Showing posts with label Moment of Inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Moment of Inspiration. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Consider Moment of Inspiration to Create Objects for Your New Cube3

At YouthQuest Foundation, we like to use the phrase "Turn On YOUR Brain..." to describe our goals in introducing 3D design & printing to the "at-risk" students we strive to motivate.

Most new technology has worked to turn OFF our brains!

When we stop to think about it, most new technologies in the last 100 years have helped turn OFF our childrens brains as they mindlessly sit in front of TVs, listen to their iPods or sit through meals playing video games ignoring their environment.  And, yes, I know I was a part of encouraging very young children to play video games in the early 1980s.  Who knew where it would lead.  I feel a pang of regret every time I see a child entirely engrossed in their Game Boy while eating out with their family... sigh.

But, 3D printing is entirely different.  

It empowers our creative side in a remarkable way and encourages children and adults to come up with new ideas and solutions by providing an immediate way to turn those ideas into physical reality.  It truly does, "Turn on our brains!"

To do this most effectively, we need a link between our brains and our 3D printers.  There are many 3D  design application choices available today and the number is growing.  Some are very low in cost, such as Cubify Invent and others completely free.  But, a hidden factor in choosing a 3D design package is the long term level of frustration at being able to design what your mind envisions.  For a person new to 3D printing, just getting acquainted with a 3D package is work enough.  Going beyond the start up to consider the ultimate limitations of that package is next to impossible.

What Makes a Great Video Game Makes a Great 3D Design Package

Consumer Reports puts a lot of weight on cost when rating products.  In 1981, the Bally Professional Arcade, the game system with which I worked, cost more than double the chief competition, Atari.  Yet, the Bally Professional Arcade was rated  #1 by Consumer Reports in 1981.

The reason was that our games were designed by a team that understood that challenges were good; but, frustration was bad.  Challenging levels were a must.  But, when a player failed at a given level they had to feel they had learned from that failure and could improve on their next attempt.  If the failure was caused by the game's slow response or inability let the player do what was necessary to win it was totally frustrating.  To me, the Atari and Mattel game versions were totally frustrating due to poor response.  And, Consumer Reports agreed.

The same is true if a 3D design application is to become a joy instead of a hindrance to our brains being turned on by frustrating our efforts to turn our ideas into printable designs.  The 3D application must not stand in the way of our creative achievement.  It must not leave us frustrated by its limitations and quirks.

Why We Chose Moment of Inspiration for Our "At-Risk" students. 

There are many reasons why a student drops out of school.  But, a major reason is simply a low tolerance for frustration.  Dropouts tend to quit easily.  So, it was extremely important for us to introduce 3D design with a software package that didn't stand in the way of what they wee trying to accomplish.  It goes well beyond simply being easy to learn.  It must be reliable to use and provide a very low frustration experience for the user. 

That is why we chose Moment of Inspiration  not only for our high school level cadets; but, for our upcoming introductory short courses for low-income elementary children in Girls & Boys Club programs.  At the basic level it is very easy to learn, using our "Verb & Noun" approach.  Yet, students can progress very rapidly into being able to create quite complex designs using more advanced 3D CAD concepts.

We only have our Youth ChalleNGe cadets for about 34 hours over a 3 month period.  And, remember, these aren't the advanced placement students that one normally finds in 3D clubs in traditional high schools.  These cadets are lucky to be able to pass their GED!

Yet, they can and do achieve some beautiful and complex designs because Moment of Inspiration not only allows them to do so; but, doesn't get in their way!   These sample images represent what they could do, on their own, mid-way through the most recent 34 hour class session. 

Cadet Ornament 01

Cadet Ornament 02

And this sample was created by a cadet in one of last year's sessions.  Note how the cadet was not only able to create a working set of gears; but, to add their individualized unique features.  While all the students were given the same specification (tooth count, radius, etc) in the design challenge, they were encouraged to make theirs a unique creation.  Moment of Inspiration's Circle Array function really captures the student's attention as is evident in all of the samples.

Cadet Ornamental Operating Gears

This year, the big project was a custom clock.  The cadets were given the clock works and they were challenged to design a custom clock face that would both fit the constraints of the clock works dimensions and expressed their individuality.  The results were impressive. They made this one for the director of YouthQuest

Clock Face Created by DC Challenge Academy Cadets

Finally, while this particular sample was not created by a student, it represents similar objects that were created during the class.  Unfortunately, again, I don't have an image of any of the cadets objects.  But, theirs appeared equally complex.  Yet, it only took minutes to do in Moment of Inspiration.

MOI Sweep/Circle Array Sample

I decided to see exactly how long it takes to create a similar object from scratch in Moment of Inspiration.  This design took just 12 minutes to create.  I then assigned the colors.  Actual two color assignment would be done in the Cubify Client based on the color of the filament you are using.

12 minute Sweep / Circle Array / Loft & Revolve Object
The basic center was created by LOFTing through 4 circles. The ornamental rings were created with Revolve and Circles.  And, the outside 'ribbon' was created using a SWEEPing a 2D shape and then repeating it using CIRCLE ARRAY.

The VERBS (commands) and NOUNS (2D drawing tools) in Moment of Inspiration form a powerful combination that is able to quickly turn most of our ideas into 3D printable objects with minimal frustration and time.  It's well worth considering.

The above were created using Version 2.  Version 3 is even MORE powerful.

A free trial of the new Version 3 can be downloaded on the Moment of Inspiration site.  They offer educational discounts.  I have some introductory tutorials on YouTube and the links can be found on my 3D Moment of Inspiration Users blog.  I know you re going to love it.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cube 3: A Stategy for Easier Printed Part Removal

Jim Ward, in a comment on an earlier blog post pointed out that using a raft might make it easier to remove printed items.  And, he is right.  The crisscross construction of rafts allows for water to penetrate under the piece which dissolves the water soluble CubeStick, making it easier to lift the piece off the print plate.

