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3D Printing with a Java Rockstar

By Roger Smith

 

Controlling a 3D Printer with Java and VRL-Studio

I chatted with Java Rockstar Michael Hoffer on Tuesday at the Java Hub in the Exhibit hall about VRL-Studio, an innovative visual programming environment he created in Java that combines visual and text-based programming. Currently doing his PhD at the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, Hoffer works at the Goethe-Center for Scientific Computing in Frankfurt. His research interests are in developing visual programming concepts in the field of modeling and simulation of highly complex physical processes including those modeled by medical scanning equipment.

VRL-Studio uses the Java Reflection API and Groovy to automatically generate interactive user interfaces, and has a powerful plug-in system that allows for easy integration of Java libraries, such as the 3-D modeling library JCSG. Hoffer demonstrated how he created a lightweight drone with four arms that are modeled on a complex structure found in the bones of birds. (see images below) "These drone parts can also be optimized to remove vibration. This structure cannot be created via milling, but it's a very easy task for a 3D printer."

It's also easy it is to turn a Raspberry PI board into a fully functional robot, Hoffer said, using 3D geometries created with the open source JCSG library and his VRL-Studio IDE. He then demonstrated his 'Pi on Wheels' bot, an affordable open source Do-It-Yourself robot, which he uses to teach Java-related technologies in the context of the Internet of Things.

Hoffer blogs about Java, JavaFX, and related technologies at http://mihosoft.eu/ Find out more at VRL-Studio here: http://vrl-studio.mihosoft.eu/


Lightweight drone with four arms modeled on a complex structure found in the bones of birds


Close up picture of drone arm printed by 3D printer.


'Pi on Wheels' bot, with 3D printed body and wheels

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