To prototype in metal is in many cases the reason why designers, inventors and engineers hold off on buying a 3d printer, and in most cases, indefinitely. Metal printers are due to the technology employed incredibly expensive. Besides that they can be messy and hard to keep running. What if metal protoyping is within your reach, for a fraction of the cost?
Making metal components from wax masters is a method that endured since the dawn of history. There are two main techniques available to Morgan Owners, one of which we tried recently:
Lost investment casing
Lost wax (PLA) sand casting
We will do a full writeup on the process, and advantages and disadvantages of each process soon.
RAPDASA 2016 is here, and Morgan 3D Printers are here and ready to participate. The annual conference brings together all the serious players in the local additive manufacturing landscape, and looks at ways to promote the technology in the South African economy.
This year the event is at the Science and Technology center of the Vaal University of Technology, Vereeninging.
Morgan 3D Printers visited the annual Makercon in Durban this weekend. Makercon 2016 was a lot busier than last year. The Makerspace Durban did a great job of hosting another successful event, that we hope will grow a lot in years to come,
Morgan 3D Printers will be at the Decorex 2016 show at Gallagher estate from 5 to 9 August 2016.
We are teaming up with the Makers collective at the Makers Corner stand. Come and see our machines, and some demos of us making stuff. Our focus will be to do practical example sessions of how you could use a 3D printer in a workshop to make your workflow more efficient, especially is you want to develop new items, or create custom pieces. Custom is very sought after in the decor market.
We have our latest Morgan Pro 2 machines at the stand, and the Morgan Mega for your viewing pleasure.
Morgan 3D Printers wants you – yes you, who think that you cannot become part of the 3D printing wave that is sweeping the world – to become part of the awesome world of realising ideas and a competition winner…
To show you how easy it is, and how much fun it is, Morgan 3D is running a monthly competition where you are challenged to submit a cool design. The best design, judged on viability, talk-ability and ingenuity is then printed for free and presented to the clever winner.
The cool thing is that it does not need to be your own idea or own design. 3D printing is something anybody can get into because there are many designs on the internet that you as a beginner may go and download and use. And that is exactly what our June winner did…
AND OUR WINNER FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE IS….
Quentin selected this design as the wining idea because it gave him an opportunity to showcase the versatility of his printers working with flexible filament as well as the usual sturdy PLA. The tyres of the car is actually a quite a lot softer than the body and this approach allows for complex prototyping as well as interesting niche products with your Morgan 3D printer.
Simone downloaded the Jacob Stanton file from thingiverse
Many of you may have wondered where the 3D print gallery for Morgan prints were. South Africans are inherently camera shy, and we should change this, for the better.
You spoke, and we listened. We have hundreds of photos of the stuff we printed over the years… yet we failed to share most of it. You know how it is. You print something incredible, quickly snap it on a mobile phone, and let it go. Here is an example:
3D Print Gallery
I am working through all the photos, and will post some of the best ones in our new 3d print gallery in due course. Our 3D machines are built to last. Come and see what we are doing!
If you have suggestions of prints we should do for demo purposes, make contact, and we try to make it happen and add it to our 3d print gallery We are always busy working on improvements to our processes, and this we will always share with our fans and customers.
Customers, if you have great print you would like to share with us, make contact, and we will make sure you get a mention in the 3d print gallery for your skills!
Remember that we are running a Free 3D print promotion. Submit an idea or stl, and if you win, collect it at House4Hack! While you are there, come and see all the crazy people that makes this legendary makerspace what it is. I am available every Tuesday night at the club meet in Centurion.
South African 3D Printers at work. Morgan 3D printers come with Simplify3D software that will ensure you hit the mark much quicker.
‘There is a South African designer who prototyped a new mask for a blast suit used by bomb squads…’
I was trying my best not to cry. It was a Saturday morning at the local crafter’s market and the craft beer hadn’t lived up to the promise… In fact, they hadn’t even pitched up. I was busy herding kids through various stalls with very breakable, but utterly boring goods. It was then that I saw a small crowd milling excitedly around a stall in the corner. I could see people call their partners, kids and companions to ‘Come and look here… quickly.’
‘One of my clients runs a full time car bumper printing business on his Mega and our printers handle full-time production environments as well as they do the occasional job for a hobbyist…’
I walked over and found a gap to peer through… 3-D printing. I easily get mesmerised watching these printers build layer upon layer with a beautiful take on monotony… but 3-D printing is nothing new. In fact, many 3-D printing companies in the US have already lost interest or gone bust, so I thought these excited people simply didn’t get out enough.
‘He built it himself’ one lady told her son and I immediately had to take a second look… The 3-D printer was different from the usual kind of printers you find in the Stuff sections of tech magazines and websites. It wasn’t the typical enclosed cube… in fact it was open, bigger and simply clever. I tried to look for a gap to speak to the mastermind but he was surrounded by wide-eyed people who wanted to lap up some of the inspiration and brilliance that the man behind the display table exuded. I took a pamphlet, saw the name Quentin Harley and made a note to catch up with him later.
Jumping to later – I tracked Quentin down in his workshop, situated behind the iconic maker’s clubhouse, House4Hack in Centurion, and asked him some questions. Quentin is the owner of Morgan 3D Printers and his business attire is a T-shirt. He patiently answered my questions, going about his work, fiddling with the digital insides of a 3-D printer. Quentin seemed laid back but I knew that what I was witnessing was a calm confidence of a master at work and a quiet focus on the job at hand.
