We all know and love Arduino, and what it has done for the rapidly growing world of DIY electronics. Yet the complexities of Arduino can be a bit much for young makers, and education enthusiast Tom Lauwers just may have the answer to harness that creativity while it is still fresh.
Heralded as a kind of “pre-Arduino”, the Hummingbird kit from Birdbrain consists of a custom controller that connects to a range of motors, sensors and lights that allow kids to build their own functional robots and more.
“…the Hummingbird controller is designed for kids who have never touched electronics or programming before.”
It’s really easy to get started making fully functional electronic devices, but don’t take our word for it. Click through to the source where Tom talks it all through in a neat clip featuring an animatronic cardboard dragon made by some 10 year old kids. Now that’s seriously fun.
Osloom (Open Source Loom) is an ongoing project to make an open source, computer controlled Jacquard loom.
The alpha prototype has a 64-thread count and is on an aluminum extrusion frame. The actuators we are using are muscle wire. They contract when electricity is run thru it. The loom itself is a little under 2 feet wide by 4 feet long by about 7 feet tall. The loom is controlled by software running on a laptop via an Arduino using a bit-shift register circuit . . . It works off bitmap images.
Speaking as someone who has seen computer-controlled loom in operation, they are astoundingly complex machines. Making one is an impressive undertaking, to say the least. Despite the fact that they predate 3D printers by a considerable margin, I suspect it is considerably more difficult to make a loom like this than a 3D printer.
For all those who get excited about digital manufacturing, October 2012 is a great time to be in The Netherlands during Dutch Design Week.
Setting out to showcase just what is behind the fierce growth rate in the 3D printing industry, a series of linked activities will unfold under the banner of the 3D Printing Event.
Featuring an impressive collection of participants ranging from industry heavyweights through to noteworthy newcomers, the event will explore four identified trends:
• The established industry is not only introducing new professional 3d printers with more and more functionality, but has started to bring low end 3D printers as well.
• The open source community works hard to create 3d printers which can be used in personal and professional environments.
• The biggest bottleneck is still the 3D software for making great designs easily.
• 3D Printing services are playing a very important role in creating new business and new business opportunities.
Not only does the seminar series boast over thirty speakers, the accompanying exhibition is host to a display of 3D printing in its current and future formats and there is also a 3D printing design competition in collaboration with Grabcad. Enter your design for a chance to win a Leapfrog Creatr 3D printer!
Head over to the event website to register your attendance, and follow the latest event related news on their 3D printing blog.
DIY CNC takes another twist at the 3D Printer Village
Remember that nifty CNC wire bending machine from the guys at Pensa? Well, they have certainly been active over the past few months, and are showing off their updated D.I.Wire Bender 2.0 at New York’s Maker Faire.
Featuring in the 3D Printer Village where it’s busily twisting loops around the hearts of eager patrons, the D.I.Wire Bender Version 2 boasts a number of new features including greater strength and increased accuracy (it now takes on steel without skipping a beat) and, interestingly, facilitates soldering or welding by marking precisely where the CNC bent wire is to be welded, thanks to a built-in Sharpie.
For those interested in building a wire bender of their own, Pensa have also put together a DIY tutorial on Make:Projects. It’s full of detail and will have you bending with the best of them in no time.
Kickstarter’s latest and very promising RepRap derivative
The latest and professional in appearance RepRap based 3D printer was developed by Duy Dang to have a rigid construction yet retain the low cost and ease of assembly aspects that RepRap owners and builders enjoy. (more…)
The new professional-grade 3D printer from MakerBot.
The people who brought us the Cupcake, the Thing-o-Matic, and the Replicator 3D printer have just released their next creation: the Replicator 2.
In contrast to their earlier printers aimed at hobbyists, MakerBot is describing this new printer as “professional-grade.” This claim is supported by the radically improved print quality, in addition to a slew of other upgrades and tweaks. To compare, the original replicator had a layer height of 270 microns, and the Replicator 2 has a layer height of 100 microns.
Keep reading past the jump for more features, photos, and videos. (more…)
Unique CNC drawing machine: Is this the shape of things to come?
There is no shortage of DIY CNC and 3D printing devices, and although some do stand out from the crowd, they all tend to follow a geometry that is becoming quite familiar. Setting out to change this paradigm, Canadian techno-sculptor David Bynoe conceived of a CNC plotter that is focused around polar coordinates.
The Center Pivot Pen Plotter has only one arm that spins on a base, and moves in and out from a central point.
“It gives you a very large drawing surface with a minimum of moving parts compared to a standard x,y Cartesian plotter.”
Drawing inspiration from the notable dual polar Eggbot and Polargraph examples, David has gone one step further in simplifying the mechanism by using only a single polar coordinate system. This creates special challenges, but the code that drives the Arduino-equipped device has been written to compensate for geometric distortions. As the video after the break shows, he’s done remarkably well…
“The goal was to get it working and then worry about making it pretty, which I will get to eventually.”
Now your drawing robot is even quicker on the draw…
With a soft spot for drawing and a special place in my heart for all things robotic, it’s kind of understandable that the Drawbot gets me excited.
Rather than leaving Drawbot users to fiddle around changing pens, this 3D printed clamp will make switching over to a new Magnum felt-tip quicker and easier than ever. It’s a simple pen holder modification, but one that makes a noticeable difference to the Drawbot’s process.
The image above is a working prototype printed on a Makerbot by Michael Audette, and boasts the following features:
* Pinch to release
* Rubber band for spring tension
* Holds a 20mm marker, can be scaled to hold a Sharpie fine point marker
With the Drawbot featuring as a part of the Robots for Schools campaign on Indiegogo, this modification couldn’t have come at a better time.
Meet the new kid on the block. Hope you’re not intimidated by size…
Thinking big is kind of healthy, in the world of DIY creativity. And with this new offering from SF based Type A Machines, 3D printing just received a hefty size boost.
Keeping things on track for the budget conscious consumer, the Series 1 3D printer can be purchased for $1200 and will arrive fully assembled. That’s pretty good value for a device that is capable of speedy printing at high resolutions (0.3mm at high speed) and detail printing down to 50 microns. It’s also said to be super quiet, and the RepRap Arduino MEGA Pololu Shield (RAMPS) based system will happily respond to all your favourite software combinations to crunch your model data.
If you’re still not impressed, stop for a moment and think over what you can make with a 9 x 9 x 9 inch build volume. That’s 230 x 230 x 230mm! A whole 12.1 litres of 3D printed joy.
It’s alive! The Briefcase Printer revisited and heading to Kickstarter
It’s hard to go far in the DIY gadget world without hearing about the exploits of modder extraordinaire, Ben Heck. Famous for squeezing almost every electronic device imaginable into a briefcase, his latest efforts revisit a project to build a fully operational Briefcase 3D printer.
An earlier attempt did have its successes, but Ben always knew he could go further with this particular project. And now he has.
The Briefcase Printer folds out from a neat 4.2 x 18 x 14 inch frame, and boasts a 200mm2 build platform. It’s able to run autonomously by reading files off an SD card, or for more control and a smoother user experience, the onboard Arduino 2580 Mega can be connected directly to a computer.
It’s all explained with Ben’s trademark enthusiastic delivery in a comprehensive video after the break. (more…)