A 3D printed, Raspberry Pi-powered, remote control snow blower

The Snow Droid X, in progress.

Technically speaking, winter is over, but someone forgot to tell the weather around here. If we’re going to keep having winter, we might as well enjoy it in true maker fashion with a Rasberry Pi-powered snow blower from Kris Kortright.

Unlike projects intended for use in the mild climate of a living room, the “Snow Droid” is designed to endure the slightly less hospitable environment of winter and all that entails. The camera and servos are all special watertight models, and the 3D printed head of the snow blower (shown in green) is designed to have water, wind, and impact resistance.

The first picture after the jump shows the unmodified Snapper 24″ Snow Blower used as the starting point of the project. The rest show details of the head and control system (being tested with an Arduino). As of the last update, this project was still in process, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on it.
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3D Tech and the Future of the Museum

3D printing and 3D scanning to play a major role

Museums across the globe are steadily shaking their dusty old stereotypes, but how far do they actually go in embracing cutting edge technologies?

An interesting publication from MW 2103 by Neely and Langer takes a serious look at the role digital manufacturing can play in paving the way for innovative museums to add value like never before.

Highlighting 3D technologies including 3D printing and 3D scanning in particular, the article paints a positive picture of the way that museums can engage patrons with stimulating, challenging exhibits. You can really see the influence of the rise of the Maker Movement, as shown in the image above where kids learn about 3D printing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Things get a lot more exciting as you read further, with a “return to materiality” championing physical interaction in an environment that has traditionally been hands-off. (more…)

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3D Printed Augmented Reality Jigsaw Puzzle

Innovative concept brings emerging technologies together

No stranger to tinkering with Augmented Reality, Patrik Johansson has gone one step further by combining 3D printed puzzle tiles to create an AR jigsaw that is really turning heads.

The markers were produced in Photoshop, with 3D printing achieved via SketchUp. Making the most of SketchUp’s versatility, the Augmented Reality model uses AR-media’s Plugin to bring the jigsaw to life.

via NotCot

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Free-Form 3D Printed Marble Elevator

Marblevator: a fully configurable marble run you can print yourself

This Thingiverse project from dedicated enthusiast gzumwalt has what it takes to give a 21st Century twist to an age-old favourite toy.

The Marblevator (marble elevator) is at the heart of it all, endlessly stepping little balls up until they meet with the whims of gravity. Additional track segments easily snap together and clever height-adjustable tressels combine to allow you to build with complete freedom, creating one of those mesmerising toys that you could happily lose yourself in for hours on end.

Click through to see more detail on the tressel mechanism, as well as a collection of video clips of those balls going round and round and round.

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Register for Inside 3D Printing Conference in NYC

Where 3D Printing means business.

Inside 3D Printing is a business to business conference for the 3D printing industry. The event will take place April 22-23 in New York City and include two days of conference sessions, networking opportunities, and an exhibition hall of the latest 3D printing technologies.

Monday’s agenda includes four in-depth tutorial sessions from new design tools and desktop 3D printers to applications for aerospace, automotive, and medical use.

Tuesday’s conference sessions will cover how 3D printing is influencing a variety of fields and industries including engineering, design, medical, architecture, fashion, culinary, firearms, technology, and more.

Find out more and register here.

As a media partner for the event, Ponoko is offering 15% off conference passes to our newsletter subscribers. You can sign up for our newsletter at the top right hand side of the blog.

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3D prints from the winners of the ZW3D + GrabCAD design challenge

Ponoko-made projects from Tan Tek Wee and Antonio Barber

Last winter Ponoko teamed up with 3D software program ZW3D and 3D model library GrabCAD to 3D print the winners of their Holiday Design Challenge.

There were over 85 entries from around the world, and we’ve checked in with the winners to share their experience and final 3D printed designs.

Tan Teck Wee of Singapore won first prize with his flying toy train.

“I’m always looking out for other CAD software,” says Tan, a professional software developer and 3D printing hobbyist.

As a hobbyist, he was excited to see the quality of the commercial print from Ponoko which was made with a combination of our white Superfine Plastic and green Durable Fine Plastic.

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Rapid 3D construction with LaserOrigami

Using a laser cutter to make 3D forms, fast

Pushing the boundaries of what is possible with laser cutting, researchers at the Hasso Plattner Institute have discovered how to make 3D objects using a standard 2D laser cutter.

The technique, dubbed LaserOrigami, takes advantage of carefully controlled changes in calibration that are usually the focus of maintaining a clean cut. Instead, a deliberately de-focused laser is used to heat the plastic enough for the material to bend. Gravity does the rest, as the sheet is alternately cut, heated, bent and turned to produce impressively complex forms.

One of the notable advantages of this technique is the speed at which the 3D form can be achieved.  Click through for a comparison between 3D printing, traditional laser cutting and LaserOrigami as well as a video of the laser in action. (more…)

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3D Printing: How Far We’ve Come

Good Morning America features 3D printing… back in 1989

It may be 24 years on, but the excitement is still running high for the future of digital manufacturing. Taking us back to a time when 3D printing was truly in its infancy, the following clip from Good Morning America features Charles Hull (3D Systems) amongst other industry pioneers as they explain the technology they had a hand in developing.

We’ve seen the use of 3D printers continue to grow at a rapid pace, and many industries have indeed been transformed. The past few years have seen significant changes as costs continue to fall and the technology becomes more pervasive. Although we are still eagerly anticipating a future where 3D printing is an active part of everyday life, the sentiments of journalist Joan Lunden still hold true.

“It will be really interesting to see how scientists take this now and apply it in the future.”

Click through to watch the 1989 Good Morning America clip.   (more…)

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Handheld printing with 3Doodler

The future of 3D printing is in your hands

Launching with acclaim on Kickstarter, the 3Doodler literally puts the power of 3D printing in your hands. Consisting of an oversized pen device, it houses an extruder similar to that used in low-end 3D printers. At the press of a button, PLA or ABS filament emerges to be dynamically controlled into whatever shape you desire.

It’s a little more primitive than the printers we are used to seeing, and the outcomes tend to have a squiggly, sketchy and sculptural look about them. But if you are not looking for technical refinement or digital precision, then the 3Doodler is a really fun way to introduce makers to the concept of additive manufacturing.

Click through for a video overview from the Kickstarter campaign as well as a few more images of forms produced using this nifty handheld 3D printer.

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The $250 Arduino-powered prosthetic hand made by a teen

Arduino, 3D printing, and clever engineering result in an affordable prosthesis.

Easton LaChappelle has made a series of continuously improving robotic hands. The first, which he made at age 14, won 3rd place at the Colorado state science fair, and the second, which we previously covered, won 2nd place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the top science fair in the USA. At the Colorado fair he met a little girl who wore an $80,000 prosthetic arm, and he was convinced he could do better.
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