3D printed ukulele

Digital manufacturing never sounded so sweet * UPDATE * video added!

There is a saying amongst ukulele players. It goes something along the lines of “Music self played is happiness self made.” So imagine how happy Matthew must be, as he strums away on his 3D printed ukulele!

We’ve seen an impressive folding laser cut uke before, and it was only a matter of time before someone had a serious crack at 3D printing one. Matthew (aka Koa Soprano) is no stranger to making his own musical devices, having previously tried his hand at violins and other stringed instruments.

His ukulele is something different though. Printed on a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer, it took about 37 hours for the body, neck and pegs to be produced. Allowance had to be made for the build area of the printer, which means that the headstock is a little shorter than usual. A neat dovetail was planned in to the Solidworks model so that the neck and body can be easily assembled after printing. Pegs were printed both horizontally and vertically to see which orientation produced a neater result.

Click through to see the finished instrument, as well as a few insights into pitfalls that were overcome during the printing process.

* UPDATE * video included after the break!
(more…)

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The MIT Hobby Shop and early signs of the maker movement

A look inside the history of the Hobby Shop.

The MIT Hobby Shop was founded 75 years ago by a group of students who wanted to make things, who wanted to bring their ideas into the real world. The Shop has changed considerably over the years, but it still relies heavily on peer-to-peer teaching and an interdepartmental approach.

In the 1937-38 academic year, Vannevar Bush, then Vice President of MIT, granted a group of 16 MIT students permission to use a room in the basement of building 2. With equipment they found around the Institute they set up a wood and metal shop in the 16-foot by 22-foot area. The club members chose the name “Hobby Shop” based on their belief in the philosophy that the well rounded individual pursued interests outside their profession – hobbies.

Read more about the history of the Hobby Shop on their site.

Via MAKE


Taylor Gilbert is a proponent of creative technology including Arduino, Processing, and repurposed hardware. Follow him @taylor_gilbert

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Makertorium event in Wellington

Exhibition to showcase New Zealand maker culture

The first event celebrating maker culture in New Zealand will be held at the national museum Te Papa o Tongarewa on April 27th from 10am to 6pm.

There will be over 50 Exhibitors, installations and competitions across eight zones. Special guests and makerspaces will be showcasing their creations including a 3D printer petting zoo, flying machines, robot wars and much more.

If you’re in Wellington on the 27th, come and check out the event.


David is an industrial designer from New Zealand. He contributes a weekly article on personal fabrication for Ponoko. Follow him on Twitter!

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A 3D printed, Raspberry Pi-powered, remote control snow blower

The Snow Droid X, in progress.

Technically speaking, winter is over, but someone forgot to tell the weather around here. If we’re going to keep having winter, we might as well enjoy it in true maker fashion with a Rasberry Pi-powered snow blower from Kris Kortright.

Unlike projects intended for use in the mild climate of a living room, the “Snow Droid” is designed to endure the slightly less hospitable environment of winter and all that entails. The camera and servos are all special watertight models, and the 3D printed head of the snow blower (shown in green) is designed to have water, wind, and impact resistance.

The first picture after the jump shows the unmodified Snapper 24″ Snow Blower used as the starting point of the project. The rest show details of the head and control system (being tested with an Arduino). As of the last update, this project was still in process, but we will certainly be keeping an eye on it.
(more…)

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3D Tech and the Future of the Museum

3D printing and 3D scanning to play a major role

Museums across the globe are steadily shaking their dusty old stereotypes, but how far do they actually go in embracing cutting edge technologies?

An interesting publication from MW 2103 by Neely and Langer takes a serious look at the role digital manufacturing can play in paving the way for innovative museums to add value like never before.

Highlighting 3D technologies including 3D printing and 3D scanning in particular, the article paints a positive picture of the way that museums can engage patrons with stimulating, challenging exhibits. You can really see the influence of the rise of the Maker Movement, as shown in the image above where kids learn about 3D printing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Things get a lot more exciting as you read further, with a “return to materiality” championing physical interaction in an environment that has traditionally been hands-off. (more…)

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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.
(more…)

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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.
(more…)

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The Deconstruction event

Makers keep this coming weekend free!

The Deconstruction is an open global event and runs from February 22 to the 24th, starting at 8PM PST. Teams of makers, artists, students, programmers, problem-solvers, designers, performers, filmmakers, etc are invited to register and deconstruct the world around us.

Being an experimental event, the premise is very open and there is no topic given, although some broad challenge criteria will be released during the event.

“The goal of The Deconstruction is to bring people together from all over the world (physically and digitally) to share ideas, collaborate, create, innovate, and most imporantly have fun. The event is open to anyone, anywhere, of any age and skill level.” (more…)

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Multi-colour prints from a single extruder

Tutorial shows how to liven up your 3D prints

Are you finding the monochromatic output of your 3D printer a little drab? According to Andre Tiemann, coloured prints are easily achievable and he has written up a neat tutorial explaining how to achieve multiple hues… and you don’t even need to have the latest high-tech equipment.

With dual-head extruders becoming more and more commonplace, coloured prints may not seem so exceptional – but what sets Andre’s efforts apart is that he is producing multiple colours from a single extruder.

Referring to the prints as 2.5D (rather than full-blown 3D objects), he explains the process of colour swapping based on layer height to radically change the appearance of the printed object.

“…while this isn’t a breakthrough in 3D printing, it is a fun technique to liven up prints.”

Instructables via 3Ders

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Help Wellington Makerspace raise money for Mobile Maker Van

$2500 needed to equip makerspace on wheels

Since the Wellington Makerspace opened last June in Wellington, New Zealand, it has quickly become a hub of diverse creativity, bespoke manufacture, and educational outreach.

From access to equipment such as a laser cutter and CNC router and workshops ranging from bee keeping to DIY surveillance devices, there’s a full roster of member benefits and events. The makerspace also provides dedicated workspace for personal projects and hosts a regular “Mini Maker” for kids.

The team behind the makerspace wants to bring these opportunities to those outside central Wellington, especially at-risk youth and teens. To do this, they are raising $2500 through PledgeMe to equip a Mobile Maker Van.

They’ve already got the fabrication tools but still need help to purchase 12 laptops. The pledge has 2 weeks left and is a only $200 away from the goal.

Donations rewards include a makerspace party invite for $10, a free laser-cutting workshop for $40, your face 3D printed for $175, plus larger corporate sponsorship packets. You can pitch in at PledgeMe.

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