Happy Holidays & New Year

Xmas 2019

Happy Holidays!

A collection off 3D Printed holiday themed prints. Original designs by:

Reindeer christmas card kit 3d print by shink is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share Alike license.

Christmas Reindeer kit card by tone001 is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial license.

Evergreen Tree Christmas Ornament on Card by w3ace is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution license.

See you in the New Year!


Happy Halloween

Halloween 2019


A collection off 3D Printed halloween themed prints. Original designs by:

Giant Posable Halloween Spider by Audrey2, is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial license.

Ghost Bat by yeg3d, is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution license.

Pumpkin happy halloween decoration by LeFan, is licensed under the Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial license.

Spider net telaraña by Ma_king_things, is licensed under the Creative Commons – Public Domain Dedication license.

Halloween 2019

Pumpkin by nature.

Have a great day!


Northwood House uses 3D Printing for restoration work

By Prior George – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37062508

Northwood House is located in Northwood Park, Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and the original building dates back to 1799.

As part of a recent restoration project of the 1838 Rotunda, the Northwood House Team have also found time to carry out work on small interior details that have deteriorated over 200 years.

Working with Dan Sandles to 3D scan surviving examples and recreate exact copies using 3D Printing. Pieces included strips of wall edging, picture frame moldings and some corner rosettes.

Many of the skills to make these peices have been lost, and would be far too expensive to recreate today.

For more on the restoration take a look at northwoodhouse.org.

Drone footage of the Rotunda restoration at Northwood House

find out how 3D printing is being used elsewhere check out our list of applications for 3D printing.

3D Printer enclosure: Photo Tent

A cheap, quick and simple solution for a 3D printer enclosure.

Also referred to as a photo/light, studio/tents, they are primarily used for product photography. The purpose of the tent is to diffuse the light through the nylon material removing shadows and reflections.

This tent environment can also serve as an breathable enclosure for your 3D printer!

Photo tents are readily available in a range of sizes and can be found for under £20. Many have a “pop-up” design making them very simple and quick to use, as can be seen above this one also came with a detachable door with a camera slit (see an alternative use for this below).

Benefits of using a tent enclosure

  • Inexpensive
  • Quick and simple setup, easy to store when not required
  • Help stabilize temperature and minimize drafts, a factor to consider if using high temperature filaments such as ABS or ASA
  • This can remove the need for print skirts/wraps
  • Saves energy
  • Reduces smell and ultra fine particles (UFP), further improved when combined with a filter or extraction system. See here
  • Prevent debris entering the print area, see above!
  • Improve safety by enclosing hot and moving parts from children and pets
  • Keeps out dust

Using a photo tent enclosure

Getting started

Before you start check the dimensions of your printer against the tent to be used. As you can see above the Prusa i3 MK2.5s fits perfectly in a 60x60x60 tent.

Place the printer in the tent and ensure there is sufficient distance between any moving, hot parts and the tent material. Connect power and USB if required, load a filament and power on. Moving all axis’s to their limit confirms clearance.

Camera door extractor setup

This tent featured a detachable front with a camera slit. I used the camera slit on the front door to insert an extractor duct. This helps to create a negative air pressure, drawing air through the breathable tent material and extracting to outside. A suitable HEPA/Carbon filter could also be used here.

Now its ready to print!

The display and control knob are easily accessible by lifting the bottom part of the detachable door, to start or make an adjustment during printing.

The test

To trial the tent i set up a benchy print in ABS and monitored the temperatures with an in/out thermometer. The outside probe was inserted in a handy elastic loop at the top.

During the approximately 1 hour print the inside maintained a steady 29 degrees celcious with a room temperature of 20 degrees celcious.

#3DBenchy – The jolly 3D printing torture-test by CreativeTools.se by CreativeTools
Published on April 9, 2015
Creative Commons – Attribution – No Derivatives


Minimal odour was noticed whilst being in the room during printing and the Benchy came out with good layer adhesion and no warping.

The photo tent worked out as a great cheap and quick way to enclose a 3D Printer and improve the chances of a successful print.

