Last night was the second to last 3D Drop-in session for the year, and a chance to catch up with some of my students in the Makerspace @ the Dock.

The drop-in sessions loosely organised programming, allowing the Makers to discuss what they are working on, ask for advice and generally have some one-on-one time in a group format.

One of my students, Gordon, showed us some of the things he had been designing in Tindercad since taking the Design class.  He took our collective breaths away. I am always impressed to see where these skills will be applied, and Gordon showed us two very different concepts. The first was advanced shirt accessories and the second was a working model of gym equipment. Gordon is ready to pump up the printers, and get these into the real world.

After Gordon’s presentation, I explored the idea of welding two PLA pieces together using a small amount of filament chucked into a rotary tool. For those of you who are not familiar with rotary tools (also known by their product name Dremel) they are high speed hand held drills that spin at incredible rates. They are designed to have attachments added to allow sanding, cutting and polishing. The idea here was to use friction to melt both the printed item and the filament, and fuse them together, the same way welders do when combining metal.

 

We started slow, and found that little speed was needed before we were tacking (melting small points to hold the pieces together) and then filling (adding material) to the pieces.

It was a fun experiment, and we used different colours of filament to see what we were adding. The final piece needs to be sanded back but the idea was more than sound. It is a great way to save a print that might have broken, or even failed over time. I have no doubt that with a little finishing work, you will be able to use this technique to repair PLA prints…

 

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