Card to CAD: Creating ‘Print-A-Filter’

Experiments in encapsulating objects mid-print.

Much of the Design Modelling website currently revolves around using simple and cheap materials to create prototypes – often as a precursor to more expensive processes like 3D printing – and in time, manufacturing processes. Above shows the evolution of a concept for a water purifier for first-response disaster relief efforts, which filtered dirty water from one bottle to another. (Notes here)


This was a result of attending the Design Spark Mechanical launch event (18-20 Sept 2013) – of a FREE CAD Software package, which unlike many other tools (Google Sketch-Up, Blender and 123D), has some pretty serious engineering features.

Take a look at the concept in more detail and how we used the software:

Joined by 25 other engineers, we were lucky to work alongside the design heros such as Trevor Baylis (Wind-Up Radio) and Adrian Boywer (The reason you have 3D Printers).

I was part of Team Tesla – one of 6 engineers who had never met before, and who were from different countries, so one can appreciate how vital it was to be able to communicate our ideas effectively in physical form, quickly and effectively, before we moved into CAD. Below are of some of the highlights:

As we were at the MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) in Manchester, it was impossible not to geek-out a bit at the incredible industrial machinery…

Working through the ideas together, using sketches, cardboard, scavenged plastic bottles, stuff from pound-shops – before proving the concept and then working-up the final design in CAD.

As mentioned, we encapsulated the carbon filter – mid-print – to use the hot PLA plastic to create a water tight seal.

(Makes you wonder what else this technique could also be applied to?)

After only a couple of days we has something that demonstrated the idea and allowed others to interact and evaluate the ‘Print-A-Filter’ concept. Clearly this would need extensive development to make it a commercial product, but this is certainly an interesting start…

What will you make with this powerful new CAD tool, that is getting pretty close to ‘engineering-level’ CAD, for Free…

Info & Free Download Here: