Tag Archives: 3d Printing


If you follow us on Facebook, you might have already seen our little intro to #MadeToday. This album is the start of our inspiration gallery and a way to answer the question: “What can you do at The Edge?”. Because really, the answer to that question is “how curious are you?”, and “how big is your imagination?” We’ve got all the tools here; the rest is up to you!

And, this is where you (yes you!) come in! We’d love to see what you’re creating in our space so we can share it with The Edge community. Whether you’re in the Fabrication Lab whipping something up on the sewing machines, mixing tracks in the Recording Studio or designing up a poster in the DML – we’d love to see it!

It’s really simple, should take you no longer than 2 minutes, and can be done on your phone.
There are 3 online forms you can use to submit your work in progress / masterpiece / disaster / assignment / tinkering project, and picking the right one will depend on what resources you’ve used at The Edge.

If you’re using the Fabrication Lab: 3D Printers, Laser Cutter, Sewing Machines, Hand Tools or Soldering Irons, then use this form:


If you’re mixing an audio track or video, you can use this form:


And lastly, if you’re using any of the software in the Digital Media Lab, you can use this form:



Next Step? Jump onto one of the online forms and submit something…

PS. We’ve created a few forms, because it allows us to tailor questions to the type of project you’re working on. We’re also trailing these forms out, so if you think we’ve missed off an important question, or you have any feedback for us, let us know by leaving a comment below.


#MadeToday is a gallery of inspiration.When people ask, “What can you do at The Edge?” … the answer really is “how…

Posted by The Edge, Queensland on Monday, 25 May 2015

Sound Extrusions: Interview – 3D Printing, Prototyping & Muffins with Mick Byrne

I have come across another obstacle in the proposed porcelain speaker design recently — how to actually attach an inductive speaker onto the interior surface of the proposed porcelain shape … Mick Byrne from The Edge came up with a great idea to use a 3D printer at The Edge to do the job. We found out that it probably won’t print the final piece for the installation (it’s quite fragile and wouldn’t hold the weight properly), but it would be great for making a prototype and help with latex mould creation for later resin casting of the part itself!

After the bold introduction to porcelain making in the last blog post, here’s another topic, yet again very much connected with object design and modelling. This technique, completely new to the creative tool box, is based on recreation of digital models through printing, using various materials.

I have caught up with Mick Byrne for a short interview on 3D printing, just to give you a quick glimpse into this new emerging creative hi-tech universe, mixing computer graphics and design into one. Thank you Mick, for also sharing with us a great document covering the sintering experiment by Markus Kayse. Powered by the sun and using sand as printing material in the Sahara desert, it looks like a great adventure!

How far away are we from printing our muffins for breakfast in the morning, Mick?

In fact the technology is already out there, it just wouldn’t make sense to do it money-wise I would say!

Being in Australia right now makes me think about printing even surfboards on demand!

Yeah, you are right, the scale of 3D printers changed quite a lot recently. There are already some building companies using it for computer controlled injection of materials  which is pretty much the same thing as a filament printing process we do use here at The Edge.

It feels somehow, that 3D printing has a bit too much hype  being this new and seductive an element is an almost fetish approach to technology, don’t you think?!

I would say it’s more about narrowing the technology divide and allowing pretty much everybody to try it out. Not just the big companies with research parks behind them. In a way it’s democratizing the creative industry right now (on-line jewellery boutique shops, etc.). It’s a bit similar to what happened in the movie production some years ago.

This brings me to a tricky question, which has arisen quite recently  the publication of a 3D printed gun on the internet. What’s your point of view on that?

It’s not a real issue from my point of view. It was just a single use gun. It still has to be loaded with regular and controlled ammunition anyway …

Anyway, what is the most intriguing object you have come across concerning 3D printing?

It’s actually a sintering machine powered only by solar heat using mirrors and lenses. That is quite cool!

What’s the sintering process anyway? We have been talking about filament printing, which makes use of liquefied plastic cords what’s the difference then?

