Sunday, April 26, 2015

3D Coat - Tutorial #2, Video #4

Hi Cubify Fans!
    Video Four of the 3D Coat Experience is uploading as I type. In this one I introduce a few more tools. The Airbrush used with stencil, The Pose tool and the cutoff tool and the fill tool. I build a simple (I do mean simple) Teddy Bear using only Primitives. Then using smooth and fill tweak it a little. Then I texture it to look fuzzy using the Airbrush tool with a Stencil, This is such a powerful tool. We will revisit this tool in different ways as we continue. At the End I go back to our Pencil cup created from Video 3 and show you using the same tools how to place a monagram or a logon on your cup.

    This Video was delayed a little I was going to release this last weekend but It was my birthday and family called me on it. I also am going to change my format a little I think in a way that will be more beneficial. Every video including this one is going to have a primer just on the new tools used in the current video or an in-depth primer on one's used prior. This way you can re-watch the tool tips when needed to refresh or brush up. I am planning to include links in the modeling videos to take you to the tool tips if needed.

So here is the Link to take you to the latest Video Enjoy and let me know what is missing. PS in this video I have a few issues in the modeling process I chose to leave in rather than edit to make me look smoother. This way you can see how to recover from these issues.

Thanks for watching I hope you enjoy the latest in the series.
John Pennington

Saturday, April 25, 2015

3D Printing, “A roller coaster ride, but now we are cruising”

Editor's Note:  This is a guest post by Michael Oakley.  Michael works for Autodesk and believes in the value of learning 3D design and printing in the education of his daughters and their schoolmates.  This is the story of their experiences in getting started with the Cube3.  And, yes.  I AM easily bribed with Cuban Food.  So, I hope to hear from Michael concerning Visitation Academy's progress with the the Cube3.

With all the 3D printing hype and attention, as a dad I wanted to get my daughters school involved with 3D printing.

The school is Visitation Academy in Frederick Maryland. It’s an all girls school Pre K 4 thru 8th grade, founded in 1846.

This year the schools leadership decided to develop a STEM program and start developing plans for a STEM lab.

My first thought was lets get some software for the computer lab. I work for Autodesk and was able to provide free software for the school.  Autodesk is currently offering free software for schools, faculty and students. Here is a link if your school or students are interested.

I then wanted to get a 3D printer for the STEM lab. Let me tell you this was not an easy process to find a printer that was Kid friendly, safe, and easy to use. I had access to many 3D printers at Autodesk so I was lucky enough to try them out for myself before deciding.

During my testing I had success, and failures. This was the start of the roller coaster ride. Every step of the way I asked myself 2 questions. Can a teacher figure this out, and how good is the customer support. 

I decided on the Cube 3 from 3D systems.

Kid friendly, easy to use. This was a new printer, so we were taking a chance because a lot of data was not yet available about the quality and reliability of this new printer.

At last the printer arrived, unboxed it setup it up, and successfully printed several parts.  The school participated in the White House 3D printed ornament contest, they did not get selected but the girls had fun designing the ornament.

I decided to 3D print it. Success!! We had 2 designs, here are the 2 designs.

Ornament #1

Ornament #2

We installed the printer at the school, helped the technology teacher learn how to use it, ran some prints, the girls were very excited.

A week later I received a call, the printer won’t print.  We determined that we had a clog in the cartridge head. A call to 3D systems confirmed this, I have to say I was worried at this point. The material cartridges are a bit pricey, but 3D systems provided great service and immediately sent a new cartridge to replace the old.

The new cartridge clogged as well. I did some online research and saw others were having the same issues, 3D systems sent a new cartridge
Then I found this blog CubifyFans. I sent an email to Tom Meeks and he responded quickly and encouraged me to not give up. 3D systems were aware of the problems and were working hard to correct them. Tom and I spent countless hours talking and problem solving.

I noticed Tom lived in Maryland so I invited him to the school. I can’t tell you how lucky we were to have him close by, he gave us tips and tricks to improve success.

It was a great day having him available and volunteering his time to help us.

