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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A table with the digital design file built in

Physical and digital products combined

The Rev–>Table from Supermechanical comes with the digital file for the design of the table built in. A QR code containing the DXF files for the table is laser-etched into an aluminum plate embedded in the tabletop.

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October PETG

A very userful abbreviation.

You may not realise this, but PET is one of the most ubiqutous plastics around.  Chances are you’ve got it within arm’s reach.  I’m talking about plastic bottles.  PETG is essentially the same polymer, but with a lower melting point, and it’s extruded in sheet form for commercial applications.

PETG has none of the glamour of acrylic.  It doesn’t come in bright colours, it doesn’t feel substantial, the engraving quality on it isn’t amazing.  So why bother? PETG is very impact resistant.  Unlike acrylic, it won’t snap or shatter if you drop it.  You can heat form it, you can cold bend it, you can rivet it and most relevantly, of course, you can laser cut it.  It is available in conveniently thinner-than-acrylic thicknesses of 0.5mm and upwards.  PETG is also recyclable, so it’s better than a Hummer.  Although that’s not saying much.

So what’s it good for?The combination of flexibility and durability makes thin PETG a suitable choice for packaging such as the box above from Chris Lee.  Joe used this material to design and make a surface protector for a turntable, keeping it free from dirt and scratches.  Clear acrylic would be a less suitable choice for this application because it’s brittle.  Thin PETG is a great material for stencils because its transparency helps with the registration.  It is also a perfect choice for flexi-rulers, such as the surfboard-shaping template above from YakasDesign.  It should be noted that engraving somewhat compromises the structural integrity of the material, and that needs to be taken into consideration during the design stage.Josh Reuss designed very useful bookmarks for people who still prefer to read on paper.  These tiny but mighty corner tags will keep books free from unsightly pig’s ears.  The files for these are free to download, so you can make your own with Personal Factory.  These are little, so lots will fit on a P1, and you can make a corner tag for everyone in you book club!  Another free PETG download is a vary-form garment ruler.  This is a standard version, but it can be easily customised to create a ruler for specific proportions that are not catered to by generic pattern drafting equipment.  The engraving can be filled in to make the markings more visible.

PETG is available from Ponoko NZ, Ponoko US and Formulor.

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