Attack of the Cyber Octopuses

I love the concept of making effect laden viral short films, especially using old methods. While I still like the incredible things you can do with computer animation at home and on a personal PC these days, nothing seems as raw and imperial as using some of the old methods of putting in special effects by using models, lighting, and camera tricks.  Here is a great story of someone using standard desktop 3D printers to create props to put together a short film. Nicola Piovesan dreamed up this remarkable story and tribute to the 80’s Scifi movies. All without using CGI (with the exception of compositing and making graphics) using 3D printing and some cool camera tricks…

Basically, I came up with this idea in July. I wanted to make a short film with viral potential, a tribute to the
80s scifi masterpieces, like Blade Runner or Escape from New York, using the same methods they were using back in time… practical effects, model miniatures and lot of handcrafted things. All without using CGI (except for compositing and for creating vintage graphics, like the one for the cyberspace). This is me with the handmade city miniature, trying to look like an art director of the Eighties…

Nicola Piovesan – 3D Printed City Miniature

Nicola Piovesan was inspired to create a tribute to 80’s sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner or Escape from New York using some of the same methods employed from that time. Before extensive CGI was being used in film studios. The name of this amazing creation is “Attack of The Cyber Octopuses.”

3d printing- camera film tricks

Soon after coming up with the idea to create this short film, Nicola started writing the script and googling around on how to model making, DIY, kit bashing. Then came the design for the cyber octopus and the purchase of a cheap 3D printer. Then came the printing of the Cyber Octopus.


Next came the building of the flying cars. Then great detail was taken to build the entire city of Neo Berlin 2079 A.D. All created using 3d printing along with other “junk” and cheap materials.

Everything was ready for the shooting!
We shot in 3 days: 1 day for the city miniature and flying vehicles, 1 day with the main character only (that has more scenes than the others), 1 day with all the 9 characters (mainly for photoshooting) and especially with the 3 main ones (in a wonderful Soviet futuristic location called Linnahall in Tallinn). All together there were 16/17 people, from all over the world (USA, Estonia, Italy, Canada, Belarus, China and even Nigeria!).

After shooting was complete, a 1-minute teaser video was created. Help came from Andrea Ragusa who made the 80’s music; Dmitry Natalevich did the sound design, and Wesly Griffin recorded the voice over.

The teaser is almost ready and on Saturday 7th of January we’ll launch it. Then on Monday 9th we’ll launch the kickstarter!
Please consider this whole project is an indie zero budget film, so any donation, even few bucks, is very welcome.

Check out the info graphic video:

To view the teaser trailer check out the official Attack of The Cyber Octopuses Blog.

Meet the crew and cast:

To view or help fund the kickstarter campaign:

All quotes and images were sourced from

The New Ultimaker 3, Exciting Enhancements To Professional 3D Printing!

Ultimaker, a leading manufacturer of open source 3D printers, has announced
the third generation of their 3D Printing product line. Named the Ultimaker 3, the next generation of 3D printers has geared up to advance professional desktop 3D printing enable “users gain freedom of design never before accessible in the professional environment.”

Ultimakers first completely new desktop 3D printer since 2013, features 2 sizes. First, a regular size “Ultimaker 3” and second a larger version touted as the “Ultimaker 3 Extended”.

Gyro 3D Print – before dipping in water to dissolve the water soluble support material created by the 2nd extruder core
Gyro 3D Print – after dipping in water to dislove support material. Leaving behind a smooth surface and the inner gyro parts

“The new Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3 Extended add dual extrusion to the Ultimaker’s industry-dominating 3D printing technology. With a host of new, intelligent features, the latest generation of Ultimaker technology is a technical tour de force. It demonstrates that Ultimaker is serious about meeting the growing demand for accessible, professional 3D printing.”

With the duel extruders, you can print in two colors or two different materials. See the images on the right. Printing in a material such as PLA or ABS using the first extruder and then a water-soluble support using the 2nd extruder, there is no limit for desktop 3D printing. You will be able to build extremely complex geometry with as much support material as needed. All without the headaches of having to break away the support material by hand and living with ugly surface marks and burrs left by the support. All you have to do is run your printed model under water and let the support material melt and dissolve away. Leaving you with a very clean model with smooth surface. Not a mark or burr left behind.

Some of the new features:

  • Dual Extrusion – The Ultimaker 3 offers dual extrusion right out of the box
    allowing you to print 2 materials or 2 colors. Very important for those that want to use water soluble material for supports to enable highly complex geometry. Print the design with your first choice of material then use water soluble support material on your second extruder. When done place your model into a tank of water and watch the support material dissolve away. Leaving your design intact with minimal sanding and hassle of breaking away support material. The Ultimaker engineering team has added a unique mechanism that automatically lifts the nozzle not in use, keeping it clear of the print job. Thus enabling a higher quality professional surface finish. Very important for a professional line 3D Printer.
  • Swappable Print Cores – Comes with print cores that you can swap out very quickly. Labeled as (AA) build materials and (BB) support materials.
    Ultimaker 3 Duel Print Cores

    They come with customized nozzle geometry per material. This allows for fewer clogs and much more reliable printing. This can be a major headache saver, spending far less time dealing with technical issues. I know from experience when printing quick prototypes or making quick prints for testing design options, this is a must for any printer billed for professional use. Being able to send out programs to the printer on the fly and doing multiple design iterations as quickly as possible. It can be very frustrating having to deal with clogging issues. Most of your time is better spent toward engineering your project.

  • Optimized Cooling – Ultimaker 3 features powerful fan system 2 radial fans and shrouds create more pressure buildup to increase airflow. This enables improved cooling and higher quality bridges and allowing faster print speeds with smooth surfaces.
  • LED Status Indicators – The Print Cores feature LED lighting to alert the user if any user interaction is required. This is something most systems do not have.
  • Enhanced Printer Automation – Eliminating guesswork by utilization of smart material detection through NFC technology. Along with active bed leveling, enables the Ultimaker 3 best settings for each material along with auto correcting bed leveling errors.
  • On-board camera – To monitor printing remotely. Very handy for those long print jobs or if you want to set up your printer to run lights out. Nothing worse than coming back to the office the next day and finding a whole roll of “spaghetti” in your 3D printer. It is nice to know you can view the status of your print job, enabling a peace of mind.
  • Better Connectivity – USB port, Ethernet, and WIFI all built in allowing greater options for connectivity.


Ultimaker 3 is now optimized for a large range of materials right out of the box. Providing Cura with profiles with best print settings allowing for less tweaking of your slicing program. To name a few, choose from Nylon, PLA, ABS, CPE and PVA. Also very important to those of us professionals who use 3D printing every day to test design, fit, and function on parts, jigs, quality gauges etc…

Ultimately the Ultimaker 3 has spent the last 3 years on major design improvements and looking to add greater efficiency with minimal downtime to make their product more attractive to professional users. As a Product Design engineer that has used 3D printers every day for several years now, I can truthfully say it appears that Ultimaker has achieved their main goals with their new Ultimaker 3 line of 3D Printers.

“Our team is constantly working to evolve the 3D printing market, and the Ultimaker 3 represents three years of development with the goal of delivering a product that serves the needs of demanding businesses,” said Jos Burger, CEO of Ultimaker. “3D printers have historically been tapped by businesses for straight-forward prototyping and short run production. The extended capabilities of the Ultimaker 3 introduce a wide variety of new applications and we’re excited to get them into the hands of professionals that can capitalize on the benefits of 3D printing across a variety of industries.”


Ultimaker 3 Extended
Ultimaker 3







As a Product Design engineer that has used 3D printers for several years now, I can truthfully say it appears that Ultimaker has achieved their main goals with their new Ultimaker 3 line of 3D Printers.

To me, there is nothing more annoying than having to stop and fiddle with your printer settings or disassemble a print head due to clogs in the middle of a large project with short lead times. This can throw your whole game off by interrupting your thought process and taking away from your design workflow.

Professionals want to be able to send their prints straight to the printer and go on working, with minimal user interaction. Hoping to get a good functional print and being able to evaluate their design and send another print job to the printer as quickly as possible if needed.




3D Printing and Bionics?


3D printing and bionics may no longer be considered a thing of the future. For those of us that grew up in the 1970’s who remember watching the 6 million dollar man or the bionic woman, we were all fascinated by the idea of bionics. Now a couple of European companies are delving into the area of bionics with the help of 3D printing.

The EU is putting up investment into research and development to help European manufacturers stay competitive in the growing market for personalised medical products.

There are currently two projects that are developing ways of incorporating 3D printing to benefit patients that are in need of specially fitted components or implants and prosthesis.

It is no secret that 3D Printing or Additive Manufacturing provides a serious resource to help produce one-off, highly complex components or parts for medical applications.

The process of making such highly complex parts will require further development of new processes and machines that can meet strict safety and health protocols.

The first manufacturer, Symbionica, are approaching this by focusing on developing a 3D printer that can make extremely customised prosthetics with short lead times.

“Symbionica’s approach is to focus on the development of a 3D printer that can make customized prostheses on demand. The printer will be able to make complex products in one processing step, incorporating different types of materials – a real novelty in the AM field.

The researchers plan to integrate the printer in a platform on which designers, engineers and other stakeholders can collaborate to customize prostheses.

“Symbionica is also creating what the project describes as a ‘bionic through-life sensing system’. This would provide ongoing support to patients fitted with prostheses. The assistance would include personalized exercise plans and sensors to monitor patients’ health conditions.

CerAMfacturingplans to use 3D printing to develop a new approach to make customized medical and consumer products from ceramics. These include implants with special properties – such as the ability to conduct electricity – and micro surgical tools.” source:

Both of these projects show just a couple of the many exciting advancements that will be coming to 3D printing in the near future. The sky is the limit for 3D printing!

The Race For 3D Printer Metal Filament For Any Standard Desktop 3D Printer Is Finally Over!

For those standing, you might want to sit down and hold on to the edge of your seat! What I am about to report is going to shock those of you who thought a pure all metal filament would never make it to the desktop 3D printer world.

Word has it on the streets that a couple of guys, from the upper Midwest, have developed a 3D Printing Filament with a very high metal content. They have succeeded in producing an almost pure metal 3D printing filament that can run on virtually any desktop 3D printer anywhere. Something that any maker with a 3D printer can use no matter how cheap or expensive their printer cost. A very affordable filament that produces stunning results that go far beyond any other “metal type” filament on the market.

The company is The Virtual Foundry, LLC in Madison, Wisconsin and the filament is called Filamet™.  While printer manufacturers were struggling for years to bring down the cost of 3D Metal Printers, these guys took a different approach. Rather than bringing the high end down in cost, Filamet™ was created to extend capabilities of current 3D printers to bring them up to the high-end machines.

Want to know how it works? There are two methods one of which is very basic and the second takes it a step further.

 The first method you just print and polish to bring out an outstanding shine. This process will leave you a product that is 88.8% pure metal.

 Take it a step further and pop your printed model into a kiln which will heat treat the print. First by vaporising any plastic binder then sintering the metal particles in the print. Walla, you have a 3D print that is 99.9+% Pure Metal!

I created an infographic showing the process:

metal 3d filament

For most people, polishing your Filamet™ model to shine will be more than enough to achieve their goal of a good looking model that is 8

For those looking for a purer, all metal will have to locate someone with a kiln to further refine their Filamet™ model as most people do not have a kiln sitting around.

For more information on prepping your model for a kiln please review the video below from The Virtual Foundry.