Me: Quentin, what is the premise of a 3-D printer? I mean, why bother?
Q: People are creative beings and we always have ideas and things we want to make. I think Terry Pratchett described this idea well in his take on dwarfs in the Discworld fantasy series. He wrote that a dwarf only needs an axe and a way to make fire, to make things. With the fire and the axe he is able to make simple tools. With the simple tools he able to make complicated tools, and the with complicated tools he is able to make practically anything.
So people, like dwarfs, love making things and people love making things with which enable us to make things. A 3-D printer is a tool we made to help us make many different things… Like a very complicated hammer. The great thing about a 3-D printer is that it democratises the making process. It eliminates the skills barrier. You do not need years of specific training and experience, with a wide variety of tools, to make something unique.
Me: Where did 3-D printing start?
Q: 3-D printing, as we know it today, is based on what we call FDM or Fused Deposition Modelling. It all started about 25 years ago with a company called Stratasys, when founder Scott Crump invented the process. … but design students in the sixties laid the foundation for this type of printing. They used to cut of pieces of paper and layer it one on top of another to make sculptures. This was time consuming and labour intensive but a 3-D printer makes this process a cakewalk. So that’s where it started. They didn’t call it printing back then… printing is a bit of a misnomer… It was called printing because that is what people are used to… you know, when you plug a printer into your computer and send a file for printing… so that name stuck because it is a similar concept. It is actually a CNC additive manufacturing machine. A normal CNC milling machine will cut away layer for layer but instead of taking away bit by bit from a big block of something – with a lot of discarded material – this process starts with nothing but an idea and adds layer for layer until you have what you designed… and there is virtually no waste.
Me: Quentin, I believe in a community-first approach to business. What opportunities can 3-D printing create in our community?
Q: The opportunities are basically only limited by imagination and depends on the interests and background of the particular maker. For instance, two people will look at a 3-D printer and one will make tools for his garage, clips for his car and perhaps a toy for a child. The second person would use it for jewellery design, ornaments or a replacement heel for an expensive Jimmy Choo shoe. There is a South African designer who prototyped a new mask for a blast suit used by bomb squads. The company is based in Germiston and they sell worldwide. One of my clients started off a while ago as a 3-D printing enthusiast but now has a roaring trade making spare parts for people in the Centurion drone and quad-copter circles. You can go as big or small as you want to.
Me: That leads to my next question, who should buy a 3-D printer?
Q: Anybody with a good idea. I would like to say creative people but most of us have been brainwashed to think that we are not creative. Anybody who has the desire to make something should consider 3-D printing. If you see something you want but would rather make it, then 3-D printing is for you. If you want something but no one else has made it, then 3-D printing is for you… And you grow with each job. I have become much better at it over time and eventually your 3-D printer becomes part of your tool chain. I started off with a 3-D printer but now I have many more tools to take my designs even further. So if you want make things but don’t want to struggle making it, get a 3-D printer.
Me: Quentin why did you design and make a 3-D printer?
Q: I was an engineer at a company where I maintained and installed medical imaging equipment. I kept myself busy on the side with own projects and couldn’t find anybody to print the things I needed, so I decided to build a 3-D printer and that is how it all started. A lot of people were interested and soon I started helping them build their own 3-D printers. I had my own design – and it is quite distinct – and after blogging about it I got quite a bit of attention from international media and people wanting my machine. I kind of entered a competition by default and won first prize in the Uplift Prize for Interim Personal Manufacturing, 2013. The $20 000 prize money helped towards setting up my business. My 3-D printer has also won me 3rd place at GAP ICT in 2014.
Me: OK, so we have covered the history and uses of 3-D printing, tell me more about your printers… Why should I buy a Morgan instead of one of the imports I see in the tech magazines?
Q: We make it super easy for beginners. Our printers are simple, effective and easy to work with. A license for Simplify3D, which is an all-in-one 3-D printing software package, is included in the purchase price, making you print like a pro from the word go. Apart from the lightweight materials and the precision design we believe in out-of-the box printing. That simply means that we don’t have the needless casing around our printing area. This enables bigger print dimensions than other machines with similar footprints and price points. We have two models; the Pro and the Mega. One of my clients runs a full time car bumper printing business on his Mega and our printers handle full-time production environments as well as they do the occasional job for a hobbyist. Morgan printers sport an extremely low maintenance design, with high dust tolerance – they are perfectly suited to African conditions. We have a one-year walk-in warranty for personal use, back-up batteries for uninterrupted printing and we are priced very competitively …and we are a proudly South African company operating from the heart of Centurion.
Me: OK… but you had me at hello already, just take my money.
If you are interested in a Morgan printer check out their website http://www.morgan3dp.com/
For a good discount, quote #MORGANPROMO1JUN when you buy a Morgan Printer… and you know you need to buy one.
Also check out the new experimental PET-G profiles for Smoothieware on the software setup page. PET-G is a great material, since it prints almost as easily as PLA, and has great mechanical properties, all without the hassle and bad smell of ABS.
Keep tuned for more exciting innovations and options coming soon…