It's fair to say that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. I almost didn't write this blog post, but I wanted to finish off 2020, looking forward to a better 2021.
With the global virus pandemic causing troubles and uncertainty we all have less time to do the things we enjoy. This year has certainly been a strong reminder to us all, to try and enjoy as much of life as possible.
I have kept 3D Printing during all of 2020, but have not managed to share as much as I would have liked.
I started off 2020 firmly intending to do a lot more 3D Printing development, life and the global virus somewhat got in the way of many plans. We had a lot of 3D printing events cancelled and social meet-ups have been impossible.
Here is a little summary of a few things I have designed and printed and a some general thoughts on the 3D Printing market, open source projects and interesting things that have happened in 2020. And finally a look to 2021.
Retro inspired concept computer -
Some of you will know that along with a strong passion for 3D printing, I have a love of retro computers and 'old' game systems, it's an ongoing interest that pre-dates 3D printing and something that I still enjoy and do to this day. One of my early 2020 projects was a reimagining of a 3D Printed classic computer, loosely based on the Amiga and C64 range of the 80's and 90's.
This has further evolved over the year, it probably deserves a blog post of it's own, if you want to see more on this project and the evolution of the internal electronics inside, let me know.
3D printed electronics and enclosures -
If you want to see all the Advent calendar days printed, start at Day 1 here and on my original blog post series from 2017
Many of my past projects and experiments are still active in one way or another today, people continue to innovate and evolve ideas. Even as we enter 2021, 3D printing is still in it's 'early stages' of being useful to the 'average person'. When you start using 3D printing to solve every day problems, and turn design ideas into practical printing solutions it's a wonderful tool.
We have seen some really great OpenSource and OpenInnovation 3D printing projects this year. I plan to cover these in 2021 and also get further involved with as many as possible.
Things I would like to see more of and help with in 2021 - Please reach out to me if you are doing or planning any of these, I will try to help if I can. (Most of the links below are to my past blog posts doing similar things).
- The continued increase and use of sustainable (multi-use) filament spools / Cardboard and MasterSpool filament coils.
- More recycled plastic content in 3D Printing - both as recycled filament materials and as re-used print waste. Recycling filament plastic (2015)
- Greater development of direct pellet extrusion systems and materials for desktop and industrial 3D printers. - Here is one of my early Pellet extruder experiments from 2014
- More tool-changing systems - additive and subtractive - manufacturing systems, continuous printing (belt-printers) and automatic build platform change systems.
- I would still like to see many more light weight extruder+hot-end systems, ideally around 200g total weight. I see a lot of bowden based extruder systems that could/should benefit from a good quality, light and strong direct-drive-geared extruder and hot-end combination. Especially on machine using IDEX, they could be greatly improved with a move away from bowden to a light weight direct extrusion system, maybe 2021 will bring more to market.
- I'm always looking for interesting 3D Printing filament materials, especially engineering grade or ones that that are matched to classic computer colours. A few have popped up during 2020 Printed Solid over on Twitter has a range of Retro computer filament colours
- I'm still incredibly interested in paste extrusion, coupled with a tool-change system and some FDM printing it could offer a lot of good options for manufacturing and making.