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Thoughts & News From The Polar 3D Team

Viewing entries in
Design Challenge

Thanksgiving Challenge Winners!

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Thanksgiving Challenge Winners!

Now announcing our Thanksgiving Challenge Winners! We're so thankful for the bounty of 25 entrants, and the decision was a tough one. After much deliberation we focused on a few distinct qualities to chose the winners: theme, build difficulty and detail. Without further adieu, here's our runners up!

Second Runner Up - "Thanksgiving Utensil Holder" by: Brayden Boyum

"The turkey is a decoration and the two little hills on both sides you use to set your forks and spoons and stuff down on it."

First Runner Up - "Thanksgiving Table" by: Jada Fox

"The best day of the year where family comes together this little table shows a beautiful dinner with many different food and the word family on the side because family is the best thing to have at a Thanksgiving dinner."

Winner - "Cornucopia" by: Jayna Searles

"An iconic symbol of the first Thanksgiving, this cornucopia will make a great decoration for your Thanksgiving table."
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Congratulations to Jayna on her design challenge win! She will be receiving a roll of our cool Wood Filament! The runner's up will receive a roll of filament in the color of their choice too. Don't forget, you can download these great designs (using the links above) or any of the other great challenge entrants here on the Polar Cloud. Thank you to everyone who participated and keep an eye out for our upcoming Christmas Challenge, debuting soon!

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Haunted Halloween Challenge Winners!

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Haunted Halloween Challenge Winners!

The winners of our Haunted Halloween Challenge were certainly scary... scary awesome that is! Here's the designs that shone bright, came out on top, and won some filament!

First, our runners up — each winning 3 rolls of filament in the colors of their choice...

"Ghost Candle" by: Lily Porter

 
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We like this shocked little ghost for its clean design and the fact that it was easy to print a whole squadron with very little support material. We did get one tip from Lily to help potential printers: "In order to fit the candle, size it to 120(%) or larger."

"Starry Pumpkin" by: Travis Fortney

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Travis' design utilizes a cool star pattern and inverted our tutorial, putting the hole at the top like a traditional pumpkin. We bet the star shadows and lights that display on the surrounding ground — once this print is lit — is pretty impressive.  

Finally, the grand prize winner... *drumroll* ...

"Spiderweb Pumpkin" by: Jayna Searles

This object is so cool — and the complexity of the spider-web and spider on the pumpkin is such a great touch! Jayna let us know that this object really looks great lit, which is exactly what we were looking for : "This print will be perfect for a table where it glows in a neat pattern." How fun is that?!  

But more important than the cool spider web, Jayna's challenge entry shows a great lesson of the challenges of new designs in 3D printing: try, try again. Just as we espouse in our STEAMtrax education system, the design process is hinged on trial and error — and Jayna re-tried printing her great design after a filament bind during her first print — and got a successful print on try two! Congratulations to Jayna for her grit and perseverance in making such a great design. Jayna and the runners-up will be contacted shortly for their filament preferences and be sent their prizes shortly! Thank you to everyone for participating and keep an eye out for our next challenge centered around the Thanksgiving table!

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Haunted Halloween Challenge Tutorial

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Haunted Halloween Challenge Tutorial

A 3D Printed Jack O Lantern with an LED candle inside lights up the whole print!

A 3D Printed Jack O Lantern with an LED candle inside lights up the whole print!

We've just launched the Haunted Halloween Challenge! This challenge is a little different than previous ones — we'd like you to make a design that should be lit up from the inside! It seemed like a great opportunity to help out our students and teachers with a little tutorial.

Due to the fact that excessive heat and finished 3D Prints don't mix too well, we suggest that you use a flameless LED candle to make your prints light up. As evidenced by the adjacent photo, it works really well! You can find inexpensive, flameless LED candles at most major stores, especially during this Halloween season.