The bonus of easily inserting an extractor duct through the camera slit was nice, and its original purpose is great for sharing photos of your prints!

My overall Verdict of the Phot-r photo tent is that it offers great value for money for the two uses it for fills. This basic tent may not be suitable if you are a professional photographer the creases in the nylon material and folded backdrops are noticeable and still present after several day of being setup. However it did a good job of improving the photos i took.

Cloth Vase by Sashko
Published on March 26, 2017
Creative Commons – Attribution – Share Alike
Printed in 3D FilaPrint Fluorescent Orange PLA

Final thoughts

A photo tent is a great option if you are on a budget and do not have time to build a custom enclosure however there are a few considerations to take account off.

As the tent is not being used for its intended purpose its should NOT BE LEFT UNATTENDED with an operating or heating/cooling 3D printer inside. The tent material could pose a FIRE RISK.

Further more the breathable nature of the tent will limit the internal temperatures that can be reach, and is more affected by ambient temperatures.

However this means the psu and control board should be happy being left inside. If extended high temperatures are reached these components should be relocated to outside.

As might be expected there was little if any reduction in noise.

Where to get it

The Phot-R tent featured above is the 60x60x60 collapsible version available from amazon *HERE for £16.95.

Similar enclosure options

Grow Tent

Growing on the photo tent enclosure, another alternative use of an already existing product is a grow tent. Used for growing exotic fruits, herbs, vegetables or seasonal fruits out of season, this option may offer improved thermal and sound insulation over a photo tent and has dedicated vents.

The above 60x60x60 grow tent is avaliable *HERE on amazon for £29.95.

Printer designated enclosure

There seems to be little availability of universal 3D printer fabric enclosures. However if you have a LulzBot TAZ or Mini  you are in luck!

The Lulzbot nylon enclosure is listed on digikey.co.uk for £64.74 HERE.

Universal enclosure on Kickstarter

Althought the funding period ended Mar 28 2016, an interesting project for a universal 3D printer enclosure with filter system founded by James Nordstrom can be found HERE. 3DPrintClean filtration systems have a patent-pending recirculating filtration technology  within a fabric enclosure. Offering 600mm squared and 800mm squared and suitable for almost all printers. Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/64537310/3d-printer-lightweight-enclosure-and-filtration-syhttps://www.3dprintclean.com/products

12V Power Supply

In this article we will take brief look at how a ATX PSU can be utilized for various projects.

Bestec ATX PSU

In this article we will take a brief look at how a ATX PSU can be utilized for powering various projects.

WARNING: Before attempting to work on any electrical components it is essential that you are competent, isolate all live conductors and prove this with a reliable instrument. This is imperative when mains voltage is involved, the PSU must be disconnected (UNPLUGGED). Also note there may be undischarged capacitors that also pose a shock risk, allow these to discharged before handling. Carry out the following at your own risk!

ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) power supply units are used in computers. As a result they are readily available and cheap.

The primary purpose of a PSU is to turn the incoming 230v AC (alternating current) into DC (Direct Current), in the case of a ATX PSU, various outputs for the computers components.

They come with different specifications which are stated on the units label, an example of this can be seen below.

First step

Confirm that the PSU is suitable for the desired use. For example a reprap style FFF printer: controls, motors and a single hotend using approximately 5 Amps and a heatedbed at 8 Amps. A total of 13Amps at 12 Volts gives us an estimated max 156W.


We need to make a few changes to replicate a motherboard connection to tell the PSU to turn on and deliver power. This is achieved by locating the PS _ON Green wire and connecting to ground, in this case i used 1oo ohm resistor connected to any of the ground wires (black).

ATX PSU Molex 24pin Motherboard connector

At this stage the PSU should turn on and output power. Now is a good time to verify the outputs with a volt meter. Yellow (+12Va) and Red (+5V) to ground +/-5%.


We need to apply a dummy load to the +5V rail. A resistor or load such as a light can be used here. See the example below using a 12V 50w halogen light, at 5V the additional load is 10 Amps. Be aware that the light or resistor used will get hot!

