12 Things for Christmas

So we wanted to do a special twist on the "12 Days of Christmas" for y'all who love to make "things", especially those that like to include your families in the process.  Growing up in a 3D household, my 3 year old daughter, Teagan, is already familiar with 3D Printing and has been building imaginary printers out of Lego's for some time now. She also knows her Dad makes filament and that filament goes in a 3D Printer.  Not bad for a 3 year old, right?  These little people are pretty sharp.  I'd be surprised if she isn't making her own 3D Prints next year as a 4 year old...and I'm sure she'll be explaining to and teaching her little sister to do the same.  So here is to a wonderful holiday and prosperous New Year!  Enjoy some 3D Printing time with your family!!!

Peace, Love & Pasta from our family to yours, Alex

P.S. You'll find our "12 Things for Christmas" videos on YouTube here:

And the files we are printing in our Thingiverse collection here:

And follow @Proto_pasta on Instagram for more great Proto-pasta 3D Prints!

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The Proto-pasta brand celebrates 2 years since kickstarting!

ProtoPlant successfully kickstarted Proto-pasta brand filament by bringing 3 new 3D Printing materials to market, including World’s First Carbon Fiber PLA. Fulfilling the 500 backer rewards was 6 months of tedious work, during which we continued operating our traditional engineering services business to pay the bills. Over the past 1.5 years, we’ve pushed hard to transition nearly 100% of our business to 3D printing related activities.

This transition has not been without risks and challenges. As a small 3 man team, we’ve carefully allocated resources. It’s pretty special to have had the opportunity to follow our passions while making a notable impact in this still developing space!

We’ve standardized processes while maintaining flexibility in trying new things.  We’ve developed resale to far reaches of the world with representation in Argentina, South Africa, and Australia among others.  We’ve embraced the maker spirit through continued experimentation. Through this we’ve not sacrificed quality because if you can’t get good prints with our filament, what’s the point?

Besides creating unique filaments, our biggest differentiator is the equipment we use to do this. Proto-pasta is extruded on ProtoPlant designed and purpose-built extrusion systems.  Our machinery is custom made from the control software to diameter measurement, haul-off, and spooling.  Can any other filament manufacturer claim this?

We continue to improve and build more machinery while expanding our facility to meet your demand!  We promise to keep pushing the limits in creating new and interesting materials for your FFF style 3D printer!  Thanks kindly for your support!!!

Finally, stay tuned for an upcoming podcast with Proto-pasta founders Dustin and Aaron Cram recalling their journey over the last 2 years.

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3D Printing Holiday Gift Guide

3D Printing Holiday Gift Guide – What 3D Printers, Filament & Accessories to buy this Christmas!

Best 3D Printers (least to most expensive)

  • Easy-to-use & assembledM3D & Printrbot Play – Printing is more affordable than ever! Missed the M3D Kickstarter? Now you can buy it! Also, check out the heavier duty, more hacker-friendly Printrbot. - starting at $349.
  • Best open source kitSeeMeCnc Rostock Max – Want the fulfillment of building your own printer & enjoyment of watching a Delta style printer work? Look no further that SeeMeCnc! - $999
  • Best value assembledDremel Idea Builder & FlashForge Creator Pro – A proven printer design with lots of parts & upgrades plus the convenience of Amazon Prime shipping. – starting at $999
  • Best open source assembledLulzbot Mini & Taz 5 – Open source and industry leading. Luzbot offers a premium, professional 3D Printing experience & a good performance value. – starting at $1350
  • Go big or go homeRe3D Gigabot – Tired of the small stuff? Print big for less than you think. The new v3 Gigabot just released! Available in kit or assembled with various options. - starting at $8550


Must-have Accessories

  • Build preparation softwareSimplify3D – Hands down, the best upgrade for your printer & they just released a comprehensive troubleshooting guide. So helpful! - $149
  • Easy part removal - Peel-a-part Flexible Build Platform – Stop scraping & prying. - $33
  • Best exotics upgrade - Wear Resistant Nozzle – Trouble-free printing. – starting at $14.99
  • Multi-materialsThe Palette – More materials from a single nozzle. - $799


Unique & Interesting Filaments

  • Best exotic printing valueProto-pasta Carbon Fiber PLA – World’s first (and best printing) carbon fiber 3D printing filament just got more affordable. Print everyday for that iconic, photo-ready matte finish. – starting at $29.99
  • Personal metal printingProto-pasta Stainless Steel & Magnetic Iron PLA – Unique aesthetic for the designer & artisan w/ interesting properties for the engineer. Metal printing on your desktop. - starting at $15
  • Durable, engineered partsProto-pasta High Temperature PLA & PC-ABS Alloy – Affordable printing of performance materials for standard & high performance printers. Print something useful. - $35
  • Electrified printingProto-pasta Conductive PLA – Integrate electricity into your prints without any special hardware or upgrades. Want to make a game controller, flashlight, or stylus? Prints like PLA. – starting at $15
  • Newest and most uniqueProto-pasta Aromatic Pine & Coffee – Missed September’s release of the industry’s first aromatic filament? Print with coffee and pine too with our special holiday release - starting at $35


