OpenDesk distributed manufacturing

Open source micro-factory turns your local laser cutter/CNC into a private IKEA

Exploring new models for open and collaborative digitally fabricated design, OpenDesk aims to become the destination of choice for modern open source furniture.

“By downloading, printing, purchasing or customising an OpenDesk, you’re helping to create a new way of buying products. One that’s more transparent, sustainable and flexible than current manufacturing models”.

With a growing repository of clever, flexible products from a number of designers, the OpenDesk model enables people to choose at what level they wish to engage with the manufacturing process.

The OpenDesk network helps create laser cut furniture from wood and other materials for less

Got a laser cutter of your own, or know someone with a CNC machine just down the road? Then you can download comprehensive drawings that are ready to send straight to the machine. Perhaps you’re not a carpenter or maker yourself but are happy with the flatpack IKEA process. OpenDesk puts you in touch with a workshop in your area, where the design can be cut and finished (oiled, sanded, polished etc) and sent to your door for you to assemble. If hands-off is more your style, there is even an option for a professional to whip it all together for you.

The idea is that the more work you do, the lower the cost will be. Of course, in many locations the OpenDesk network may not yet have makers who can deliver or assemble – so some users will be forced to buy flat-pack or arrange the making themselves.   (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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MakerBot Digitizer is almost here

Add a 3D scanner to your workflow

The easiest and fastest way to create your own unique 3D models is about to be released by MakerBot. Eagerly anticipated ever since an early prototype was unveiled in March, the MakerBot Digitizer is just about ready for action. This neat little device will turn almost any (smallish) object you can get your hands on into 3D designs you can share and print.

In an email alert from MakerBot this week, the following info was released that outlines some key features of the Digitizer.

- Simple, yet sophisticated software creates clean, watertight 3D models with just two clicks.
- Get a 3D digital design file in just minutes.
- No design skills, 3D modeling or CAD expertise required to get started.
- Outputs standard 3D design file formats that can be modified and improved in third-party 3D modeling programs, like Autodesk’s free software MeshMixer.
- Easily upload your unique scans directly to Thingiverse.com.

Could the MakerBot Digitizer fill a gap in your creative workflow? Hide the cat, and keep an eye on MakerBot for further updates including pricing and availability.

MakerBot Digitizer via The Next Web

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3D Manufacturing Community Survey

Annual survey returns with a new round of questions for 3D makers

A little over a year ago, the P2P Foundation supported the first ever wide-scale survey of the 3D printing community. Their results made for some interesting findings, a few of which are summarised in the above video.

In an industry where experimentation and innovation play a large role in the daily grind, you’d expect to see significant developments over time. So what has changed in the world of 3D manufacturing over the past year? Is 3D printing still a niche industry? Are we in the midst of the next Industrial Revolution?

The goal of the 2013 survey is to provide insights about 3D printing communities to the people who are actually doing the printing.

Click through to the Statistical Studies of Peer Production survey where you too can become a valuable 3D printing statistic. There are only 23 questions and it typically takes less than five minutes to complete.

The survey closes on August 15, with results and an in-depth analysis from P2P’s Jarkko Moilanen and Tere Vadén due out in the coming months.

3D printing survey via Statistical Studies of Peer Production

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Pattern Matters: Tactile Paper Exploration

Hand-cut mechanical calendar explores the role of pattern in design

Celebrating the role that pattern plays in graphic design, this gorgeous paper calendar series from Singapore-based designer Siang Ching is a mesmerising tactile wonder of the kind that is rare to see in these days of all things digital.

The paper calendar appears as a part of Pattern Matters, a collection of textural hand-cut paper explorations.

Far more than just a visually striking kinetic sculpture, each of the monthly pages contains a veritable numerologist’s delight. When the user turns, twists and pulls the paper components, an informative scientific precision is revealed as dates align with days of the week, lunar cycles and even the number of days from the start of the year.

Ching’s main objective is to inspire other designers to explore the use of pattern in their own works.

