Monthly Archives: April 2018

DIY 3D-Printed Ink Stamps

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

My adventures in 3D printing have taken me from DIY cookie cutters to the next logical place: DIY 3D-Printed Stamps. As an avid crafter, I am beyond excited about my newfound ability to make customized crafting tools using the 3D printer.

Making 3D-printed stamps is not as simple as designing a model and hitting “print.” In order to imitate the rubbery material of a stamp itself, as well as the wooden handle, I needed to use two kinds of filament. For the handle, I used regular ABS, which is a hard plastic and common 3D-printing material. For the stamp, I used a special flexible filament called NinjaFlex. This rubbery material is perfect for printing flexible or softer objects. Given the inherent qualities of the material, it requires a specific extruder for your printer. Here at SparkFun we use LulzBot 3D printers, so I picked up their special FlexyStruder Tool Head. If you are thinking about buying a new tool head for your LulzBot printer to interface with flexible materials, I would actually recommend the Aerostruder Tool Head as it can print both felxible materials, like NinjaFlex, and normal hard plastics like ABS/PLA.

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I had to work through a few small challenges in this project. The first issue I encountered was the natural texture of the 3D print on the stamp face. The grooves between the fine lines held on to the ink, and when I would press the stamp to paper, the texture came through clear as day. In order to combat this, I came up with a surface melting technique. I put my clothing iron on high, covered it with a piece of parchment paper, and pressed the face of my stamp against the iron face through the parchment paper. This effectively removed the linear texture from the stamp and offered a smooth surface. I lightly sanded the surface to give it a bit of tooth to hold onto the ink.

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I also found that using a 100 percent infill for the rubbery part of the stamp gave it a stronger structure that was easier to work with when using it in practice. With a 20 - 50 percent infill, the stamp was kind of wobbly when I pressed it against paper, and I was getting results that were not as sharp as I hoped. With the higher infill, the stamp was more rigid and stable against the paper and the results were crisp.

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I have so many ideas for different stamps I can barely pick which one to make next. Let us know what you think about this project in the comments below!

Interested in learning more about at-home 3D printing? Check out SparkFun’s 3D printers and supplies.

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The K7TMG HF Morse code temperature beacon

via Dangerous Prototypes


AA7EE published a new build, a little temperature beacon:

This was a fun little project – and it gave me an idea for a future one. Sometimes, I find that the more complex undertakings, which require more planning, can get to the point that they “take me over” somewhat. At that point, for me, some of the fun starts getting squeezed out and that, of course, absolutely cannot be allowed to happen. This is the time when simple and fun projects save the day.

Check out the video after the break.

See the full post at Dave Richards AA7EE blog.

NickelBot – Laser controller

via Dangerous Prototypes


bdring made this laser controller for his wooden nickel engraver project and wrote a post on his blog detailing its assembly:

Here are some details on the custom laser controller I made for the NickelBot, wooden nickel engraving machine.
I want to use Grbl to control the machine. Grbl has support for lasers that allows better power control during the engrave. It also has the Core XY support I need for the H-bot mechanism it uses. The only feature I needed that it did not have is a hobby servo output.

More details at Buildlog.Net blog.

YouTuber makes his own Overwatch laser turrets

via Arduino Blog

If you ever wanted to to see what Symmetra’s sentry turrets from Overwatch would look like in real life, now you can thanks to Mr. Volt. The YouTuber has produced a pair of them powered by a LiPo battery and controlled with an Arduino Mega, utilizing a relay shield to provide enough power to each laser.

In theory, the turrets can each be aimed with a servo motor and sense objects with an infrared range finder. The main control feature, however, is an arcade button that controls firing, along with a big red e-stop switch to cut things off as needed. 

After a couple weeks of tinkering, my first iteration of Symmetra’s turrets are alive! They may be 3D-printed instead of hard light constructs, but I still think they’re pretty cool. Each turret holds a 2W 445nm laser and RGB (Dotstar) LEDs. They’re controlled by an Arduino Mega and some relays.

You can see it demonstrated popping balloons at just after the 8:30 mark in the video below. Also, please be sure to use the necessary precautions when working with lasers. For his part, Mr. Volt decided to build his own FPV rig out of a welding helmet!

Setting up a Headless Raspberry Pi and Using It as an Access Point

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

The Raspberry Pi is a wonderful, inexpensive computer useful for hobbyists, classrooms and professionals.

Raspberry Pi 3 B+


Unfortunately, if you follow most “getting started” guides, the first thing they tell you to do is connect a keyboard, mouse and monitor, which can easily double the cost of your Pi setup.

I remember being at a hackathon where attendees were given Raspberry Pis to hack on. With only their laptops, there was no easy way for them to interact with the little computers. Luckily, Kassandra and I were able to pull together a monitor, keyboard and mouse to help configure each Pi so that users could log into them remotely. That took a while.

I’m sure there were other ways to go about configuring the Pi, but under the time constraints, that’s all we knew. In the hopes of preventing a similar situation, I’ve put together a couple tutorials that talk about how to configure your Pi as a headless computer (“headless” meaning without a keyboard, mouse or keyboard). I hope they save some fellow hackers some frustration in the future.

There are a number of ways to configure a Raspberry Pi without needing to connect a monitor, keyboard or mouse. They all have their pros and cons. Most of the time, you need some additional hardware, such as a USB-to-serial converter or an Ethernet cable. In this tutorial, we look at three different ways to create a headless Pi installation:

For me, I usually opt for the serial terminal option, since that seems to always work. I guess the moral of the story is that I should never leave home without a USB-to-serial adapter.

Once you have the Raspberry Pi set up (headless or not), you can configure it to act as a WiFi access point. This will allow you to connect other devices to your Pi, should you want to host a local web site or share drive space. You can even connect the Pi to another network over Ethernet. This will allow you to share internet with the wireless devices and, in effect, have it act as a router.

Do you have any other tips for setting up your Raspberry Pi as a headless device, or fun projects you’ve created using it that did not require a monitor?

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Arduino and Distrelec launch a new automation & robotics contest!

via Arduino Blog

How can you help advance Industry 4.0 using the Arduino ecosystem? From robots and predictive maintenance to remote control and data acquisition, we’ve teamed up Distrelec to launch a new Automation & Robotics Contest challenging our community to create innovative solutions that can make the industry faster, cheaper, more flexible, and efficient.

Participants are required to tap into our extensive range of IoT boards like the MKR1000 WiFi and MKR GSM 1400, libraries, and online platform to bring their ideas to life. Industrial automation projects could target energy management, remote monitoring, machine safety, or predictive maintenance, for example, using Arduino Create to set up, control, and connect your Arduino, Intel, and Arm-based devices. Robotics projects could include designs for surveillance drones, robotic arms, rovers, or autonomous transportation, leveraging feature-rich boards like the Mega and Due to prototype advanced systems. 

How to Enter

  • Create a free account on (or log in if already a member).
  • Register for the contest by clicking “Register as a participant.”
  • Send your concept to the Arduino/Distrelec: Automation & Robotics Contest by June 29, 2018. The top 150 makers will receive a coupon for Distrelec online store. Moreover, there will be a series of micro contests, with weekly prizes handed out from Distrelec.
  • Design, build, and submit your project by September 16, 2018. Winning projects will be selected based on their originality, quality, creativity, and social impact. 


Ready to get started? You can find more information on the contest here and browse Distrelec’s entire Arduino lineup on their website. To submit your ideas, please visit the Arduino Project Hub. And remember, projects must use an Arduino board in order to be eligible to win!