Adafruit’s 3D Thursday series is getting us terribly excited every time they roll out a new project with a Pi in it. Yesterday’s was a doozy: so much so that the engineering team stood around my desk and made puppy-dog eyes and sighing sounds at me until I agreed to email LadyAda and beg a demo sample of the project from them. (She says she’s sending the pink one, Gordon, just to punish you for being so demanding.)
Meet the extraordinary PiGrrl, a home-baked Raspberry Pi clone of the Game Boy.
If you don’t think that’s the best thing ever, you’re dead inside.
As always with Adafruit projects, the PiGrrl is documented minutely; you can find a complete tutorial on their website, along with files for the 3d printer at Thingiverse. This is one of the more complicated builds we’ve featured, but we think the results speak for themselves
LadyAda says: “Woohoo!” After careful consideration, so do we.
The State University of New York at New Paltz is home to the world’s first MakerBot Innovation Center: a ground-floor room with 30 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers. “3D printing is training students to think in a different way,” says Dan Freedman, dean of science and engineering at New Paltz. “If students come out of here knowing about 3D printing and different applications of it, it will give them a better chance of starting a career.”
It’s not only college students at the center. Faculty from many disciplines and other New Paltz staff have attended sessions with MakerBot trainers. Local artists and manufacturers, as well as others who want to learn about 3D printing without pursuing a degree, can enroll in a two-semester program in digital design and fabrication. And New Paltz has plans to bring in students from local public schools. For bringing the community together, says Freedman, “the only thing similar is the gym.”
Interested in a MakerBot Innovation Center? Let us know.
The MakerBot Innovation Center at New Paltz is part of The Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center, a $1.5 million initiative to spur regional economic development. The advanced manufacturing center received $250,000 donations from a local venture-capital fund and a matching grant from the regional utility company. “It was the easiest donation this college has ever gotten,” says Freedman, “We were in the right place at the right time.”
“This is a technology that is just starting, and it’s going to become increasingly important,” says Freedman, who thinks that the university’s investment in 3D printing will make New Paltz the right place for budding artists and the engineers of tomorrow.
Katherine Wilson, a student in New Paltz’s renowned Metal program, says, “When I was looking for graduate schools, I was interested in what kind of technology was available.” Before opening the Innovation Center, New Paltz had a few MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, and she was careful not to monopolize them. Access to an array of 30 3D printers has freed up Wilson to follow her imagination wherever it takes her.
Freedman adds, “I think we can attract some really outstanding students who are undecided between science-engineering and art and say to them, ‘You can pursue your interests in both areas, and we’re going to make it easier for you to do that.’”
MakerBot Academy is linking physical fitness with creativity and design. Teachers, parents, and kids will love 3D printing and using the MakerBot Academy Jump Rope. Ready to download from Thingiverse, this useful design can be printed in your favorite colors and scaled to fit most sizes.
Let There Be Light!
Introducing light-responsive MakerBot Photochromatic PLA Filament, which changes color when exposed to ultraviolet rays. Just bring your 3D prints into the sunlight, and watch your natural white prints bloom into subtle shades of magenta or blue.
Quick Tip to Brighten Your Print
Don’t let a cloudy or rainy day keep you from activating MakerBot Photochromatic PLA Filament’s chameleon-like properties. Shine a UV flashlight on your prints to activate the color change whenever you want.
Share Your Shine on Thingiverse
Be sure to upload and share pictures of your 3D prints in and out of the sunlight on Thingiverse. We can’t wait to see the transformative designs you’ll create.
There’s more to MakerBot than our 3D printers. A Primer on 3D Printing With MakerBotis an interactive exploration that gives you the ins and outs of the extensive MakerBot 3D Ecosystem. The informative full day course, taught by experts in 3D printing, covers 3D design, MakerBot apps, hardware, the growing 3D printing community, and more. The MakerBot Learning course is held near MakerBot headquarters in Brooklyn, NY.
What Will Be Covered?
Through a series of immersive sessions and brief lectures, you’ll gain essential knowledge of a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer, as well as an in-depth exploration of all the resources the MakerBot 3D printing community has to offer. You’ll actually design your own object for 3D printing and have time to discuss with MakerBot experts your goals for integrating 3D printing into your workflow.
When you leave, you will be able to:
–Setup and use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer
–Gain insight into creative applications for 3D printing
–Use MakerBot apps to their fullest extent
–Understand the “Three Ways to Make” and options available for 3D design
–Apply the basics of 3D design to create your own object
–Successfully prepare and print a 3D model
–Properly maintain your MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer
Sign up today and start on your path to becoming a 3D printing explorer.
Remember the cassette tape? Back in the day, countless romantics created the first mixtapes with nothing but a tape player and good taste. Then CD’s came along and ruined the fun. Now, just like the cassette, the MakerBot Mixtape is making a comeback.
Don’t Let the Retro Look Deceive You
After a two-year hiatus, your favorite 3D printed MP3 player has returned with four gigs of memory, improved user experience, and eye-catching new color schemes. Upload your favorite songs to your MakerBot Mixtape and use it as an MP3 player, or use it as a storage drive for storing your favorite 3D model files.
