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 Post subject: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:43 am 
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Hi General Puzzles fans,

Do you have access to a 3D printer? Maybe a Makerbot of your own, at school, at the office or with a friend? Then this may be interesting to you.

This week, LayerByLayer has launched a new 3D-printing-support service, through which you can directly stream an object to your own 3D printer. It works a bit like an app store. Designers can upload and sell models. Buyers can buy single samples at the LayerByLayer marketplace. LayerBy Layer uses a streaming technology, a bit like streaming video over the internet. Through the special LayerByLayer software, your 3D printer is directly connected to a LayerByLayer server via the internet, and that server streams the object to your printer one layer at a time.

As home 3D printers are not good enough for twisty puzzles yet, I decided to start with some non-twisty puzzles.

In order to test the service, I have already "teleported" several models to San Francisco and London to test the model settings. I thank Jonathan Schwartz of LayerByLayer and Steve Nicholls for beta testing my first three LayerByLayer puzzles.

This is the link to my LayerByLayer Shop. Please try it out if you have access to a 3D printer. It is much, much cheaper than using a professional 3D-printing service, and the quality is quite acceptable for not-too-demanding puzzles designs.

Enjoy!

Oskar
Attachment:
Printing puzzles with Layer By Layer low-res.jpg
Printing puzzles with Layer By Layer low-res.jpg [ 50.46 KiB | Viewed 2924 times ]

Attachment:
French Fries picture LayerByLayer - low res.jpg
French Fries picture LayerByLayer - low res.jpg [ 82.57 KiB | Viewed 2924 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:25 am 
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Just to add I have been using/helping test this service, it really is quite a neat idea and I'm delighted that it has enabled Oskar to release his puzzles on another platform.

Picture below is of the three puzzles Oskar has released that I have printed on the printer beside me. I really must print another copy of the Moby Maze ring in a different colour, I just need to do some puzzle solving to remove the current one!

Attachment:
OskarPuzzles.JPG
OskarPuzzles.JPG [ 4.25 MiB | Viewed 2900 times ]


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:57 am 
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Well, in another 10 years or so, home 3D printers will be cheap enough for the masses and this service will be perfect for people who need to print out a replacement part from a widget. Being able to print out toys and puzzles will be gravy for these devices and convince more people to get them.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:02 pm 
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What are the advantages of streaming? Why don't they just sell the file or is it to do with copyright protection?

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:12 pm 
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If it's streamed right to the printer, one can control the number of prints made. So say you want to buy one of the item, it would only get streamed once.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:07 pm 
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I fail to see how streaming offers more protection than sending the design file. It's mostly security through obscurity. While not entirely trivial, it should be quite possible to "record" what is being streamed and play it back later. The only advantage is that instead of sending a triangulated model which you could then send on to Shapeways or a factory in China, the service sends you the fundamental commands that your printer should execute to build the model. Reconstructing the original design file from this is hard/not possible/only possible to some degree but the streaming design does not make it impossible to print more than the allowed number of copies.

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 3:47 pm 
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I think the question about streaming has been answered pretty well. There are options to limit the availability of the stream either by number of prints or time.

I actually think the idea is very good even though as Tomz points out theoretically the stream could be intercepted/recorded. However, this would be a non-trivial exercise and would, as Tomz points out, only expose the instructions being sent to my printer.

Frankly, I think it is fantastic that there are now a number of Oskar's puzzles that are available to print at home. I hope that other designs that are not already being made public through other (puzzles) sites ultimately become available through services like LayerByLayer.


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:02 pm 
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TomZ wrote:
I fail to see how streaming offers more protection than sending the design file. It's mostly security through obscurity. While not entirely trivial, it should be quite possible to "record" what is being streamed and play it back later.
Although possible to record the stream, it doesn't give you the underlying model so you are stuck with essentially a rasterized version pinned to the presumably lower res of your home printer.
Like analog technologies there is a history businesses of copyable assets where fidelity is lost.
Likewise streaming music can be reconstructed but the cost to do so is a deterent to any average consumer.

