Viewing posts for the category 3d printing

Two more TAZ5 3D Printers have arrived!

Earlier this year SparkCC were fortunate enough to take delivery of a LulzBot TAZ5 kindly donated by the good people at Aleph Objects, now servicing their Australian customers from their new warehouse in Sydney.

Well look at what arrived at SparkCC today... two more TAZ5s direct from Aleph Objects!!!

The TAZ5 has become a hot commodity at our makerspace, enabling Sparkers and visitors to print their creations bigger, faster and more accurately. It also features heavily in our Introduction to 3D Printing workshop to demonstrate Open Source hardware concepts and the mechanics of Fused Filament Fabrication.

Having another 2 x TAZ5s in production is going to take 3D Printing at SparkCC to a whole new level. We really can't thank Chelsea and everyone at Aleph Objects enough for the support they continue to show us at SparkCC and for their ongoing commitment to the maker community.

We're going to save the unboxing and setup of at least one of these badboys for our monthly Open Day on November 12th. So if that sort of thing excites you as much as it does us come along and join the fun. See you at the 'space!

Introduction to 3D Printing Workshop

Over the weekend SparkCC was very pleased to present our new Introduction to 3D Printing workshop for the first time!

We welcomed a diverse group which included (amongst others) a librarian tasked with starting a mini makerspace, a local high school student and a maker with a fine arts background who dabbles in playwriting! They all came together with a common purpose: to learn about 3D printing!

We spent some time discussing Additive Manufacturing and the advantages that it presents over traditional manufacturing techniques. Then we learned how a 3D printer works and got to grips with the mechanics of our shiny new Lulzbot TAZ5 (thanks again Aleph Objects!).

After seeing a print in action participants learned how to find models on Thingiverse and then slice them using Cura. Though the myriad slicing options and parameters are daunting at first, it's a great deal easier to learn when you have the help of makers who've spent countless hours playing with them!

But there's only one thing better than printing somebody else's models and that's printing your own! So to round things off students were given an introduction to 3D modelling using Autodesk Fusion 360.

The workshop was a lot of fun and best of all participants went home with all of the relevant software installed on their very own laptops. No need for the end of the workshop to mean the end of their journey into the magical world of 3D printing!

A big thankyou to all of the participants who came along and helped to make this first workshop such a success.

If you're interested in joining a future Introduction to 3D Printing workshop at SparkCC you should follow us on Facebook/Twitter or send us an email.

Unboxing the Lulzbot TAZ 5

Last week a surprise email landed in the SparkCC inbox. It was from the good people at Aleph Objects, makers of the award-winning LulzBot line of 3D printers. Aleph Objects recently opened a shiny new fulfillment centre in Sydney and were kindly offering to donate a LulzBot TAZ 5 to the 'space to see what wonderful creations the Sparkers might produce with it.

We deliberated long and hard... before replying with a hearty "HELL YES!".

Sure enough a few days later a promisingly-large box arrived on our doorstep:

SparkCC VP Hannes showed enormous restraint in not opening the box and assembling it right there on the spot. Instead we waited until our regular Tuesday evening meetup when the other Sparkers could bask in the glow of the unboxing and assembly.

Upon opening the box we were greeted with a helpful set of instructions. These would walk us through the entire process of unpacking and assembling the TAZ 5, installing CURA and running our very first print.

Gosh this was exciting...

The helpful instruction booklet was just one example of the attention to detail that made the TAZ 5 stand out from the crowd of other printers we've set up in the past.

Also included was a checklist run by Ryan at Lulzbot HQ indicating that the printer had been thoroughly checked, tested and calibrated before shipping (thanks Ryan!). We were also pleasantly surprised by a Lulzbot toolkit containing everything a 3D print engineer could ever need as well as an SD card full of gcode and of course the LulzBot Octopus test print Ryan had run to confirm our TAZ 5 was ready to roll:

One of the most impressive things about the TAZ 5 is the number of 3D printed parts that make up the printer. Aleph Objects are a company with a strong commitment to Open Source Hardware and Software and we were impressed that even fundamental parts such as the extruder were 3D printed to great effect:

Without further ado it was time to clear out the remnants of Ryan's test print and load up the length of yellow test filament that was included in the box:

After levelling the print bed, plugging in the included SD card and locating the LulzBot Octopus file we were ready to go. After an impromptu drum roll and a quick countdown we pulled the trigger and... BAM!

The TAZ 5 printed both quickly and beautifully. The quality of this printer's engineering was clearly evident as we watched it lay down the first few layers of our Octopus. The print head just danced...

Special mention has to go to the TAZ 5 print bed. Not only is it huge with a print volume of 298mm x 275mm x 250mm but it also boasts a PEI print surface that our print stuck to perfectly without painter's tape or a messy layer of glue stick.

The TAZ 5 doesn't just print cleanly, it also prints fast. We didn't have to wait long before our new yellow octopus took shape and was able to join his pale friend. Remember that this was our very first print with absolutely no calibration whatsoever. A refreshing change from our usual experience with new printers...

The TAZ 5 is a hugey welcone addition to the SparkCC print farm that will enable our makers to run bigger, faster and more ambitious prints than ever before.

A huge thanks to Chelsea and all at Aleph Objects for such a generous donation to our makerspace. We look forward to creating and sharing all of the awesome projects the Sparkers produce with this amazing printer!

SparkCC at the CC Amateur Radio Club Field Day

Last weekend SparkCC were very pleased to exhibit at the Central Coast Amateur Radio Club's annual Field Day.

Our shiny new Flashforge 3d printers were on display and generated a lot of interest. For some this was the first time they'd seen 3d printing in action. Others were printer owners interested in discussing materials and tweaks to achieve better print quality.

We had quite a few enquiries about SparkCC performing print runs for small projects or prototypes. This is something we'd love to help out with - either contact us via the usual channels or drop in to one of our regular meetups to meet the Sparkers and run some prints!

We were even able to print some hard-to-find radio parts to order as well as a few widgets that went home with lucky punters:

Sparker Jo demonstrated the ease with which the ESP8266 microcontroller may be controlled via wifi. His forthcoming workshop on the subject proved of great interest - so much so that we ran out of flyers! We'll be presenting the first of these workshops in April so contact us via email or follow us on Facebook/Twitter to be first to hear when tickets are available.

Sparkers Ben and Matthew used Ben's projector + Kinect rig to demonstrate 3d modelling using a sand box:

As visitors re-shaped the sand a 3d model of their creation appeared on-screen in real-time!

We'll be using similar techniques at our forthcoming 3d printing workshops to scan and print our workshop participants! Once again if you're interested in attending, get in touch.

A big thankyou to CCARC for putting on this fantastic event and for inviting SparkCC along. We had a great time meeting lots of new people and spreading the word about SparkCC!


New to SparkCC: Hannes' FlashForge Creator Pro

SparkCC VP Hannes recently acquired a shiny new FlashForge Creator Pro 3D printer which he has kindly co-located in the 'space for use by Sparkers.

A fully-enclosed printer with dual extruders, the FlashForge is capable of very complex prints:

Hannes and fellow Sparkers have been hard at work learning the printer's idiosyncrasies and have been producing some truly spectacular results:

Yet another powerful tool available to help makers make awesome stuff at SparkCC! 

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