When you are making, do you 3D print sculptures or 3D print equipment that will need wires and sensors and lights? If it's the latter, you'll want to read about this new work from the Autodesk Research team called PipeDream that helps you easily put tubes into your models and extend the potential of your creations.
In the above example, you can see a 3D printed radio with tubes in it for the speaker, volume, power and tuning controls. Below is another example with tubes added into a desktop pen holder. Smaller tubes at the bottom have spaces for sensors to determine which pens are present. This kind of idea could be expanded to a work shop for tracking tools.
PipeDream is some new research that has been prototyped within Autodesk Meshmixer.
When creating pipes in your models, you are presented with a number of possibilities:
Here's an example of a 3D printed bunny. This bunny is printed in a soft, pliable material. The cavity works as an air bladder so that the bunny can breathe with the help of an air pump. The air coming from the bunny could be used as a feedback mechanism in a toy or a teaching tool.
The cavity in a soft printed object could be fitted with other feedback devices like a noisemaker, buttons for lights, haptic buzzers, accelerometers and sensors to determine if an object has been touched.
Another great example is creating pathways for lights and wires. In the example below created for the 2014 UIST (User Interface Software and Technology) Symposium, the letters are connected to make a continuous path. With this continuous path, a neon sign can be created.
Adding tubes to models that will be 3D printed opens up a lot of possibilities. One other interesting thing we tried was to fill the tubes with conductive paint instead of pushing wires through the tubes. This allowed for easily powering LED's in our models.
To see more of this technology, you may watch the video below or refer to the PipeDream research paper on AutodeskResearch.com.
If you are at UIST, please stop by to talk with the team. If you would like to share your thoughts on this technology or have questions about it, feel free to let us know here on the Autodesk Research blog.