50W 12V halogen connected to +5V rail

At this stage the PSU should be providing a stable usable 12V supply.

The +3.3V does not have a use for this application however joining one of the +3.3V wires(Orange) to +3.3VS (Brown Sense wire) should remove any issues the psu has with detecting voltage drop of the 3.3V rail.

Last but not least is to check the current carrying capacity of the cables you have selected and ensure that this is greater than the maximum current drawn.


We can tidy up all the wiring and connect to suitable terminal blocks. Braiding of the cables can help reduce tangles and keep things neat.

As this is supplying a ramps 1.4 board with a heated bed i decided to use the +12Va (Yellow) for the 11A connection and +12Vb for the 5A connection.

One last suggestion is to verify the voltage and polarity before making the final connection to sensitive circuits to avoid damage.

If you feel i have left something out and would like to add to the above please leave a comment below.


17 Things you need to know about 3D printing

From how 3D printing works to the best 3D printers, where to find the latest FREE 3D models and even money making business ideas. Here is were you will find 17 thing you need to know about 3D printing in the UK today!

No. 1

What is 3D printing?

Makerbot 3D Printer
By Paolo Aliverti
Makerbot https://www.flickr.com
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A process to make a 3D object by forming material in an additive way.

This is achieved by taking a digital 3D design or 3D scan of an object and translating them into layers which the printer then builds up to create the final item

This process is explained in more detail in How does 3D printing work?

Advantages of this technique include rapid prototyping, the ability to make complex parts as one piece, reduced material and energy use.

During 2019 3D printing related sales by large public companies are predicted to exceed *£2.1 billion rising to *£2.4 billion in 2020. *Deloitte.

Below is a list of areas with some examples of how 3D printing has been implemented.

Applications for 3D printing:

Health care:

  • Medical Devices-Prosthetics, Hearing Aids.
  • Dental-Crowns, Aligners.
  • Surgery-Implants, Guides, Prosthesis.
  • Bioengineering-Bioprinting tissues and Biological structures
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing-Medicines, Personalized drugs, Polypills.
  • Anatomical models-Surgical planning, Model fetus.
3D printed prosthetic hand
By The U.S. Food and Drug Administration – 3-D Printed Prosthetic Hand – blue (5229), Public Domain https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48274150

Industry and business:

  • Manufactoring-Production line tooling, On demand replacement parts and development (See video below).
  • Mass customization-Made to order services, Personalized products.
  • Food-Edible chocolate, Burgers, Pizza, Food molds.
  • Automotive-Rapid prototyping, parts for rare and classic cars
  • Construction-Housing, Bridges, Restoration.
  • Tools-Bespoke tool design.
  • Aerospace-Defence, Research and development, reduction of parts and weight.
  • Architecture-lower cost and faster model creation.
Heineken: Ensuring production continuity with 3D printing

Fashion and Art:

3D printing clay
3D printed fashion
By Centraal Museum, Utrecht / Ernst Moritz – This file was donated by Centraal Museum Utrecht as part of the Europeana Fashion collaboration., CC BY-SA 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26047356

Education and Domestic:

3D printed itmes on display at Weston Highschool Libary
By Weston Highschool Libary https://www.flickr.com/photos/124105511@N08/
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

No. 2

How Does 3D Printing work?

Unlike many traditional manufacturing techniques such as CNC milling which remove material to create an object, 3D printing works by adding materials also known as Additive Manufacturing (AM).

This process is carried out by joining or solidifying a material to build up layers to form an object.

Firstly, a digital file such as an STL which contains the 3D model is processed into layers by slicing at a determined resolution or layer height. Other settings such as speed and infill percentage are also set at this stage to create a print profile.

This print profile is then exported to the printer as a code and interpreted as x,y and z axis movements.

There are seven other main categories of 3D printing type, the first two are the most affordable and popular types.

Material extrusion

Also know as Fused Filament Fabrication or Fused Deposition Modeling the later being trademarked by Stratasys in the United States.

This type employs an extruder which feeds a continuous filament through the print head nozzle or hotend.