To make a hole big enough for a flameless candle in your model, first you'll need to measure the candle you'd like to insert. Our candle, for the sake of the tutorial, was roughly 1.5" (38mm) in diameter and 1.5" (38mm) tall. To ensure enough room inside the print, we decided that making a slightly larger cylinder of 1.75"D (44mm) x 1.75"H (44mm) would work best. We suggest that you also make the hole slightly bigger than your candle to be safe. 

Now you'll need to create the spooky model you'd like to illuminate. That part is entirely up to you and we look forward to seeing your design! For our tutorial, we've started with a basic, not-so-scary pumpkin in the center of the workplane. We first raised the pumpkin to make some space beneath it. Next, we created the cylinder and scaled it to the proper size using the control handles on the model.

With the cylinder finished, we lowered our pumpkin model on top of the cylinder so that they overlapped. To ensure that the hole works in printing, we extended the base of the cylinder past the workplane using the control handles. Then with the cylinder selected, we changed it from "Color" to "Hole" and grouped the pumpkin and cylinder hole together. This creates a pumpkin with the proper candle hole inside! 

Once you've crossed this point with your design, you can save it in TinkerCAD and download the STL file for printing. When you upload your design to the Polar Cloud for printing, we suggest you use a small "Infill Amount" in your Cura settings (5-10%). This will allow more light to shine through from your candle! Finally, be sure you have support material turned on to ensure your candle hole doesn't cause your part to collapse during printing. With those settings in place, you can press print and watch it go!

Once your design has printed, simply remove the support material and insert your LED candle! Take a picture of your design all lit up and send it to us, and we'll be happy to share your spooky creations. Best of luck to everyone in this challenge and have fun printing!

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Home Fix-It Polar Challenge Winners!

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Home Fix-It Polar Challenge Winners!

Let's get right down to it, here's our awesome winners for the Polar 3D Home Fix-It Challenge...

Winner - "Hook For Bags" by: Tyler Wos and Jason Muglia

This entry was an early favorite during the challenge due to its simplicity and effectiveness at such a common problem. Everyone has groceries — and whether you use tote bags, paper or plastic — at some point the amount one can carry easily becomes pretty limited. This design allows easy transport of bags from store to home and helps the user carry far more, without strain on the hands, in less trips. We definitely encourage folks to print a few of these out to keep in the trunk of their car, or with their grocery tote bags. We'd also suggest trying the design in some carbon fiber filament to really boost the amount of weight you can haul. Who knows how much weight one of these could take?! If you find out, let us know — print the file from the Polar Cloud here!

Runner Up - "Drainable Sponge Tray" by: Zachary Casto

This design was pretty interesting to the judges as it not only served an interesting purpose, but solved its problems in a subtle way. Disposable cleaning items like sponges generally don't have a "place to live" in the home, save for the edges of the sink. This causes them to not only build up grime faster, but also make the area they're sitting become as dirty as the sponge. By making a 3D printable storage area, the sponge can be set to dry on a cheap an easily replaceable 3D print that drains itself of water with its subtle geometric slope. And once the sponge is dry, it can be stored inside the tray, away from the view of guests, etc. We'll definitely be printing these out for our sinks — and you can print one out too, right here on the Polar Cloud!

Runner Up - "Backpack Clip" by: Aidan Moncelle

This backpack clip really intrigued us as it solved a personal problem for Aidan — holding drawstring bags (like gym or storage bags) closed and secure over his shoulders. But the real thing we appreciated about this design was the versatility of it. You can print this design and not only solve Aidan's problem but a slew of other around the home. A simple and durably designed clip like this is perfect for holding things all over a home. We've been printing these out and using them for hooking up lots of things where one might use a carabiner or ring hook. This is also another print that benefits from stronger filaments like carbon fiber. You can grab this awesome design here on the Polar Cloud!

...and as always, you can go check out and print all of the challenge entries for free here on the Polar Cloud!