3D systems was also putting out new firmware and software updates to correct the clogging.

We have definitely seen a huge improvement in the clogging issue, although we don’t print everyday like Tom I'm convinced that 3D systems will continue to provide updates and improvements.

During my research of printers I heard so many horror stories about customer service from other companies. “No call backs” ,  “No Phone number for Support”. This was not my experience with 3D systems. A simple email to support through their web site or a phone call will get you want you need.

The print quality is great, and I would recommend this printer for schools and home use.

So we are now cruising and on a steady path. This year was a learning process for the school, but next year we expect the 3D printer to be well entrenched into the curriculum. Will we be problem free? I doubt it. But, I know we are not alone and we have great help from Tom (As long as I can bribe him with Cuban food) and from 3D systems.

Other things printed:

Visitation Academy - Student Work #1

Visitation Academy - Student Work #2

Visitation Academy - Student Work #3

Visitation Academy - Student Work #4

Michael Oakley

Friday, April 17, 2015

1 Day, 70 students, 4 Cube 3s and Moment of Inspiration!

I have to admit, the challenge of introducing 3D design to 3 classes of students in a single day and delivering a 3D print of the student's design by the next day would have been more than a little daunting had it not been for my confidence in Moment of Inspiration and the Cube 3 printer.

Students are introduced to 3D design and printing in a workshop presented by YouthQuest at the National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Anaheim, California March 26, 2015

On March 26th I had the privilege to be able to introduce 3D design to 70 students at the Annual National Society of Black Engineers Convention in Anaheim, California.

Were it not for the ease of use of Moment of Inspiration and the four Cube 3 printers that performed flawlessly, we could not have pulled this event off successfully.   We hope to be at next year's convention in Boston and TRIPLE the number of student's having a 3D design and printing experience. 

For a more complete story, visit the YouthQuest web site.

It is very important to stress that while we walked the student's through the process of creating a 3D object, and printed it for them, that was NOT the primary goal of our sessions.  We see 3D design and printing as an OPPORTUNITY to learn that (1) failure is not final and (2) we now have the means. as no other generation, to turn our abstract ideas into concrete reality.   Based on the feedback from the event's organizers, that message was successfully delivered.

Since most of the student's had downloaded the Moment of Inspiration trial onto their own computers, we hope they continued to explore when they returned home.

New Firmware, New Client, 70 micron Success

After my early failed attempts at printing in 70 micron layers, I simply abandoned trying until I felt that the early clogging issues had been successfully addressed.

Given the success I was having with firmware 1.10A at 200 microns, I suspected that with the release of 1.11A and the companion client upgrade that it was time to try 70 microns again,

I'm happy to report, after a successful 5.5 hour print, that there were no issues at all with printing at the highest resolution.  I would not call the test a definitive one since the design for the objects being printed required very few filament in/out cycles.  The lines could be printed continuously, which is less stressful on the filament.  But, it is certainly promising and reflective of the steady improvements in performance delivered by the 3D Systems engineering team.

By the way, the print is stunningly beautiful.  Unfortunately, I cannot post an image because the objects are prototypes as part of a series of products that I hope to release in the near future.

We keep making progress.  :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cube3 Production Now Primarily Located at Rock Hill Facility

For me this news is both sad and good news.  It's sad because I loved the crew at the Herndon manufacturing facility.  I really appreciate the great work they accomplished from the very first Cube1 that rolled off the assembly line.

The sadness is offset by the realization that the demand for the Cube3 finally outpaced what could be produced in the smaller facility in Herndon to the point where it made the most sense to move the primary Cube3 production to the Rock Hill, South Carolina facility. 

I suspect that there is another benefit of having both engineering and production under the same roof.   I know that in the early days of the Cube3 production, the engineers from South Carolina made numerous trips trying to quickly identify and fix issues that came up.  It's only logical to believe that having the design engineers and the assembly line in closer proximity will result in quicker solutions to problems as they arise.

While the move definitely is a personal hit, it's one that I think benefits all future Cube owners.  I should be able to see the new assembly line next week.  Our South Caroline Youth Challenge cadets will be touring the Rock Hill facility and I'll be along for the fun. 