It’s a very different printing process: consecutively laid layers of powder on top of each other (which could be anything from plastic to titanium!) are heated in a very precise way with a laser to form the object. The beauty in that is that each layer of the actual powder adds a supportive structure to the originating element. In the end you just blow off the dust & away you go!

Is it very different to traditional production methods, such as mould casting or block subtractive manufacturing?

Sure, big time! You are able to build quite complex even interlocking structures, which are not possible to achieve with traditional industrial design approaches.

What are the current trends in 3D printing?

I know about amazing medical applications  basically you would print a shape of an organ, as an ear for example, out of cellulose. Then you “invite” the cells to grow onto it to form the actual organ, great idea!

Let’s finish off the interview with connection to my actual Sound Extrusion project! What are the workflow ideas in this case for me?!

It’s pretty straight forward  first of all you have to clean your model (we use Tinker CAD, but any other 3D or CAD software will do), export it to 3D printer and print the prototype. The next step would be to cover the printed object in a release agent (to prevent it from sticking to the actual mould) and use a two part latex putty to create a casting mould. Then you can use regular resin to produce the object for real life use.

Thank you Mick, for your time and the workflow ideas!

solar sinster video
Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo

Crowdfunded 3D Printers for The Edge

We’re under a month away from completing our first Pozible crowdfunding campaign, which will see 3D printers available for you to use at The Edge.

If this campaign is successfully funded it will create the first public resource of its kind in Queensland, you will be able to walk into The Edge, book a printer and put it to work on personal projects, experimental works, prototyping and anything in between.
If you are an artist, entrepreneurs or creator of any kind, this opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for your work.
At the moment over $6000 of the $9300 goal has been pledged, with just over 20 days remaining in the campaign. Pledges will not be converted to contributions until the campaign has met its fundraising goal.

To support the project you can contribute anywhere from $1 to $930, with a range of rewards matching each level of contribution (including priority booking to our intro and intermediate workshops – you all know how hard it can be to get into those!).

Every printer pledged to The Edge will be built through a socially inclusive training program, providing marginalised young people with an entry point into 3D printing technology. If you put $930 down on the table we will reward you with your very own personal 3D printer, to have and to hold for ever and ever.
For further information and to pledge to the Build a Rep Rap campaign, head to http://pozible.com/edgereprap.

3D Piracy

3D printing is cool, and new. It is a peripheral device in its infancy and when I look at a 3D printer it is the same feeling of excitement I have as I did in 1998, staring at the x2 speed CD Burner that had just set my partner back nearly a thousand dollars. It was bulky, connected via SCSI and wholly magical. It could fit the entire content of our Powermac 6500’s hard drive on four disks. That took six hours and the disks were eight dollars each, but we accepted this as the way of new technologies.

New technology needs to be slow and bulky, the consumables costing a small fortune and the ripples that the device has in the wider world will not be apparent until they are firmly out of control.

To follow through the above commenced case in point; music CDs. When first launched the music industry felt assured it was the ultimate step in copy protection. You could dub the content to tape but there was quality loss. You had to purchase the disk to hear the music in all its post LP glory, with the technology required to circumvent the protection costing millions of dollars.

With the advent of CD burners and some dodgy software in the late nineties, that all changed and the new age of piracy commenced. Gone were the days of selling cassettes at the local thrift markets, replaced by the arcane art of decryption, ripping and forty-five minute disk burns. A small fortune was made in the distribution of duplicated objects off of list servers, out of swaps meets and secure circles of physical distribution. The companies tried to wage war, the pirates moved around a lot and no one really won out as the problem shifted from the hands centralised organised crime into a decentralised mass of children, teenagers and house wives.

