An open source computer controlled Jacquard loom

Introducing the Osloom.

Osloom (Open Source Loom) is an ongoing project to make an open source, computer controlled Jacquard loom.

The alpha prototype has a 64-thread count and is on an aluminum extrusion frame. The actuators we are using are muscle wire. They contract when electricity is run thru it. The loom itself is a little under 2 feet wide by 4 feet long by about 7 feet tall. The loom is controlled by software running on a laptop via an Arduino using a bit-shift register circuit . . . It works off bitmap images.

Speaking as someone who has seen computer-controlled loom in operation, they are astoundingly complex machines. Making one is an impressive undertaking, to say the least. Despite the fact that they predate 3D printers by a considerable margin, I suspect it is considerably more difficult to make a loom like this than a 3D printer.


Manufacturing product beta?

Manufacturing development emulating the software worldDesign studio Teague recently showcased 13:30, a pair of headphones at Makerfaire. They are currently experimenting with applying the concept of releasing products in ‘beta’ to manufacturing. For Teague, John Mabry designed a pair of headphones entitled 13:30, for print on a professional grade FDM 3D printer using commonly available electronic components. (more…)

Wiki Weapon: the 3D printed gun project

What are the implications of an open source, fully 3D printable handgun?

Cody Wilson and a group of friends, working under the name Defense Distributed, want to make an open source, fully 3D printable handgun.

Their goal is that the gun use only parts printed on a RepRap-like printer except for the .22 caliber bullet. While such project have been discussed before, they appear to have put together a thorough working plan, starting with a prototype that uses an electronic solenoid.

A project of this kind is bound to be controversial, for obvious reasons. A CAD file of a gun would be nearly impossible to control or regulate. In fact, this appears to be exactly what the people behind Defense Distributed intend. Both their video above and their manifesto are strongly political, leaning towards a broad interpretation of the “right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

They began with an Indiegogo campaign asking for $20,000 to begin the project. Indiegogo removed their campaign, presumably because it was a weapon. Defense Distributed then ran a campaign through their own site and suceeded in raising $20,000 as of 9/19. As of right now, they are continuing to accept donations to cover day-to-day expenses.

Via 3D Printing Event blog

Mathematical analysis of laser-cut ‘living hinges’

Area man finds practical use for math

[Patrick Fenner] realised that a bit of mathematical modelling could lead to better designed hinges. This could mean fewer rounds of trial-and-error prototype tests, which would reduce the cost of using lattice hinges in a project, and better fatigue resistance, meaning the hinges could be used for moving parts instead of just for static bends.

BotQueue: Open Distributed Manufacturing

I for one would like to welcome our open-source 3d-printing robot overlords

MakerBot co-founder Zach Hoeken announced BotQueue this week:

BotQueue is an online platform for distributing print jobs to multiple 3D printers for production. As the name suggests, it allows you to create a print queue which contains jobs. Your connected bots will grab jobs and produce them. As each job is competed, the operator is prompted to remove and verify the output. Upon successful completion, the bot will grab the next job and start producing it. This continues until the queue is empty. If a bot fails, it is taken offline for repairs.

You can play with it here.

3D printed Canning Jar Accessories

Using a 3D printer for practical reuse in the kitchen

There is a fantastic series of posts from Alex over at the ProtoParadigm blog featuring practical things you can do with a 3D printer. This isn’t about wowing people with the latest high-tech advances. It’s all about getting down to the nitty gritty and using that 3D printing versatility to get things done.

So let’s get practical with our printers and extend the function of those ubiquitous glass jars. Documenting each solution with a brief but informative summary, Alex kicks things off himself with some easy-to-open, watertight lids. He then turns to Thingiverse for inspiration, and follows through with bank lids, a fly trap, a sprouting lid for growing seeds, straining and shaking lids, and even a fermentation lid that allows for exchange of gases.

Further exploration on Thingiverse will uncover an even greater diversity of canning jar accessories, from sippy cups to funnels and more. Check them out, and build some of your own!

via ProtoParadigm

Ben Heck’s portable 3D printer

It’s alive! The Briefcase Printer revisited and heading to Kickstarter

It’s hard to go far in the DIY gadget world without hearing about the exploits of modder extraordinaire, Ben Heck. Famous for squeezing almost every electronic device imaginable into a briefcase, his latest efforts revisit a project to build a fully operational Briefcase 3D printer.

An earlier attempt did have its successes, but Ben always knew he could go further with this particular project. And now he has.

The Briefcase Printer folds out from a neat 4.2 x 18 x 14 inch frame, and boasts a 200mm2 build platform. It’s able to run autonomously by reading files off an SD card, or for more control and a smoother user experience, the onboard Arduino 2580 Mega can be connected directly to a computer.

It’s all explained with Ben’s trademark enthusiastic delivery in a comprehensive video after the break.   (more…)

How to: design a laser-cut box for your DIY electronics project

Who doesn’t like putting things in boxes!?

This mixer rehousing project is the perfect example of what you can do with a laser cutter and an online box-making app. If you prefer to use a tool integrated into Inkscape to make your finger-jointed box template, check out this sweet plugin.

With tools like these it’s getting easier and easier to design your own project enclosures ready to be shipped from your Personal Factory.

Variable speed bike sprocket

Give your single speed bike a boost with some parametric goodness

If there was an award for parametric design that made riding your single speed or fixie bike usable on gradients greater than 5 degrees for people other than Olympic athletes, then Jason DeRose would surely take it out with his variable ratio mechanical gear design.

DeRose, a software developer used Python and employed mathematics and geometry to work out the position of the sprocket teeth to craft his design. As part of DeRose’s design process, he then extruded the linework into 3D in Blender. He has also released the project files as open source on launchpad to allow others to build upon it. (more…)

DIY DNA with Arduino

PCR thermal cycler using off-the-shelf parts

This is another one of those projects that makes me think “who cares what it does, it looks awesome and I want one.” In this case it turns out to be far awesomer than I could have imagined: it’s an $85 DIY Arduino-powered DNA-sequencing device. Complete with comprehensive build instructions so you too can sequence your own genome. Amazing!