If I'm lucky, maybe I can bring back some pictures.  :)

But, I do not want to forget the hard working and dedicated crew at Herndon, Virginia that has always been great to me and given their best for ALL of us. 

Cubify Client 2.24 Released To Optimize the 1.11A Firmware

The next time you open your Cubify Client while connected to the web, you should get a notice that there is a new Cubify Client available.  It's version 2.24 and it is designed to take advantage of the 1.11A firmware update reported earlier.

It is a good idea to re-slice your objects 

In fact, I removed all of my previously sliced versions.  Sliced versions are shown in the color that was installed in your printer at the time the object was printed.   They can also be identified by a suffix appended to the end of the original STL file name. 

The suffix will generally have an underscore followed by a numeric value.

You do not have to remove the original STL upload (non-colored) version.   Simply select it again for printing to re-slice it as optimized for the new firmware.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cube3 Firmware 1.11A

The latest firmware for the Cube3, v1.11A,  has just been released.

The new firmware for the Ekocycle will follow shortly.

I wish I had more information regarding the features of the new firmware.  Unfortunately, I have no details.  Even so, I urge you to update your firmware as soon as possible.  3D Systems has never failed to make important refinements with each firmware release in terms of both quality of print and reliability.  So, the minute I heard it was available, it was installed.  :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Introduction from John Pennington

Hello Cubify Fans!

As mentioned earlier (in this Blog) by Tom, I am going to share my journey with you in “Experiencing 3D Coat".  3D Coat is a unique tool for modeling as well as painting / texturing 3D models. I am enjoying this software's abilities.
I have had my hand on it now for about 90 days and feel comfortable with the things I have used. This software has a huge array of features so much that at first it may seem intimidating. I hope to alleviate some of that.
There are many things we use with little knowledge of how they work. An example; As I am using this word processing software to type this article. Things called routines are going on (in the background) that I do not need to know about nor do I really care about them I only want to type. Often the programmers who make some of the best software are also the worse people to represent them. They start talking things that are often important for the program to be what it is all the while losing a potential user who only cares for what it does. I do not need to know how the software makes best use of the processor. I just need to see it perform in a way that pleases me.

My goal in the "3D Coat Experience" series is to bring 3D modeling to the average user, the one who is more concerned about creating than the process itself. Your feedback will help keep me on track in this goal.
A little background about myself:
Tom and I met on path crossing journeys back in 2007. My side of that is about once a month I do a regular search for new and/or simple 3D modeling software. That year I came across CB Model Pro. I was impressed by this simple to use software and fell in love with its User interface (that's one of those words we don't need to know LOL). That means I liked the way the tools were designed and drawn up. It really had virtual clay like control.  I joined the community I met Tom saw his tutorials and with his help from them got my feet wet, and pretty much dived in. The program was a beta that never saw Alpha (those words again). It was in test mode but never got to final stage. And it has since then been abandoned since 2009. Heartbroken but like all who have tasted love I kept looking.
Tom and I have overlapped a few times in this similar journey communicating our findings back and forth Via E/mail. Many programs looked promising, but no real replacement for CB model Pro. 6 years have gone by. I revisited 3d coat and this time I saw it had evolved into a very powerful program and to my surprise the tools were easy for me to grasp. A couple weeks into the 30 day demo I sent the info to Tom.  He was impressed as well and agreed we should give this one a run through and that brings us to the place we are now.  I am currently making the first video tutorial. I hope you will watch it and download 3d Coat demo I truly do believe that in a short time you will be inspired to create the things you imagine.

Long story I know but hope it helps you to get to know me better.
For those of you ready to jump in I have 2 starter videos ready for you to watch. The first one is an introduction to 3D Coats and it's layout.

After that I take you on your first project. In this video we design a simple Pencil cup with some embelishments,

Take a moment and post your comments to the blog here to let Tom and myself know what you got out of the videos as well Try to direct you posts to me (John) so I can be sure to respond to them. 

Have a great day.