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Bone Yard – 3DP in Bone
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 00:00

We continue our quest to experiment with a wide variety of materials for 3DP.  This story starts almost one year ago.   While teaching our Advanced RP/RM (rapid prototyping/rapid manufacturing) course,  I was discussing the course requirements.   One our of requirements is an independent research project and report to be undertaken in teams of two (the project is worth 40% of your grade).   As an instructor, I would ask the class  at every meeting if they had any ideas for a project.

One of the teams (composed of Juliana Meira do Valle and Michael Storey) approached me after class, “We would like to print in bone as our project!”  Juliana is a DXArts/Art major and Michael is a Mechanical Engineering major.

“We’d like to print in bone!”

“What?” “Why?”

“I want to print bones or animals that never existed!” “Do you think it’s possible?”

“Sure, OK!”

“How do we get started?”

“We’ll need to find the material in the correct powder size and then you will start bench testing it”

It took a couple of days of internet searching to find a supplier of powdered bone and then came the interesting questions.

“Where did the bone come from?”

“Wow, it’s food grade.”  “Why would you eat it?”

After we located a good source of powdered bone meal (start with your local health food or vitamin store), they started bench testing the bone with an array of adhesive powder and various binder solutions.   This process took place across a five week period.   Each week a different set of adhesive ratios was tested against our existing binders.   Success!!!

Initial Bone Recipe

Powdered Bone Meal  — 5 parts by weight.
12x Powdered Sugar  —  1 part by weight.
MaltoDextrin              —- 1 part by weight.

Bench Testing

We loaded up the 3D printer with a bone powder mixture and used an existing binder solution.  Let’s just say our first 3D printing tests were not terribly successful. The parts were so weak that any contact caused crumbling, and we could not remove the parts from the powder bed. However, the bone  powder mix spread extremely well, produced a nice surface finish on the printing-bed surface.  The parts needed to be strong enough to survive general human handing, depowdering, and post processing.   Finally, really results!

But WAIT!  After the first parts were printed, there was a long pause and a sigh heard from Juliana.

“I don’t know what to do here.”  “I don’t know how I feel about touching these parts.”


“I’m a vegetarian!”


Printed Bone Skulls! Is there any other choice?

As time has passed in our lab, we’ve found some more interesting (and aggressive)  adhesives – namely Urea-Formaldehyde (UF) glue. A urea formaldehyde resin or glue (also commonly called a urea glue or a UF) is also called “plastic resin glue”. This product is sold as a water soluble wood glue. A quick test with bone powder has shown that very strong parts can be produced using UF.

Secondary Bone Recipe

Powdered Bone Meal  — 4-5 parts by weight.
UF plastic resin glue   —  1 part by weight.

Juliana’s work which was displayed at the Fresno, CA show organized by Laura West proves that 3DP in Bone is possible with amazing results.

2010 J. Meira Do Valle - Bones in Bone (photo Laura West @ 2010)


Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 00:37
OpenROV – underwater exploration
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 10 June 2011 00:00 writes:

ROV1 is a shoebox-sized ROV designed to operate in an unexplored underwater cave in the mountains of Northern California. It is built using laser cut acrylic parts and communicates to the surface through an extended USB connection that sends data to and from its onboard HD Webcam and Arduino microcontroller.

OpenROV – underwater exploration –[Link]

Last Updated on Friday, 10 June 2011 00:17
Homebrew Balloon Gripper Takes Two Tylenol, Calls It A Day
Written by Evan Ackerman   
Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00

Authors: Evan Ackerman

coffee ballon.

Remember how incredibly simple and effective that jammin’ robot coffee-balloon gripper thing was? Turns out that you can make one yourself, as Norris Labs did, with a Handi-Vac. It looks like it works nearly as well as the original, and my guess is that it’s pretty damn cheap too.

Grippers, especially grippers capable of picking up a couple geltabs without breaking them, used to be complicated and expensive. These jamming grippers, though, were a serious stroke of genius, and they’re already starting to make fine manipulation accessible to DIY roboticists on a budget.

VIA [ Norris Labs ]

Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2011 10:51
Dodgem Device Operated Electrically
Written by admin   
Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00

Authors: admin


Making a homemade dodgem is quite easy when you have the proper materials needed. This build shows a dodgem that is balanced on a single wheel with omni-directional outrigger. You don’t need to have very hi-tech materials to achieve this, simply use some cardboard, wire frame, rubber band, battery, and small motor. The ...

Read more: [link]

Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2011 11:09
Arduino Mini-Tank Color-Tracking Airsoft Turret
Written by admin   
Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00

Authors: admin

Just a couple of modifications and you can make a tank to a color-tracking airsoft turret. It can moreover by using a manually controlled joystick and GUI. The creator added an airsoft carbine gun to the robotic tank and just played by adding color tracking to its original paint. This device can shoot ...

Read more:

Last Updated on Friday, 03 June 2011 01:18
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