Prototyping, Testing and Manufacturing with 3D Printing


As a analysis and improvement mechanical engineer, Michael Graham has seen just a few completely different sorts of know-how come and go. However as soon as a school buddy talked about 3D printing to him, he was hooked.

A busy day for the Mug-O-Matic

A busy day for the Mug-O-Matic

Since 2011 Michael has labored as a contractor and engineer designing and constructing specialty machines and industrial gear. He has additionally dabbled in 3D printing by way of his profession, most notably with HP’s multi-jet Fusion 3D printer, and infrequently elsewhere. However in 2012 he picked up an authentic Printrbot with the 3D printed and laser lower {hardware} to construct it for the training expertise.

“I noticed individuals making trinkets on Thingiverse however truthfully I had no thought what I’d use the machine for. It simply appeared like a doubtlessly great tool and a profession ability to choose up.”

The Amazing Mug-O-Matic!

The Superb Mug-O-Matic!

As soon as he moved from the Midwest to Portland, Oregon and found the PDX 3D Printing Lab meetup and the thriving maker group, he had discovered his tribe of fellow ‘layer geeks’. They meet month-to-month to share tales and nerd out. Additionally they contribute a heavy presence to the annual Portland MakerFaire.

As an engineer, Michael has created exams, jigs and fixtures, and lots of different designs. One in every of his main engineering experiments got here after he grew to become curious concerning the power of the completely different infill patterns utilized by most 3D printers. So, he constructed a take a look at machine and decided that the rectilinear infill sample was not solely the quickest to 3D print, however it additionally resulted in a higher last half power/weight ratio in comparison with a honeycomb fill. He additionally decided that perimeters have a far higher impact on half power than infill does by way of power gained/plastic used. These outcomes helped Michael mannequin the present strategies he makes use of to design his 3D prints. An engineer all the best way!

Michael's Universal Test Machine

Michael’s Common Check Machine

Whereas he has a store with a lathe, a mill, and different bigger manufacturing machines, he makes use of his 3D printer probably the most. He enjoys seeing the fruits of his labor extra simply repeated and shared. He primarily makes use of a Prusa Mk3 to manufacture his designs.

Michael’s principal undertaking in the mean time is the Mug-O-Matic TinyCNC drawing robotic. The Mug-O-Matic is an open-source, extremely modifiable mug printing robotic that makes use of markers, and the path of the creator who makes it, to brighten favourite espresso receptacles with enjoyable designs.

Michael's Gear Light Switch Cover

Michael’s Gear Gentle Swap Cowl

“I’ve experimented with constructing a machine to routinely acetone vapor polish abs plastic utilizing an ultrasonic mister. It labored fairly effectively however it was undoubtedly a hack. These days I’ve my thoughts set on producing novelty robotic kits and my designs particularly DO NOT require any post-processing since that drastically will increase the man-hours wanted to provide them. The imaginative and prescient is to actually scrape components off the print bend and drop them right into a transport field, with none purposeful compromises being made.”

Michael is consistently pushed by curiosity and a need to develop and apply new expertise. This lead him to the creation of the Mug-O-Matic, “This explicit work was impressed by quite a lot of tasks found on-line by way of my curiosity in making toys and constructing automated gear. I actually just like the ‘Eggbot’ egg plotter specifically and the way critically it takes its foolish process. I needed to create my very own little process particular robotic too, besides with an output that has extra on a regular basis enchantment than eggs. I believed hmm…I drink espresso on daily basis & I’ve by no means seen a espresso mug plotter earlier than. Sounds enjoyable!  Finally, my toy has completely different priorities than the eggbot, so I take advantage of completely different know-how and commerce off a lowered drawing decision to realize a lower cost level.”

Michael's Homemade Vapor Polisher for ABS

Michael’s Home made Vapor Polisher for ABS

However as a realist, Michael is aware of that supplies for tasks needs to be attainable by everybody, so he makes use of off-the-shelf supplies, as a rule, so everybody can reap the benefits of his creations. Solely when he can’t buy a ready-made resolution does he begin designing new components. At that time, he makes use of no matter materials it takes to get the job achieved proper.

Michael has put his skills to good use, successful a number of design contests sponsored by, Thingiverse, Pinshape, and others. He attributes his success to placing in a severe effort to make a artistic, authentic, and reproducible undertaking with glorious documentation. His hottest tasks have a number of hundred thousand views on his web site (hyperlinks under).

For the longer term, Michael has many tasks to work on, however he has a weak spot that many people share, “ I attempt to not overlook that the most harmful factor affecting my potential to finish a given undertaking is…my subsequent undertaking! So I attempt to not do two tasks without delay. That stated, down the highway, I’d have an interest to construct an expert (open-source) model of my TesterBot machine and provide a mechanical testing service. The one limitation is discovering paying shoppers first!”

A three-wheeled design project Michael worked on in college.

A 3-wheeled design undertaking Michael labored on in faculty.

We stay up for seeing extra of Michael’s designs come to life sooner or later! To see extra of what Michael is as much as, go to his web site right here:

It’s also possible to see Michaels’ designs on Thingiverse right here:

Do you assume you will have what it takes to be our subsequent Hacker of the Month? Merely comply with us on Fb/Twitter or e mail [email protected]. Inform us about your undertaking or 3D printed creation, and you could possibly be featured in our subsequent e-newsletter. The Hacker of the Month will even obtain a free spool of PRO Collection or MH Construct filament to additional their pursuit of 3D printing greatness.


Leave a Reply