Human Computer Interaction Design Lab/Rapid Prototyping Lab

Frank DiMeo
Frank DiMeo
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MakerBot Replicator
Frank DiMeo

The MakerBot Replicator is a desktop three-dimensional printer that makes it possible for designers and engineers to quickly iterate on and create three-dimensional prototypes. The printer uses a polylactic acid filament—a bioplastic derived from corn—to print a model one layer at a time. Researchers and students in the Human Computer Interaction Design Lab/Rapid Prototyping Lab primarily use the MakerBot throughout their design process. Models are created, using computer aided design (CAD) software.

The inset image is a support rail, printed with the MakerBot Replicator. This object was designed by a student to be used as part of a new three-dimensional printer design. It was designed so that a metal insert could be pushed into the top, making it possible for an object to be screwed into it. 

Epilog Laser Engraver and Cutter
Frank DiMeo

The Epilog Laser is a machine that can engrave and cut various types of materials including wood, acrylics, plastics, stone, and more. The model pictured here can engrave and cut large pieces, as well as multiple pieces at a time. Laser engravers and cutters are used by researchers and students as prototyping tools.

In one assignment, students were asked to design a jack-in-the box. One student’s creativity led her to designing a music box, which uses the same raising and lowering features of a jack-in the box. The student used the Epilog Laser to cut each part of the structure. The laser was even used to cut tiny ballerinas, as well as etch their ballerina outfits. This etching process causes the material to become cloudy, thus creating the outline of a dress. 

D-Coil Printing Pen
Huaishu Peng

The D-Coil Printing Pen is a research project created by Huaishu Peng, a Cornell PhD student; Francois Guimbretière, Information Science; and Amit Zoran, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The D-Coil is a three-dimensional wax-printing pen that builds a real-life, digital model simultaneously. The D-Coil has an actuated extruder that compensates for the tremors in the users hands—it adjusts for error. Users can define a shape and using the hand-held and actuated extruder that guides the motion of the hand and arm, create an object using wax. A magnetic tracking component attached to the device tracks location and movement and simultaneously creates a three-dimensional printable digital model in Rhino Software.

The D-Coil is an exciting new component of three-dimensional printing because it creates a nontechnical way for beginners to use three-dimensional modeling.

Watch how the D-Coil works here.

3D Printed Objects and Prototypes
Frank DiMeo

When a three-dimensional printer, such as the MakerBot Replicator, initiates a print, it first creates a coarse platform that is level. This ensures that the printed final design begins on a uniform plane. This photo displays how the level platform looks midway through the leveling process. In this particular photo, the three-dimensional printer had a failed print due to an imbalance in the extrusion process. three-dimensional printing requires a lot of attention and maintenance to deliver accurate results.

Frank DiMeo

This sphere was printed with WirePrint, a software project developed by Francois Guimbretière and Computer Science master’s student Sangha Im, in collaboration with Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany. The software is capable of generating and three-dimensional printing low-fidelity wireframe previews of a design. Because three-dimensional printing is slow, a large sized object requires more than a day to print. With WirePrint, filament is extruded directly into three-dimensional space instead of printing layerwise, and objects are printed up to 10 times faster than traditional three-dimensional printing. The wireframe previews, created with WirePrint, are to scale and represent the shape and structure of the three-dimensional object. They allow users to quickly verify key aspects of their design. This video shows how WirePrint works.

Huaishu Peng recently extended the WirePrint system to be faster and with more capabilities, called On-The-Fly Print. This new printer includes a rotation platform to orient the model and a cutter blade to remove part of the model if needed. The printer is fast enough that it can print a model as it is being created on a CAD system. This video shows an in-depth look at how On-The-Fly Print works and gives many examples of what it can create, including a version of the famous Beijing Olympic Stadium, The Bird’s Nest, and a Candelabrum.

INFO 4320 Showcase
Karen Browning

Guimbretière’s Physical Computing course introduces students from non-technical backgrounds to rapid prototyping techniques. Through hands-on experience during class periods, students acquire basic skills and learn to build a quick prototype that demonstrates an idea. The class is split into teams that work together to design a project, displaying their creativity and skills learned during the class. At the end of each spring semester students display and demonstrate their finished designs at a demonstration in Duffield Hall, as well as to families at the Ithaca Sciencenter.

Guimbretière allows his student to be creative and diverse in their ideas and designs. One group in his Spring 2014 course created a three-dimensional printer that prints chocolate while another created a music printer that painted different colors based on which notes were being played or sung into a microphone. Both designs are unique, imaginative, and inventive.

Watch the Sciencenter event from Spring 2014.

Rapid Prototyping and the Benefits of 3D Printing

The Human Computer Interaction Design Lab/Rapid Prototyping Lab is home to François Guimbretière, Information Science, and his students. The lab houses equipment and tools that make it possible for undergraduate and graduate students to design and build various prototypes for their classes and research projects. The Guimbretière group works on projects that make it easier for designers to reap the benefit of three-dimensional printing during the early phase of design. Other ventures include new human computer interaction techniques and devices as well as projects that will help bring the ease of using pen and paper to computer interfaces. The lab is also an important infrastructure in teaching INFO 4320, a class that teaches basic rapid prototyping techniques.