Then there was the MP3, the compressed bundle of aural joy that lacked the high fidelity of the CD quality sound but was small enough to distribute over dial up modems and the beginnings of the high speed internet. The rise of the peer-to-peer networks, bit torrent protocols and Usenet servers providing the methods of distribution that provided for piracy. You could illegally distribute in (relative) anonymity to a faceless audience without a disk changing hands. This was the shift from the object orientated economy to a content economy. It happened so fast and so quietly that the industry (largely) did not notice and when they did, could not kill it fast enough. The model eventuated into the industry standard, and in little over ten years the war was over and a multi-billion dollar distribution platform was (largely) destroyed.

This was the industrial revolution for the entertainment industry and these lessons are about to be taught all over again.

My 3D printer – still in pieces – cost me less than $500. Once built, it will print replacement Ikea parts, model components, and game pieces for my fortnightly Pathfinder role playing game, models possibly lifted from World of Warcraft using Open GL 3D model ripping software. If it fits on the print bed and the extrusion head has sufficient resolution, anything is printable, including (to reference Horst Hortner of Ars Electronica’s Future Lab) Lego parts.

I can (not to say that I will) model 3D replicas of my favourite Lego bricks and distribute the .stl files via bit torrent, Usenet or whatever the newly minted method of decentralised distribution of pirated materials ends up being.

De ja vu, all over again.

Copyrighted materials digitised and distributed before the rights holder have the opportunity to kill the idea. How long will it be before a 13 year old living in Brisbane will be able to download a full Lego kit and print the thing on the 3D printer they built from salvaged parts?

How long before we see the first instance of legal action between Lego and the self-same 13 year old?

Lego Man

Addendum: After five minutes in the Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse, I found the 3D models for a Lego man. Yay?

About: A nerd with first class honours, Daniel loves to indulge in digital tom foolery and hacktavist activity. In his spare time he makes theatre with young people, writes for stage/screen /comic books on the train.

Printing Luxo

So for the first two months of my DIY Catalyst stay at The Edge, I have been devouring everything related to 3D printing. Anyone curious enough to stop and chat has been bombarded by me waxing lyrically about how consumer 3D printing is going to radically change the manufacturing landscape. Consumer 3D fabrication will lower labour costs to a point where mass customisation will become a viable replacement for almost everything that is mass produced today.

The 3D fabrication revolution will mean that you will no longer need to battle the weekend crowds and dodgy meatballs of your local Scandinavian furniture store. Instead of traveling to a warehouse to purchase mass produced flat-pack furniture, you will browse an online catalog of furniture templates and select a design that is the closest match to what you are after. You will purchase and download the design in exactly the same way you currently purchase from online app, music and game stores. However, once the download is completed, then the real fun would begin. You would have the freedom to completely customise every aspect of the furniture’s design. Is the default too wide to fit in your room? No problems, just squeeze the digital design and make it fit! Did you actually want the legs to be the same as your grandmothers antique dressing table? No dramas, just take a picture, trace out a copy and replace the legs. All happy with your design? Now just hit print and assemble as you would with any other flat-pack furniture design.

So mid rant, a friend of mine suddenly went from a blank look to the wild eyes of a mad scientist that had just concieved the perfect way to end that pesky Mr Bond once and for all. He bursts in “I get it! That is totally cool, in fact I broke my fine scandinavian lamp just the other week. Do you think you could print a replacement part?”

I wasn’t sure, but was keen to have a try all the same. I sat down with a pair of digital calipers, measuring up all the different dimensions of the busted component. These measurements were converted into a digital design I created using the open source computer aided design tool FreeCAD. From here it went for a short hop through RepSnapper and was printed on a Mendel RepRap. The printed replacement worked perfectly, and my friend did not have to throw away a whole lamp because a small plastic component snapped.

Lamp part

When we realised that the lamp part was going to work, it got me thinking: Pixar managed to go from the 2 minute 3D “short” Luxo Jr to the 81 minute, full length feature film Toy Story… In just nine freaking years. A remarkable achievement, one that required a huge amount of technology to be invented, assembled and cordinated that revolutionised the animation industry. I think the same will apply for consumer 3D fabrication. In just a decade, we will witness a revolution in manufacturing and evolve past simple printed replacement parts, to a world where furniture is downloaded, remixed and customised on a scale that has never been achieved before. Art Nouveau for the new millenium? Hell yes!


