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Recent Articles
Filament Strength Testing
Taylor Landry | Published Oct 2, 2016

Using 3D printed carabiners, we take an in-depth look at the durability of various filament to find the strongest one.

One of the most common questions we get from customers is, “What is the strongest 3D printing filament?”  That’s a great question because for 3D printing to be useful, we need to be able to print parts that are strong enough for functional use.

“Strength”, however, is a bit vague as it can refer to a few different mechanical properties - tensile strength, yield strength, fatigue strength, compressive strength, and impact strength – so it’s a difficult question to answer without more information. (More)

FarmBot: The Open Source CNC Farming Robot
Rhonda Grandy | Published Oct 2, 2016

FarmBot, MatterHackers' October Hacker of the Month, makes traditional agriculture a thing of the past thanks to 3D printed cultivation.

Meandering through the produce section of your local supermarket, grabbing items off your shopping list, and tossing them in the cart are pretty mindless tasks. If you are like me, you're probably in zombie mode while shopping, thinking about far more important things like future plans, work, or even reliving embarrassing moments from your past. I'm definitely not thinking about where the tomato in my hand is from, or how the asparagus in my cart traveled to the grocery store.  (More)

Design Guideline: Considerations for 3D Printing
Scott Cahoon | Published Sep 28, 2016

There is more to design than just choosing a CAD software tool. Learn about the other factors that go into a complete 3D printing design solution.

As part of the additive manufacturing domain, 3D printing expands the capabilities of traditional “subtractive” manufacturing methods through complex, embedded, one-of-a-kind part and assembly fabrication.  To take advantage of these capabilities, the product designer has to be prepared to create components and parts that maximize 3D printing capabilities without sacrificing the desired look, feel and performance measures of the end product.  To that end, designing for 3D printing is the foundation from which quality parts and products are made. (More)

The Twitch Block
Taylor Landry | Published Sep 26, 2016

Waiting for the Fidget Cube to arrive left us with the perfect combination of impatience and inspiration to create the Twitch Block.

We saw the highly successful Fidget Cube Kickstarter when it was first announced and instantly fell in love with the idea. Like every office, we have a couple of (well, definitely more than a few) “fidgeters." Since our office isn't lacking small, plastic gears and toys, we usually look for the nearest available 3D print to discretely play with during meetings. However, the tiresome spinning of gears, squeezing of carabiners, and twisting of the classic nut and bolt print grew old, leaving our searching hands pining for the next object to satisfy our needs. Alas, the Fidget Cube arrived, and ended our need for variety in our twitchy ways. 

Of course, we were too impatient for the Fidget Cube to deliver, so we did what every 3D printing enthusiast does: we made our own - the Twitch Block.  (More)

How to Succeed with NylonX
Taylor Landry | Published Sep 1, 2016

NylonX has quickly become one of our favorite filaments for strong, durable, and ready-to-use parts. Here's an in-depth look at Nylon X, and some printing tips to get the most out of this great new material.

Nylons are a fantastic group of 3D printing materials. Excellent chemical, abrasion, and impact resistance coupled with its durability and toughness make it a perfect choice for strong, functional 3D printed parts.

The main “cons” of nylon filaments are the lack of rigidity, relatively high shrink rate, and the fact that it is highly hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air). (More)

3D Printed Pinhole Cameras
Rhonda Grandy | Published Aug 31, 2016

Up your photography game and print your own pinhole camera like Todd Schlemmer, MatterHackers' September Hacker of the Month.

We love when 3D printing collides with long-standing hobbies. Enter: Todd Schlemmer, our September Hacker of the Month, and his passion for pinhole cameras and photography. 

Schlemmer has been building pinhole cameras for several years out of traditional carpentry and papercraft. He started 3D printing his cameras in 2012 once he built his Printrbot Plus kit: "I was delighted by my initial results," states Schlemmer, "and I have continued to develop and refine new camera designs." (More)

How To: Smooth and Finish Your PLA Prints
Alec Richter | Published Aug 25, 2016

Making your 3D prints look fresh off the assembly line isn't as hard as you think. Follow these simple techniques to finish your 3D prints and make them shine.

PLA (Polylactic Acid) filament is one of the two most commonly used desktop 3D printing materials (with the other being ABS filament). It is the ‘default’ recommended material for many desktop 3D printers, and with good reason - PLA is useful in a broad range of printing applications and can be produced in a variety of colors. It has the virtue of being both an odorless and low-warp material, and does not require a heated bed. PLA plastic is also one of the more eco-friendly 3D printer materials available; it is made from renewable resources (corn-starch) and requires less energy to process compared to traditional (petroleum-based) plastics. Cool, but what do you do to finish a PLA print to make it truly good? (More)

Living Hinge: Design Guidelines and Material Selection
Scott Cahoon | Published Aug 23, 2016

Bring your prints to life by adding an additional degree of motion to your designs - living hinges are the foundation of expanded mechanical solutions.

A living hinge is a connected portion of a whole part that is thin and flexible enough to allow movement between two otherwise rigid sections of the same part.  These sections are designed in such a fashion that all three sections (two rigid sections and one hinge) are fabricated in one single form.  The hinge section is designed to allow rotational movement (180 degrees or greater) between the sections and in a configuration where it will not fail during the life of the part.  This type of hinge is common among injection molded plastic parts but is slowly being incorporated into Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D printing solutions. (More)