Project 3

Project 3 was to work in a group and 3D print an object that pieced together and interlocked in some way. I worked with Seth, and Jack. Our idea was to create a skyscraper. We split the tower into three equal cubes and each of us got creative freedom regarding what we wanted to do with our own cubes. We agreed that we would interlock them byScreen Shot 2015-12-22 at 9.59.00 PM printing a pole and skewering each of our pieces through the center from top to bottom. The bottom of one cube would have small square extrusions while the top of another cube would have matching square inlets that would receive the extrusions. This would prevent cubes from spinning and non aligning with others.

We thought we had planned well enough for our cubes to be the same dimensions as well as holes, extrusions, inlets, etc. And in fact, we had. They were all the same size. Hooray!

But they were all roughly 1/6th the scale we wanted. Something had occurred between us making half our components in Maya, the other in 123D Design, and porting it all into the Form Labs printing software. While we agreed on dimensions we should of also agreed on a set of tools to use. In addition similar tools at that.

The execution of our idea is where we struggled. With the small scale came also printing inaccuracies, support issues, bent bases, and worst of all our interlocking mechanisms (the extrusions and inlets) were so small and the quality so bad that they didn’t work at all. Other project teams also struggled with the small size of their connections. Not many people want to wait 5 + hours as their print finishes so they go small instead of going big and end up suffering. The Formlabs printer scheduled time slots was divided up into 3 hour blocks as well so we had limitations as to how long we could spend printing.

I enjoyed the 3D modeling aspect of the project, though I wish I could of spent more time doing it. Due to a busy schedule as well as trying to get the printing done as earlier as possible to avoid conflicts I couldn’t commit as much time to modeling. I am curious as to if I will be able to incorporate 3D modeling or laser cutting in my final project. I really don’t need to use either, but incorporating an aspect of that would add to the ‘home-brew’ feeling of things. The more I can personally craft of my final project, as opposed to purchasing kits and preassembled parts, the better i’d feel.

I’ve now had a chance to experience the 3D printing process, as well as laser cutting process. Where I can I would rather utilize laser cutting. I have found it to be faster, and thus less damaging if errors occur. If I cut a sheet of wood the wrong size I can throw in another and press play. There is no 3 hour waiting period to first see it if would come out alright. It is also cheaper ‘time wise’, meaning its less of a time investment. Time is money! While 3D printing does have many advantages, I believe for now laser cutting best fits my needs.