The print head extrudes the x and y layers before moving the z axis to preform the next layer. Depending on the design, orientation and filament used temporary support structures may be required.

Below you can see  1 – nozzle ejecting molten material, 2 – deposited material, 3 – controlled x, y and z axis.

FFF/FDM printing diagram
FDM printing diagram
By Gringer – Own work
CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Public Domain Dedication

Vat Photopolymerization

Within this category are two different technologies, Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP).

SLA and DLP printing employ a controlled light source to cure (photoplymerization) a liquid resin into shape.


SLA is laser based, using a single beam aimed at the resin to be solidified on the build plate. Similar to FFF, the laser beam is rapidly aimed to solidify the x and y lines before the build plate is re positioned for the next layer.


Similarly DLP implements the pixels of a digital projection screen to flash an image onto the build plate, solidifying the exposed resin for the entire layer. This gives DLP a faster print time, but due to the nature of using square pixels the final print can exhibit visible vertical lines on the finished surface called voxels.

In addition, other categories of 3D printing include Powder Bed, laminated, powder fed and wire.

No. 3

3D Printers

3D printers generally fall into three sectors; consumer, prosumer and commercial/industrial grade.

Key considerations when looking to purchase a 3D printer should be:

Do you need a 3D printer?

3D printing is a great technology, but does have a steep learning curve and will require a significant investment of your time as well as your money. If you only require occasional use of a printer it might be worth considering using a 3D printing service.


Above all, entry level FFF printers are the most accessible with a wide choice of manufactures available in the UK and prices starting from under £200. Professional FFF printers range from about £700 up to £6000+ for commercial.

However in recent years SLA and DLP resin printers have become more affordable starting around £300.

See more about printer prices for the home and other costs below.

Kit vs ready assembled

You might be considering a kit sometimes called part assembled, but its worth checking the level of support provided by the manufacture, warranties and quality of the components. In addition these kits are sometimes supplied with exposed power supplies which pose a potential hazard if handled incorrectly.

Furthermore, if you purchase a ready assembled printer from a UK retailer you will have more consumer protection to fall back on if things go wrong.

Bed Size

Is measured by the x, y and z axis to give its build volume. The greater the build volume the bigger you can print, and the more you can print at one time.


Ensuring a level print bed is important to maintain an equal distance between the print nozzle and the bed surface. Above all this is can be the source of many printing issues if not setup correctly.

Additionally, printers with auto bed leveling use a sensor to calibrate the distance and makes software adjustments to the z axis to compensate for any inaccuracies.

This can save a lot of time and faffing about especially if you are new to 3D printing.

FFF 3D printing build plate leveling
By Stemfie3D – Own work
Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Extra features TO CONSIDER

  • Frame construction
  • Auto Calibration
  • Monitoring camera
  • Included software
  • Lights
  • Incorporated enclosure
  • Auto restart
  • Removable build plate
  • Safety features
  • Wifi
  • Built in filters
  • Live tuning
  • Touch Screen

3D printers available in the UK today


*Affiliate Link Creality3D Ender 3Pro


*Affiliate Link CUBIC Photon


All prices found at the time of writing, with the ability to ship to the UK.

Where to buy

Certainty, for the greatest level of support purchasing from a reputable local shop would be recommended. Some manufactures sell directly such as Prusa. However other manufactures sell through preferred re-sellers, this information can usually be found on their website.

Amazon.co.uk can be a great source for finding the latest models at very competitive prices.

Be particularly cautious of buying kits from suppliers outside of the UK as these do not necessarily have to meet the same standards of assembled products sold in the UK.

Read reviews, check out the seller and take your time.

No. 4

3D printer prices for the home

As you can see above 3D printers vary greatly in price. For example, a assembled entry-level FFF 3D printer for the home can be had for as little as £118.66 Plus UK delivery.

XYZ printing da Vinci FFF 3D printer in shopping cart screenshot
XYZ printing da Vinci FFF 3D printer in shopping cart screenshot

According to https://pricespy.co.uk XYZprinting da Vinci Nano was retailing for £165.60 at the beginning of 2019. That is a fall of more than 25% over a six month period.

