Get to know your laser cutter better

DIY Kerf measuring tool refines your laser cutting precision

Although it isn’t critical on all laser cut projects, for anything with parts that fit or slot together, kerf is something that is worth paying attention to.

It may sound like a Jim Henson creation – but kerf is in fact a very real technical term. Kerf refers to the gap that is left by the cutting device – in our case, the laser beam in a laser cutter. It’s usually more of an issue when laser cutting in wood, but will also come into play when laser cutting acrylic and other materials.

Open source enthusiast Dave Chamberlin has come up with a nifty device that can be used to accurately measure the kerf of a laser cutter. The simple cutting pattern has been uploaded to Thingiverse, and includes instructions on how to measure your kerf etched right onto the device itself. Here is what it looks like:

Follow the source link below to download the file and try it out on your own laser cutter. You can also discover what else Dave is up to in his open source maker crusade over at Takeaway 3d Tech.

Thingiverse: Laser Kerf Measuring Tool

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The Chart of Hand Tools

Over 300 illustrated tools of the trade

We may be immersed in the digital workflow of laser cutters and 3D printers, but there are still dozens of hand tools that makers are using every day.

The experts of laying it all out, Pop Chart Lab, have put together a wonderful collection in their print The Chart of Hand Tools.

“Meticulously illustrated tools celebrating the tinkerers and the doers: those who build, repair and create.”

Whether it’s the finely tuned measuring devices that ensure every dimension is just so, or the brute force of over 20 different hammers and mallets, somewhere on this illustrated panel will be the tools that enable you to realise your creativity.

Click through for a detailed view. (more…)

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Gear up for laser cutting

Vintage technical publication still grooving after all those years

Before we had those nifty little electronic transistors to build nicknacks and devices out of, machines and the designers behind them relied on mechanical precision to perform tasks. Bringing to light the 1868 publication by Henry T Brown, 507 Movements reveals just how ingenious some of those mechanisms can be… and how relevant they are for today.

Even better than simply a trip down memory lane, this magical repository is just itching to be applied in some 21st century laser cutting projects.

In previous posts, we have taken a look at online 3D mechanical resources and the very handy Gear Template Generator that help to de-mystify mechanical devices. Both of these tools help to get gears working right, but what if you need a little help figuring out which gears or mechanisms to use? That’s where 507 Movements shines.

The movements are represented in both static and selected animated drawings that are kind of hypnotic yet educational at the same time.

To demonstrate how nifty geared mechanisms can be, we’ve included an impressive video after the break (assuming gears are what gets you groovin’) of some creative cogs in action.   (more…)

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A power tool for the age of digital fabrication

Smarter than the average tool.

As wonderful as CNC milling machines are, they aren’t exactly portable. Material has to transported to and from the location of the machine, and it has to fit within the work area. The Handibot is small enough to bring with you to a work site, and it can be placed wherever it’s needed on material of almost any size.

The Handibot is something between a traditional power tool and a CNC mill. It’s a power tool made smarter with a lot of help from apps and digital fabrication techniques. Learn more about it and get one for yourself on the (already) fully-funded kickstarter campaign.
(more…)

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Tinkercad finds a new home at Autodesk

The future is looking solid for rejuvenated browser-based modeler

Fans of the 3D modelling app Tinkercad are turning their frowns upside-down with the big announcement that the company is back in action, and we’re certainly getting excited… because Tinkercad has been acquired by Autodesk.

What exactly does this mean? Well, not only is it great to see Tinkercad back in action; but with the might of this industry juggernaut behind it, Tinkercad looks to be locked into a secure future as elements are slated to filter through into the innovative suite of 123D apps and more.

Tinkercad’s revolutionary Gen6 geometry kernel played a significant role in sealing the deal with Autodesk. The strength of this browser-based solid modelling utility has already proven to be a hit within the Ponoko community. One of the notable success stories of the Ponoko API, Tinkercad makes generating SVG outputs that are ready for laser cutting or 3D printing so easy, it is literally child’s play.

With Autocad at the helm, the Tinkercad free account now has unlimited designs and full import/export functionality, making it that much more appealing to new makers and educators.

“..we have supercharged the free plan. You can now create unlimited designs, all import and export functionality is enabled and ShapeScripts are turned on for free accounts.”

Click through to see the full press release from Tinkercad.   (more…)

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Raspberry Pi launches an ‘app store’

Easily find software for your Raspberry Pi or offer your own creations.

The Rasberry Pi foundation has launched the Pi Store, a one stop shop for software, tutorials, games, and useful code for the Raspberry Pi. The idea is to provide an easy way to to find great software and distribute your own, thus making it even easier to get started. At launch, the store had 23 free titles and 1 paid, commercial program, so the venue is definitely favoring free sharing, at last so far.

The Pi Store was developed in partnership with IndieCity and Velocix.

Via engadget

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Free app turns Microsoft Kinect into 3D scanner

3D scan using mass market hardware.

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.

See some examples after the jump, and download SCENECT from their site.
(more…)

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New online electronic circuit simulator

Design and test your circuits before buying expensive parts.

PartSim is a new, web-base circuit simulator. It’s entirely free and boasts a clean and easy to understand interface. With this tool you can plan and test the circuit for your next project without wasting money on unnecessary parts.

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Create your own jewelry by mapping your favorite places with Meshu

Ponoko-made products from Meshu founders Rachel Binx and Sha Hwang

When Rachel first moved to San Francisco, she was looking for work and knew she wanted a job in data visualization. “I was using Twitter to find potential contacts,” Rachel says. “Sha was gracious enough to meet me for dinner, and the rest is history!”

The two of them hit it off, eventually moving in together in a sunny carriage house in the Mission. And yes, Rachel landed a great job at a design studio. But the story doesn’t stop there.

Last year, Rachel and Sha sat down in a tea house and started brainstorming ideas for a side project: something that could combine their skills in design and data visualization with their love of travel.

The result was Meshu — a web-based app that brings together data visualization and digital fabrication.

Meshu lets you design products like necklaces, earrings, and cufflinks based on the connecting lines of various places.

For example, you could create a design using your Foursquare checkins or the route you took on your epic road trip. And you could have that design turned into a pair of one-of-a-kind lasercut earrings or 3D printed cufflinks.

(more…)

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Uformia MeshUp

Purpose built 3D modelling software for designing 3D models for printing

MeshUp is a purpose built 3D modelling application for 3D printing. At first glance, MeshUp appears to have similar mesh mixing capabilities as Autodesk meshmixer. However it includes much more powerful and 3D printing specific features. Developed by a company called Uformia, they claim – “MeshUp is the first real volume modeler for meshes. We want to make life easier for 3D printing and for creators. At Uformia we envision a very different experience for users, where without effort, a creator can be sure that their models are always ready for 3D printing.” (more…)

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