“Pattern Matters also aims to demonstrate that pattern is a crucial form of design element… …not merely a decorating tool.”

Click through to see some calendar pages in closer detail, and also a few insights into the construction process.   (more…)

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Mechanical characters made easy

Disney Research develops computational design tool for animated figures

Creating mechanised automatons and toys has long been the domain of highly specialised engineers and designers. Yet even for them, it often takes much trial and error to get those tricky movements looking right. This process may soon become something we can all do thanks to a new set of software tools being developed by Disney Research.

The joint efforts of teams in Zurich and Boston were recently presented at ACM SIGGRAPH 2013. It is not clear at this point in time whether the software will be released for the general public any time soon, but the progress they have made is exciting to see.

Read about the set of tools that Disney Research are working on after the break, along with a video that shows both the software in action and some neat 3D printed mechanical critters.   (more…)

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Graphics cut onto vinyl records

Creating LP’s that look as good as they sound

Showing that there is still life in those good old LP vinyl records, Japanese designer Shinsuke Yamaji is doing something quite interesting at Autora Factory Plate.

Imagine if your vinyl records looked as good as they sound! Now they can, thanks to some clever machinations that transform the humble LP into an object of art before you even set it spinning.

Pictured above is the diamond stylus that is used to cut custom graphics onto vinyl records. Apparently, accurate audio quality is maintained as a part of the programming of the illustrations.

Click through to see how a finished LP looks, as well as a glimpse of the program interface and cutter setup.

(more…)

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The Neo-Artist: Last chance to get involved

Time is ticking – Kickstarter campaign ends 4pm Friday EDT

When we recently discovered The Neo-Artist, it seemed like Lincoln Kamm was living the dream. He has developed an expertise in helping creative people find ways to produce and sell their work using the latest in digital manufacturing technologies, and now he wants to share it with you.

All of his knowledge (and a few extra practical perks) are condensed into the publication The Neo-Artist, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign that wraps up on Friday July 12 at 4pm EDT.

A nice snapshot of what The Neo-Artist is all about can be seen in the clip above, where Lincoln is interviewed by 3D Printer World. Watch the interview to discover more about the campaign, as well as cat-breading and other insights into Lincoln’s creative world that led him to share his expertise in The Neo-Artist.

If you need a little convincing to get involved in this campaign, one of the perks for backers is to receive discounted consultation time with Lincoln himself on your own projects. Imagine having personal, one-on-one time with an expert in making a success of making! Jump on board before it’s too late.

via Kickstarter

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Laser-cut paper illustrated Macbeth

Visualising classic literature in the finest papercraft

The dark and twisted tales that unfold in Shakespeare’s Macbeth truly come alive in this striking illustrated publication. Intricate artwork by Kevin Stanton has been laser-cut from the paper pages, giving the reader a delightful visual accompaniment to one of the great literature classics.

Stanton’s illustrated Macbeth is one of the earlier books from a series that includes equally elegant laser-cut publications of Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet. Although it was the pictures that caught our eye here, the set of novels also contains the full text of each play along with a scholarly commentary and an informative history of the particular works. Click through to the source to see more illustrations from the series.

Kevin Stanton via Brain Pickings

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Vinylize turns old records into fancy eyewear

Fashionable frames CNC cut from cool vintage grooves

Your taste in music may go in and out of style, and the same is probably true for those funky fashions as well. Combining these two aspects of personal expression, Vinylize produce sleek and stylish eyewear by CNC cutting frames from recycled vinyl records.

Based in Budapest, Vinylize (an off-shoot of Tipton Eyeworks, a local Hungarian specialist maker) have refined their technique over the past decade. Experts in hand-shaping frames, a unique in-house process fuses the carefully selected vinyl with cellulose acetate that is CNC cut and then finished by hand, giving these glasses a distinctive vintage style with a modern twist.

Get your groove on with a neat little clip of the manufacturing process after the break.   (more…)

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