Congratulations to our winners, we will be contacting you to send your winning filament soon. Thank you to everyone who participated in our latest challenge, the entries are always fun to print and test out! Please keep an eye out for our next, Haunted Halloween Challenge starting shortly!

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Home Fix-It With Polar 3D

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Home Fix-It With Polar 3D

During our Home Fix-It Challenge, we thought we'd highlight an inspiring and real world story to encourage you that using 3D Printing in the home is possible. While our focus at Polar 3D is on education, many of our customers use Polar 3D printers and software to support hobbies and projects at home. The following post is by one of our team members, Industrial Designer and Director of Product Development, David Parrott, who used a Polar 3D printer and the Polar Cloud to create a custom plumbing fixture for a bathroom remodeling project at home. 

“My house is an old Victorian, built in 1895, and I love doing home improvement work myself. As anyone with an old house will tell you, nothing in a 100+ year old home is square or standard; if you want to do it yourself, you’re often fabricating custom things by hand. One area where this is particularly problematic is plumbing. Because the home DIYer traditionally hasn’t had the ability to fabricate metal plumbing components, (s)he has to settle for what’s available from the hardware store – or spend a bundle at a specialty plumbing shop. For this project, even the specialty store didn’t have what I need. This is where 3D printing came in. Because I had access to a Polar 3D printer, I was able to design a custom plumbing component that overcame the functional challenges of my non-standard plumbing and matched the aesthetic of the new bathroom. I then printed the new piece, using the Polar Cloud."

THE PROBLEM

"I had just replaced the existing vanity sink with a new console sink from Signature Hardware. Rather than tear up the subfloor, I left the existing drain pipe in the floor, which protruded from the new tile. (It used to be hidden by the vanity.) I was planning to use a tall, chrome box flange from Home Depot to cover it, so I wasn’t worried about the height of the compression fitting. When I finally purchased and test-fit the new box flange, I discovered that it wasn’t tall enough to cover the compression fitting. Even Signature Hardware and Keidel Plumbing Supply – specialty suppliers with amazing varieties of non-standard fixtures – didn’t have a box flange that would work.
It was too late to change the plumbing without tearing up the new tile (and subfloor). Further, the new box flange was too plain, aesthetically, to match the Victorian-like ornamentation of the rest of the room."

THE SOLUTION

"When I realized that I’d have to waste a week of work and hundreds of dollars of tile to replace this simple fitting, my mind quickly turned to other solutions. I used Solidworks and my Polar3D printer to quickly model and print a custom box flange that was taller than standard and with an aesthetic that reflected the shape of the surrounding baseboard molding. The new flange design took just minutes to create in Solidworks and could have been produced in Fusion 360, Sketchup or any other free piece of CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. I used the basic profile of our new baseboards for the shape."

"Printing the new flange was easy with the Polar Cloud. I just uploaded the files from my computer and watched them build – from my computer and iPhone – using the integrated webcam. The entire print just took a few hours, and when it was done I had a real, solid plastic part that was stronger and more unique than anything I could buy on-line or locally."

"I test fit the new piece before painting it. Everything fit perfectly. The plastic was durable and already relatively smooth. 
After a very little sanding and some spray paint, the result looks like a production fitting. I used the cheapest chrome Rustoleum paint I could find, and it turned out pretty well.
I installed the new box flange and shot a couple of photos. The images below show it compared to a production box flange and the finished unit, installed in the bathroom. The entire process ofcreating, preparing and installing the new box flange took less than 6 hours – most of it unattended printing.
Additive manufacturing has the potential to change the way products are designed, manufactured, and sold. But the future in which everyone has a 3D printer at home, and the additive process replaces high volume manufacturing methods (e.g. injection molding, et al.) seems like it’s still a couple years out. In the meantime, users like me can use low cost, high reliability 3D printers like Polar 3D and others to produce professional-grade products that are quick, inexpensive and dialed for custom applications. For this and other projects, I couldn’t have done it without Polar3D.”

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