I Want It Customized! contest — Tell us what product you would love to customize!

Win neat-o prizes from SketchChair!

UPDATE: Thanks so much for all of your awesome ideas! We’ll be contacting the winners soon.

In the meantime, you can see who won and check out all the ideas HERE.

The world of cookie cutter products is fading fast, but there’s still a lot of stuff out there that needs to be customizable.

And we were just kind of wondering…
What product do you really wish you could customize?

Your idea could score you a supercool CNC cut chair or some lasercut miniatures from our friends at SketchChair.

Using CodeThread to create 3D objects

Programmatically generate GCode of 3D objects for your 3D printer
CodeThread example 1

Diatom Studio, the folks responsible for the SketchChair project that’s been mentioned here before, have created a neat library for Processing called CodeThread. It can be used not just for making objects, but for developing new styles of printing. As Diatom says on the CodeThread page on Thingiverse:

“One of the things we love about makerbot in contrast to commercial printers is that you have complete control over every aspect of the print technique. We think there is a lot of opportunity to develop new printing styles with makerbots, beyond traditional solid prints.

We wanted to experiment with the materiality of makerbot prints by working directly in gcode with processing, so we made this small library that provides some simple functions for generating gcode commands, and prints a gcode file.”

Here’s how you can try CodeThread for yourself:

  1. Download and install Processing
  2. Download and install CodeThread
  3. Run CodeThread
    • – Open your processing-1.2.1 folder and run processing.exe (or the appropriate executable for your platform).
    • – Click File –> Open and navigate to “processing-1.2.1-expert\processing-1.2.1\libraries\codethread\examples\simpleCube”
    • – Open simpleCube.pde and click the Run icon in the toolbar

You should see a new window called simpleCube that renders this output:

CodeThread example 2

Each time you run the simpleCube script it will overwrite code01.txt in its own folder with the newest version of the GCode.

From here you can begin reading the documentation,or start messing with the script in the main window and see what alterations you can make!

Derek Quenneville is a 3D printing evangelist who posts on the Ponoko blog every Wednesday. Follow him on Twitter @techknight.

Ten Best Articles on Furniture + Lighting

Best of the Blog 2010 — furniture + lighting

Furniture + Lighting isn’t just about decor — these forms are some of the best expressions of our culture.

This top ten emphasizes furniture and lighting designs that push the envelope on creativity and possibility.


3D Modeling With a Sci-Fi Interface

Make 3D models without a mouse or keyboard using just your hands.

During the Salone del Mobile in Milan the design group Unfold presented this project, L’Artisan Electronique. They designed a virtual interface for making pots which appears to consist of a green laser to detect the user’s hands and a projector to show the effect on the 3D model.

The models were then 3D printed directly into ceramic using what looks like a modified RepRap. Standard 3D modeling software has a steep learning curve, but an interface like this could be used by nearly anyone. There have been quite a few projects recently trying to simplify 3D modeling including our earlier post about the SketchChair.

CLICK HERE for more about 3D printing.

Via Makerbot Industries

Free Course on Processing and Arduino

No previous experience is needed for this free five-week online course.

Processing and Arduino come up pretty regularly on this blog. We can’t help it; there are just too many incredible things being done with them. Just look at this chair-generating software or this amazingly elaborate laser engraved artwork. These are two totally different projects, both accomplished with Processing. What Processing does with software, Arduino does with hardware, and the best thing is that they can be used together, like for these butterflies.

If these great projects have piqued your interest, read about a chance to try out Processing and Arduino for yourself after the jump.


Make Prototypes for Laser Cutting at Home

Quickly and easily make paper prototypes with a CNC paper cutter.

Everyone who uses laser cutting for projects eventually encounters the same problem. You carefully double check your files, making sure that all the measurements are just right, send them to the cutter, get back the cut pieces, assemble the project . . . oops. Something isn’t right. Now you have to fix the files, send them back to the cutter, and wait.

Making prototypes can drastically reduce how often this sort of thing happens. For simple projects cutting out paper or cardboard with an X-ACTO works just fine, but this can be aggravating for more complicated project.

I came across a handy little device for automatically making paper prototypes while researching the Sketch Chair post. Unlike a laser cutter, these home-grade CNC paper cutters are affordable for someone in a home workshop with prices from only $250 up to around $1200. They use digital vector files like a laser cutter, but instead of a laser they use a small blade to cut the material. While they only cut materials like paper, card stock, or vinyl, they would still vastly simplify the process of making prototypes and models.

Read an overview of different types of CNC paper cutters after the jump.


A Love Affair with Chairs

Just sit pretty. Chairs are trendy.

Chairs for sitting, setting, and wearing after the jump.