Geared Up Feb. 2nd Issue

Mech Talks

Pierce Labarre                                                                                                                             Mech

3D printing becomes a larger subject every year, with new brands, methods and most importantly, lower costs. However, many people do not understand the roots behind this technology, or the different kind of printers which are out there. This article will inform new Makers of the different kinds of printing technology available to the average consumer.

Types of 3D Printing

Although many different forms of 3D printing exist, the focus will be on the consumer options, for anyone looking to get into 3D printing.

DM Printing

FDM printing stands for Fused Deposition Modeling. This is the most common form of 3D printers, which although having many variants all follow the same principle. A FDM printer works by laying down molten plastic layer by layer on the build platform in order to slowly build up the model layer by layer.


Makerbot 3D printer [1]

The Makerbot 3D printers are a great (although expensive) option for an FDM printer that is reliable and very user friendly, although this type of printing is the most common, so many options exist. They can range from 200$ for a “build your own” kit, to 3900$ for the Makerbot pictured above.


Rostock Max V2 [2]

FDM printers are not limited to working on an X-Y plane like the Makerbot. A type of Printer known as the Delta 3D printer works using a delta of 3 arms, which works faster then the Cartesian printers. This printer however is quite a bit bulkier due to the its extra height requirement, and is more often sold as a build your own style of kit. These printers however have a larger build volume comparably to a Cartesian printer of the same price. The Rostock Max V2 pictured to the left sells for approximately 1000$ but many smaller and cheaper variants exist [3].

FDM 3D printers are an all around great printer, they are relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and have the cheapest material costs. An average spool of plastic is available on amazon for approximately 40$ [4]. The only con is that these printers have poor layer resolution as well as an inability to effectively print small objects.

SLA Printing


Form 2 SLA printer

SLA is a type of Stereolithographic printing which is a newer form of printingthen FDM. It works by converting a liquid resin into a solid by using lasers to solidify the resin at certain points. These Printers are expensive sitting between 3000$-4500$, with the form 2 pictured to the right at 3500$ [5]. However, they excel at printing small objects with details that far exceed their FDM equivalents. The best resolution of the Makerbot Printer is 0.1mm per layer [1], while the Form 2 can achieve a resolution of 0.025mm per layer [5]. Another disadvantage is that the Form 2 is a lot slower to print then its FDM equivalents, however as the technology progresses the print speed of SLA printers has increased dramatically. The final con of the SLA printers is that the material costs are much higher. A 1L bottle of resin costs 150$, and does not last as long as a roll of filament on a FDM printer [5]. Overall this printer is only ideal if the goal is to print relatively small objects that are very detailed.



Titan 1 3D printer [6]

The Final common printer available to makers is DLP-SLA printers. This is a version of SLA printers that uses a lamp in order to cure an entire layer of resin at once. This is evidently faster then the laser equivalent of the SLA printing and is in the same price range [6]. The Titan 1 3D printer is one that is commercially available, but although faster, the unit is much larger and space is a bigger requirement. The Titan 1 retails at 3000$ which is similar to other SLA printers [6].

Although currently limited in commercially available printers anyone interested in purchasing one has no shortage of options. There are hundreds of different 3D printers available on the market each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It is important to keep in mind what your printing (big or small, detail or low detail), how big the build platform of the printer is and what kind of materials it is able to use. Overall the choice of printers depends on the reason for the interest and a lot of time should be spent investigating the options to get the best printer for the needs of the project.


[1], 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[2], 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[3] R. Kit, “Rostock MAX™ v2 Desktop 3D Printer Kit”, SeeMeCNC, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[4], “BuMat ABS Filament 1.75mm 1kg 2.2-Pound Printing Material Supply Spool for 3D Printer, Clear: Industrial & Scientific”, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[5], “Desktop Stereolithography (SLA) 3D Printing – Formlabs”, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].

[6] Kudo3D – High Resolution, High Speed DLP SLA 3D Printer, “3D Printer – Selected Applications”, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01- Feb- 2016].


white space


Students share their thoughts about succeeding in ECOR 1101

Ana Alarcon                                                                                                                                     Aero D

You’ve probably heard frightening stories about the high DFW (D, F and withdraw) rates in ECOR 1101, or Mechanics 1.  If you are a student currently taking ECOR 1101, I would encourage you to read the following tips given by upper year students, mostly in their second year.   I asked them each three questions, and these are their responses.

Overall, what did you think of ECOR 1101?

