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Sunday, 27 August 2017


Cetus 3d Printer

These butterflies my wife Christine made.....
were part of what led me......
to speculate on the design of flexible nodes made from individual segments.
This is a cube made from cardboard.......
which led to this 3d printed prototype of the Tribo system.
While studying at Monash University, I was exposed to 3d printing at a grass roots level.  I’d already used 2d and 3d cad, and one of my supervisors let me use his printer, and he helped me make a few parts.  Later, another supervisor, Mark, started a project helping students build their own printers, with work carried out in the shared space I was studying in.  By the time I decided I had a use for a 3d printer, I wasn’t afraid of them, and a friend Tahl recommended an affordable printer called the Cetus 3d.  When it was ordered, my idea was to make a new type of low friction bearing, but by the time it arrived, I decided to develop some ideas I had for construction kits instead.  And that’s basically what my Cetus has been used for.

So why construction kits?  I became interested in them out of curiosity which started as attempts to build 3d models with wooden skewers.  I could build models in 2d, but when it came to extending them into 3d, they usually needed rubber bands at the nodes to hold them together. At the same time, I had been building recumbent cycle tailboxes using coreflute, and this involved the folding, creasing, bending and practical use of this plastic corrugated board.  My wife Christine used some of my coreflute scraps for garden “butterflies” which supposedly ward off garden pests such as real butterflies.  The garden butterflies are cut coreflute pierced by a skewer, and after some thought, and a few days I started making nodes for 3d models out of coreflute.  A bit of work revealed an entire “Zoo” of these nodes.

One of the nodes made from round coreflute interested me.  It was made from one piece of material segmented by folds, and I wondered what a truly segmented equivalent would look like.  After drawing it in 3d cad and more speculation with models, I printed some samples, then gradually developed them into the Tribo set.

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