Applications now open for the next Fab Academy Diploma
Applications are now open for the fifth edition of the Fab Academy Diploma, the main educational program of the Fab Lab Network.
For five months running between January and June in 2015, participants will find themselves immersed in an advanced digital fabrication program directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms. The diploma is based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything, and operates as a worldwide, distributed campus where Fab Labs across the globe become classrooms and libraries for a new kind of technical literacy.
Learn how to envision, prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with cutting edge digital fabrication technology.
Take note of the following important dates if you think this sounds like a great way to supercharge your creativity and productivity in 2015:
October 6th, 2014 – November 20th, 2014
November 21st, 2014 – November 31st, 2014
December 1st, 2014 – December 10th, 2014
January 21st, 2015 – May 27th, 2015
A list of participating labs can be viewed here, and more information is available on the Fab Academy website. Applications are open… apply now for the 2015 course!
Keeping track of precise measurements and the finest details just became a little easier, thanks to Sean Murphy’s updated vernier callipers on Thingiverse. He has come up with an interesting adaptation of a design that was originally intended to be cut from acrylic and then bolted together.
What did he do differently? Well, aside from tweaking the accuracy a little, Sean also laser cut the measuring device from paper and double-sided taped the two halves together.
“The result is a super thin set of callipers that can be slipped in a binder, folder, or book yet still give accuracy down to a few hundred microns.”
Very handy indeed… and because they are cheap, quick and easy to make, you could keep a set within reach at all times for refined accuracy wherever you happen to need them.
How 3D printing went from pipe dream to your desktop
When Ponoko was founded back in 2006, we envisaged the third Industrial Revolution, where consumers of the future can download and make products at home. The road to distributed digital mass production was paved by the pioneering work of stereolithography inventor Chuck Hull and transformed once again with the rise and rise of MakerBot, to name just a few.
In a fantastically comprehensive article over on Digital Trends, the full history of 3D printing has been laid out in detail.
3D printers are all the rage with enthusiasts, but they didn’t just materialize out of nowhere like the sculptures they produce. Here’s the untold story of how the next big boom in technology came to be over 30 years.
It’s a fascinating story where dreams become reality and the stuff of science fiction enters our daily lives. We have seen this first-hand, with over 400,000 custom products produced online via Ponoko’s global network of digital making services.
Click through to Digital Trends to learn how other key influencers have helped shape the strange past and seemingly impossible future of distributed digital mass production over the past 30 years.
Compensating for different material widths when scaling your laser cut designs
Parametric Design is awesome, and makes for fewer headaches when it comes to changing a few details here and there. Well… most of the time, at least. Sometimes all those numbers can get a little complex but Martin Raynsford has developed a way to ‘cheat’ the parametric design process while scaling down his neat little laser cut catapults.
Because the design consists entirely of laser cut parts, his mini catapult can be scaled using a base version of the file where material width acts as the key piece of information. He explains his thinking and practical techniques in yet another informative blog post, and you can even download the .svg file to give it a go yourself.
If you’ve heard of the term Parametric Design but need a little refresher on just how handy it can be when applied to laser cutting projects, check out this tabbed box maker. It’s a great example of true parametric design in action.
Read more about Martin’s technique at the source article, and while you are there don’t forget to have a peek in the store because his laser cut designs are available to buy in kit form as well.
Shrinking an air-raid siren to fit into your pocket
Quoted as being ideally suited for those looking to be really annoying, this laser cut project by Mark Langford on Instructables might catch your attention. Taking the same principles that give air-raid sirens such an impressive audio impact, he has condensed them down into a neat little package that can fit on a key ring.
After several iterations, the mechanics of the three-layer design were perfected and (as you can hear in the following video) it really does work. Extra points of course go to the fancy eyebrow acrobatics!
Here is how it works:
The air you blow in blows out through the pattern of holes, and at the same time, it makes the turbine spin.
If there was no turbine, the air would just hiss out of the holes, but the holes and blades are designed so that the spinning turbine alternately covers and uncovers the holes, rapidly blocking and releasing the air in a series of pulses that make the noise you hear.
See the Turbine Whistle on Instructables where you can learn from Mark’s thorough project walkthrough. There are plenty of step-by-step photos and of course you can download the files to make a pocket siren of your own.
Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows
Check out this gem of a project from Mario Klingemann, otherwise known as Quasimondo. A few years back he whipped up a Typographic Gear Generator that is able to create pairs of wheels that interlock with mesmerising precision.
The gears can then be laser cut and added to your next mechanical marvel for all to enjoy. There is something whimsical and kind of cute about bundling in this extra layer to an otherwise run-of-the-mill laser cut component.
Pictured here (and in the following clip) is a laser cut geared wheel turning around a quote from the 1950’s tv classic, The Original Amateur Hour. Other variations that Mario has tried out include a Muybridge-inspired horse in motion, demonstrating that the process works just as well with images as it does with text.
First branch of long-dreamed half makerspace/half cafe opens its doors
When it comes to laser cutting services in the UK, it’s hard to beat RazorLAB for precision and expertise. Now you can throw in some tasty treats and a chat with the guys in the the know because they have just opened Makers|CAFE.
For those who need a little caffeine to cultivate their creativity, this really is a dream come true:
“…a space where people could have a quality coffee while having their prototypes made on the spot”
It’s an exciting time for makers in London, and Makers|CAFE are celebrating with a launch party this Thursday (August 21) where a lucky few will enjoy live music, free drinks and laser cutters + 3D printers in action.
A quicker, cheaper alternative to raster fill engraving
Vector or Raster? It’s a question that has goes back to the earliest days of laser etching. Here is an interesting little exploration from the creative team over at Cuddleburrito that scores another point for the Vector camp.
Instead of using a raster fill for a job that required large graphic elements, they devised a way to create the same effect using vector paths.
This saves a huge amount of time, as the laser only needs to engrave the actual paths of the lines instead of sweeping across the entire area. There was an added bonus that the outcome has a more consistent appearance when applied on timber, because the tendency for grain variation to be emphasized (as when using raster etching) had been eliminated.
Want to know how they did it? Click through to the source to find out…
Teaching kids how to build their own mini making machines
Designed for a workshop series that introduces kids to building their own motor controllers, the Sphere-O-Bot is a simple 2 axis CNC machine that can draw on small spherical surfaces. Suggested target spheres include ping pong balls, eggs and even golf balls are apparently worth a try.
There is a thorough tutorial on Instructables that will take you through the thinking behind the laser cut wooden design, and show just how to put it all together. Files are included for the laser cut structure as well as specs for all the hardware required to get the Sphere-O-Bot up and running.
This fun project was uploaded by Juan, a Maker Corps intern at the Children’s Museum of Houston, who says:
“By building your Sphere-O-Bot using a laser cutter, you can achieve a clean look while also reducing the production time of your parts. This design also features an electronics bay for your wires, micro-controller and motor drivers.”