TED: Massimo Banzi talks Arduino

How Arduino is Open Source Imagination

Arduino has arguably done more to change the DIY electronic landscape than any other open source device. We’ve often encountered this modular hardware wonder, popping up as an integral component in many 3D printers as well as being at the core of some of our favourite DIY projects.

In the trademark affable manner that he is famous for, Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi talks through the ever-widening scope of this versatile system.

“(Arduino is) …the equivalent of sketching on paper, done with electronics”

From the humble beginnings in an Italian cafe to an incredible diversity of projects being run by all kinds of hackers, makers, enthusiasts and professionals… whether it’s the pre-teen kids tinkering in their bedrooms, high-school students sending satellites into orbit or multi-million dollar global corporations pushing the boundaries of scientific discoveries; Arduino can be found at the heart of a new revolution.

Watch this neat 15 minute TED talk overview from Massimo Banzi, on Arduino’s role in the new paradigm of Open Source Imagination.

via TED

Force Effect for Android

Autodesk releases Android version of their conceptual simulation app

There are times when you don’t have a workstation handy; and even your laptop may be out of reach when a lightbulb-moment pops up and that tricky design idea needs your attention.

In late 2011, Autodesk released ForceEffect for IOS devices. After over 100,000 Apple flavoured downloads, the mobile simulation app is now available for use on Android devices as well.

This neat little program enables designers and engineers to quickly simulate design options at the early conceptual phases. There is an intuitive drawing environment in which constraints can be added to object elements, enabling the simulation of forces and structural behaviours under load.

Would this be useful for your digital manufacturing workflow?

A video run-through of the ForceEffect user interface follows after the break.   (more…)

Sculpture Exhibition in 3D Printed “Replicas”

Copying for art’s sake to encourage debate over copyrightWhisper Down the Lane concluded with a wrap up lecture just before the weekend, two days before its source exhibition – The Obstinate Object: Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture was due to finish, and while the last 3D printed piece was with the courier, hurriedly making its way down the country from the contributing RepRap machine.

Whisper Down The Lane is a referential art project by Bronwyn Holloway-Smith. It explores the ideas of digital fabrication with regard to copyright and reproduction issues in the world of art – a discussion that is very very slowly starting to creep out of the small tech-meets-art niche into the mainstream awareness.

Bronwyn’s project infiltrated Wellington City Gallery’s exhibition The Obstinate Object and sneakily positioned itself in a space of its own within the gallery rooms. The work is a series of 3D printed miniatures of The Obstinate Object exhibits, created with the agreement from the artists. While the 3D prints are clearly copied from specific art works, they are not intended to be exact replicas, nor are they all printed to the same scale. The miniatures are as much about communicating the digital fabrication process as they are about mimicking the general forms of the originals. The RepRap prints are constrained by the practicalities of the production method: size, material, colour and level of detail – elements that would be thoroughly considered in the original, full size works.The open source nature of the project is integral to the questions it raises – questions that we’ll be coming across more and more as digital fabrication becomes more commonplace.

Ohm Sweet Ohm cross-stitch

This resistor reference chart will keep your circuits cosy!

Keeping on top of those resistor values can be a bit tricky sometimes, when working on DIY electronics projects. It helps to have a handy diagram to refer to… and Becky Stern over at Adafruit Industries has a neat way to keep all that important data close by.

Harking back to the good old homely craft of cross-stitch wall hangings, she’s put together a detailed tutorial on how to make your own ye-olde resistor reference chart. Even better still, all the bits and pieces you need are available to purchase from Adafruit in a great little kit that includes the pattern, floss, needles, cloth and hoop etc. Who would have thought that DIY electronics could be this cosy?!?

Click through for a quick video of the Ohm Sweet Ohm cross-stitch reference chart.   (more…)

Personal Factory Projects for Mother’s Day

Plus Make Your Own Mom Presents with FREE design files!

Mother’s Day is only a couple of weeks away, so we have some creative inspiration and gift ideas to get you on the path to becoming your mother’s favourite child. Few admonitions are as cutting as “I am disappointed in you” coming from your mom. Make sure you make her something wonderful this year, or at least buy her something unique that doesn’t come from a mall.

Personal ornamentation is often a popular option. Gilded Butterflies are a range of one off fluttering pendants that are as individually unique as each butterfly’s wing pattern. The pendants are laser cut out of bamboo plywood and laminated with real butterfly wings. Feisty Elle offers an impressive variety of intricately cut bamboo and 100% wool felt jewellery, with the dahlias being so well recognised that they are now being plagiarised around the world. Plagiarism is not cool. Colleen Jordan’s 3D printed miniature wearable planters are infinitely customisable by whatever is planted inside, and they are also available in different shapes and colours.

