Open source filament maker

Plans now available for the Filabot WeeFilabot prototype

You might remember Tyler McNaney’s Filabot, the personal filament maker, we featured earlier in the year that about his Kickstarter campaign to raise money for development costs. The machine is designed to recycle plastic waste into filaments for use in 3d printing. (more…)

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Harness the Bullduino

Red Bull calls out to makers

Big ideas tend to emerge when the pressure is on, and the challenge has been set for designers from across the globe to battle it out in a 72 hour maker competition.

Celebrating the ingenuity of makers everywhere, Red Bull Creation will see twelve teams respond to an as-yet undisclosed theme in a high octane online competition. The winners will not only receive $10,000 cash for their efforts, they will also be invited to attend the 2012 Maker Faire in New York City.

Registration is now open, so if you think you’ve got what it takes… enter your details to receive the Bullduino customized Arduino board. The goal is to show your making skills by utilising this board and uploading a video of your outcome. Impress the judges for a chance to be chosen as one of the twelve finalists.

“The real action takes place while the dozen “chosen ones” work simultaneously in their own workshops, hackerspaces or homes to innovate around a common theme.”

The official competition site is a fun little journey down memory lane, with a retro OS interface that will leave you feeling like the 21st century is still decades away. Don’t let that fool you, though – there is likely to be some serious technology at hand when the contest kicks off between July 19-22.

Red Bull Creation via Wired

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Arduino controlled automatic pot stirrer

Ben Heck lets loose in the kitchen

If there’s anything Ben Heckendorn is known for, it’s his unique approach to stirring the technology pot. In a recent DIY frenzy, Ben does this quite literally as he tackles the onerous task of preparing the perfect noodle.

No longer a slave to the stove, Ben can now sit back and… relax? (well, whatever it is that Ben’s head does to unwind) while his laser-cut contraption rhythmically stirs those bubbling noodles.

Heights are fully adjustable to fit various pots and cooking utensils. There are also some neat little 3D printed pulleys that keep the stirring mechanism moving, and even a temperature probe so you can keep track of just how hot things are getting. Monitoring temperatures and controlling the movement happens via an Android app that Ben’s programming buddy Jesse put together, which communicates via Bluetooth to the Arduino-equipped pot stirrer.

Click through for Ben’s signature excitable run-down of yet another DIY technological marvel you never knew you needed.


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3D printed battleshots game

New meaning to the term “you sunk my battleship!

Combine a favourite childhood boardgame with shot glasses, scale the game pieces up with a 3D printer and what do you get? 3D printed battleshots drinking game. For non-drinkers and minors 3D files for pegs are also provided so you can play a scaled up version of the traditional game. Thingiverse user xaqfu has created the full set of ships based on the classic game to download and 3D print, although as the files are .stl they are also suitable for CNC milling. (more…)

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Robot makes its own custom tools

HMA printed parts on the fly

Robots are often designed with very specific tasks in mind. But what happens when you want a robot to be adaptable? Taking on the daunting task of coming up with a robot that can rise to whatever challenges it encounters, a team over at the Bio-Inspired Robotics Laboratory (ETH Zurich) have been making progress that could have serious implications in the world of digital manufacturing.

Utilizing Hot Melt Adhesive (the same HMA that we’ve all burnt our fingers with when using a handyman glue gun), their robot is able to create tools from scratch. It then makes use of these new devices to successfully complete tasks that it was otherwise unable to perform.

The following video gives an indication of where things are currently at. Although the process is similar to 3D printing, the team are quick to point out why they have chosen HMA rather than the usual thermoplastic materials. It all comes down to adaptability. A traditional 3D printed tool needs to be grasped/held/attached in some way. With HMA, the printed tool can be glued to the robot itself, and actually becomes a part of the machine. No need for graspers or fixing mechanisms. (more…)

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A robotic jellyfish powered by the hydrogen in seawater

An experiment in bio-mimicry and alternative power sources.

Alex Villanueva and a team of researchers primarily from Virginia Tech University are developing Robojelly, a biomimetic robotic jellyfish. It is intended as a self-propelled surveillance vehicle. It is modeled as closely as possible on the appearance and propulsion method of a moon jellyfish.

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FreeD a computer assisted dremel tool

New hand held digital milling device from the MIT media lab!FreeD

The FreeD hand held rotary tool appears to be the offspring of a CNC mill and a hand held dremel tool. This freehand modelling tool was developed by Amit Zoran and Joe Paradiso of the Responsive Environment Group at the MIT Media Lab for model makers and designers to easily create models beyond the constraints of CAD packages. (more…)

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5 fantastic drawing robots — but is it art?

doodling machines

After last week’s drawing robot story I got a bit obsessed. Who knew there were so many drawing robot projects out there!? Here’s a selection of some of my favourites:


By Swedish street artist Akay.

Four more after the break… (more…)

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A primer on 3D printing

2012 may be the year of 3D printing: Lisa Harouni on TED

We may be preaching to the converted, but for those who still aren’t convinced (or maybe even aren’t aware) of just how exciting 3D printing is, this recent TED talk gives a neat overview.

The speaker is Lisa Harouni, CEO of Digital Forming. Having specialised for a number of years pioneering software development for 3D printing applications, she is well placed to convince even the most sceptical of viewers that we are indeed on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution.

via TED

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The elegance of Mechanical Movements

Embracing the sculptural beauty of machines in motion

Hot on the heels of this year’s Best of the Blog in Art post comes this mesmerising clip from filmmaker Ralph Steiner’s Mechanical Principles, a 1930’s masterpiece in which the inner workings of all kinds of devices are revealed.

Taking a moment to appreciate the sculptural qualities of decidedly practical devices unveils the poetry inherent in their movements. It’s quite hypnotic, and well worth sitting back to contemplate (and indeed enjoy) over your morning coffee.

via Make

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