Great - where do I sign up? Finally my geek side and my ww'er side have simultaneous expression.
Might be cost comparable to a good dust collector and saves me the effort of collecting wood to turn.
Hmmm - I wonder if it can do hollow forms and natural edge bowls too?!
I bought a small 3D Printer (Lulzbot Mini) and although I haven't printed any finials yet, I do have some filament with wood impregnated in it to try. What has proved very useful is all of the tool holding fixtures that I've been able to print for hanging various tools on walls or pegboard. I also can print the inserts for a router table with any size hole that I desire. And have designed Dog Hole stops that fit both the 3/4" holes in my workbench and the 20mm holes in the Festool MFT. It has turned out to be very handy indeed, and a neat toy.
Sketchup can actually produce files for printing on the printer but I like to use OpenSCAD as I like it's interface a little better (the programmer in me likes scripted design). The printer takes .STL files and I believe Sketchup can produce those (might require an add-on but I know people use Sketchup for design. The files have to have all faces connected, but there is software that can repair minor faults in connected faces like Meshmixer.
The largest I can print in one piece is 150mm x 150mm x 152mm tall. That's about a 6" cube. The larger model of the Lulzbot can do 300mm. The printers also have problems printing overhangs of more than 45 degrees - they require support material. Something about printing in air doesn't work real well. Might get away with most of that shape except the bottom tenon would need support material around it. The software can automagically add the support.
That piece could probably be done in two parts and glued together. If you can break it into two .STL files less than 6" tall, I'd give it a try. The top part would definitely be interesting to watch print.
You would want to be sure that the center is hollow and that there is a reasonable wall thickness defined throughout, although you would not need the convolutions on the inside. Conserving material and reducing printing time are the drivers for those asks....
With regard to the video, I was waiting the entire time for there to be a catch. I SO wanted to see a catch!
Yes, Ken, I know about 3D printing from SketchUp. The finial model is water tight and thus would be printable. I can export STL or other files that can be used for 3D printing. I did a small version but it would be easy enough to make it in multiple parts, too.
Is 'water-tightness' a necessary criteria, or just an indicator of suitability? One would assume that one could print a whiffle ball for instance; would that satisfy the criteria of watertight? I am interested in exploring 3D printing but I have a lot to learn!
In terms of SketchUp, which is a surface modeler, water-tightness implies that every edge is shared by exactly two faces. Faces have no thickness, though so in order to make a printable object like a wiffle ball, the surface would need to have thickness. Drawing a simple sphere and making holes in the skin wouldn't work.
Got it; basically an extruded form/z layer/whatever in order to give the object a defined thickness. I was assuming that, but didn't think about a case where someone didn't bother to define that axis. Excellent.
Having a hollow interior is not completely necessary and because of the need to support a hollow interior not desirable either. The printing software takes a Fill ratio - default 20% - and makes a matrix inside a solid object like a honeycomb only criss-cross by default and thus saves material automatically. For higher strength, when needed, you can increase the fill percentage. For instance I printed a carabiner and used 80% fill for extra strength there. But then, if I were really going to use that carabiner for anything I would have printed it with Nylon instead of a cheaper plastic.
If you want to email me some .STL files I will attempt to print it with some cheaper plastic and then once I get the settings right will switch to the wood impregnated stuff and see how it comes out. This would be a good test piece to see what the wood like plastic looks like. I can PM my email address or you can just use secretary at our domain name ncwoodworker.net and it'll get forwarded to my personal email. I will of course take lots of photos of the result.
I need to post a few pics of the tool holders and tool widgets I've been making anyway.
3D printing is getting to be a huge thing with lots of affordable 3d printers out there and various companies offering 3d printing in various plastics, resins and even metal. About 4 years ago I had this little Penguin Donkey printed from a SketchUp model.
The machine shop where I work has three or four different 3D printers which they use for things like prototypes as well as for printing accurate full-scale models of human parts so that surgeons can get a good look at it before they open up the patient. Recently I saw a 3D model of a brain aneurysm and the blood vessels surrounding it. The model helped the surgeons figure out the best approach to removing it without killing the patient. They've also done 3D models for surgeries on conjoined twins.
From a woodworker's point of view, there are many ways 3D printing can be used from creating replacement parts for old (and not so old) tools to making custom hardware.
@Ken, I haven't forgotten. I'll send you that model.
No worries... I've been entertaining out of town guests and have been too busy to do much else. They went back to the snow and frozen north so I now need to get busy and take some pics of the stuff I've printed so far.
There is a website called thingiverse.com that has all kinds of ready to print models - mostly as .STL files - some as CAD files that can be modified. A search on woodworking produces numerous useful results. Such as:
This thread made me feel more like a dinosaur than almost any of life's experiences. I'm still trying to learn how to program our microwave and new kitchen range. Thank you for the insight into 3D printers. Had wondered how they work, and now how have a less fog shrouded idea on the subject. :icon_scra