Custom circuit boards with an Othermill CNC mill

Easily make circuit boards, jewelry, and other detailed objects with this new desktop CNC.

There are a lot of options for CNC mills right now (and I mean a lot), but it’s rare to see one with the precision necessary to mill a custom circuit board. Finding one at a reasonable cost is simply unheard of.

The Othermill from Otherfab fills that need nicely. With it you can quickly and easily mill any circuit board your heart desires. Now all of your projects can have circuits seamlessly integrated into the design. Since it is compatible with any 1/8″ bit (like a dremel), it can also be used for a variety of other applications from jewelry to precisely machined mechanical parts.

Currently raising funds on Kickstarter, the Othermill started at $1000 for early adopters.
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The return of shop class, accessible CNC for everyone

guest post from Danielle Appletone of Otherfab

This is the story of Otherfab. I doubt you’ve heard of us, but I think our story is a good one.

Four months ago, we were working on the future of this country: digital design and computer-controlled manufacturing tools for the STEM education of our children.

So many people in government had worked very hard to carve out the funding for a truly radical program to put shop class back into high schools with a focus on integrating modern technology. It was the first time I had worked so closely with a government organization, and I was blown away by how much they cared about our mission. Maybe that says more about me then them, but either way, it made me happy.

We were about to begin deploying our program into 1000 high schools when the sequester hit. For a small company like us, a sequester-induced delay and complete financial uncertainty of several months was crippling. We had very little buffer and a young team that absolutely could not be furloughed.

But here’s where it gets good.

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Tap your foot to set a beat with drum effects using Arduino

You tap your foot, Arduino does the rest.

Beat Feet was concieved, designed, and prototyped in four days by a team participating in MIT Media Labs Design Innovation workshop at PESIT Bangalore. The project uses a sensor attached to the bottom of a shoe to control the tempo of MIDI drum affects. The idea is to allow musicians to add and control a background rhythm while continuing to play their instrument (presumably not a drum).
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A soft circuit textile interface using Arduino

The Nama, a textile-based instrument.

The Nama Instrument is a textile-based interface that uses a Lilypad Arduino and 5 Lilypad Accelerometers to wirelessly control custom software. The project was made by Luiz Zanotello for his BA graduation project in Design from Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil.

The software shown in the video demonstrations generate music and animation based on how the instrument is handled, but Zanotello proposes that input from the Nama could be used for other applications as well.
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Connect your Arduino to the cellular network with the new GSM shield

Control and communicate with your next project with your cell phone.

Arduino has just released their new GSM shield that allows your Arduino to make and receive calls and text messages. You can even control specific functions of your project by text. Light up a LED, turn on a motor, all via cell phone. This isn’t the first time someone has figured out how to Arduino to the cellular network, but now it’s easier than ever before. This is very nearly a plug-and-play device.
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The ultimate Arduino-based cat litter box

The litter box of kings.

This litter box was made by Greg Leisure with the help of an Arduino. It is quite possibly the most elaborate cat litter box ever built. Even calling it a litter box seems disrespectful. It’s more like a litter house. Or a litter condo. It has it all, all the bells and whistles a cat or cat owner could want. Lights with motion sensors? Check. Both sound and smell dampeners? Check. Automatically-triggered fans? Naturally. Automatic Lysol dispensers? Of course.
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A DIY digital camera made with cardboard and an Arduino

A simple, open source camera you can make at home.

Photographer Product Designer Coralie Gourguechon made the Craft Camera as a way of countering the “planned obsolescence and complexity of electronic products.” All of the components are open source, and the design has a Creative Commons license.

The major components, in addition to an Arduino UNO, are a lithium battery pack, a Snootlab SD card Arduino shield, and a JPEG color camera TTL interface. The design for the case can be printed onto cardboard, cut out with a utility knife, and glued together. More detailed information is available on the project’s open source page, but the code and detailed plans are, unfortunately, not yet available. The site says they will be “released soon,” so be sure to check back later.
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A functional mini plotter made with cardboard, glue, wire, and tape

Mechanical inventiveness at its best.

If you want to see if you truly understand how a mechanical system works, try making it out of cardboard. Artist Niklas Roy led the construction of a series of cardboard computers, including this plotter, as part of an electronic media class at the School of Art and Design, Offenbach. Watch the video above to see the remarkable sophistication of this mechanical computer.
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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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An air-powered robotic tentacle using Processing and Arduino

Soft robotics at home.

Matthew Borgatti of HAR.MS made this slightly disconcerting yet undeniably fascinating prototype of an air-powered robotic tentacle. The tentacle itself is made of silicone, and an Arudino and three solenoid valves control the flow of air that make the tentacle bend and twist. Borgatti also made a simple visual user interface with Processing to operate it.

“Soft robotics” like this have several potential advantages over the more traditional “hard” systems. A soft arm is more gentle with far fewer moving parts, and is, in some ways, more resistant to damage that a typical robotic arm.
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