5 products from 2011 that you can download

Best of the Blog 2011 – Downloadable

They’re not quite as common as music and video files on the internet, but the mainstreaming of digital fabrication means that design files for physical objects are being passed around more than ever. Here are some of the coolest downloadable items covered on the blog in 2011:

1. A table with the digital design file built in

Download the design straight from the object!

This is my favourite of the bunch. There’s a project on Thingiverse for making QR code tags to stick on your creations, but this goes way beyond that by enabling downloads from the object itself! The QR code on the table in the picture is not a link to a website but instead the actual files necessary to make the table yourself!

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Sculpteo 3D printing iPhone app

Make a vase from your own profile

For those who enjoy a novelty gift, the new iPhone app from Sculpteo might be just what you’ve been looking for.

A free download onto your favourite i-device is all that it takes. Use the app to snap a picture, and then with just a few simple manipulations the resulting data is prepared for printing as either a vase, a bowl or a coffee cup.
It’s not all about putting your pointy-nosed mug on a mug – the app can also be used to model your twitter statistics or customize an iPhone case.

With access to the Sculpteo community, this app is a great way to introduce people to the world of 3D printing and the possibilities that are enabled by the technology that we carry around with us in our daily lives.

Sculpteo via Engadget

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Stead i Cam: laser cut handheld camera crane

DIY project to keep your footage smooth and steady

Professional looking handheld footage sometimes takes more than just a fancy camera. If you don’t want to make your viewers seasick, a camera crane is an essential tool to keep the picture gliding along.

Uploaded to Thingiverse by Frits Stam en Koen de Greef, this laser cut version can be whipped together using the supplied cutting pattern along with a few readily available off-the-shelf components.

Being able to achieve professional-level results by taking advantage of this open-source project will really cut costs for the film enthusiast. This kind of equipment is usually out of reach unless you have a huge amount of cash to burn, so it is great to see high-end tools becoming more accessible through the DIY movement.

Features of the Stead i Cam include:

+ removable / adjustable camera plate
+ weight swivels to compensate for an unbalanced camera
+ air bubble for leveling the camera
+ light weight design

Click through to see a short video of the Stead i Cam in action.   (more…)

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Personal Factory Projects for the Holidays

Plus make-your-own Christmas decorationsThe time for giving is almost nigh, and the best kind of giving involves designing something yourself and beautifully crafting it, or finding something unique that wasn’t made by pre-schoolers in a third world dungeon.

We’ve got gift ideas, design inspiration as well as free files for making your own Christmas happiness.  There is the annual checklist: decorate the tree, decorate the house, decorate yourself.  Of course, some people decorate their pets also, but there’s something not quite right about puppies in acrylic tiaras.

Lots of designs under the cut:


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Print your own velcro

3D printed velcro from the Thingiverse3D printable velcro

I’ve recently been checking out the clever 3D printed designs being uploaded at Thingiverse. Thingiverse is a community of makers who upload digital designs to share with other members. What impresses me about the community is that people are constantly pushing 3D printing in new directions by offering suggestions or improving other’s designs…

Thingiverse user eried has created some 3D printable velcro adhesive which works relatively well given that it is coarser than mass produced velcro. As a first prototype it shows a lot of promise and is an excellent proof of concept. (more…)

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Global Village Construction Set

Another wildly successful Kickstarter campaign: 10 days still remaining

We first came across Marcin Jakubowski’s incredible Global Village Construction Set (GVCS) back in April, following his well-received TED presentation. The concept of GVCS is one of those super-simple, too-good-to-be-true proposals that has real potential to change so many lives.

What is it all about? Imagine a modular, DIY, low-cost, open source, high-performance platform. One that makes it easy to fabricate all of the 50 different industrial machines that it takes to build a small, sustainable civilization complete with modern comforts.

The aim of the GVCS is to lower the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing. Its a life-size lego set that can create entire economies…

Like all good farmers, Marcin and the guys from Open Source Ecology have certainly been busy.

Opening their project to the hands of the public with a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, things are looking good for the first set of prototypes that have been developed.

Click through for more information about the campaign, as well as a deeper look at the Global Village Construction Set.   (more…)

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200 pages of laser cut patterns!

Wood Marvels volume 3 is out!

If you’re a frequent visitor to the Ponoko Showroom, then chances are you’ve already come across the prolific works of Jon Cantin.

Operating under the banner of WoodMarvels, he has produced hundreds of laser cut designs featuring toys, games, vehicles and more.

WoodMarvels 3: Evolution of Wooden Designs is now available in print and download versions.

What sets this latest publication apart is the format in which the 3d designs appear. Each project includes 3d rendered step-by-step assembly instructions, as well as a pattern on a grid layout. By utilising the grid, Jon incorporates the material thickness – thus giving users a reference point at which they can scale the designs to suit whatever material they wish to work with.

The catalogue of designs is quite broad, from architectural and historical landmarks, creatures and vehicles of all sorts, through to desktop organisers and even a light-table. As is the way with most wooden toys, actual historical or anatomical accuracy is sometimes tweaked in favour of outcomes that simply work better using the technologies and materials at hand. Jon is always careful to ensure that the completed designs look just right.

One thing that is really nice about this publication is that each design can exist as a project in its own right. Along with clearly defined levels of difficulty, this means WoodMarvels Volume 3 is equally suited as an educational tool or as a project book for a hobbyist to work through at home.

Click through for some Q and A with Jon as he reflects on this particular milestone.   (more…)

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Minibloq: Arduino programming made easy

Become a Beta tester now

Making DIY programming more accessible to eager young minds, the latest iteration of Minibloq is now open to the public in its Beta phase.

Minibloq is a graphical programming environment specifically targeted towards helping primary students, kids and beginners learn more about DIY electronics and hardware.

With a drag-and-drop interface and gentle learning curve, the mysteries of Arduino programming unfold and the real-time error checking keeps everything on track. Much thought has gone into the extensive feature list, and it looks as though the application is shaping up well to match, and indeed exceed, expectations from the recent Kickstarter campaign.

A quick video tour through some of the features follows after the break.


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More spooky 3D printables for Halloween

The best time of year to be a maker

Ghost fridge magnets printed by botbuilderdotnet

We’ve already covered some scary stuff this month, with posts about Personal Factory Projects for Halloween, the 123D Halloween Challenge, and the Crania Anatomica Filigre KickStarter project.

But with my favourite horror film festival about to start I’m in the mood to wring a little more out of the subject by having a look at some recent ghoulish additions to Thingiverse:

Halloween fridge magnets

Magnets by daviddotshaw

These designs by David Shaw (aka daviddotshaw) have a recessed hole in the back to hold a 10mm magnet, and are small enough to print a few of them at once.

Download from Thingiverse: Ghost, Bat, Pumpkin


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Printable mini T-beams

Print your own beefy construction set.

There’s a brand of industrial Erector Set called 80-20. It’s all based off of extruded aluminum beams with a specific T-slot on each face of the rectangular extrusion. Systems like the Shop-Bot and Lasersaur are based off that very mechanic. So, it stands to reason that some clever person would think to print their own, and Thingiverse user Luis has done just that. You can download and print your own here.

via MAKE

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