3D Printing Meets Hardware
Our customers have been clamoring for designs that incorporate electronics into 3D printed objects. We expect they’ll be the first in line to get their MakerBot Mixtapes. We’re excited to see how our users incorporate electronics into their 3D printed projects in the future.
We are extremely proud to announce that the first MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printers are beginning to ship. If you ordered your MakerBot Replicator Mini early, we’ll ship it out over the next few weeks, and email you as soon as we do.
Update Your Firmware First
When your MakerBot Replicator Mini arrives, be sure to update its firmware to keep it running in tip-top shape, and to unlock all the latest features. MakerBot Desktop will detect which version of firmware your MakerBot Replicator Mini is running, and guide you through the process of updating it.
It’s Mr. Snuffleupagus in the MakerBot Digital Store! We couldn’t be more excited to announce the childhood classic, Sesame Street, as our first global licensed brand. To celebrate, we’ve added Snuffy to the original, fun, and paintable digital 3D models available on the MakerBot Digital Store. Explore the delightful Sesame Street fun here.
Connecting to Memories
We all remember growing and learning with Sesame Street, but who would have thought you could create one of your favorite characters right at home? Well, today’s the day!
Collect Them All
Mr. Snufflepagus is just the beginning of our Sesame Street offerings. Wait and see who’s next. For now, you can get a jumpstart on this brand-new way of adding to your Sesame Street character collection. You might search high and low for collectibles, but your friends won’t believe where you got this one.
A Timeless Keepsake
Remind Mom how much you love her, every day, with a lasting bouquet of 3D printed flowers. These beautiful tulips and roses don’t need any water or care! What more could a busy mother want?
Made for Mom
Effortlessly lasting flowers might be a dream come true, but, for Mom, there’s nothing more special than a gift made by you. Your finger painting masterpieces always put a smile on her face, so with Spring Blossoms’ easy-to-follow assembly instructions and high-quality 3D prints, this DIY bouquet will be sure to make both you and Mom happy.
Complete the Arrangement
Roses and tulips are beautiful all on their own, but to add a little something extra, 3D print a vase from the bouquet of designs on MakerBot Thingiverse , the 3D design community for discovering, printing, and sharing 3D models.
The good people at Adafruit have a new tutorial up on making a wearable display, powered by a Pi, that clips on to your regular glasses or (if you’re a Terminator with perfect vision) sunglasses.
The composite display from a pair of “Private Display Glasses” – glasses which are meant to allow you to watch immersive video from the comfort of your own sofa/bed/deckchair - is hacked into a new, 3D-printed shell (the files for the shell are available on Thingiverse), and attached to a Pi along with a mini-keyboard, which lives in your pocket.
(On watching that video, Gordon said “That looks silly.” I replied: “SO DOES YOUR FACE.” There is a hostile working environment at Pi Towers.)
We love it as a proof of concept, and it’s not too much of a leap to get voice recognition (which the Pi handles admirably – you’ll find a mountain of pointers in this forum thread) working on a piece of kit like this; mounting a Raspberry Pi camera board on there shouldn’t be too much of a stretch either. If you have a go yourselves, get in touch: we’d love to see where this goes next!
Five years ago, Ian Bernstein was working at a robotics company and dreaming of controlling robots with his smartphone. “Back in 2009, nobody was doing it,” says Bernstein, a cofounder and CTO of Orbotix, a Boulder, CO, company that makes connected toys. The Sphero is a versatile robotic ball that can be used as anything from a tool to teach children programming to a ball in a game of miniature golf.
“When we started Orbotix, I was building all the Sphero prototypes with paper clips and brass and stuff like that, and you can only go so far,” Bernstein said. “Having the MakerBot and being able to make more advanced parts, we’re doing bigger and better things now.”
The next big thing from Orbotix is a cylinder with wheels that’s a Sphero crossbred with a remote control car. Originally known as the Sphero 2B, it’s now called Ollie.
Bernstein made the breakthrough prototype of an Ollie on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer. He printed the wheels in green PLA and other parts in purple, so he dubbed his prototype The Joker. Late one night at the Orbotix office, The Joker hit a jump and flew through the air, clearing four stacked Sphero boxes. The moment was captured on video, and that’s when everyone knew that they had something special in Ollie, Bernstein says.
Hacking is essential to Orbotix’s company culture, and having 3D printers (back to a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic) allows employees to play around with hardware too. “Hack Fridays” are reserved for experimenting with new ideas. Also, Bernstein says, “Meetings have gone from a lot of arguing to, ‘OK, cool idea. Make it!’” Orbotix now has two MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printers in Boulder and another at their outpost in China.
If you can’t wait for Ollie to launch this fall, watch the video for a preview. And Orbotix offers a free ramp for your Sphero on Thingiverse.
Meet the Designer
Come by the MakerBot Retail Store in Greenwich, CT this Tuesday, April 15thth from 6:30-8:30pm to meet acclaimed designer, Francis Bitonti. He will be speaking about his studio’s new 3D printed Bristle Dress, and discuss their expansion into cloud manufacturing with the Cloud Collection. The Bristle Dress will be on display along with 3D printed pieces from the Cloud Collection.
Bill Phelps has a home office in Tarrytown, NY, a 35-minute train ride from midtown Manhattan. It occupies 100 square feet between the ground floor pantry and a playroom. There are bookshelves, a swivel chair, and a desk with a computer and a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.
“What you’re looking at here — this tiny space — is a product innovation hub,” says Phelps. And from this space, Phelps brought more than a dozen products to market in a year for an $80 million consumer-product-goods company. When the MakerBot Replicator 2 launched, “one of the best things was it was completely affordable, so I went and purchased one on my credit card, and I later asked to expense it,” says Phelps. In two weeks, he printed 50 to 100 parts for prototypes — “and that alone paid for the printer.”
Before MakerBot, Phelps says, one of his new products would have a prototype budget of $10,000 to $20,000, which was enough to pay for two or three mockups. Rapid prototyping allowed him to be more nimble while spending less. Moreover, he said, “it took away a lot of the arguments.” If a designer makes something one way and the boss thinks it should look different, they can print both options and compare.
A few months ago, Phelps co-founded Ringblingz, a startup that makes rings that allow teenagers to put their phones away yet know when they have an important message: a text from mom, a Snapchat from their best friend. During a three-month residency at the R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator, Phelps and Ringblingz had access to an array of six MakerBot Replicator 2s and a MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, and Phelps was able to try hundreds of ideas on his way to launching Ringblingz. Phelps and his team launched Ringblingz at SXSW last month, and Wearables Week named them Best Newcomer.
Phelps says there’s no difference between the difference between the set of Ringblingz prototypes made on a MakerBot and “what I used to spend thousands of dollars on” for each prototype. For a product designer today, he says, “you literally don’t need more than a MakerBot and a computer.”
When you go to the hospital, your vital signs are monitored through three separate cables. The ER gets hectic (holiday weekend, traffic pileup, full moon), and sometimes those cables go missing. They can follow an admitted patient from the emergency room up to his floor, or a resident puts them in her pocket at the end of a long shift.
Those cables are essential, since they set off an alarm when your heart races or your blood pressure plummets. They are also expensive: $294.85 for a set of three, which adds up. If you had to replace cables once a year for each of the 315 beds at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in Patchogue, NY, it would cost $92,877.75. So Brookhaven has a Cable Guy.
Steven Jaworski is a biomedical technician who does everything from outfit Brookhaven’s new cardiac health lab to replacing these cables. He had to replace so many cables that he ordered cable tethers from a medical supplier for $24.50 per cable, or $73.50 for a set of three. But surgical scissors cut through these tethers easily.
Then Jaworski asked for a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer to solve his cable problem. He designed a tamperproof cable tether. Between the dense black PLA and thick wire, it costs $7.94. It holds all three cables, and surgical scissors can’t cut through it.
Jaworski’s cable tethers saved Brookhaven Hospital $60,000 in three months. But Jaworski says the best thing about having a MakerBot Replicator 2 is its versatility. “It’s not a Phillips-head screwdriver when you need a flathead. It’s basically a solution that has paid for itself many times over.”
For example, Brookhaven has a Jackson table, which is used for spinal surgeries, where the patient lies on his belly. The Jackson table has a mirror so the doctors can see a patient’s face in the reflection. To adjust the mirror, there are two knobs. One of the knobs broke. It can take weeks to get a part like this from the manufacturer, if they’d sell it to you, and in the meantime the Jackson table was out of commission. Jaworski printed a knob from Thingiverse in three hours and the Jackson table was ready again that afternoon. He also made a spare knob for the operating room, in case it broke again.
Brookhaven does four surgeries a week on that Jackson table. So a missing knob means four patients whose suffering is prolonged, whose healing is delayed.
Then Jaworski made a bumper for the blanket-warming cabinets in the emergency room, protecting the doors from collisions with stretchers. Warm blankets mean comfortable, happy patients.
He will keep finding ways to improve care at Brookhaven with the 3D printer: “You don’t know when you’re going use it, you don’t know what you’re going to use it for, but you’re always going to need it.”
Ica Paru, an accessories designer and model, is the first person to wear the Bristle Dress from Francis Bitonti Studio. Paru put it on a couple of weeks ago, at a photo shoot in Brooklyn. The dress is cloudlike, in two pieces, and as much an armature that poses the body as a garment to pose in.
The Friday evening photo session, which yielded the striking images below, was the first time designer Francis Bitonti saw anyone wearing the dress. “The computer is able to visualize everything accurately, I don’t really feel the need to do fittings.” he says. “I wasn’t surprised about how it fit, I wasn’t really surprised about anything.”
With the translucent top of the dress, Bitonti “wanted to bleed the body into the atmosphere.” Its austere, wintry spirit also brought out the iciness in Paru, who’d been warm and chatty while she waited for Bitonti and the Bristle Dress to arrive.
Bitonti is not strictly a fashion designer; he’s also working on his Cloud Collection of 3D printed housewares. He trained as an architect, and he sounds like one when he talks about his designs: “You’re setting up a structure, and then people bring it to life.”