Using Fusion 360 to 3D Print Parts to Build a Desk by @DesktopMakes #3DPrinting #3DThursday


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Desktop Makes shared this video on Youutube!

I decided to give it a shot building a steel pipe desk with 3D printed hardware. I bought the steel pipes and a 2′ x 4′ plywood top that I cut down to 20″ wide. The flange brackets are printed in PLA with 20% infill. I brought in the flanges from the Mcmaster-Carr catalog that’s built into Fusion 360 and then slightly modified them to fit the screws I would be using. Enjoy!

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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The 3D Printed Watches of Dutch Watchmaker Michiel Holthinrichs

Michiel Holthinrichs

For centuries, people have relied solely on their hands to manufacture stuff. Everything from raw materials to finished products relied on manual craftsmanship and hard labour. Of course, the industrial revolution changed all of this, with the rise of machine-controlled production – and the same goes for the watchmaking industry. The goal of precision timing, the exclusive domain of master craftsmen of yesteryear, eventually moved into laser-guided, machined watches. Today, we might well be on the brink of a new revolution: 3D print watchmaking. We dive into the world and mind of Michiel Holthinrichs, a young Dutch pioneering watchmaker.

Michiel Holthinrichs

Let me clarify from the start that this story is all about mechanical watchmaking and traditional craftsmanship. We, at MONOCHROME, focus on that, and that alone. Although MONOCHROME is dedicated to the fine crafts and artisanal watchmaking, it doesn’t mean we ignore industry developments and the rise of new technologies. We’ve ventured into the world of 3D printing before, with stories like the 3D printed cases Vortic Watch Co. uses in its watches, and three years ago I had already written about 3D printed dials by ALB Watches.

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches

Upon visiting the newly opened Holthinrichs Atelier in Delft, I learned that Dutchman Michiel Holthinrichs is not your typical watchmaker with years of formation in Switzerland. Being the son of an artist and automotive engineer, he was brought up in the perfect environment to become a watchmaker. His creative spark, fueled by his upbringing, led to a love of architecture and aesthetics. From a young age, he started sketching, learning about proportions, perspective, aesthetics and the intriguing attraction a simple mix of lines or a small detail can hold.

A degree in architecture from the world-renowned Delft University of Technology followed, which developed his skillset with a focus on the role of ornaments: the smallest details that can make architectural marvels really stand out. Simply put, an ornament is a symbolic or artistic expression of the creator to put his mark on a design or to finish something in a spectacular fashion.

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Besides his love of architecture, Michiel explained that he has always been fascinated by engineering and fine mechanics, a common starting point for most watchmakers. Taking stuff apart, seeing how something is built and then (trying) to put it back together without leftover parts and in working order. This evolved into a love of watches and watchmaking.

Stepping into his atelier in Delft is like taking a step back in time. Situated in the old city centre of Delft, the surroundings are befitting of a man and a brand built upon the essence of architecture. The old floors, the old workbenches and furniture, the stacks of sketchbooks and watchmaking tomes along with the vintage watch equipment and tools make it a fascinating place.

Talking to him, one thing becomes apparent. This is a man with a true passion, with a solid idea in his head working its way out through his sketches, and a firm conviction of the possibilities 3D printing can offer to watchmaking.

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The entire process that goes into the design, prototyping, finishing, testing and adjusting, and finally making it to a finished product, took about two years in total. From the very first idea to the very first watch to be delivered to a client, Michiel underwent a process of trial and error, challenging suppliers and partners to push the envelope.

To understand the challenge of using 3D printed parts, it is essential to understand 3D printing in the first place. Normally a case is constructed by stamping it out of an ingot, by turning a block of material and shaving it down on a lathe or by cutting it by hand or machine and then soldering some lugs on it. I know, I make it sound easy, but it is still a delicate and precise job.

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches - 5

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches - 5

3D printing works very differently though, and uses powdered steel and laser to shape the case. A design is uploaded into a computer-guided printer, which in turn holds a block of powder. A laser melts the powder layer by layer at a quarter of a millimetre at a time, until you have a fully printed case, or case back ring, or whatever it is you are printing.