3d printer metal filament, filametCurrently, The Virtual Foundry makes the Filamet™ in Copper and Bronze, but more metals are in the works. They are also looking at further refining their process to bring in a more pure filament by raising the amount of metal from 88.8% on up to 92% by the end of summer.

I take this as a sign of good things to come in the world of 3D printing metal for desktop printers. We know more metal types are in the works so it should be interesting how far this goes.

Perhaps they will soon come out with a metal filament that can be quickly hardened to use in custom form tooling. I will be testing to see if we can use to aid in prototyping smaller sheet metal parts by printing small custom shape form tools for use in our CNC brake and forming presses.





3D Printed Body Parts – A Look Into The Future of 3D Printed Prosthetics 2

It is no secret that in recent years, as 3D printing has become more affordable for the masses, it is having a large impact on 3D printed prosthetics. 3D printing manufacturers such as Airwolf3D sponsering Print-a-Thons and flash printing events to donate 3D printed hands to those in need have changed the lives of hundreds of people. 

Here is an excellent article by techchrunch on the future of 3D printed prosthetics:

 Credits: The future of 3D-printed prosthetics – TechCrunch

The recent ubiquity of 3D printers and innovations in prosthetic design, manufacturing and distribution offer a viable solution for the millions of people living with limb loss around the world. In the United States alone, close to 200,000 amputations are performed each year, yet, with prosthetics priced from $5,000-$50,000, having one can almost be considered a luxury.

Traditionally, the process of getting a prosthetic limb can take anywhere from weeks to months. Because prosthetics are such personal items, each one has to (or should) be custom-made or fit to the needs of the wearer. However, as 3D printers become more affordable, with some available for less than $200, the possibility of anyone being able to design and print a prosthetic limb in their home or local community is rapidly becoming a reality.

To fully appreciate the cost of prosthetic limbs, we can look at the economics of a family with a child in need. On average, each prosthetic has a lifespan of five years, and when considering younger children who are growing every day and are prone to breaking things, more frequent replacements are required.

Once you calculate the price of the prosthetic and its subsequent replacements, the total lifetime cost could place a considerable amount of strain on a family’s finances. Not to mention, it is also almost impossible to get insurance companies to cover that cost annually — CNN recently reported a new Medicare proposal that would limit access to limbs (currently, there are 150,000 amputees in the system).

The democratization of prosthetic design and creation through 3D printing enables millions of people around the world to reap the benefits of the newly popularized manufacturing technology. Open-source initiatives such as The Enable Community Foundation let anyone with a 3D printer customize and create a prosthetic hand. Those on the Enable team, a global network of passionate volunteers, are using 3D printing to give the world a helping hand, and it only costs $50.


Enable’s “Raptor Reloaded” prosthetic hand in action.




7 Reasons Why The I3 MK2 Prusa 3D Printers Are The Most Popular and Trusted 3D Printers On The Market


It is no wonder after reading the following article why the Prusa I3 MK2 3D printers are one of the most popular and most trusted 3D printers ont he market. See at least 7 reasons or new features that make Josef Prusa’s design highly stable and extremely popular:

Prusa I3 MK2 3D Printer


Josef Prusa’s designs have always been trustworthy. He has a talent for scouring the body of work out there in the RepRap community, finding the most valuable innovations, and then blending them together along with some innovations of his own into something greater than the sum of its parts. So, it’s not hard to say, that once a feature shows up in one of his printers, it is the direction that printers are going. With the latest version of the often imitated Prusa i3 design, we can see what’s next.

The printers from Prusa research are my recommendation for anyone getting started in 3D printing who wishes to understand the magic box on their desk, humming away into the night. The Wanhao duplicator is okay, but it’s a cost optimized version of the work done by Prusa, E3D, Ultimachine, and others. You’ll only learn when it breaks, and it will break. Prusa puts top of the line parts into every printer, the design is accessible, and the documentation is the best out there. It’s the Old Heathkit quality of 3D printing.