This is an interesting development, I am curious to see whee this leads.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 5:27 pm 
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I would like to see a race, between 3D streaming/printing and Fedex-ing a pre-made puzzle: Which would be fastest? I think it could be quite close?

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jun 30, 2013 6:26 pm 
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Kelvin,

I think it would be close but for these puzzles the printer would win unless a same day service were used, in which case it may be close.

Of course, the main challenge of printing rather than buying pre-made is that most printed puzzles don't come assembled and so recording a solution while carefully taking them apart isn't a possibility!

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:33 am 
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Steve wrote:
Just to add I have been using/helping test this service, it really is quite a neat idea and I'm delighted that it has enabled Oskar to release his puzzles on another platform.

I'm a bit puzzled. Their web site says their software only works with Makerbot firmware, but I thought your printer was a RepRap derivative.

In any event, this has huge potential to "commoditize" model-buying. Maybe I should adapt my recent Puck Up puzzle and add it to their inventory--it could be perfect for the $0.99 impulse-purchase category.

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:19 am 
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A question: what happens if you are streaming a model and your printer crashes, or there is a power cut etc?

Ah, I had a look on the website and this is answered here.

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:38 am 
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Gus wrote:
A question: what happens if you are streaming a model and your printer crashes, or there is a power cut etc?

Ah, I had a look on the website and this is answered here.

A more likely problem:

What happens if you just can't wait for the printer to finish and insist on trying to solve the puzzle before it has been fully printed? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Scott, there is always the possibility I own two 3D printers! :D

I've had a Replicator for some time but the new printer I have designed and built with Simon Bexfield is reprap based.

I'd absolutely encourage you to submit your Puckup and some of your other designs, such as "Wrong Way Nut" too.

Kelvin : the problem is you start to solve it with an incomplete set of pieces. With the Domino Tower I established the solution after three pieces had been printed and when the fourth was printed assembly took seconds.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Imagine Christmas morning. Printer suddenly fires up and starts printing. You have no idea what it is and can only watch until it has finished printing your present.

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:20 am 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
Imagine Christmas morning. Printer suddenly fires up and starts printing. You have no idea what it is and can only watch until it has finished printing your present.

And like this, every day can be Christmas! :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:36 pm 
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Interesting! But its just essentially a paid version of Thingiverse...


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:43 pm 
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malevolant wrote:
Interesting! But its just essentially a paid version of Thingiverse...
Yes and no. To the consumer, the most added value is supposed to be in less tinkering and more certainty of getting first-time-right prints. However, as Steve can testify, such promise is hard to make true ...

Oskar

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:48 pm 
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Thingiverse offers files, LayerByLayer offers prints. Oskar is right, that makes a difference.

LayerByLayer offers a lot of free files. They're all pre-tested and ready for a user to print without having to download the STL, slice it, guess at the right settings, etc.

For example you could download the STL for Emmett's Preassembled Secret Heart Box from Thingiverse here, save it somewhere (that part isn't hard), guess at the best slicer settings or scour all the comments and text for hints at what worked for some users. Because it's a pre-assembled model it's very touchy. What layer thickness is best? Infill percentage? Shell count? Feed rate? Nozzle temperature? Should I use a raft? What kind of support algorithm does it need, if any??

LayerByLayer has Emmett's Preassembled Secret Heart Box as a free print here. It takes 57 minutes to build, and all the settings have been optimized and tested already. If I just wanted to build that model, I would honestly choose to do it through LayerByLayer instead of Thingiverse -- they're both free, but LayerByLayer is a whole lot easier.


I recommend everyone read their recent blog post Why the 3D Printing Experience Needs to Change for a summary of their philosophy for this service.

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:42 am 
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^So, in a nutshell, currently available consumer grade 3D printers require too much manual configuration for the non-technical, and Layer-by-Layer takes care of this step for those with the right brand of printer? If so, what is to prevent such a service from being rendered obsolete as consumer 3D printers mature and become more automated in their operation?

