Mechanical modelling with free software tools
Following on from last week’s introductory tutorial, here’s a bit more information on how to make mechanical models in SketchUp with SketchyPhysics. By the way, here’s a great resource if you want to learn more about mechanical linkages, gears, and all that good stuff (hat tip to Edgar Castelo for the link).
Mechanical modelling with free software tools
Continuing my commitment to using free software even though it drives me up the wall sometimes
Following my recent obsession with drawing machines, I’m working on a new project with lots of gears and linkages. I figured it would be a good time to learn how to do mechanical modelling in SketchUp. Sketchy Physics is a plugin for Google SketchUp that allows you to simulate mechanical models. It is very capable but also very frustrating!
Figuring I’m not the first person to get frustrated on the way to creating meshing gears in SketchUp, I wrote this tutorial. I hope it will help some of you get up the steepest part of the learning curve.
Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.
Best of the blog 2011 – Tutorials
Knowledge-sharing is central to the open design and distributed manufacturing movements. Here are ten of the best tutorials from 2011: 3D printing and laser-cutting techniques, online resources, and software help.
Comprehensive step-by-step instructions
There comes a time when the electronics hobbyist wants to start making their own printed circuit boards (PCBs). There is a baffling array of different techniques to achieve this; it can be difficult to know where to start. One very solid option that is popular with DIY hackers is to convert an Epson printer to print etch-resistant ink onto copper-clad board. The problem is there has never been a concise set of instructions on how to do this.Until now: Instructables user ‘pourcirm’ posted this comprehensive step-by-step guide on the conversion process, that makes it seem a little less daunting!
On the other hand, if you want to get a few boards made up without going to all this effort, you can always crowd-source the job.
Detailed instructions for a Stereolithographic 3D printer on Instructables.
Rob Hopeless has posted an Instructable showing how to build a Stereolithographic 3D printer at home as part of the Instructables contest to win an Epilog Laser cutter. If you read through the tutorial, I think you’ll agree that he is a serious contender in the competition.
He went all out on this Instructable. There is a parts list, including companies who sell every part, plenty of photos at every step, downloadable files for a CNC (ok, so you probably can’t do this part at home), and 3D diagrams explaining the assembly.
A guide for visual learners:
Getting started with open-source programming
Jody Culkin is an artist of broad and impressive talents, and she’s done something wonderful for the DIY electronics community with one of her recent projects.
It’s not an award-winning sculpture, nor an emotive photograph or whimsical animation… this time, she has turned her hand towards helping newcomers get their head around just what this Arduino thing is all about.
The comic-style introduction has been CC-licensed for all to enjoy, and can be downloaded in full right here.
More than a guide to the ins and outs of the Arduino platform, this is also a handy introduction to electronics projects in general.
Victorian synthesizers, laser microphones, and space explorers
If you haven’t had any sort of training in electronics, it can be a daunting world to get started in. It’s no use having someone talk about what you can do with an Arduino if you haven’t first been shown the basics of how circuits work, or say, what you can do with just a battery and a speaker. (more…)
Ponoko’s own Josh Reuss is always putting up nifty experiments, tips & tricks in the Ponoko forum.
Earlier this year, Josh decided to try out a variety of stains on some scrap pieces of wood material. (These are all wood materials for laser cutting with your Personal Factory btw.)
He reported on his staining experiments, detailing the best methods for applying and which stains looked best on which materials. Check it out, and if you’ve done any staining or painting yourself, feel free to add your results and what you’ve learned to the forums.
Links to each material and stain used are after the jump.
Easy Kinect 3D scanning with no compiling or installing weird drivers
I’m always looking for neat stuff to do with the Kinect sensor. Last week I spotted CocoaKinect, uploaded to Thingiverse by CidVilas. Unlike some other Kinect hacks I’ve played with in Windows, CocoaKinect doesn’t require anything more difficult than plugging in the sensor and starting the app.
Today I tried the typical self-portrait scan. When you launch CocoaKinect you’re presented with a simple single-screen interface:
New 3D scanning web app…
This week we’re looking at a new 3d scanning web app that scans real objects and you can digitise them for 3d print output on your Personal Factory here at Ponoko!
my3dscanner.com launched recently and is rapidly becoming popular. It allows anyone who owns a digital camera that records EXIF data to 3D scan real life objects! (If you don’t know what EXIF data is, don’t worry – as long as you have a camera newer than 1998 it probabley does this.)