A CNC mill and 3D printer in a suitcase

Digital fabrication for the mobile maker.

MIT’s Ilan Moyer and Nadya Peek have made the PopFab, a multipurpose CNC machine in a suitcase. The computer controlled platform rests in the bottom of the case, and the arm for the toolhead pops up. Perhaps the best part is that the system is compatible with a wide range of toolhead for various functions including 3D printing, CNC milling, vinyl cutting, and plotting (drawing).

We recently blogged about a related project, the FoldaRap. The FoldaRap looks to be slightly more compact, but it is focused exclusively on 3D printing.

Via core77

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tINDIE: an “Etsy for electronics”

Buy, sell, and request DIY electronics projects

Tindie is a site for buying and selling homemade gadgets, kits and parts that’s being described as “Etsy for electronics”. The site is a one-man operation that came out of a post on the reddit board r/Arduino. The store has only been open for three weeks and already it is full of cool projects, from the practical (like the laser cut BeagleBone enclosure seen above) to the fanciful, like this CNC cut steel Iron Man Arc Reactor below:

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CNC machined Analog Structures

Resource efficient structures

Analog Shelter is part of New Zealand designer Daiman Otto’s Analog Structures project. The cladding system Feel Free was designed to respond to the Shed Light exhibition brief, currently on show in Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia. His aim is to produce a series of small DIY, standardized and customisable buildings that anyone can put together without the need for a set of saws and building tools. Feel Free’s exterior cladding encourages interaction by allowing people to touch and manipulate the exterior polyproplyene panels. (more…)

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Wellington’s new Makerspace!

Making enthusiasts can rejoice in taking matters into their own hands

After 3 months of renovations, repairs and randomness, The Wellington Makerspace is finally open for people to turn their ideas into physical things.

The Makerspacers (Makerspacies?) have a workshop for wood-working, a (semi) clean-room, two quiet digital-type spaces and a fledgling chemistry lab. There is a variety of power tools, lathes, band-saws, soldering stations, welding gear etc. Also on the premises are a 3m long CNC Router, a 2m long laser-cutter and an UP! 3D printer. If you can design something, the guys from Makerspace reckon that they have the equipment and expertise in their network to make it.

These making enthusiasts have already gathered a small community – and are hoping to enlarge it… and so on the 14th of June, they are having an opening party… 5.30 until 8.30 pm. If you’re a maker, a fan or just generally curious about how laser-cutters, CNC mills and digital printers work, they welcome you to come along.

See RSVP details on the official invite after the jump


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3D printing with Nylon

Just how flexible are your 3D prints?

The usual run of things with 3D printers is to spit out parts in good old ABS or similar plastics that have a low melting point. Just imagine the world of opportunities that opens up when you can print in flexible – and tremendously fun – Nylon 6?!?

Requiring slightly higher temperatures for extrusion than the more common rigid (but brittle) ABS or PLA, nylon’s slick bendable qualities lend themselves to all kinds of new possibilities. Gears and bearings created from nylon have the advantage of not requiring lubrication and there is also scope for flexible tubes and parts with undercuts such as lids, plugs and phone cases.

“We can literally change the hardness/firmness/tensile strength of a part by changing it’s fill percentage. Want a small keyboard button overlay for a control box…..fill at 25%….want a bearing that has a bit of give to reduce vibration…..fill at 50%…want a hard almost UN-bendable lever….fill at 100% and so on.”

The following video shows some of these capabilities as printed in nylon.


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Laser cut colors

The Laser Cutter Roundup — a weekly dose of laser-cut love: #78

Hey, Sam here collecting the post from The Laser Cutter.

Above are laser cut paper invitation lighted with LEDs for Hush Studio from Eric Alba.

And remember join TLC’s Facebook page so you can submit you work to be featured through there!

After the jump, a star, the Chrysler Building, a beard, a lamp, a whole bunch of things, and a desk… (more…)

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Missed out on the CNC Shapeoko mill?

Want your own open source CNC mill?

If you’ve so far missed out getting your hands on the opensource kickstarted Shapeoko CNC mill there is some hope – Inventables who’re now the distributors are accepting pre orders for their next batch of 100 units. Demand for the ShapeOko has been high since their Kickstarter campaign. Depending on how keen you are to source some of your own components – there are several prices ranging from the basic mechanical kitset at $199 to the fully featured premium option at $999 that also comes with router cutters and materials. (more…)

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Designing for San Francisco

SF Bay Area – a Design Inspiration for little and big thingsWe’re used to seeing locations and landmarks serving as inspiration for design and art around us. Think how much influence the Eiffel Tower, for example, or anything NY has had on so much of the styling we are exposed to. As a designer you may be particularly influenced by design styles of places you’ve travelled to or your own city that you commute through every day. One US designer has chosen his place of residence – San Francisco as a catalyst for his creative endeavours.

David Nichols of Dotmatrix Design takes major inspiration from various infrastructure and industry around the Bay Area. Conveniently located in same area, Ponoko has helped shape his creative process. David’s first project was a human scale model of SF Sutro Tower, “a local landmark TV tower that pokes through the fog of the city most days of the year”. He had the tower CNC routed out of plywood, and it will be making its way to Maker Faire next month as part of the Ponoko display.

David likes the challenge of using interlocking to produce 3D objects out of 2D shapes, so laser cutting and CNC routing are his ideal precision fabrication methods. He’d made a tiny model of the container cranes in the Port of Oakland and also laser cut maps of the Bay Area. Most of the objects he created are fabricated out of wood, either in plywood or composite form. Hardboard and MDF are some of David’s favourite materials to work with. The material choices allow for minimal finishing and easy assembly that doesn’t require adhesives.A few words from the designer after the jump:


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CNC routing for casting intricate mechanical parts

Or, how to be an absolute boss

Here’s a wonderful write-up on the trials, tribulations, and inspiring successes of Michal Zalewski’s 6-year journey into robotics. This well-written story is focussed on techniques for using CNC routing to create intricate molds for casting precision mechanical parts. Mouth-watering pictures after the break… (more…)

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StippleGen converts any image into CNC-friendly SVG format

Time to go dotty with your CNC artwork

Halftone-styled images have a compelling power to them. Perhaps it’s the retro-nostalgia of 1960’s Pop Art, the grainy speckles of old newsprint, or maybe it’s something else entirely? Either way, there is just something about all those dots.

Evil Mad Scientists (you know, the guys behind the Egg-Bot amongst other things) have released StippleGen, a stand-alone program that converts any image into CNC-friendly SVG format.

There is a considerable amount of control as you tweak the algorithms, whether you are after a specific number or style of dots, or even a continuous TSP path. It’s all geared towards use on small CNC devices such as the Egg-Bot, but don’t let that stop you if you have larger aspirations.

StippleGen is designed to be easy to install, easy to use, and easy to modify. It is capable of producing excellent quality output with up to 10,000 points.

Click through to EMSL for a thorough run-down on just what this neat little software package is capable of.

via Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

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