The same printer can be found on Amazon.co.uk for even less, although was temporarily out of stock at the time of writing.

Because the development of this technology is rapidly improving, prices of older models are dropping. This is also increasing the amount of 3D printers available on the second hand market in the UK.

During May 2019 on a local classifieds website I found an Original Prusa i3 MK2.5S for £225 including 4 rolls of filament!

With prices dropping below £200.00, now is a great time to start thinking about purchasing your first 3D printer for the home.


Beside the initial outlay for a 3D printer there will be additional expenses along the way.

These include, running Costs, energy use, material cost, maintenance, tools, personal protective equipment and consumables such as paper towels and propranol alcohol.

Check out this handy printer cost calculator, for your own use just leave cost per hour and mark up empty.

No. 5

What 3D Printing Materials are available?

3D printing filament from 3dfilaprint
1Kg White 1.75mm PLA from UK based 3dfilaprint, with free 1oM sample of translucent orange PLA and storage bag. Tip-remove silica sachet form inside the drum and place in the storage bag.

FFF filaments come as a continuous feed stock supplied on a drum sold by weight or length.

Resins are a liquid sold in containers by volume. Both vary in quality and consistency depending on the manufacture, and come in a range of colours.

Its important to be aware that particular storage requirements may be necessary.

Below is a list of available materials, filaments for FFF/FDM printers and resins for SLA/DLP UV sensitive resin based printers:

Polymer Filaments

  • PLA-Polylactic Acid
  • ABS-Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
  • PET-Polyethylene terephthalate
  • PETG-Polyethylene terephthalate Glycol – Fiberlogy PET-G Review
  • Nylon-Polyamide
  • PC-Polycarbonate 
  • PP-Polypropylene
  • HIPS-High Impact Polystyrene
  • ASA-Acrylic Styrene Acrylonitrile
  • TPE/TPU-Thermoplastic Elastomers/Thermoplastic polyurethane(Flexible)
  • PVA-Polyvinyl Alcohol(Soluble)
  • Amphor

Other filaments

  • Glow in the Dark
  • Metal filled
  • Magnetic metal filled
  • Wood filled
  • Carbon Fibre
  • Sandstone
  • Hemp
  • Tomato


  • Standard
  • Durable
  • Tough
  • Flexible
  • Transparent
  • Heat Resistance
  • Glass Reinforced
  • Ceramic reinforced
  • Biocompatible
  • Castable
  • Glitter
  • High detail

Guide to 3D printing materials.

No. 6

Where to find the best paid and free 3D Models

There are millions of 3D printable models available to download, yeggi a model search engine returned over 2 million results on 19/8/19.

With so many 3D models over different marketplaces and communities using a search engine can be useful and time saving.

Find some great sources for free and paid 3D models to download here:

3D model Search engines

Marketplaces and repositories

Take a look at this FREE BMW model of their latest concept car!

No. 7

3D printing Software tools

3D modeling is achieved with computer animated design CAD software and exported as one of several different file formats, the 2 most common are STL and OBJ.

CAD software

Once a 3D model has been created or downloaded, firstly it will need to be prepared to export to your printer. This is achieved by importing your CAD model file e.g STL into the slicing software. Secondly, the file is then sliced into layers, and other settings such as speed, infill, supports and temperature are calculated.

Finally, the model is now ready to be exported as a G-code to the printer.

Additionally, there are also tools for rendering meshes and repairing files.

Slicing and Processing software


Looking for something different?

Turn photos into lithosphanes,3D print google maps including topography and buildings or recreate real world objects using photos!