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 2:50 pm 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
^So, in a nutshell, currently available consumer grade 3D printers require too much manual configuration for the non-technical, and Layer-by-Layer takes care of this step for those with the right brand of printer? If so, what is to prevent such a service from being rendered obsolete as consumer 3D printers mature and become more automated in their operation?

That should improve the 3D printing experience, but it shouldn't render the service obsolete -- it gives the user/consumer a better selection from which to choose. The development of SLS 3D printing didn't render the old FDM process obsolete -- it expanded the versatility of the industry as a whole, and the whole industry (including FDM) has been expanding in the meantime.

As for "the right brand of printer", they are working to expand support to other machines. Quickly, I hope.

Besides, that isn't the sole differentiator. To summarize the points raised on this thread:

  • Some models are available for purchase, like Oskar's Puzzles mentioned in the opening post. There's no other way you'd be able to print these models at home. They're desirable puzzles, and good values at the price. It isn't just "a paid version of Thingiverse" but the ability to buy models gives the users access to content they couldn't get otherwise.
  • LayerByLayer offers a simplified printing experience, as we just discussed, a benefit that will appeal to many users. Even people who would ordinarily enjoy tinkering might occasionally want to just print something without fussing over the technical details.
  • There's a potential for exclusive content, models that can be printed for free but aren't available elsewhere because a designer doesn't choose to give away the STL files. Even if someone hacks the delivery system, like TomZ suggested, it wouldn't give them the original STL file.

By the way...

I accepted Steve's suggestion and put it to the test: I posted my Puckup puzzle as a free print at LayerByLayer. It's a simple puzzle, but I think it hit upon that delicate balance that's so sought after--a puzzle that challenges everyone but doesn't intimidate anyone. I'm happy to share it, but as a designer I'm currently reluctant to share the STL files. Am I worried that someone might hack the data stream? Not really. Even if someone was motivated to do that, all they'd gain is the ability to print more copies of a model that they can already print for free.

If you have a Makerbot you can print the Puckup Puzzle for free right now.
Attachment:
File comment: Puckup Puzzle is a free print at LayerByLayer
puckuppage.png
puckuppage.png [ 248.04 KiB | Viewed 2350 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:24 am 
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VeryWetPaint wrote:
[*]LayerByLayer offers a simplified printing experience
This should not be underestimated.
Hard drive and flash based music players were possible for a long time but it was the integration of iTunes and a simple design that kept the iPod ahead of cheaper competitors and took Apple from almost dead to a decade of incredible growth.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:03 am 
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From what I understand, on Thingiverse you get the file so you can print it as many times as you like. It also seems that the printer configurations would only have to be done once.

Whereas, LayerByLayer gives you one full print and the settings are already inputted.

So if you wanted to print multiple copies of one thing it seems like Thingiverse could be the better choice. But, if you only want one it's likely that LayerByLayer will be your better option. I think these two companies could both serve their purposes, without one completely taking over the market. This may just be ramblings and repeats of everything that's been said, but I want to make sure I got it straight and add my thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:33 pm 
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Mostly summarising what has been said before but LBL for me beats Thingiverse in a couple of areas:

* Firstly I don't need to think (so hard) about printer settings. The service is getting better and better day by day.

* Secondly designers like Oskar and Scott can make their designs available to me without releasing the STL files. This means I can only print single copies and can't hack, amend,borrow , steal designs etc.

Having said this Thingiverse is also a fantastic resource for free/open source designs. I intend to continue using both as both a consumer and designer. For example my Skew Whiff Puzzle is available on LBL but my 3x3x3 Rubik's shape modification script (must get round to doing more with it!) is available on Thingiverse (free and complete with source code) I'd really appreciate any feedback from Twisty members on how to better model the internals within my script as they are a bit "sticky/catchy" at the moment.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:39 pm 
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Another thought I just had is that a designer could put their files up and then use this site to optimize the print settings for them. That would work, right?


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:54 pm 
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VeryWetPaint wrote:
Thingiverse offers files, LayerByLayer offers prints. Oskar is right, that makes a difference.

