Make it: A Salute to 3D Printing Makers in the Era of Industry 4.0


Aya Bentur  

Ultimaker Bike Mount for iphone

This week Make it LEO is changing its name to LEO Lane, to better reflect what we do: enable enterprises to join the Industry 4.0 fast lane without losing control of their products and parts. However, after being Make it LEO for so long we are suffering from name withdrawal and keep thinking about “Make it”. This week’s post is inspired by that phrase, Make it, and is about Makers. The Maker movement is about learning through doing, getting to really know the technology around you and using it to its best advantage in solving problems or just tinkering for fun. When we think of makers it brings up peer to peer knowledge and ingenuity, innovation, resourcefulness, and cutting edge technology joining to empower individuals to take control of their virtual and physical surroundings and all that’s included in it. The maker is a problem solver, part of a community of innovators – in the current Industry 4.0 era, one of the important tools in the maker’s toolbox is 3D printing. With the help of 3D printers and local 3D print providers, the maker can turn ideas and experiments into physical items to be used and tested.

Fixing and Adding

The Maker Culture actually started from a very basic need of fixing a broken object or adjusting it to our needs by adding a part, such as the iPhone bike mount made by Ultimaker (image up top). When you’re making you often spend more time finding the right tools and the right way to make your design, 3D printing allows you to easily make your own tools or adaptations, like jigs for a drill or for a sewing machine (below).

3D Printed Jig for Sewing Machine and Dremel

3D Printed Wiper for Machining

3D Printed Jig for Drill

Makers look for ways of simply solving a common problem, trying to provide an affordable solution like the 3D printed FairCap Project (below). What started with Mauricio Cordova traveling the Amazon rainforest encountering the global clean water crisis is now a company with a vision to create water filters at the costs of 1$.

Open Source 3D Printed Water Filter - The FairCap Project

Fixperts Umbrella Stabilizer

Fixperts are also an example of problem solvers, the UK initiative started by Daniel Charni and James Carrigan connect between designer-makers and people facing a daily difficulty. The interaction leads to a tailored fix and a growing archive of problems and solutions, such as the 3D printed umbrella stabilizer (above) or the cutting board for the disabled, both created by HIT students.

Big companies are looking for ways to connect to the maker movement and the maker customer. Gillette, for example, created a 3D printing station at IEM 2017 in Katowice, Poland, making customized razor handles for the visitors (below).

3D Printed Customized Gillette Razor Handles

3D Printed Selby Cobra at ORNL

Making is not just a hobby, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory the team worked on making a 3D printed Shelby Cobra car (above and in this video) using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine developed by ORNL and Cincinnati Incorporated. 3D printing is ideal for the Automotive industry, especially in manufacturing parts that are no longer in production,  as in this Jay Leno video.

MakerClub 3D Printed Robot

Maker Clubs in the UK are encouraging making as a way of learning and engaging with technology. The Makerconnect is a robot building kit, combining a custom control chip, a mobile app, an online learning package and 3D printing (above). The kit enables kids not only to build a toy robot in minimum costs but also to create their own designs with the ingredients in the kit and customized 3D printed parts.

Local spaces for creation inspired as well by the Maker culture are FabLabs, a common phenomenon in cities around the world. A couple of years ago FabLab Barcelona introduced the Fab City concept, connecting the idea of a FabLab with its local urban environment and community. Major cities, such as London are following Barcelona’s footsteps, where mayor Sadiq Khan recently announced development plans for Eastern London including largest 3D printing center in the UK. This move encourages the use of Additive Manufacturing ranging from maker projects to large scale industry.

MakerGirl is a nonprofit startup where young women from the University of Illinois come together to educate young girls on various topics through the use of 3D printing. The startup joined Workshop a maker space in Highland Park for a one-day event empowering girls to create (below).

MakerGirl Inspires Kids At HP Workshop

At Maker Faire people of all ages and disciplines come together in a celebration of science, technology, innovation and making. The biggest and most known fairs are in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, where you can find young enthusiasts (like those in the video below) alongside 3D printings’ most innovative makers.

Moat Boat Paddle Battle – World Maker Faire 2015 Teaser from Matthew Griffin on Vimeo.

Make it Yourself

The maker movement opens up opportunities for ingenuity, re-thinking and stretching the limits of imagination. Swedish inventor Torbjørn Ludvigsen did just that when stretching the size of the desktop 3D printer. He created the HangPrinter, transforming every room into a 3D printer (below).

HangPrinter by Torbjorn Ludvigsen

3D Printed Lego Lights - Adafruit

AdaFruit, dedicated to learning and making, was founded by MIT hacker & engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried. Adafruit which now includes over 100 employees and an overwhelming number of tutorials, recently released a tutorial for 3D printing Lego lights (above). Makezine is another platform hosting an impressive amount of maker tutorials such as the 3D printed centrifuge, drone sky-cam, and telescope.

There are some challenges when working with a 3D printer, one of them is calibrating the machine to achieve the best results. The solution is the 3DBenchy boat designed by Creative Tools, a free model of a boat used to benchmark and calibrate 3D printers, accessible to all makers.

3DBenchy - Benchmark Test for 3D Printers

Rising to the Challenge

If you want to face your own challenge, there are a number of challenges using additive manufacturing to solve different issues, such as the Additive World design challenge or Envision the Future, encouraging makers to create 3D printed assistive devices and learning tools for the visually impaired.

Nazzareno Ruspolini created the 3D printed add-on (below) for the Apple Accessory 3D Printing Challenge conducted by i.materialise, intended to enhance everyday tech products.

Ibat Jour by Nazzareno Ruspolini 3D Printing Challenge


3D printing is used as a learning tool, as visual aids, and as a thinking process in itself. Make, Instructables and many other online platforms provide an alternative way of learning, enabling and enriching through making. Special 3D printers are designed to fit the young innovator, like the Da Vinci Mini Maker (below) and companies such as GE Additive, are investing in education.

XYZPrinting 3D Printer for STEAM Education

My next maker project will be 3D printing a stand for my drill, what will be yours? Share your comments and suggestions below. For more inspiration and information follow us on Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates.

Thank you, makers, for the constant inspiration!

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