Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Almost at the finish line

Don’t let the lack of activity on this blog fool you — this has been one of the busiest semesters for the 3D printing service in recent memory.  So busy, in fact, that I kept forgetting to photograph completed prints!

Apologies to those of you who submitted personal items for printing — I have had to prioritize project-based prints and so there’s a bit of a back log.  I am hopeful I’ll finish most things on the list before the new year.

Good luck to you in all your end-of-semester tasks, and I hope you all have a relaxing holiday break.

Happy Summer

Another semester under our belts!  We had an average of three printing requests per week and put several hundred hours of printing time into our machines.  All in all it was a great semester for the service.

We’re still around in the summer so if you have any ideas, please send them our way!

Happy Holidays!

Given that there are still a few things in the queue, it’s probably safe to say that we’re done processing submissions for the year.  Feel free to send them in, just know that they’ll be dealt with when we start up again in January.

Here are a few recent prints.

And here’s a recycled holiday greeting, since I didn’t get a chance to print a new one this year:

Thanks a lot to all our users — your imagination and creativity knows no bounds.

Year’s almost over…

…and that means the 3D printing service will go on a brief hiatus.  Realistically, the last day we’ll be accepting submissions will probably be around the 13th.  I say ‘probably’ since if someone submitted something tiny, we could probably fire that off before we stop for the year.  As always, submissions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

There will definitely not be any printing past the 19th of December.

Workshop – Nov 10, Butler 306

We try to offer interesting workshops on a variety of subjects — you can always check our Workshops page to see what’s coming up — and in a mix of locations.

Next Friday (November 10), we’ll be offering an intro to 3D design session in Butler 306 at 2pm.  If you haven’t had a chance to explore this technology, this would be an ideal time to sit down and play around.  You never know what you might come up with!


Good job on another end of semester.  Hopefully it’s all gone well.  If you’re hanging about this summer, remember that we’re here year-round!

A Friendly Reminder

As we enter our busy season towards the end of the semester, please note that due to the small scale of our service, we cannot guarantee deadlines.  If you have a project due in two days, we’ll try to accommodate you, but we make no promises.

Happy holidays!

Congratulations on what was hopefully a successful end of semester.

We hope you all have a happy holiday season.  If you come up with a great idea for something to print, make sure to drop us a line!

Designing Moving Parts

A little while ago, a student contacted me for help with designing things with moving parts such as hinges.  I thought I’d put some of the links in my reply here, for some light Thanksgiving reading:


Designing 3D printed pin hinges, no assembly required:  This person unfortunately doesn’t seem to mention the type of printer they used (since different types of 3D printer might make a certain design easier or harder).  The pictures look like the kind of thing we print, though (the layered look suggests it).

You could look over some examples of how other people have designed hinges:
You can try to bring in some models into Tinkercad by using the Import function on the right hand sidebar; if you import from a file, it needs to be STL format.  There is a file size limitation, though.  Unfortunately, the nature of Tinkercad makes it so that if you import the STL, you can’t really pick it apart very well (other than just creating holes and subtracting parts of the original model); but it might still be a useful exercise to wrap your mind around how the item was designed, especially if you start cutting away into it to see the insides.

Here’s another hinge design, this one made in 123D Design.

For the sake of information, I’ll point out “living hinges”, although this type of hinge will not work with our printers since the plastic we use is more rigid than the nylon-type used in this example.  🙂 video course – Desigining replacement parts with Tinkercad:  this doesn’t address moving parts but I think the section 3 on printing and testing seems useful.

I’m having a bit of a tough time finding information on designing hinges specifically for 3D printing, so some more general information might be useful as well.


Hope that’s useful to somebody out there!