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Altimus Relaunches!

Altimus is pleased to be relaunching our website after 6 years. We continue to grow and take on new design consulting clients with really unique ideas, innovations and ambitious goals. In the past year, we’ve had the fortune to work on products in extremely diverse sectors, from electric vehicles to professional audio and music products, to diagnostic equipment, mobile and tablet reference platforms, industrial electronics and sporting equipment.

Please contact us with your product design requirements and we’d be happy to schedule an initial consultation.

We hope you find our new site informative and can learn a bit more about the people and capabilities that makes Altimus unique.

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Stay tuned, as there is a articulated motion version in the works!

Our Makerbot turns 2!

Nearly two years ago, we jumped into the world of 3D printing with anticipation, after having seen the wall of Makerbot Replicator 2 printers at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Since at the time Makerbot was not selling their product officially outside of the USA, and we just HAD to have one, we had a relative in New York City walk into the Makerbot store in New York City, purchase a Replicator 2, and have it walked across the street to UPS.

Our printer arrived a few days later, and I can truly say the out of box experience was pretty darn terrible. From a warped print bed, to a poorly designed extruder head, to bad quality PLA and temperamental firmware, we experienced no end of problems and frustration.

The idea that 3D printing would transform our internal design process and allow us to rapidly prototype ideas and parts in near real time, well, that lustre came off pretty fast.

Slowly, we navigated the Makerbot and similar forums, got some better open source slicing software, repaired our machine at regular intervals (ribbon cable and thermistor replacement, anyone?) and got orders from clients for printed prototypes. The motivation returned and we finally emerged, some 300 hours of printing later, with confidence, that when we make the appropriate adjustments to part design and knew what the limits of the machine were, we could get some pretty great prints!

Thanks to great vendors like JustPLA (www.justpla.com) and Voxel Factory (www.voxelfactory.com), we discovered that good quality materials made a huge difference!

Our Makerbot now sports a custom aluminum L-frame with plexi panels to contain airflow and maintain a more constant internal temperature. It is nearly unrecognizable as a Makerbot, but it (mostly) does what we want. We’ve printed everything from hose adapters that were proven leak-proof at 30 psi to various structural clips, car parts, production fixtures, and mechanical prototypes in support of our clients’ projects. Our Mechanical Engineer keeps our ‘bot in fine form, as I can stress – without experience, the Makerbot will print nothing like the ads would lead you to believe.

The odo is up to 800+ hours and while we don’t know how far Makerbot can still take us, we do know that it’s about to be joined by a shiny new and more robust machine that will arrive in about a week!

Fixing Tools with 3D Printed Parts

I’ve got a Bosch 10” sliding compound mitre saw which has done me great service through several renovations and at one time it used to look like this. So shiny!

Now the saw looks like this. Do you feel sorry for the little saw? And yes, it needs a thorough cleaning.

Overall it has been a decent workhorse and has held up reasonably well, and cuts accurately, but like all products that have been costed down it suffers from a few bugs. Hint: not made in Germany any more! With a price tag in the range of $600 to 700 it has mostly well built parts, but there is a small detail that could be re-designed and lead to much higher user satisfaction at almost no additional cost! You can find our free fix available on Thingiverse here.

Cable management is done via these little red plastic clips. You can see the cracks forming at the spot where there is the greatest stress. It’s also the location where there is a sink mark, or a slight depression in the plastic formed during the injection molding process.

Eventually the clip fails and cracks right across its weakest point.

Note that there are a few strengthening ribs, but the material is too brittle, likely a generic ABS type material. Due to shrinkage and micro cracks that formed during injection, the part will fail in a predictable way.

And here is the redesigned part. Using 3D printing in PLA ma- terial, we have created a robust part that distributes the forces correctly.

There is return hook to keep the cable in place, and it tapers which means that the strongest section is where there is the greatest leverage.

This is a closeup of the installed hook.

Stay tuned, as there is a articulated motion version in the works!