As Prusa tells us in the video interview below (we caught up with him at the Microsoft booth at Maker Faire — a RepRap at the Microsoft booth!), The MK2 is packed with new features.

Auto Bed Leveling and Its Many Benefits

Le glass et mort.
Le verre est mort. Prusa recently posted a trashcan full of borosilicate glass plates on his twitter. 

There’s been a big push for auto bed leveling in the industry. It’s my absolute favorite upgrade for my printer. In my mind, it transformed the printer. I didn’t realize that being forced to level the bed on my printer was keeping me from using it until I did away with the chore.

Starting with servo motors moving limit switches into place, and ending with non-contact inductance sensors, the reprap community has been moving towards auto bed leveling for a while. At MRRF this year SeeMeCNC was showing off their tiny Eris delta printer which uses accelerometers under the build plate to accomplish this task. The MK2 uses another trick, with a non-contact inductance sensor for its own auto bed leveling.

before the MK2. A cold-corner compensating heated bed is a bed that has different trace densities at different parts of the board. This allows the heated build platform to put more energy into typically colder parts of the bed; which results in a more evenly heated area.

Credits: Prusa Shows Us the New i3 MK2 3D Printer and Where the Community is Headed – Hackaday
If you are new to the 3D printing market or if you are just looking to upgrade or pick up a new virtualy stress free 3D printer the Prusa I3 MK2 is defintely worth serious condideration.

Hacked Desktop 3D printer used for study of Precancerous Breast Disease

hacked makerbot used to 3d bioprint for breast cancer research
hacked makerbot used to 3d bioprint for breast cancer research
Hacked Makerbot used for bioprinting material

Believe it or not researchers are using a hacked Makerbot replicator to 3d print (or 3D bioprint) soft structures for breast cancer research.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UCPI) along with engineers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have teamed up to study the over diagnoses and over treatment of non-invasive precancerous breast tumors by utilizing a hacked Makerbot Replicator to create the first ever 3D bioprinted breast ductal structure to identify markers for low risk pre-malignant disease. The consumer grade 3D printer will be outfitted with a custom designed extruder to print soft tissue within a dissolvable gel. This will help overcome one of the biggest hurdles to printing breast ducts according to Adam Feinberg, materials science and biomedical engineering professor at CMU.

The first step is to create a realistic model system with complete control in order to uncover biomarkers. Up until now the only way to study breast tumors in the lab are to culture tumor cells in a petri dish or grow tumor cells in rodents. Neither method allows researchers a way to trace how breast duct structure impacts tumor spread.

Problems in the past with 3D printed breast ducts, according to Feinburg, is that the printed tissue collapses under its own weight.

“The challenge with these materials is that they’re super soft,” Feinberg said. “They collapse under their own weight. They’re kind of like Jell-O. A block of Jell-O would sit there just fine, like a cube. But once you try to make an intricate 3D structure, it would just fall apart.”

To fix this problem Feingburg’s group invented a way to print soft tissue within a dissolvable gel using a setup that includes a consumer grade desktop 3d printer. A Makerbot replicator normally extrudes layers of plastic to build up an object. But Feinburg created a custom extruder designed to extrude proteins layer by layer along with other molecules normally found in tissue.

Even better, the plans for this extruder were made available to anyone by opensource download through the National Institutes of Health website.

There is an infinite number of awesome things that can be created with this extruder design. Making it available to anyone interested in printing tissue should open up a route to advancing biomedical research.

Beyond creating better ways of diagnosing invasive DCIS, this new process of 3D bioprinting will help transform how future research is doen by allowing researchers and scientists the ability to create complex biology for study.

Up until now the process of printing tissue has been more than challenging and making the use of a consumer grade 3D printer fitted with an easy to replicate open source extruder seems so simple but at the same time ingenious and will hopefully prove to inspire other researchers to think outside the box and come up with radical new ways to advance science and medicine.