LayerByLayer offers a lot of free files. They're all pre-tested and ready for a user to print without having to download the STL, slice it, guess at the right settings, etc.

For example you could download the STL for Emmett's Preassembled Secret Heart Box from Thingiverse here, save it somewhere (that part isn't hard), guess at the best slicer settings or scour all the comments and text for hints at what worked for some users. Because it's a pre-assembled model it's very touchy. What layer thickness is best? Infill percentage? Shell count? Feed rate? Nozzle temperature? Should I use a raft? What kind of support algorithm does it need, if any??

LayerByLayer has Emmett's Preassembled Secret Heart Box as a free print here. It takes 57 minutes to build, and all the settings have been optimized and tested already. If I just wanted to build that model, I would honestly choose to do it through LayerByLayer instead of Thingiverse -- they're both free, but LayerByLayer is a whole lot easier.


I recommend everyone read their recent blog post Why the 3D Printing Experience Needs to Change for a summary of their philosophy for this service.


LBL allows you to print one full print in their premade settings. What happens if your print fails? What happens if you want to edit the file to print something similar, but not exactly the same? I enjoy being able to pull down the solid part files or even the STLs and editing the bodies to do what I want with them. While I agree LayerByLayer makes it easy for these small, free prints, is it really worth spending $9.99 on say...[url="https://www.layerbylayer.com/product/F0DA56E66BCBF386C6F063A8C666F153"]this?[/url] I don't know...maybe I'm partial because I work at MakerBot and use Thingiverse every day, but I could design a case and post it on Thingiverse for everyone to use for free and just be happy I'm getting views.


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 Post subject: Re: LayerByLayer: streaming puzzles to your own 3D printer
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:46 pm 
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malevolant wrote:
LBL allows you to print one full print in their premade settings. What happens if your print fails?

Their Printability Guarantee promises to give you "as many tries as you need to get it perfect." (I suspect you didn't even look for the answere to this--it's actually mentioned on the page you linked to, as well as on the guarantee page I just linked.)

malevolant wrote:
What happens if you want to edit the file to print something similar, but not exactly the same?

If it's not exactly what you wanted, then you wouldn't choose a print of that version of that object from LayerByLayer. Not only are you proficient in editing and tweaking your own models, but it's such a familiar work-flow for you that any other method of building models will probably seem alien and unfamiliar. There are already sites like Thingiverse that cater to the slice-STL-yourself metaphor.

As I see it, LayerByLayer is trying other metaphors that haven't been explored yet. For designers it offers a different distribution option, which is arguably good for consumers who couldn't get access to that kind of content otherwise--like the puzzles Oskar posted. For consumers it promises another way of building models, which could be attractive for those who aren't so proficient as you are.

malevolant wrote:
I enjoy being able to pull down the solid part files or even the STLs and editing the bodies to do what I want with them. While I agree LayerByLayer makes it easy for these small, free prints, is it really worth spending $9.99 on say...this? I don't know...maybe I'm partial because I work at MakerBot and use Thingiverse every day, but I could design a case and post it on Thingiverse for everyone to use for free and just be happy I'm getting views.


The product you linked, Suit and Tie Cover for iPhone, is refreshingly creative -- it would look rather elegant built in white for a black iPhone, or built in black for a white iPhone. Candidly, I think it's a much better value at $9.99 from LayerByLayer than this $15 iPhone 4S Protector from 3DLT, even though the latter lets you download the file and thus print as many as you want.

LayerByLayer certainly isn't a competitor to Thingiverse, and it isn't trying to be. It serves a related purpose, but not the same purpose. If a particular user prefers LayerByLayer for a model that's also available from Thingiverse, then it's undoubtedly someone who's better off with a pre-sliced pre-tested model. And it's better for Thingiverse if that user gets the streamed version of the model via LayerByLayer because otherwise they'd be cluttering the site with comments like "Suggest how to set up the slicer" or "All I get is unfilled walls" or "It dont work. Help."

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