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 second blog in the series of blogs by Jon to be shared throughout his final year at University.

I received my printer from Ultimaker! What a beautiful machine it is.
The Ultimaker Original came assembled so I was able to find a nice spot for it at home and give it a go straight away. The Original Ultimaker comes with a spool of white PLA and a g-code file to print their logo robot on the included memory card. I quickly loaded the PLA and printed off a little white robot. Success, I decided to load up the XT-CF20 and printed off the robot in the carbon fibre material from ‘Color Fabb’ .

Since receiving the printer I have be trying different shapes of joint to increase the facated nature of the parts to give the printer a good flat surface to begin printing with as little support as possible. The material has a black semi abrasive surface, which is very attractive. I have tried a few different finishes on the material, sanding, wax, oil, and an acetone vapor wash (Which did nothing, but this was expected).

A3 component shapes

To prepare my g-code files for printing on the Ultimaker I am using Cura, software developed by Ultimaker through open source. It seems much more reliable than most of the other programs I’ve used and handles files these other programs just flat out rejected. Free to download and compatible with most makes of printers I highly recommend you get it if your not using it already.

As the chair design develops now I have the printer I have started to look at other ways I can incorporate the 3D printed joints into other furniture pieces.
I wanted to use a design that would truly highlight the strength of XT-CF20 in my next design. I decided on a dining table and spent a while researching the designs of Hans J Wegner and Finn Juhl, Danish Architect designers prominent in the 1950/60s. After a lot a drawing and CAD work the table design part 1 is complete now.

A3 tables

For the next few weeks I will be printing off test parts to determine their strength, weakness’s and best shape for printing. As I’m back at university now I’ve had to work on a few other projects so don’t get to work on this as often as I would like at present. Having the Ultimaker at home is such a bonus in this situation, I can’t thank the guys at Ultimaker enough.

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