Other programs

No. 8

3D printing safety precautions

Warning Sign

Additive manufacturing is increasingly finding its place in schools, businesses and the home. Potential hazards to health and safety can arise from the 3D printing process. We will look at some hazards relating to desktop FFF printers and measures that can be taken to help reduce the risks of injury and adverse health effects

Hazards Risks Actions
High temperatures
such as the hotend
and heated bed
Burns Allow sufficient time
for the printer to cool before removing
prints and
Signs and barriers,
Hotend sock, Gloves
Removing support
Eye injury Wear safety eye
Handling support
material and prints
Cuts Wear gloves, remove sharp parts by filing and deburring
Exposed terminals
and wiring
Contain exposed
conductive parts within a suitable
Check for wear and
damage to cables
before powering on
Heating and
Breathing vapor and
particle emissions
Use in a well
ventilated area,
extraction and filter
systems, enclosures
Moving Parts Pinching or trapping
Not coming into
contact when the
printer is operating.
Signs,barriers and
Exposed high
Fire Not leaving the
printer unattended.
Fire detection –
Smoke alarm.
Contained within
a fireproof enclosure. Local fire
suppression, such as a fire extinguisher

Similarly, considerations such as printing items to be used with food should be ‘food safe’, and reliability of safety critical parts need be taken into account. For commercial applications carrying out a risk assessment would be highly recommended.

Further precautions should be considered for resin based printers.

For more information on measuring and controlling emissions from filament printers check out this in depth 70 page document prepared by the UK health and safety executive here.

No. 9

Essential 3D printer tools, equipment and consumables

3D printing tools and equipment
3D printing tools and equipment

Take the stress out with these must have items to include in your 3d printing tool kit:


  • Heat Gun
  • Vacuum
  • Spatula/Scraper
  • Hobby knifes
  • Files
  • Needle nose Pilers
  • Tweezers
  • Wire cutters/Snips
  • Alan Keys
  • Screwdrivers
  • Spanners/Adjustable wrench
  • Caliper
  • Ruler
  • Soldering iron
  • Permanent marker
  • Die grinder e.g dremel
  • Stiff brush
  • Pins/Needles
  • Laser Thermometer


  • Safety Glasses
  • Masks
  • Extraction/filtering
  • Enclosure
  • Uninterrupted Power Supply
  • Monitoring camera
  • Remote Switching
  • Air tight containers and desiccant for filament
  • Lighting
  • Convection Oven
  • UV Curing Lights
  • Ultrasonic cleaner
  • Funnels
  • Filter Paper
  • Beakers
  • Smoke alarm
  • Fire Extinguisher


  • IPA–Isopropanol Alcohol (high purity ideally >96%)
  • Gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Masking tape
  • glue stick
  • glue
  • Hair Spray
  • Lubricant
  • Abrasive paper – Sandpaper/emery paper
  • Acetone

No. 10

3D Printing Hardware

Hardware Fixings
By Figugegl Own work
CC BY-SA 4.0

Some designs may benefit from being assemble with non printed fixings and fasteners. Here are some hardware ideas that could be incorporated into 3D printed models.

  • Heat-set threaded inserts
  • Screw-to-expand inserts
  • Embedded Nut
  • Nylon-lock Bolts
  • Wing nuts
  • Self-tapping screws
  • Grub screws
  • Bearings
  • Bushes
  • Washers
  • Lock washer
  • Springs
  • Threaded rod
  • Stand-offs
  • Split pins
  • Circlips
  • Magnets
  • Hinges
  • Nylon fixings
  • Rubber feet
  • Rubber washers

No. 11

What is a 3D Printing Service?

3D printing services
3D printing services

You do not need a 3D printer to turn your model into reality. If you only require a few prints every now and again it may work out cheaper to have someone else print them for you.

You might also want to consider using a 3D printing service if you do not have space for a printer or don’t want the hassle off setting up, running and maintaining your own.

Other benefits include a greater choice of printing processes and materials.

For example, lost wax printing used in casting precious metals for jewellery and Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) for creating aluminium and titanium parts.

UK 3D Printing services:

3D Printing services based outside the UK:

No. 12

3D printing guide and tips


3D printing can be challenging, these external guides cover some of the basics:

No. 13

Starting a 3D printing Business

Additive manufacturing is reshaping opportunities for new and existing businesses. Many big businesses such as Boeing and car manufactures like BMW and Ford have already embraced this emerging technology not just for rapid prototyping but as a feasible manufacturing process.