The problem is that you can’t simply position the case flat on the printing pad. There is a point during the slow construction process when it becomes too heavy provoking a shift in the powder and resulting in a useless piece. Another big issue is heat remittance. There are sections on the case, for instance, that are so delicate, and within such a small margin of error, they burn up with the heat the laser generates if it cannot disperse it. To find a way around it, Michiel and the people who print his cases, print the parts with supportive struts so they don’t move or burn up in the process.

These struts are then cut off before the actual finishing process starts. The process of finishing parts is a tedious one, with sandblasting and hand polishing to reveal the full potential of these parts. One of the drawbacks of 3D printing is that the material doesn’t end up with a smooth surface. It is a little abrasive, a little rough. But, as a true architect, Michiel has taken this rough finish and elevated it to a key element of the design of his watches. It is this perfect mix of highly polished surfaces and rough areas that showcase the 3D printing. It is almost a contradiction to create a watch like this since the tolerance in parts is close to zero and 3D printing is still some margin off when it comes to precision. All this has to be taken into account. This is not an easy way to do things. This takes vision and determination.

The design of the Holthinrichs Ornament 1, extensively reviewed in a follow-up story, is executed with 3D printing in mind. Details that are nearly impossible to replicate by hand, certainly not at a competing price level! Take for instance the placement of the logo, inside the caseband. A detail that is perhaps possible to do by a skilled engraver, but with serious repercussions in the cost. Another detail is the placement of the lugs, which seem to be separately machined and sandwiched in the edge but which, in reality, are a solid part of the case. More on those touches in the review, but it is a testament to how challenging and how much thought has gone into the concept of the Holthinrichs Ornament 1.

I find it amusing to see the history of watchmaking and architecture paired with cutting-edge tech like 3D printing. And yet, it really works well, it results in a superbly interesting watch with a real story to tell and an impressive first creation by this youngster.

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches - 10

Holthinrichs Watches 3D-printed watches - 10

And if you take one thing away from this introduction to Michiel Holthinrichs, his eponymous brand and the Holthinrichs Ornament 1, it is this; the 3D printing in this watch is far from a gimmick. It isn’t the “party-piece” of the watch. It is built and designed along traditional design codes and vintage aesthetics. It is a classic watch, with modest dimensions throughout, aided by the properties of a 3D printed case. And thankfully, NOT the other way around.

More details on and tomorrow with Part 2, the review of the watch.

Blockchain Jobs? Where We're Going We Won't Need Employment

Kade Morton is a security consultant and open source enthusiast. In his spare time, when he isn’t volunteering for Mozilla, he’s working on his own open-source decentralized application, Aletheia. Follow him on twitter @cypath

In a recent CoinDesk op-ed, Sandro Ro urges the blockchain community to “construct and act by a new culture whereby our companies care deeply about its people and society’s problems and act accordingly.”

Making work more rewarding for employees is an arguably noble goal, but it’s one that I believe is doomed to fail.

Moreover, particularly in the blockchain space, it misses the point of this era’s innovations.

A critical look at employment

According to the oracle of the age, Wikipedia, slavery is any system in which principles of property law are applied to people, allowing individuals to own, buy and sell other individuals, as a de jure form of property. A slave is unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement and works without remuneration (unless you count room and board).

In the modern form of employment we work under, employment contracts stipulate what we must and must not do. It’s very close to ownership. A lot of people are unable to withdraw unilaterally from such an arrangement because work is often hard to find.

Sure, people can quit. But quitting without another job can literally kill you. We need money to survive. We live in a world with enough resources to go around, but we need some way to distribute them since we don’t trust each other to share equally. So, humankind invented money, items granted for effort expended that can be exchanged for resources.

Money is effectively a ledger. It’s incredibly unequal, but it’s still a record of a transaction.

And money is the remuneration many would say, so working is not slavery by our definition. However, examine the situation many are in. People work for food, housing and health care. But homeownership, a healthy diet and proper medical care are a dream for many, and only growing more distant.

