We are very excited to announce that Nicholas Seward will be coming to the Rogers Mini Maker Faire. Nicholas has designed some of the most unique 3D Printers that you will ever see. Last month at the Kansas City Maker Faire, I was drawn to Nicholas’ table when I saw a Delta bot with PVC uprights and printed yellow arms printing a squirrel upside down, meaning the build plate was up and the extruder was underneath it. Nicholas admitted that it was mostly done in an effort to catch peoples’ attention and did it ever. Nicholas has designed 9 printers in the year and a half since his wife gave him his first printbot for his birthday (that he shares with Albert Einstein and Pi Day). I have included his auto-biography below — Scott
I have a BS in Mechanical Engineering and all but the thesis on a MA in Physics. I went on to become a non-traditional high school teacher. My whole career (10 years) I have coached student for the BEST Robotics competition. I have mostly taught computer science and engineering classes with a few math and science courses thrown in.
At one of my jobs, I had access to a CNC mill. I got married and the drive was too long. I made the move to be closer conditional on being allowed to build my own CNC router. $1000 later, I had a 2′x2′x1′ CNC machine that was completely my own design. Once I saw a machine that I built do what I wanted, I was hooked.
3D Printing Involvement:
3/14/2013 – This is my birthday. (Sharing it with Pi Day and Albert Einstein is pretty sweet.) My wife bought me a Printrbot.
I spent a week putting the bot together. My first prints were horrible. I tuned what I could but in many ways the machine wasn’t up to the task. Luckily, you can print improvements. I download some improvements from others and made a lot of my own. Eventually it made beautify prints. If it wasn’t for that experience, I wouldn’t have decided to build my own printer(s). (The machine is hardly recognizable now. I don’t use it any more. I gave it to my students to use for a research project in continuous 3D printing.)
I printed my fill of squirrels and owls. I started to feel guilty for having such an amazing piece of technology and not using it for “real work”. That combined with the slight frustration with my first bot I decided I would build my own printer. I wanted to make the printer unique and I was very drawn to the RepRap project. I decided to make a no compromise RepRap that used no linear rails. (This was to make the printer more printable.)
4/25/2013 – I decided I wanted to build this crazy new printer and started to brainstorm. I went through 100′s of ideas. Everybody I know got tired of being a sounding board. The people on the RepRap forum even thought I was crazy.
5/8/2013 – I had a break through by coming up with what is now known as the Simpson geometry. I published a rough rendering and animation. People still thought I was crazy. (I was starting to get some constructive feedback but not a lot.)
5/24/2013 – My first prototype moves. It is not very good but I know how to fix it in an overly complex way. I would usually step back and take my time but I was trying to enter this for the Gada Prize. I take off on the complex solution.
6/1/2013 – The complex solution works. It actually works so well that I get the best prints I have ever seen. (There is something about the parallel mechanics of the system that creates very smooth organic moves.)
I got 2nd place for the Gada Prize barely 3 months after I get my first printer and 2 months after I decided to build a printer.
With the validation of the award, I go back to work and completely redesign Simpson. There are a lot of details but I came up with a new unique geared arm drive solution with the assistance of the RepRap forum. I also get side tracked and decide to build another printer that uses no rails called Wally also with the assistance of the forum.
I just barely got GUS Simpson and Wally done before the 2013 NY Maker Faire. I was actually still working on Wally in the hotel. Wally didn’t print anything until I was actually at the fair.
In the year since, I have built 3 more very unique printers: LISA Simpson, CoreXZ Prototype, CoreXZ. I have also designed a pretty crazy 6DOF printer called the Sextupteron. I have collaborated on a Sextupteron based paper with the Tripteron (the 3DOF version) inventor. He just presented that paper at the premier conference on robotics in Hong Kong. He is also commissioning the construction of 2 Sextupterons.
In closing, I am a very prolific designer. I am a huge believer in collaborative design and open source. In a year’s time I have designed 9? printers, built 7, share/support 4, and I accidentally walked into a publication. 2 of my printers don’t use linear rails (in very different ways) and no other printers in existence can claim that. (As far as I know) Wally and GUS Simpson are also the most self-replicatable designs in existence. (They have a large percentage of printed parts.)
To drive the point home, I am including some YouTube links of my work. To put this in perspective, this is just some of my work that I did over the last year and I have more than a full time day job.