Learn about microcontrollers without using breadboards
The Arduino system has done much to help introduce makers both young and old to the world of DIY electronics. Much lauded for its remarkable versatility and ease of use, all it takes are a few components and you’re on your way to new and exciting programming pleasures.
For those just starting out who find breadboards and wires a little daunting, the Arduino Esplora is a hand-held unit already fitted with a number of sensors, controllers and connections all ready to go right out of the box.
“…a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that lets you explore the infinite possibilities you have in the world of Arduino, without having to deal with breadboards or soldering. Shaped like a game controller, it’s designed to be used out of the box without extra parts since it comes with many sensors and actuators already on it.”
Built around the same core as the popular Arduino Leonardo, the Esplora boasts an accelerometer, microphone, analog joystick, button array, light sensor, temperature sensor, linear potentiometer and audio buzzer. Although it lacks the facility to connect extra components like we are used to seeing with Arduino shields, there are two TinkerKit inputs and outputs that will enable further expansion.
Additional modules such as LCD displays are in the works, and knowing the Arduino community, it won’t be long before there is a whole host of enhancements available. Eager beavers can get their hands on an Arduino Esplora right now for under €42.
FARO, a company specializing in 3D scanning hardware and software, has released SCENECT, a free app that uses the sensor data from a Microsoft Kinect or other, similar device for 3D scanning. The app even incorporates the color data in addition to the geometry of the object to produce full-color 3D models.
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.
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.”
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.