So what are we getting in return for work? Not a lot, it seems. Employment is basically slavery. This is not to belittle historic atrocities or the plight of those trafficked for slavery in the modern age. We’ll call employment wage slavery to differentiate it from true slavery.

When people say we should make employment better for employees, they’re saying we should make wage slavery better for wage slaves.

The forces against improving conditions

Wage slavery is also, by its very nature, antagonistic to making things better for the wage slaves. Wages are the largest overhead most companies have and the point of business is to make as much money as you can with the smallest overheads possible.

Companies actively fight against raising wages and at some point, as an employer, you’re going to look at your profit/loss statement and say “employees will have to live with how things are, I can’t eat into my profit margins any further.”

Assuming your profit margins, if even present, are not already razor thin. An employer might not have freedom to move in improving work conditions.

The forest for the trees

It doesn’t have to be like this, though.

Humankind is capable of breathtaking wonders. We have entire factories staffed by almost nothing but robots. We have artificial intelligence that can outthink humans . We can 3D print houses.

As time moves on, the strict necessity of having a human to do a particular job will ebb away, and with it our need to work.

But what is not ebbing away is our need for food, shelter and healthcare. We still have the fundamental issue of trust. We don’t trust each other to share.

Imagine if we had a decentralized immutable ledger, that allowed people to distribute things because they can verify all the transactions themselves and build consensus. Surely then we can build a system that people would have faith in to distribute resources equally.

Oh wait.

We have such a ledger. It’s called a blockchain.

Blockchain’s first breakout implementation was a currency. It’s like saying “we have a ledger we can trust. What should we distribute? I know, other ledgers!” It’s absurd.

To say that blockchain entrepreneurs should make employment better for employees is only a part step on a long road because the path you’re on can render money useless if we walk it to the end.


The UN has already tried distributing aid using a blockchain. What’s stopping us from creating a universal basic income of fresh food and water ? A lack of political will?

Did a lack of political will stop the invention of Bitcoin?

Yes, blockchain entrepreneurs should try to make employment better for employees. But that’s like stepping into a cavern with a candle and only acknowledging what you can see with the candlelight.

Everyone working in blockchain should realize the transformative nature of this and other technologies. Some I’ve mentioned and there are many more. We have the ability to create wonders. Not just companies that create a lot of value for shareholders, real world changing wonders.

When your time in this world is said and done, which do you want to say you built?

Image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk strives to offer an open platform for dialogue and discussion on all things blockchain by encouraging contributed articles. As such, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of CoinDesk.

For more details on how you can submit an opinion or analysis article, view our Editorial Collaboration Guide or email

Boost Tube Replacement Through 3D Printing

[Sam] is the lucky owner of a 1990 VW Corrado G60. To the uninitiated, that’s the souped-up, go fast version with the fancy supercharger on top. While performing some mods to the air intake (car-speak for “hacks”), there came a need for a custom tube to eliminate the original silencer box. With available options costing up to $400, suddenly 3D printing a replacement seemed like a better answer.

3D printing intake parts for a supercharged vehicle has some unique challenges. The intake must be able to take the boost pressures seen by the engine, in this case up to around 10 psi. There must be no air leaks at all as this risks confusing the sensors that measure how much air is entering the engine. Lastly, the tube must be able to withstand the hot, and often oily environment under the hood.

The first attempt was completed with TPU filament, which unfortunately did not hold pressure. A followup with PLA fared better, but was unable to withstand the heat present in the engine bay. After some experimentation, a successful print was made in PETG which was more robust. In the final design, [Sam] applied a rubber coating and then some aluminum tape, to both help seal any micro-holes in the 3D printed surface as well as help protect against heat.

After over a month of testing, [Sam]’s data logs indicate the tube is performing well and holding boost. It goes to show that with some perseverance and iterative design, 3D printed parts can often save the day.

Perhaps you’re inspired by this hack but need to jack up your car to work on it? Never fear, you can 3D print those too.