There is no one answer to how 3D printing can be a business in it own right, but as a technology with potentially endless possibilities we will look at several ways you can get started:

  • Designing niche parts or products for other people or businesses
  • Selling your own designs and models
  • Selling 3D prints
  • Offering a local 3D printing service
  • Selling 3D printers and related supplies
  • Fixing and maintaining printers
  • Tuition and support services
  • Investing in 3D printing related stocks and shares
  • Use freelance platforms like Fiverr

No. 14

3D printing patents, copyright and legal implications

3D Printed Sad Face by loubie
Sad Face! IMPORTANT NOTICE! by loubie
Published on February 18, 2016
Creative Commons

Welcome to pandora’s box, the ability to share and download digital designs and replicate the physical object has raised concerns over intellectual property (IP) infringement.

Check out this ongoing defamation allegation as a result of claims made that models on thingiverse where being sold ebay. https://all3dp.com/just-3d-print-brings-new-lawsuit-against-3dr-holdings/

Understanding what permissions the original creator or owner has given to their creative works will help stay compliant with the licence terms.

It all might sound like a lot of jargon, but public copyright licenses are tools used to attribute original authors and allow fair use of their works.

A good place to start is the creative commons (CC) licence, have a look at the license types and their permissions in this licence spectrum:

Creative Commons Licence Spectrum

Creative Commons Licence Spectrum
By Shaddim; original CC license symbols by
Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/about/downloads
CC license icons licensed under CC BY 4.0, CC BY
4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47247325

For more on the future relationship between 3D printing and intellectual property, check out the following:

The UK’s intellectual property office (IPO) have published an in depth 88 page research report on 3D printing and IP futures across six countries available here.

A decentralized method to authenticate the data usage such as blockchain technology could be a new way forward. Blockchain tech is being explored by the likes of GE and IBM to protect IP and verify the manufacturing process from the design file to materials and printer configuration.

No. 15

3D Printing and the environment

Plastic Waste
Plastic Waste

Looking at the impact on the environment both directly and indirect, below are some good and not so good affects:


Reducing Waste Materials

Some additive manufacturing methods have reduced waste material in comparison to a subtractive manufacturing method such as CNC machining.

Using 3D printers to make replacement parts to carry out repairs, increasing an items usable life.

Improving efficiency and lowering energy use

Improving efficiency by the development of lighter 3D printed parts for use in planes and vehicles.

3D printing new tooling and parts to increase performance and efficiency of existing machinery.

As already mentioned, reduced waste material also helps lower the energy used to produce the raw material in the first place, this could also be said for extending the usable life of existing items.

The ability to 3D print complex parts as one piece reducing assembly requirements and energy used.

Reducing transport

Local manufacturing for the geographic area, minimizing transport of the final item.

Printing products at home reducing the need to travel to shops or get deliveries, although the raw materials would still require to be transported. This could be further improved if the printing material was sourced and made as local as possible, or even better from locally recycled plastics.

Reducing storage

3D printings ability to make different products in low quantity on demand locally would help reduce the need for storage and the related energy required for those storage facilities. The warehouse is now in the clouds!


When 3D printed products reach the end of life they could be recycled into a reusable print material or filament ready to re printed into something new.

For example old shoes could be recycled with minimal need of additional material to make a larger size, or just remake them.

Waste and by product could also be utilised in this way.

Cleaning up

Removing plastic waste from the environment especially the sea and coastal areas which the UK has plenty of, and then converting them into filaments.

Increasing the productivity of C02 Carbon capture is a new development.

Furthermore researchers at the UCLA have been exploring the idea of incorporating captured carbon into 3D printed building materials.


Helping regenerate natural environments, for example artificial ceramic reefs to foster new coral growth.

Not so good


The high temperatures and resins used in 3D printing release volatile organic compounds, some of these VOCs are dangerous to human health and cause harm to the environment.

Energy use

3D printing consumes a considerable amount of electricity, arguably more than traditional methods like milling to make the same part.


Industrial printing methods such as selective laser sintering (SLS) leave a substantial amount of raw material behind which have to be refreshed at rates between 35% and 50%.

What can you do?

