Glowy Crystal Ring

Do you like 3D printing, mold making, industrial design, jewelry, and RGB LED’s? You’re in luck, then. I just finished this tutorial for Adafruit and think it’s well worth a look.

In this project, I attempted to make an Arduino powered device that was easy to use, easy to make, and self contained. Every 3d printed component can be done in a single build without support material. The ring has a battery, switch, and USB port. Once it’s together, all you need to charge or reprogram it is a USB Micro cable.

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Print Your Own Robot: Part 10

Long time no see, folks. I’ve got some great news for you. I’ve finally found a method for getting super complicated geometry locked inside of a seamless skin. It’s taken a lot of prototypes to get here, but I think the results are more than worth the effort. There are some wrinkles to iron out (which I’ll get to below) but all in all I think I’m incredibly close to rapid-fire casting working quadrupeds, ready to go in just a few short steps after popping the mold. In other good news, I’ll be dropping some files very soon which should get you your very own working quadruped using any FDM printer. All you need is a Makerbot or similar, a few hours, and some casting materials to have an exact duplicate of my most sophisticated robot to date.

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Print Your Own Robot: Part 9

My latest quadruped design

This will be an update on the things I’ve learned molding quadrupeds over the last couple of months and some previews of the new robots I’ll be experimenting with in the next few weeks. To start, I’ve had the chance to run a gaggle of design experiments ranging from small changes to the particular silicone I’ve been casting, to more radical changes to how the whole plionics manufacturing process comes together.

I’ve discovered that molding complex channels of tubing can be extremely difficult, and the CAD equally infuriating. I’m discovering some automatic routing tools in SolidWorks that could streamline the process, but there might be another solution that sidesteps that whole mess entirely. It’s possible to cast around silicone tubing that’s already connecting up all the interior geometry. So, what I’d have to do to get the design working is build the cores with little fastenings for plugging in tubing and make sure all the tubes have enough clearance to get past one another. I’m anticipating the world of reality doesn’t let me off the hook that easily, but it’s a start. Continue reading

First to Blog

This is a response, more of a high five, to Zach Hoeken’s post up on MAKE: “First to File? Nah, First to Blog!” Basically his post was a series of ideas that have been hanging around in his notebooks, possibly eligible for patents, that he would rather see out there and made in the world than locked away between the pages of a personal sketchpad forever or exploited to the chagrin of mankind by some unruly technological entity, wrapped up in complex patent labyrinths, and never put to a more just use than in sole product from a sole company (see 3d Systems vs the Form 1, Patent Busting3d printing patent challenges, etc). Even worse is the possibility of an idea getting patented and never implemented, only used as a club to hit innovators over the wallet (see Intellectual Ventures). I’m in favor of this. Truth be told I’m pretty aggressively anti patent, which is why all of my recent robotics projects have been released into the open source. Although I realize there’s a difficult road ahead, finding ways to keep funding innovation and novel IP in the world patent abolitionists have been gunning for, I believe open access to information and the network effects it generates far far and away outweigh the small innovation boost you get from researchers confident they’ll be the only people able to profit from the particular idea they’re developing. Continue reading

Print Your Own Robot: Part 8

Visit my soft robot Flickr collection for some detailed documentation and more info on the methods behind this latest robot.

Quadrupeds. I’ve been dreaming about quadrupeds. I’ve been hunting for challenges to test my methods and improve the engineering on the whole “print and cast a soft robot” thing (I really need to come up with a name for this… “Borgatronics?”). I started with tentacles because they were easy to design, easy to test, and symmetrical.

Waxes suspended in the silicone.

They’ve made a lot of progress, but it’s time to turn to other designs. I’ve produced a few prototypes along one main design, and have discovered many things. I’m going to try and explain my logic behind the design and some of the major changes I intend to make in the next version. I’m also going to tell you all the myriad ways I went wrong in this design and the things I’ve done to try and make it right.

This is going to be a pretty dry technical post on the industrial design aspects of the robots I’ve been developing. I promise you entertainment and levity aplenty in the future. For now, we grump about casting flaws, mold design, and process control. Continue reading

3d Print-able Sleep No More Mask

Stitching up the scans into a single surface.

Sleep No More is an incredible production: an immersive live performance staged on an expansive five story set inhabiting New York’s abandoned McKittrick Hotel [I have been informed that the bit about the set being built out of an abandoned hotel is just PR fluff… SNM actually takes place in a warehouse scratch built to look like an old hotel. The more you know]. I don’t need to sing its praises. Other folks have done so amply, effusively, and more successfully in other formats. Just Google it.

I saw it live a few months ago, and it’s stuck with me. I especially liked that I got to keep the mask I viewed the entire performance through. Being a rebel, I brought along a sharpie so I could give it incredulous eyebrows. Fuck the police.

The finished, watertight model, ready for printing.

I thought it would be fun to get more folks in on the action and share my favorite part of the experience, so I teamed up with the impossibly amazing Numidas Prasarn to scan, assemble, and release a life size 3d print ready version of the Sleep No More mask. So, here it is, on Thingiverse and ready to be played with. I intend to shrink it down into little Lego man helmets when I get the chance.

 

Make Your Own Mechanicat

 

The final finished kitty

I just uploaded this little mechanical kitty to Thingiverse, and I think you should make a version for yourself. After a few trials with some cheap 1/4″ plywood, I ended up splurging on pressboard made specifically for laser cutting. The first cat I cut from the cheap ply ended up burning so much it was hard to get something functional out at the end. I blame the adhesive used to laminate the sheets. I think I might try and source some thin ply made with a natural wood glue. In the meantime, Laserbits makes some excellent laser specific stuff.

I’d like to thank Jordan Bunker for offering excellent advice on laser calibration and power. He’s quite a mighty fabricator.

DIY Guy Fawkes Bandana Remix Fun Pack!

Photo by, of, and starring Numidas Prasarn

The good folks at Coilhouse were kind enough to release something I’ve been working on for a bit: The DIY Guy Fawkes Bandana Remix Fun Pack Genuine Revolutionary Occupy Experience Machine!

The general idea is that I’d like people to be anonymous, wearing protection, projecting a captivating image, employing creative disruption, and in possession of crucial data whether protesting or no. I also believe in opening up the source as much as humanly possible/ethical/feasible on all of my projects.

However, I was worried that releasing a full source would diminish the value of the initial product to the people who have been buying them to support both protesters in the street and myself as a business. I’ve also been afraid (based on some laughably earnest emails) of people looking to copy my design for profit.

I felt like giving people a Creative Commons pack full of resources, info, and stencils might be the right tack to getting anyone an OWS bandana regardless of finances without pissing off the folks who have so graciously bought bandanas and haven’t yet come to burn my house due to late shipments.

Hopefully I’ll have a chance sometime soon to cut out some stencils and provide a tutorial on how to make your very own bleach printed OWS bandana. I designed the stencil to minimize the cutting without sacrificing the design or readability. Since there’s a PDF version, converting things for laser cutting is a snap, and I’m fairly convinced this wouldn’t do poorly as a spray painted symbol as well.

Block Printing Pattern – Download and Remix

A few months back I got an incredible set of printing blocks from my friend Liz. She’d taken a trip to India, bargained hard, and snagged these incredibly lovely ornate printing blocks for just a few dollars.

I have a huge collection of patterns. I visit Lost and Taken and Repper fairly often and have built up quite a store of resources over the years. I feel like I should give something back. Continue reading