Our August Designer of the Month is Daniel Norée! You may have seen his Google communities focused around creating R/C cars and model trains, or you may have even printed out one of his many versatile designs. Here he is today to talk about his journey through 3D printing, working at Creative Tools, as well as provide some tips for makers and designers in the community!
Pinshape: Hi Daniel! So tell us: how did you get started with 3D printing?
Daniel: Some 15 years ago I saw a 3D printer for the first time and I was hooked. I wanted one but obviously they were far out of my price range.
A decade later, in 2011 I heard that a Swedish company called Creative Tools had started selling what they called “desktop 3D printers” that were a part of something called the RepRap Project. The machine was a MakerBot named the “Thing-o-Matic”. It was love at first sight! I ordered one, started printing and never looked back!
Pinshape: What do you like designing and how do you decide what to make next?
Daniel: I have a thing for challenges. When somebody said there’s no way you can make an R/C car, I just had to make it happen. I love to prove skeptics wrong and I try hard to push the limits of 3D printing. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t.
I’m completely hooked on creating R/C stuff and I want to evolve the designs. There are too many ideas about what to do next and so little time.
Daniel: I use several softwares. TopSolid 7, Fusion 360 and DesignSpark Mechanical are some of them. If you’re looking for a good free-of-charge modelling software, there’s a lot to choose from. I think Designspark Mechanical or 123D Design or is a good place to start. FreeCAD is also a nice alternative that is open source. Other than that, if you search Google you’ll find many to choose from!
(Editor’s note: Check out Pinshape’s design software for beginners for a guide on free software you can start designing with!)
Pinshape: What modifications have you made to your printer?
Daniel: I’ve done lots of mods over the years. When I started, I did more obvious modifications such as modding the x/y carriage on the Thing-O-Matic for a bigger build space, or reinforcing the z-carriage arms in my Replicator Dual and Replicator 2X. Nowadays it’s more about adding or replacing a PLA fan, new extruder block for better printing with soft filaments such as NinjaFlex and so on. The little things that make a difference.
Pinshape: What tips do you have for makers who try to print your designs?
Daniel: When designing I try to keep to my designs at a certain quality standard. Even though my designs may not be perfect, I’d like to think that anyone should be able to download my designs, print them and expect a certain level of quality to the models. Of course they differ in level of difficulty. Designs with multiple parts that need a higher level of tolerance are harder and “print-in-place” designs can also be quite demanding. But the more work you put into a print, the bigger the reward when you succeed!
Pinshape: What tips do you have for new designers?
Daniel: Don’t let anybody tell you what you can or can’t do and don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things! Go your own way if you want. If in doubt, ask others that have the experience you may lack. It can save you hours of headache and maybe even get you a few extra tips and tricks.
R/C cars are a lot of fun and after doing my first 3D printed car I thought that there should be some way to gather DIY R/C projects and their makers, and so “The OpenRC Project” was born. After showing my OpenRC stuff at a hobby fair in Stockholm and seeing a lot of cool model train builds, I thought it would be interesting to apply 3D printing to the model train hobby. And of course, model trains are perfect for showcasing 3D printing. I think this technology has great potential to make a big difference in the hobby genre.
Pinshape: What has been the response towards these groups?
The OpenRC Project was immediately picked up by lots of people and gathered great interest. The community has grown to about 4000 members since it started. There are now several projects to download, print, or modify into your own creation. And there’s no stopping it! We are at the very beginning so keep an eye out for new projects!
The OpenRailway is also coming along nicely— although a bit slower. It will grow over time for sure. All in all the reactions have been positive on both projects.
Pinshape: Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share with the Pinshape community?
Try to look at the future of 3D printing by looking back in the past and understanding how technological democratization deeply changed our lives. Today anyone can write text and publish it globally at no cost. Photography and recording movies is instantaneous and requires no chemicals. I am sure that new 3D modelling software, in combination with easy-to-use 3D printers, will change the way we consume products.
I don’t think that we’re going to stop buying mass-produced objects from stores in the future. Instead, we are going to find ways to make and share new things that stores and the retail market can’t supply us with.
Check out my current and future models here on Pinshape under my personal account and also on CreativeTools. I recently joined the CT team and they are as addicted to 3D printing as I am. We have lots of ongoing designs in the making which we will release in the future.
Thanks for your time Daniel, and it was wonderful getting to know how you’ve followed your passions to creating these great community groups centered around 3D printing! Keep an eye out for his designs and if R/C cars or intricate 3D trains interest you, you should definitely check out the Google+ communities! Or print out a few models from Daniel himself here!