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Design Guideline: Considerations for 3D Printing
Scott Cahoon | Published Today at 5:00 PM

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)

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) is one of the two most commonly used desktop 3D printing materials (with the other being ABS). 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)

Design for Manufacturing: Injection Molding versus 3D Printing
Guest Contributor Dorian Ferrari | Published Aug 22, 2016

Understand the differences when designing for injection molding vs. 3D printing - this knowledge will help you create the best components for any product.

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) encompasses many fabrication techniques and capabilities.  Two well-known and widely used techniques are injection molding and 3D printing.  In injection mold and 3D print manufacturing, there are significant process differences, and these differences will dictate how one designs parts and components.  For purpose of this discussion, we will focus on materials utilized in FFF/FDM printing.  Other types of 3D printing technologies, e.g. SLA, SLS, Polyjet, DMLS, DLM, etc. offer some unique design guidelines, but overall design for 3D printing and most methods of additive manufacturing are essentially the same. (More)

The Most Incredible 3D Printed Dart Launcher You'll Ever See
Rhonda Grandy | Published Aug 17, 2016

Jesse Kovarovics, MatterHackers' August Hacker of the Month, creates the world's first 3D printed foam dart blaster: the FDL-1.

When it comes to foam dart guns, you could say that we here at MatterHackers are big fans. Seriously, not one holiday party has gone by where an all-out battle of flying foam darts ensues. So, needless to say, we were very excited to feature Jesse Kovarovics, creator of the FDL-1, for our August Hacker of the Month. 

To print your own FDL-1, visit the MatterHackers Digital Design Store, files are free! (More)

Ten 3D Printing YouTube Channels You'll Love
Mara Hitner | Published Jul 27, 2016

3D Printing gets a lot of love on YouTube, but which channels are the most useful, informative, and entertaining? Here’s a cheat-sheet to the stuff we know you’ll like, and insight from the creators on why you should watch.

Many of us got into 3D printing because we “saw something about it on YouTube and thought it was cool”. Since working at MatterHackers, one of the unexpected joys I've had has been the opportunity to work with and get to know this passionate community of makers. Those who have taken their 3D printing expertise to YouTube by creating their own channels. (More)