Jon Christie is a Design Student at Dundee University. He approached us at the CREATE Education Project to develop his research into the use of 3D Printing as a Rapid Manufacturing tool.  This is the third part in the series of blogs by Jon to be shared throughout his final year at University. We recently upgraded Jon from an Ultimaker Original to an Ultimaker 2 to help him further with his project.

I have a loan of the Ultimaker 2 now, a very similar printer in terms of print resolution to the Original Ultimaker I was previously loaned but has all the extra bells and whistles you could want. I liked the Original Ultimaker but I love this one. Again I can’t thank CREATE Education enough for arranging the loan of the printers and making so much of this possible.

In a rush to get things done though, I have inadvertently cut through the tendons of my finger. I’ve had a small operation and have my left hand in a plaster cast. I’m sure if anyone’s reading this they’ve had a few close shaves themselves. All I can say is be careful with the scalpels and scrapers!

I’m using this time where my hand is out of action to do some filming for my final presentation. I’m shooting traditional workshop and Make Lab footage, trying to capture the beauty of making. It’s just another part of the creative process that has to be completed.


My project is also looking at using 3D Printed components to join and hinge any solid materials. Bespoke connections and angled faces remove much of the difficulty in bonding or hinging multiple materials. This has developed as an offshoot from the furniture side of things and could aid in many areas from woodworking to Architecture.


I hope to have 4 identical dining chairs and dining table completed for my degree show in May. No small task! The furniture will be constructed in solid walnut with final 3D printed components in red polished Polyamide. I will use ‘IMaterialise’ to produce my final parts. This will give me the quality I need for a high-end finish. I would highly recommend their services.

One main difficulty throughout the project was printing using the XT-CF20 filament. Printing large parts can be a bit of a science in itself. It is a wonderful strong material that has a lovely finish. Regrettably it has a tendency to deposit small blobs of filament onto the nozzle, which causes problems later in the print. With this delay added to a few hardware issues I decided to use a regular PLA for prototyping quickly.

I tried using ABS, however warping issues soon ruled that out as a possible choice, ABS+ was a little better but still had a few warping issues on large prints. I have also reduced the size of the 3D Printed joints in my designs, using a bare minimum of material and relying on form to increase part strength.

I was quite surprised at just how strong the regular PLA is. I am testing chair frames right now and fully expect the PLA joints to work well and provide all the necessary strength. At the beginning of the project I did a lot of research into strong materials available for domestic 3D Printers. Replacing hardwood furniture joints was not something I was confident regular materials could manage.



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