  • Reduce material use by using lower infill rates
  • Print multiple items at once
  • Change orientation to reduce support material
  • Use eco-friendly materials such as PLA, a corn based renewable type of thermoplastic. There is even a hemp filament that can be sourced here. It can also print at lower temperature than PLA.
  • Use an enclosure and appropriate filters
  • Insulate heated print beds
  • Recycle failed prints and support material.
  • Try to use renewable sources of energy
  • Obtain materials and supplies from local sources
  • Use your printer to make things to reduce your waste, energy usage and improve our environment.

No. 16

A brief History of 3D printing

A brief History of 3D printing
Brief 3D printing timeline

The future?

3D printing technology has the potential to connect us with our heritage and usher in a new era returning to local distributed manufacturing based on digital fabrication.

No. 17

3D printing news

Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust Hospital gets a 3D printing lab

The Royal Victoria Infirmary is trialling a new 3D printed lab provided by Belfast based company axial3D to reduce surgery time for orthopaedic and spinal operations.

This is achieved by using the 3D model of the patients anatomy in pre-operative planning for complex procedures .

So far 20 patients have taken part, with the trial to include a total of 48 patients before the trust considers expanding this technology into other hospitals.

Be sure to check this space for regular updates and subscribe for the latest 3D printing developments.

If you feel something has been missed out or have any suggestions for future articles please leave a comment below.

Hello and welcome to make360, everything about 3D Printing!

Home to the latest in the world of 3D printing, an exciting and fast changing technology, opening new opportunities in design and the manufacturing process at home and at work.

3D Printing

There are many different types of 3D printing processes, also known as additive manufacturing. Two common methods are:

  • Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) also known as Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). This method involves extruding material through a nozzle similar to a hot glue gun.
  • Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP), which are vat photopolymerization types.

For further insight to these and more 3D Printing technologies see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_printing_processes.

3D Printers

3D printers can be purchased in two forms, either assembled or as an assembly kit. Buying assembled, from a reputable local source would offer the greatest amount of support.

Kit form can contain hundreds of parts including wiring. This can involve mains connection exposing conductive live parts and be potentially very dangerous.

Self assembly can save quite a bit of money. For example the Original Prusa i3 MK3S 3D printer kit £699.00 vs assembled £899.01.

These printers have great support and the kit comes with a sealed power supply and plug, something to consider especially for whippersnappers.

There are many Entry level 3D printing kits now available at prices under £200 such as the Creality Ender 3, making it more accessible then ever.

Combined with the availability of some great free CAD and slicing software means you do not need deep pockets to get making right now!

For more on 3D printing software have a gander at https://3dprinting.com/software.

Keep an eye out here for in depth reviews and special deals.

Getting Started 3D Printing

Below are two Benchy models (STL files avaliable to download here). They are an ideal first print for beginners and for bench marking a new printer or filament.

My first attempt on the left revealed a loose belt and required re-calibration. As a result, an immediate improvement in the quality was noticed, on the right.


For further guidance on how you can use your prints to optimize your hardware and software settings check out http://www.3dbenchy.com.

It is worth taking the time to explore your printer and software capabilities. This should help you avoid wasting time and material on failed larger and more complex prints.

Two good sources for free 3D designs are thingiverse a large repository and the 3D model search engine yeggi which returned 1,970,119 results on 6/7/2019.

Hovership MHQ2 by Hovership
Hovership MHQ2 by Hovership Published on October 22, 2014 www.thingiverse.com/thing:511668 Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial
Bag Clip - PLA compatible by MasterFX
Bag Clip – PLA compatible by MasterFX Published on May 13, 2014 www.thingiverse.com/thing:330151 Creative Commons – Attribution – Non-Commercial


Make your own BMW Vision M NEXT!

BMW have made a free STL file available of their latest concept car, the Vision M NEXT. I printed it at 50% scale and the wheels separately .

Don’t have a 3D printer? there is also a poster, wallpaper and even a sound file to download so you don’t have to go broom… broom…!

Feel inspired by the idea of being able to make almost anything that you can imagine? make360 wants to help you along that journey.

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