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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Amazing inventions from 2011

Best of the Blog 2011 – Inventions

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk” – Thomas A. Edison

I believe Mr Edision was suggesting that inventions are created when someone’s imagination sees value in something no one else perhaps would. 2011 was certainly an impressive year of bringing physical form to those imaginations.

As the inventions category fit within many of the other categories we’ve featured on Best of the Blog 2011 so far, you can expect to see some familiar favourites…

3D printed panoramic ball camera

The Panoramic ball camera is a playful exploration into novel ways of taking photos. You throw the ball up in the air – at the apex of its throw it takes a photo, or a lot of photos in every direction! Genius, where can I get one?


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Plastic recycler for 3D printers

What if you could recycle your waste for use in 3D printing?


Currently some statistics show that less than 10% of plastics are recycled. Considering high consumer demand for products commonly packaged in plastics such as PET, PE-HD, PVC, etc – it makes sense to turn that waste into something usable. Tyler McNaney a mechanical engineering student at Vermont Technical College has come up with Filabot and a Kickstarter campaign to make plastic recycling for 3D printing a reality! (more…)

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A new building system using playing cards

New on Kickstarter: Skallops

Skallops is a new building system by Evan Murphy, Michael Woods, and Marshall Grinstead that uses small laser cut wooden clips to hold together standard playing cards. The clips are designed in such a way as to allow the cards to be connected in as many ways as possible. You can even connect two Skallops to each other back-to-back.

The system is about as simple as it gets, which usually means it has been carefully designed. The project still has a month to go on Kickstarter, but it is already fully funded by a considerable margin.

More images after the jump.

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