Do 3D Printers Really Need to be More "Consumer Friendly?"

September 9, 2016 | via ProgressTH 

Just recently, our Ultimaker clone 3D printer, theExtrabot 3020 E3D, had a problem with its heater cartridge. We've been running it pretty hard for almost a year without any major problems so we've been lucky that this was the first real problem we faced.

Nonetheless, it was a problem. The heat would suddenly drop off during a print. If you were on hand and could jiggle the wire it might start heating again and finish the print. If you were away for even a few minutes, the temperature would drop below the melting point of the PLA plastic and the print would be ruined.

We first attempted to find and solder the faulty point in the line, but it turns out we never really found where the fault was. Eventually we had to give up and replace it. Because many 3D printers are opensource including ours it was very easy to find the exact heater cartridge we needed to replace it. We got it in about a day through the mail, and the same day it was delivered we installed it and were printing again.

Makers Meet Medicine at Local Children's Hospital

July 24, 2016 | via ProgressTH Last week, we organized together with QSNICH (Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health), a presentation and workshop showcasing the now nearly year-long collaboration between several nurses and our Bangkok-based makerspace, ProgressTH.

A year ago, nurses from QSNICH, a national children's hospital, approached us to see if 3D printing could be used to develop healthcare solutions throughout their hospital.

Nurses, it turns out, are also skilled part-time makers, often improvising on the spot with materials on hand to solve problems as they present themselves. However, with 3D printing, it is possible to solve these problems in a more permanent and precise manner, and then replicate these solutions accurately to be used on a larger scale. 

So we began taking the concepts nurses presented to us, including a bubble-level used to calibrate bed height in the ICU, a needle disposal system, a child-friendly dermatology tool, and a blood clotting device, and began 3D printing prototypes for testing throughout the hospital.

We went through several iterations with the nurses over several months, who would provide us feedback throughout each step of the process so we could develop better solutions.

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