“It was a fair course. Not terribly hard if you put enough work in and don’t get overwhelmed”

“ECOR 1101 is difficult if you fall behind, like most mechanics courses”

“Wasn’t so bad, go to lectures and do the work”

“I thought it was a good first year course, I ended up with an A”

“It’s tricky.  You need to really work hard to succeed”

“Personally, I didn’t realize how difficult the course was until the final exam.  Now I am retaking it.”


What advice would you give to students for doing well in ECOR 1101?

Do all the tests and problems”

“Take your time to think out the problem. If you ever get stuck fall back to the basics and break things down and take your time”

“They need to do the problems in their own time. Just knowing the theory isn’t good enough because there are so many ways it can be applied. The more problems you do, the different types of questions they are able to tackle”

“Try and go to TA and Prof office hours from time to time and definitely give PASS a chance”

“Print out the practice problem questions and cross off the ones you did as you go.  This will help you stay on top of things”

“Go to class, practice the problems throughout the semester and get help”


What resources did you use, or would you recommend, for succeeding in this course?

“Highly recommend getting the solution manual that contains all the step by step solutions. Make sure to do the mock midterm and mock exam. They help out very well. Draw everything out, don’t be afraid to use up all your space”

“The textbook?”

“I didn’t go to PASS for mechanics but I’m almost certain it would’ve made a huge difference. I attribute much of my success in thermodynamics to taking the time and going to PASS”

“I found classes pretty pointless. I just studied from the textbook, and understood the concepts from there. And PASS was really helpful!”

“PASS and ask your Professor for help.  Even if you think they aren’t “good”, they really do care and it’s up to you to go ask them questions until you understand.  My mistake last year was not going to ask the Prof questions because I didn’t think they were good, when really they are professionals.  Also don’t stress too much. It’s no PHYS 1004 (kidding)”

“Two big tips: GO TO CLASS and treat PASS like class!  Unless you’re a pro-student, go to class or else you’ll be pretty lost.  I skipped a little too much class and I also didn’t go to PASS.  I didn’t do too well in Mechanics either…”


If you find yourself struggling with ECOR 1101 or any other first year courses you can also come to the CMAS office (ME 3397) as many of the students are upper years and would be happy to help.  Best of luck and study hard!

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muskmission tomars-1

John L.                                                                                                                                                 Aero

“Do we want a future where we are only confined to one planet?”
                                                                                                                        -Elon Musk

The question remains, will the future of humanity involve colonizing other planets, or will humans forever exist and seize to exist on Earth?  For one man, Elon Musk, the latter seems almost too despairing. Though human survival on other planets is no recent buzz, CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk believes that SpaceX will make their first human flight to Mars around the year 2025 [1].

Elon Musk is a new and rising figure in the space scene.  He is not only the founder of SpaceX, but the cofounder of PayPal and Tesla Motors, and it’s through his entrepreneurial skills that really makes him one of the space industry’s top rising stars in innovative thinking.  For instance, he and his team managed to successfully attach their spacecraft called “Dragon” to the International Space Station (ISS), earning them a contract with NASA to continue bringing cargo to the ISS, and makes them the first private company to do resupply missions [2].  His engineering talents also lead SpaceX to create Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket [2].

elon musk

SpaceX CEO and CTO Elon Musk [3]

Now, Elon Musk faces one of humanity’s most interesting challenges to date, a human visit to the planet Mars.  The story has been told for years now that we will one day explore Mars and all its fascinating geology, but to think that it could potentially only take another nine years for the first human flight to Mars is incredible.  Musk, however, has no worries about space travel.  In an interview with Invest Hong Kong at the Startmeup HK Venture Forum talk, Musk expresses no concern with making a trip himself into the dark abyss [1].

“I don’t think it’s that hard honestly,” he says.  “You float around.” [1]

He is expected to visit the International Space Station in the year 2020 or 2021 [1].  As for SpaceX’s mission to Mars, Musk said he would present the details about the Mars mission at the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico this September [4].  Now this also brings up the question, who will be the first human to ever set foot on Mars?  Will it be you?



[1] YouTube, “StartmeupHK Venture Forum – Elon Musk on Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 26- Jan- 2016].

[2] SpaceX, “Company”, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 24- Jan- 2016].

[3] J. Fisher, “Here’s why Elon Musk is the most impressive member of the ‘PayPal mafia'”, Business Insider, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25- Jan- 2016].

[4] J. Wenz and S. Vazharov, “Elon Musk Ready To Announce Mars Plans This Fall”, Popular Mechanics, 2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 24- Jan- 2016].


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