Want to learn the skills to design and print your own replacement plastic parts? Check out our upcoming workshops at The Edge. Introduction to FreeCAD, Introduction to 3D printing and Print a 3D toy. You can also hear me babling incorrehently on twitter @clinton_freeman


Oh, and 3D printers

Catalyst blog








Starting at The Edge as a Catalyst has definitely been one of the better first weeks you could imagine. An awesome bunch of people, a relaxed work environment. Oh, and 3D printers.

Usually when you sit down at your desk at a new job you will typically find a computer, a few pens, a draw full of assorted paper clips and maybe a stapler… if you’re lucky. Sure my desk has these things, but it also has a Cupcake CNC from MakerBot Industries and a freaking RepRap! They need of some TLC and a little programming persuasion, but I am hoping to get these puppies up printing over the next few weeks.

So if you happen to know how to get a RepRap Gen6 Electronics driver singing in RelicatorG, or if you have ever wanted to learn more about this fangmangdangled 3D printing stuff drop my a line on the twitters @clinton_freeman

Tinkering with the RepRap

Catalyst blog

Ok, so for the last two days I have been tinkering around with a RepRap 3D printer powered by Generation 6 electronics. The following is a bunch of breadcrumbs for anyone following in similar footsteps:

  • Download RepSnapper OSX build – https://sites.google.com/site/davidbuzz/repsnapper-for-osx-binaries/RepSnapper-28-10-2010.dmg?attredirects=0&d=1
  • Download the older Arduino-v18 – http://arduino.googlecode.com/files/arduino-0018.dmg
  • This older verison was required because the Gen6 firmware doesn’t compile in the latest Ardunio.
  • Download Sanguino Hardware for Ardunio (it is a different processor) – http://sanguino.googlecode.com/files/Sanguino-0018r2_1_4.zip

Need to make Ardunio capable of creating software for the Sangunio (which is the slightly different controller that powers the RepRap):

  • Copy Sangunio folder into Ardunio app (show package contents, resources/java/hardware).
  • Start Ardunio. Yay, now supports Sangunio and the onboard ATmega 644p controller!
  • Select Sangunio from Tools -> Board menu.

Compile new firmware for Gen6 Electronics:

  • Download firmware from: http://reprap.org/mediawiki/images/5/58/GEN6_FW_20100824_FiveD_GCode_Interpreter.zip
  • Firmware is an ardunio sketch that tells the reprap how to move the print head when given a path (GCode).
  • Rename the parent folder FiveD_GCode_Interpreter
  • Start Ardunio-v18 Open FiveD_GCode_Interpreter.pde.
  • Edit/check configure.h and repeat untill rep rap is heading home correctly.
  • The changes I needed to make were:
  • Select Sketch -> Verify/Compile (cmd + R)
  • Hit upload. Wait for upload to complete.
  • Close Arduino software.
  • Hit the reset button on the Gen6 motherboard.

Open repsnapper:

  • Select the correct port from the dropdown and check that the speed match that in configure.h
  • Press connect to printer. Light should go Green and stay Green.
  • Switch to the ‘print’ tab
  • Connect to Printer should already be illuminated green.
  • Hit Power on.
  • Move down to the interactive control, number in mm. x, y, z
  • Home should move to the bottom left corner.
  • Be careful not to run off the edge – only got minium endstops.

Dummy print.

  • Open STL file and convert to GCode – creates the path that the print head will follow.
  • Had the extruder disconnected. (Careful – only disconnect the extruder if you don’t have anything powered up).
  • Don’t have the heater enabled.
  • Tell it to print!

First prints:

  • Plug the extruder back in (again only with the power unplugged).
  • Pre-heated the extruder.
  • Told it to print!
  • What a mess! – Not hot enough, moving too fast wouldn’t ‘stick’ to the build platform.
  • First five prints didn’t really even get off the second or third layer.