Friday, February 1, 2013

Useful tips for designing away from home

I got my 3d printer a few days ago.  Labeling it a "game changer" would be an understatement.  Especially when I start to make toys and educational items for my kids.

Having a day job and working on different designs at night gets to be a drag sometimes.  I would like to run with the inspiration from idea and quickly make the damn thing.  These tips help with the current time delay.

1) A CDs thickness is 1.2mm.  Want to measure something quickly?  Stack some CDs next to your object of interest, multiply the number of CDs by 1.2mm.

2) Know the measurement of a part of your finger down to the millimeter.  You can get quick estimates this way.  I use the part of my index finger between two knuckles.

3) Openscad is your best friend.  It's a free opensource tool to quickly script up any part or design.

4) Dropbox.com.  Overcomes the difficulty of being in two locations.  Any lunchtime design sessions or fixes can be accessed anywhere.

5) Thingiverse.  If you just want to calibrate your 3d printer, this free collection of designs is a time saver.

6) curriculum.makerbot.com/.  Just found this while looking for the dimensions of a lego.  Check out their openscad tutorials.