Content – Models for 3D Printing

  • Best exclusive models - 3D Shook – a subscription-based model library w/ exclusive designs. Guaranteed printable w/ relevant themes, minimum 100 files are added/month. - free trial w/ code “protopasta”
  • Most creative models - 3D Kitbash – I can’t believe we just discovered these folks! They just completed another kickstarter & offer the most fun & interesting files - free & 10% off paid w/ code “protopasta”
  • Best Thingiverse alternative - Pinshape – Whether you’re taking a philosophical stand against Thingiverse or just don’t like the dated aesthetic, Pinshape is one of many easy on the eyes & the wallet alternatives. – free
  • Largest curated model collection - MyMiniFactory – An extensive collection w/ many free downloads & designer files available for purchase as well. A unique & growing platform w/ many contests. - free


3D Printing Services

  • Local 3D Printing - 3D Hubs – Have a printer with some extra time or aren’t ready to buy a printer? 3D Hubs has you covered! Make local connections & 3D prints – varies & $10 credit w/ link
  • Leading 3D Printing MarketplaceShapeways – Upload files, order prints. Real metal & durable plastic – varies


These recommendations are made in good fun & based on our still limited experience in an ever-growing/changing industry. Get out there, try something new & share your experience!

Peace, Love & Pasta from ProtoPlant, makers of Proto-pasta

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May is for Makers

Meet new employee Matt!
He recently joined the Proto-pasta team and brings production experience and plenty of enthusiasm.  A hands-on, self-learner, he is new to 3D Printing but is already very comfortable with the technology.  In joining the Maker Community, he has found his people!!!
Having never been to a Maker Faire, we decided to take a last-minute road trip from Portland, Oregon to San Mateo, CA and introduce Matt to Maker Faire.  What a great opportunity to catch up with fans and partners in the 3D Printing community!  Eyes wide open and jaw hanging in awe, Matt was overwhelmed by the many amazing 3D printers, CNCs, electronics, robots, weird vehicles and fire.
Yes, this was his utopia…here are a couple highlights from our visit to Bay Area Maker Faire:
Everyone loves big prints! One of the first things we saw in the 3D tent was the Gigabot 3D Printer.  Kickstarter funded, this machine has a 24” cube build area!  Epic!!!
This may be the future of 3D Printing technology. The pasta-bilities are truly endless with the capability to print with multiple colors and materials from a single extruder printer. Pictured is a dual material print of a transparent gear reinforced with a Proto-pasta Carbon Fiber PLA inner structure.  Chris at Mosaic said this gear is a Discovery Channel star!  Cheers to another Kickstarter funded project!!!
We couldn’t help but notice the impressive Ultimaker display in the Maker Shed tent.  The Ultimaker 2 has a clean look with precise 0.02 mm layer resolution and a highly acclaimed user experience.  Special thanks to Ultimaker for letting us test drive one!
Some things at Maker Faire are just plain terrifying.  This year, google armed a robot with a knife!  Luckily it was contained behind protective glass!!! The arm’s main action was to perform Bishop’s knife between the fingers trick from the 1979 movie, Alien.
At first glance, this is Origami with tape, but the amount of time and effort that went into their Maker Faire display alone must have taken an army of artists.  As I could never explain this, see for yourself in this photo.
Now who doesn’t want to have a giant mechanical suit to defend the planet with?  Well, thanks to Megabots, we’re getting much closer.  This 15-foot tall robot boasts 2 huge air cannons and is completely mobile.  Megabots is working to create a new sport where giant robots fight each other, which I hope will dominate our current world of entertainment!
This was an amazing first experience at Maker Faire and it will not be Matt’s last.  He sincerely enjoyed chatting with the many passionate Makers and can’t wait to see what’s new next year.  As we left the fairgrounds for the day, he couldn't help but look back at what might be the happiest place on Earth.
Cheers to you Matt!  Fellow Makers, use the code MAYISFORMAKERS for $10 off any purchase through Monday, June 1st.  Happy Making!!!
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Test Printing With Wear-Resistant Nozzle

Addressing the issue of nozzle wear using composite filaments has been a priority for us and it looks like we have found a good way to extend nozzle life!  Using brass nozzles plated with a super-hard "electroless" nickel coating has increased the life of our FlashForge nozzles significantly.  With the stock brass nozzles, we can only print about 500g of material before wear becomes a problem.  With the new nozzles, we have run more than 4Kg without measurable wear.
How do we measure wear?  Well, we have some ridiculously small drill bits :-)  They go up in .002in increments and we use them like "go no-go" gauges. 
Currently we have both MK8 and MK10 (Newer Flash Forge) Nozzles in stock (in both .4mm and .6mm).  Below is an image of the MK10 version.
We are super excited about this advancement in hardware that will help you print in exotic materials with confidence!
Here are a few images of Stainless Steel prints using our .4mm coated nozzle.  They were all printed with a single nozzle with no measurable wear.
Eric Harrell (ericthepoolboy) uploaded an amazing model of a 4 cylinder Toyota engine to thingiverse, with pretty much every single part.  We wanted to run a lot of material through, so I just started printing parts of it out.  The Block took 20hrs at 30% infill.  We asked for permission to post images because it is licensed non-commercial but have not heard back.
Other prints in the pile are a Flower, Train, and giant hex blocks that are designed basically to use up filament.  They are 100% infill and and 750g of material.
We also printed a 600g T-rex with 100% infill that is 6in long :-).  This is a solid guy, and I polished his nose up some just for fun.
Thanks for reading and happy printing!
The Proto-pasta team.
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