But, then we are faced with the challenge of removing the raft from the item.  And, I have had very little success cleaning the raft off an item completely.

In line with Jim's basic premise, that allowing water to dissolve some of the glue under a piece would facilitate removal, I've been using channels cut into the bottom of items to accomplish the same thing.

While he didn't mention it, the second benefit of Jim's observation is that having a raft makes it easier for us to get the palette knife under the item we are trying to remove.  To accomplish this without a raft, we can chamfer the bottom edges to give us leverage for a palette knife to pry the item off the plate.

Both systems work.  It's just a matter of preference as to which one you use in your own designs.  But, when printing downloaded designs, Jim's suggestion of using a raft is the best alternative.

In Moment of Inspiration, the process of creating channels is very easy.  Here is a short video that demonstrates an alternative to using a raft to facilitate easier removal. 

The ease with which these kinds of operations are done in Moment of Inspiration is just one of the reasons why we chose it for our cadets as they learn to design and print in 3D.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Gift - Thread Cutting Tool

Before I left the house this morning, to visit my grandchildren, I finally created that long promised thread cutting tool tutorial for Moment of Inspiration.  And, before retiring this evening, I edited the video and posted it on YouTube.

I have NO idea why it took me so long to get it done because it is a piece of cake to do in Moment of Inspiration!  Maybe I was just waiting for a grand occasion, like Christmas Eve to release it.  Whatever the reason for the delay, I hope that the second part of the tutorial on designing bolts and threads in Moment of Inspiration will come a LOT faster.

Have a GREAT holiday/  And, for those of you that will be fortunate enough to have received a Cube 3D printer for Christmas, I want to welcome you aboard and hope that you will find these pages helpful to you.  This is going to be the start of a wonderfully creative adventure!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Invent Intro #04 - Circles (Extrusion Boss & Cut)

Extrusion is one of the most used commands in any CAD program.  And, Cubify Invent is no exception.  It is THE primary way that we turn a 2D sketch into a 3D object. 

There are two types of EXTRUDE that can be used in Cubify Invent.  They are EXTRUDE (Boss) and EXTRUDE (Cut).


Essentially, EXTRUDE (Boss) ADDS layers of material in the shape of the 2D sketch to form a 3D object with features defined by the 2D sketch.  I don't think that it's a stretch to call EXTRUDE (Boss) the most used 2D to 3D option.

Using EXTRUDE (Boss), a 2D circle becomes a 3D Cylinder having height as well as a circumference.  A 2D square becomes a 3D box or cube when EXTRUDE (Boss) is applied.


EXTRUDE (Cut) doesn't ADD material.  It REMOVES material, if any exists.  This is most often used to create cut-outs and holes in already existing 3D objects.  While not used as often as its boss counterpart, it is still an often used option and may well be second of all the 3D options in frequency of use.

Using the selected 2D sketch, it acts as a cutting die, removing the exact shape of the original 2D sketch from whatever 3D object is crosses.  It can cut partially through an object or all the way through as the user determines.

Here is a video that demonstrates these powerful Cubify Invent commands at work creating a useful part that has bolt holes and a ledge that is counter-sunk into the part using EXTRUDE (Cut).

For those exploring Moment of Inspiration, here is how a similar part might be created using only EXTRUDE (boss) with MOI's Boolean Union and Difference Tools.  It's interesting how different applications accomplish the same task by going down two different paths. 

In a follow-up tutorial, we explore all the 2D and 3D BOOLEAN FUNCTIONS available in Moment of Inspiration.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Creating a Handle with Insert in Moment of Inspiration

Most of the items I will be uploading to the Cubify store have more than one purpose.  Of course, the primary purpose is to offer a useful item for Cube owners to download.  But, a very important secondary purpose is to provide an opportunity to introduce applications and techniques that are useful for those Cube owners that want to create their own objects.

The Nail Holder is no exception.  It is very useful to learn how a handle with a matching insert can be designed.  Well fitted inserts are going to be an important part of our design toolbox.

In this case, I've created a video that demonstrates the principles and techniques that were used to create the Nail Holder handle with the matching pentagonal insert.  I hope you find it useful.

Of course, other CAD and 3D applications can perform similarly.  So, we won't always just demonstrate using Moment of Inspiration.  There will be opportunities to introduce 3D programs for students, like TinkerCAD and Open Source 3D applications like Art of Illusion.

But, I have to tell you.  When it comes to easy and productive, I find Moment of Inspiration truly amazing.

Using Moment of Inspiration to Create the Counter-Rotating Stars

I thought it might be fun to show you how I created the counter-rotating stars in the test STL that I introduced earlier.

My primary 3D application is called "Moment of Inspiration".  It can be found at

I have long searched for a program that was simple enough for me to use; yet, powerful enough to do something useful.  I needed something that was a cross between a traditional CAD program and an organic 3D application.  I found what I was looking for in MOI 3D.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to form the counter-rotating star objects.

Now, between 1969 and the early 1980's I was in the business of creating well-scripted professional videos with slick sound tracks.  It would be hard to prove that to a person that sees one of my current video tutorials.

I could try to pass it off as a deliberate "Stream of Consciousness" technique.  But, I'm not sure that would fly.  It's closer to "Stream of Unconsciousness"!!!

But, I hope that the videos are useful even with my struggling to find the right words!  At least it's BOUND to be more entertaining!

What can I say?  I'm old.    LOL!!

For better or worse, here's how I did it using Moment of Inspiration.

Pretty slick, isn't it?