Jewelry needs somewhere to be stored. Harbinger Co don’t just make jewellery, but also create beautiful boxes for all that loot. You may be already the apple of your mother’s eye, but chances are that there are some other family members that your mom is fond of. Such as the dog or the goldfish. Familial pride and joy is best displayed photographically, in a picture frame, such as the flower one by BEDA Design Inc. You know you’re not doing your mom proud if the goldfish gets the middle flower. On the topic of furry and scaly friends, Pepper Sprout Designs make animal themed trivets amongst many other home gifts. These are laser cut from 100% wool felt.

Your mom will hopefully be happy to see your smiling face, and should that grimace require additional illumination, a lamp could be very useful. Alienology create different types of lighting, including the Bloom Table Lamp that is laser cut from Eurolite plywood. Jenny Keate’s fluffy Luminant lamp is made from a combination of wool and laser cut plywood. It has the softness of a sheep without any of the annoying bleeting. Another home frienly idea of mum is a Decoy Lab clock made from Earth friendly bamboo and adorned with a forest-full of cute animals.

The best gift is the one made by you, and we’re here to help facilitate the opportunity by providing FREE design files that you can download, customise and make with Ponoko. The Tulip Vase is designed to be flat packed and easily assembled with minimal components. All you need is a glass test tube to put water and flowers in and to give the vase structure, so no glue is required. If made from plywood or MDF, the parts can be painted, waxed or varnished, and there are a few finishing options for both US and NZ materials. The Ball of Stars by Dizingoff is designed as a 3D printed art object that can be made into a light with an addition of an LED. Mother’s Day is usually accompanied by a greeting card, so this is no exception. The Lace Card is designed specifically for cardstock, which is the Ponoko promotional material until the end of April – design something to be laser cut from cardstock and you could win a neat piece of technology. We even have a tutorial on how to use laser cutting to make greeting cards.

Parametric voronoi bookshelf

An experiment in interactive generative design

Voronoi shelf

Inspired by the likes of Nervous System, Alan Rorie of Hero Design has created a generative software bookshelf application with Processing based on the voronoi pattern algorithm. The software allows users to determine variables such as overall size, shape and depth and then automatically generates the appropriate 3D geometry which can also be flattened and saved as a PDF in 2D for cutting out via the selected production process i.e. laser/waterjet cutting or CNC routing.generative (more…)

Free Universal Construction Kit — 3D printable adapters connect all your toy building sets together!

the latest project from Free Art & Technology

Check this OUT: The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of nearly 80 unique pieces designed to connect with 10 different building toys.

Each piece in the kit can be freely downloaded in STL format from Thingiverse. And that of course means that each piece can be 3D printed!

The kit is compatible with Lego®, Duplo®, Fischertechnik®, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, K’Nex®, Krinkles®, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoy®, Zome®, and Zoob®.

The adorable video below reveals the inspiration behind the kit as four-year-old Z explains “My thing is, I’m trying to make a carrr…”

Fritzing: an open-source community for DIY electronics

Learn, build, document, fabricate, share…

Fritzing is an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing.

I got introduced to Fritzing through a tipoff on the Ponoko User’s Forum and all I can say is ‘wow!’ It’s an amazing tool to support people all the way from their first taste of electronics to final production of their own designs.

Check it out!

Super cool 3D printed wire stripper

Nifty design on Thingiverse

This 3D printed wire-stripper design is pure genius: when the razor blades come in contact with the wire, the LED comes on to tell you that you’ve cut deep enough. It’s simple yet brilliant applications like this that get me excited about the utility of hobby printers, and the power of Thingiverse to allow these cool ideas to spread.

Free 3D Software from DAZ

Digital Art Zone now offering free downloads

It can be pretty costly to set yourself up with 3d modelling software, particularly when you’re after the good stuff.

So you can imagine the buzz that’s followed DAZ 3D’s recent release of three of their major titles as free downloads for all to enjoy.

Modelling human figures? DAZ Studio Pro will sort you out.
Landscapes and environmental animations? Bryce 7 Pro has it covered.
And the one that has us talking here at Ponoko… 3D models both for rendering/animation and ready to export as .stl files? Hexagon does this and more.

To purchase this software suite from the Digital Art Zone would once have left you on the nasty side of $800, but for a limited time full version downloads are completely free.

Now all that’s left is to fire up your imagination…

Digital Art Zone