummy Trump Molds. SAD!

Wilson claims it took over 30 hours to produce the first Gummy Trump. The process seems a simple one, enhanced with the use of an Original Prusa i3 FDM 3D printer.

He explains:

“I first created a 3D image of Trump, and then using my 3D FDM printer with a .10mm mold casting to create ten models of Trump. Once it was printed I had to create the food safe silicone molding. This required a Smooth Sil 940 kit and a few other miscellaneous items.”

The next step, detailed in a post on Reddit by Wilson, is to create the gummy mixture itself.

Wilson’s eclectic edibles are available through the Gummy Trump website. They will also be heading to Kickstarter on May 1st, where a $30,000 aims to cover the production costs and shipping. Better prepare for a wait though, as the estimated delivery date is September.

Gummy Trump 3d printed

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April 28, 2017 at 12:58PM
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Monoprice’s “MP Select Mini V2”: Great New Features and a $219 Price Tag

Monoprice’s “MP Select Mini V2”: Great New Features and a $219 Price Tag
By Hanna Watkin

The Monoprice MP Select Mini is one of the bestselling budget 3D printers. The new and improved version 2 is now available – for just $219.

It’s not only the price that makes the Monoprice Select Mini interesting for 3D printing enthusiasts. Sure, the little machine has its quirks and flaws, but all in all the small 3D printer turned out to be the best budget 3D printer on the market. We were so convinced by its value-for-money ratio we gave it the “All3DP Best Budget 3D Printer” Award. If you want to know why, please read the in-depth review here.

Now, Monoprice has started selling the new and improved version 2 – for an even lower price tag. The MP Select Mini 3D Printer V2 will be sold for $219.

Do the Capabilities Match the Price?

The MP Select Mini 3D Printer V2 now comes fully assembled and is calibrated at the factory. Monoprice promises that for this printer, all you have to do is perform a quick check to verify that the print bed is leveled. After that, it’s as simple as loading the filament and inserting a microSD card.

The list of features for this printer includes an insulated and heated build plate, nozzle cooling fan and an accessory kit. Also, Wi-Fi is now officially supported, as is USB connectivity. Of course, you still can use the SD card. 

The features run on even further offering; an all metal nozzle, upgraded cooling and a 3.7″ IPS color screen.

Whether you’re a Mac or Windows user also doesn’t matter. Monoprice have made the printer compatible with a range of software too. This open source mentality allows you to tinker to your heart’s content.

Choose a preinstalled model and you’ll also receive a sample PLA filament and a microSD card with preinstalled models. You can buy your Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2 here. However, if you’re still not sure about this printer, check out the range of other printers on offer from Monoprice, here.

All3DP will take a look at the new Monoprice very soon, so stay tuned.

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April 27, 2017 at 09:00PM
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MIT’s Autonomous Construction Rig 3D Prints Affordable Homes

MIT’s Autonomous Construction Rig 3D Prints Affordable Homes
By Hanna Watkin

MIT researchers are developing an autonomous construction rig that uses 3D printing and robotics to quickly create structures.

With real estate prices continuing to rise and leaving many unable to afford houses, it may be time for a change of approach. To do this, researchers from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing an autonomous construction rig.

They want to redefine how we develop housing by offering homes that are both sustainable and more affordable. This is something that people ensnared by rising housing prices will certainly be glad to hear.

MIT’s construction plan involves digital design, robotics, and 3D printing to develop this unique rig. One of the MIT engineers working on the project is Dr. Steven Keating. He hopes that through autonomous construction, humans won’t be so removed from the natural world. His aim is to work with Mother Nature, rather than against or on top of her, to build innovative homes.

“If you look at a tree, a tree pulls 99 percent of its material from the air. Instead of having to go out and mine and ship to a factory, it can gather its own energy and material. It can adapt to its environment,” Keating said to Inverse.  

As well as this, by using autonomous methods, it’s possible to redesign homes when necessary. Whether this is to accommodate for more space or even for environmental worries, this rig can modify pre-existing structures. Check out the robotic 3D printer in the video below:

A Rising 3D Printed Homes and Furniture, Anyone?

The way MIT intends to work with Mother Nature is simple, they’re developing an autonomous construction platform. So far, tests are underway and Keating’s team is using a robot to 3D print sizable structures.

The resulting print is a dome shape construction that took just half a day to build from scratch. It stands are around 50 feet across and over 12 feet tall,  built from an insulation foam material. With this breakthrough approach, it would be possible to reduce production time and resources needed to create livable structures.

Currently, the MIT team is providing materials for the rig. However, researchers are looking into incorporating other materials easily found on a building site such as dirt, and even ice.

Still, quick and easy home assembly using components that are already on the market may sound a bit farfetched. This idea is unlikely to reach the construction world just yet.

For such an idea to gain traction in the market, Keating knows that an easy to use and noticeably beneficial system needs to be provided to construction workers. “We’ll talk to construction companies, and they’ll say they’re a very innovative company because they put in a new type of window glass in their last building… It can be hard to break into,” he says.

This additive manufacturing robot is carrying us one step closer to the day where shipping expensive amounts of supplies are obsolete, replaced by 3D printed house filled with 3D printed furniture (which is another development MIT is making promising strides in).

“Our vision is full self-sufficiency, but that’s not realistic in the near future,” Keating says. “In the near future, it’s about creating something that can step right into a working construction site.”

Want to find out more? Head over to the journal Science Robotics to read the study.

The post MIT’s Autonomous Construction Rig 3D Prints Affordable Homes appeared first on All3DP.

April 27, 2017 at 06:59PM
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Signup for Early Access to HP Multi Jet Fusion with Shapeways

Signup for Early Access to HP Multi Jet Fusion with Shapeways
By Bulent Yusuf

HP Multi Jet Fusion

Attention Eager Beavers! Online 3D printing service Shapeways is launching an Early Access Programme for the HP Multi Jet Fusion printer.

Don’t Miss: With Multi Jet Fusion, HP Challenges Injection Molding

Since 2014, Shapeways has worked closely with Hewlett Packard on testing the HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer. The online 3D printing bureau has a library of thousands of designs uploaded by their customers; that places them in a unique position to test a broad spectrum of geometries and print orientations.

“Thanks to your always-expanding variety of designs,” says Angela Linneman on the Shapeways Blog, “we’ve been able to work with HP to drive the evolution of the MJF printer.”

This week, HP Multi Jet Fusion inches one step closer to being publicly available. After several months of intensive trials, the Dutch company is inviting customers to sign up to an early access programme. Those chosen will have custom objects fabricated on one of the most eagerly anticipated new technologies in the 3D printing industry.

Why is it so eagerly anticipated? For starters, the nylon plastic material produced by an MJF printer is very strong, smooth and dense. The machines are also fast and reliable. The hope is that widespread adoption will lead to leaner, stronger prints and lower cost functional parts.

But before that can happen, Shapeways wants a real-world field trial to discover the limits of the new technology. Whether you’re making complex miniatures or custom jewelry, this is an exciting opportunity to have it rendered with a new material on a new type of 3D printer.

Shapeways Has High Hopes for HP Multi Jet Fusion

To further test the HP Multi Jet Fusion printer and refine their workflow, Shapeways are inviting customers to submit their most complex and challenging 3D models. “Push your imagination (and this material) to the limit. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.”

The printer itself is an incredible breakthrough. ALL3DP visited the HP research labs in Barcelona last summer, and we were impressed by what we saw. As well as greater precision at faster build speeds, there’s also the fact it can recycle up to 80% of its post-printing material.

Two color options are available with this new nylon material; speckled grey or dyed matte black. In the future, HP is promising next-generation features like full-color plastic, conductive pathways, and improved product quality. For their part, Shapeways anticipates being able to offer next-day delivery and lower prices to their customers with MJF technology.

Keen to take part? Sign up here for the HP Multi Jet Fusion early access program. Shapeways will draw up a shortlist of early adopters and invite a select few to participate. At a future date the printer will finally be available to everyone.

HP Multi Jet Fusion

The post Signup for Early Access to HP Multi Jet Fusion with Shapeways appeared first on All3DP.

April 27, 2017 at 05:59PM
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