Make magazine is currently hosting a free online DIY makercamp on their Google+ page. MakerCamp is aimed at teenagers, although it looks like there will be interesting projects for people who haven’t grown out of being a kid as well. Each weekday a new project video is posted on youtube packed with demonstrations, instructions and a list of materials. There has already been how to make compressed air rockets. This week’s features include making animated GIF images, sculpting with modeling clays and more. Make promises the series will emcompass the broad spectrum of maker projects. (more…)
The Artphones project was part of Bobby Genalo’s Masters thesis at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. His project looked at the maker as consumer with play as an educational tool to assist the design process. In Genalo’s research he sampled two groups, a class of children and a group of adults. In each group he encouraged novel creative thinking about what would be an interesting portable personal communications device. The school group’s ideas were realised with the help of a Makerbot Replicator. (more…)
A compelling toy for all ages
Here’s an Instructable that goes into great detail about the design and build process of this marvellously over-engineered kids toy. This project really ticks all my boxes: sweet laser cut enclosure, arcade buttons, weird noises, and it’s educational!
The white knight of model makingStyrene, or as sometimes it likes to be formally addressed – High Impact Polystyrene Sheet (HIPS) is one of the most ubiquitous plastics around, even though it’s too humble for most of us to pay any notice to. Like PETG, it’s commonly used in food packaging, where it’s thermoformed for specific applications.
When it comes to laser cutting, fabricating components for model making is where this material truly shines. Prefab laser cut model kits are already available for the likes of railways, trucks, aeroplanes and buildings. Styrene’s properties make it an excellent material choice for these applications. While it doesn’t cut as precisely as acrylic, it is easily sanded or scored with a craft knife, which is perfect for leaving sprues (little “bridges” of material) to hold parts in place. Partially laser cut parts can be easily snapped off the kit sheet and sanded back for a clean edge. Styrene is not the only flexible plastic that can be laser cut. There’s also PETG and polypropylene. When it comes to model making, styrene has significant advantages over both of those. It can be easily bonded to itself with solvents (no heat welding required), and it takes on various paint finishes so can be painted to resemble other materials such as metals or wood. Styrene also thermoforms better than the other plastics, and thinner pieces can be formed to a mold with a hairdryer.
Styrene’s flexibility, ease of finishing and bonding have seen it used in prosthetics, jewellery and even a Vanilla Design coffee cup holder. Some of the material’s limitations are its fragility in delicate pieces and its inability to hinge. Any score line compromises the structure of the sheet, and applying force to that area will snap the material. Of course, this can also be an advantage with laser cutting – using heavy vector engraving instead of cutting right through noticeably reduces kerf, while still allowing for the cut piece to be snapped out of the sheet. This approach works with long straight lines and simple, open shapes, and prototyping is necessary for optimum results.
The white styrene can also be used in lighting design. Its glossy finish makes it more reflective than propylene. However, because it has a low melting point, only fluorescent and LED light sources can be used. Featured designs (clockwise): Middle C by Sherman Warren, Lotus by David Knott, Warp by Alienology, Urchin by Fabripod, Tumbleweed by Del Jackson, Carbon by Cindy Hartnett. Carbon is also this month’s FREE file for download. Make your own Carbon light!
Free Universal Construction Kit — 3D printable adapters connect all your toy building sets together! March 26
the latest project from Free Art & Technology
Check this OUT: The Free Universal Construction Kit is a set of nearly 80 unique pieces designed to connect with 10 different building toys.
Each piece in the kit can be freely downloaded in STL format from Thingiverse. And that of course means that each piece can be 3D printed!
The kit is compatible with Lego®, Duplo®, Fischertechnik®, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, K’Nex®, Krinkles®, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoy®, Zome®, and Zoob®.
The adorable video below reveals the inspiration behind the kit as four-year-old Z explains “My thing is, I’m trying to make a carrr…”
The birth of Brutherford Industries.
It’s not a detailed step-by-step set of instructions for making designer toys, but it is, nonetheless, interesting. It’s a more of a narrative about the steps he went through developing his first product and then turning that into a company. It’s well worth reading for anyone considering starting their own small maker business.
With the right technology, 3D printing is child’s play.
PotteryPrint is a truly exciting new iPad app that lets children use a virtual pottery wheel to create completely unique works of art ready for 3d printing.
The PotteryPrint team is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter to take their prototype to deployment.
They’ve got 20 days and $10,000 to go. You can support the project for as little as $1, and they’ve got some great pledge rewards including a home-baked dozen of your favorite cookies!
I talked to Brian, Cameron and Shlok from PotteryPrint to find out more about this app, their inspiration behind the project, and their thoughts on the intersection of technology and childhood education.
First up, can a kid really use a 3D modeling app?
Kids can do amazing things if given the right tools, but until now the majority of 3D design software has been created using traditional CAD-based software which is often complex and takes some training to use effectively.
The amazing thing about tablets is that the touchscreen interface just clicks with kids. I (Cameron) have a two year old and four year old — both can easily navigate the family iPad: pointing at something comes far more naturally to children than using a mouse. The combination of touchscreen and the malleability of clay makes PotteryPrint immediately accessible to kids. It calls on something natural, something primitive. Your hands, making something.
Because playing is the only way to learn
This makes me really happy: the Klackerlaken is a project simple enough for kids to build with minimal supervision, but sufficiently entertaining to keep them engaged long enough to learn a couple things about electronics. It’s just 3 parts taped to a bottle cap but that’s enough to make it light up, move around, and make a racket. Check the video after the break. (more…)
Make a fun project and become a Jenga master.
This Jenga pistol kit from Instructables will make you the unquestionable master of Jenga (and it would be a fun Saturday project). Admittedly, it probably does not exactly conform to the traditional rules of Jenga, but that’s a detail for other people to worry about. People who call you a cheater are just jealous.
Plus make-your-own Kid Stuff with FREE filesGot kids? Know someone who does? There are always some running about, squealing, getting in the way and demanding treats. At least that’s what I hear. So what can you do? You can 1) ignore them, 2) tell them to get back in their cupboard, 3) buy them something plastic from the nearest department store, 4) buy them something that didn’t get assembled by their peers in a third world country somewhere, 5) make them something yourself. The good news is that we can help with the last two.
Ideas, inspiration and free stuff after the jump: