If you have a 3D printer working with thermoplastics such as ABS and PLA then you have probably noticed that the device makes strange electronic noises that are different when printing various things. These noises are produced by the stepper motors that move the extruder of the 3D printer on the different axes, but you might not be aware of the fact that you can actually take advantage of this “feature” and actually use it to play music. We have tinkered a bit with some tools that are readily available and have managed to make our Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer play the Imperial March theme from Star Wars pretty decently as you can see on the embedded video above. We are also going to tell you how we have managed to do that and point you to the tools you need to actually make your Replicator 2 or another 3D printer play various music.

The purpose of the whole process is to make a special programming for the 3D printer that takes advantage of the noise produced by the stepper motors when they move in order to recreate music. You need a MIDI file as a source with the music that you will be converting to be played on the 3D printer and with the help of the MIDI-to-CNC open source Python script from Rickard Dahlstrand to convert the MIDI music file to Gcode format that is understandable by many 3D printers. In order to make our Makerbot Replicator 2 printer play the file however we also needed to convert the Gcode file into X3G one and for that we have used the GPX gcode to x3g converter. The result is quite nice and does not take a lot of time once you get the hang of things you can experiment with different music pieces as long as you have them available in MIDI format. Do note that the MIDI-to-CNC tool is designed to actually print something while the 3D printer is playing music, but the additional conversion to make it work on the Replicator 2 3D printer is not extruding filament, just playing music.

taulman-tglase-xtc-3d-coating

T-glase is a 3D printer filament designed to provide a look and feel like a real glass tot he things you print using this plastic filament with your 3D printer. The filament developed by Taulman is designed to be easily printed with settings similar to the ones you would normally use for standard PLA filament and the results are pretty nice. It seems that Taulman has discovered and easy and affordable way to make your 3D printed parts using the T-glase filament even more transparent and glass-like with the help of the Smooth-On XTC-3D coating for 3D printed parts that we’ve talked about a few days ago as a means for getting a smoother finish to your prints. The results that Taulman show in their short guide on how well the filament works with the coating are nothing short of impressive, so we would advice to take a look at the guide that they have provided for use with the T-glase filament. Based on our experience however you may have some trouble finding the Smooth-On XTC-3D coating in some parts of the world, but hopefully it will soon be widely available and we are going to be able to do some tests on our own.

To check out the guide from Taulman on using XTC-3D with their T-glase filament…

german-reprap-neo-3d-printer

The German RepRap has an interesting deal if you want to have a 3D printer for someone as a Christmas gift this holiday and you are based in Europe. Their NEO X-mas edition 3D printer kit comes with a great package at the attractive price of 698.99 EUR. With the NEO Christmas edition you ll get a ready-to-print NEO 3D printer plus LED lighting and 100 grams PLA 1.75 mm filament each in gold, silver and transparent. A 3D Printer is the ideal Christmas gift for everybody who is keen on new technology: early adopters, hobbyists, men, women and children. With the NEO 3D Printer you are able to print your own toys, spare parts, decoration for Christmas and other occasions or every-day tools. And the good price of the device sure makes it an interesting option for a gift to get someone started in the world of 3D printing, before deciding to go for a more serious solution for 3D printing or not. This 3D printer is designed for smaller prints and comes at a good price for a first 3D printer, so it is good even if you want to have it for yourself if you are interested in 3D printing and do not want to spend too much for your first device.

Technical specifications:

– Printer dimensions (w/h/d): 330 x 330 x 330 mm
– Maximum printed size: (X/Y/Z) 150 x 150 x 150 mm
– Filament support: PLA, 1.75mm
– Extruder nozzle size: 0.5 mm
– Maximum print resolution: 0.1 mm
– Printer Technology: FFF
– Delivery: Fully-assembled
– Voltage: 110/230V AC
– Power consumption: ca. 50W
– Weight: ca. 6kg

For more information about the NEO Christmas edition 3D printer from German RepRap…

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