Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New supply kits from SolidModel USA

SolidModel USA recently replaced SolidVision as my 3D printer supplier, after the latter had merged with FISHER/UNITECH to became a Stratsys affiliate.  But this is only a superficial change for me because SolidModel is staffed by the same employees who supported the SD300 at SolidVision, so this is just a continuation of an established business relationship. SolidModel USA is branching out to include Objet's offerings, from the venerable Eden series to the versatile Connex.

I'm particularly pleased Ernesto Galvez made the transition to SolidModel USA because he voluntarily gave my orders special attention at SolidVision after I experienced breakage with several of my early supply orders.

 Why were supplies sometimes damaged during shipment?

Solido's old carton design is pictured below, showing how supplies were arranged into neat-looking compartments.  But it's a poor arrangement because the vulnerable AntiGlue cartridge (black) is tucked between the incompressible PVC roll at the outer wall of the carton: there's no crush space.  Some cartons arrived with that cartridge broken.

Ernesto addressed the breakage problem by re-packing every supply shipment, adding folded cardboard panels around the sharp edges of the heavy PVC roll so it wouldn't puncture the carton, and adding foam around other components.  Most importantly he rearranged and re-folded the panels to create ample "crush space" around the AntiGlue cartridge, which was safely tucked inside the smaller box in a safer orientation.

Best of all, newer supply kits have switched to a much better carton that has lots of crush space around the PVC roll.  All the other supplies are safely protected in a vaccuum-formed tray inside the separate inner carton.  It looks a bit stark, but I haven't experienced any damaged shipments with these new-improved cartons.

Reportedly, 3D Systems dealers are now supplying these improved Solido-branded material kits to their Invision LD users instead of the old VisiJet LD100 material kits.  Perhaps they appreciate the improvements...or maybe they've just run out of 3D Systems-branded kits.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cooksey Tribute D re-colored

Last year I built a brightly-colored version of Oskar van Deventer's Cooksey Tribute D puzzle by building it with transparent material and filling the interior with bright acrylic paint.  It was pretty but the transparent maze was virtually invisible, which totally defeated the purpose of the transparent collars I had built for the Cooksey Tribute puzzles a year earlier.

Oskar painstakingly painted the surface of the maze with black paint so it could be seen through the collar.  That worked, and it was practical, but I tried a different method...

Using a 49-gauge needle and a squeeze bottle, I applied paint inside the channels while leaving the raised maze unpainted.

The unpainted maze stands out in clear contrast to the brightly-painted background, so the maze can be seen through the transparent collar.

This video illustrates the benefits of the new paint job compared to the previous one.  I put an animated light inside for a little extra effect!

A side effect of this new paint scheme: light shines through the maze when the puzzle is back-lighted.