Jon Wise mailed Eben last night to tell us about a 3D printing project he’s been working on, and we thought it was so great we watched the video three times before going to bed. If you’ve ever used a 3D printer you’ll know that they need regular calibrating to make sure that the output is accurate. You have to ensure that various parts are parallel and orthogonal to each other, or your 3D object is likely to come out wonky; things are moving around on three axes, and usually you’ll be doing that calibration by hand.
Jon is sick of hand-calibrating, so he’s used a Pi to do the work for him. This video is a demonstration of how his setup works, using a pencil instead of the usual extrusion nozzle so you can better see what’s going on.
We got talking to Jon about how significant he thought the improvement in resolution you can get from automating calibration might be. He said:
I do not see it as competition to a machine tool approach, but for building products in new areas. I have a friend who would like to build edible products and this was one of the prompts to try alternative layouts – it would be easier to clean icing sugar off the flat base plate than from belts and bearings and the build platform could go into the dish-washer.
The design could be easily scaled by running on a large sheet of material as the arms are light and take no bending forces. The overall size will be big compared to the product but all designs have some down-sides. The key aspect is that anyone can make it. The rack and pinion bits are available from hobby stores and can be linked to any length. The motors come from old printers. There isn’t anything else.
We think this project is great. Using computing to automate repetitive tasks like this frees up time to use your brain to do other more interesting things, and leaves you more productive and more cheerful. It’s one of the reasons we think that giving everybody the opportunity to learn how to do this stuff is so important. What have you automated recently?
During the three-day event we organized presentations and lab sessions: Federico Vanzati gave a great talk on the Internet of Things world and the new Arduino Gsm Shield, plus a live coding session on how to use it; then Davide Gomba introduced Processing using the Arduino Esplora as a controller to code and play Pong videogame.
In this creative context the activity that left us with more intense memories has been the 3d printing workshop involving kids an parents into experimenting for the first time the excitement of transforming bits into atoms.
As you can see from the pictures below, kids (with the help of their geek parents) after understanding the basics of the cloud-based 3d app Tinkercad, started creating their virtual objects. Later on the Kentsrappers team and mister Slic3r with their own 3d printers showed them how, layer by layer, any 3d file could be materialized into an object.
It’s a pity that a couple of days ago Tinkercad announced the closure of the platform, but we hope their new project is going to be as cool as this in involving newbies into the 3dprinting revolution!
Bleuette project is hexapod robot equipped with 6 legs that can be operated without any external guidance.
The french project is fully open hardware (made entirely with an Ultimaker 3D printer) / opensource and operates on a Arduino Leonardo board with a custom shield developed for it and available on Hugo’s website, the author of the project. It is used mostly to control the 12 servos (+ 2 optional) for the legs, measure voltage and current.
Take a look at the robot’s first steps!
Hugo is also thinking about future developments for Bleuette, like equipping it with a Bluetooth connection, a magnetic sensor to keep an edge when walking and finally a mobile turret with an ultrasonic sensor to detect obstacles in front of it.
Interested in the code? you can find it on Github:
The feeling of pure joy that is felt when the first object is printed on the Prusa Mendel i3 is a priceless and a compulsary experience for any maker. The super-simple yet sturdy design of the printer is coupled with the easy to use and well maintained software crafted for the purpose of 3D printing Slic3r by Alessandro Ranellucci. The interview with them later that day was interesing too. A lot has been written about Josef Prusa he also has a TEDx talk to his name. His youtube channel has a lot of 3D printing related information. Make magazine recognizes him too! A lot can be found out about him, and google tracks his transition from the time that he was a very young enthusiastic maker to the current open source 3D printing guru. For the newbies, a single line definition of a 3D printer could be, that it is a printer which prints the uploaded 3D file, layer by layer, through an extruder, with a material mostly looking like pastic Eg ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Here is the exclusive interview with the DJ-ing, electronics hacking, Chicken Tikka masala loving Prusa Brothers :
Priya: It was lovely attending your workshop, I see that you are really passionate about 3D printing. If there was another topic that you could talk to me about apart from 3D printing, what would be that?
Michal Pruša: It would definitely be music, Techno and minimal to be preicise. I sometimes perform as DJ too.
Josef Pruša: For me, it would be tinkering in general.
P: How is it Michal, to work with your brother and what are the other interesting things that you have done with electronics?
M: Oh! we have a lot of incomplete projects. I designed an RFID access system for the fablab at home, been doing DIY PCBs for almost 5 years now. Back in high school, since I was not wanting to take exams, I requested the teacher to transfer the exam credits into a project. I successfully built a method of teaching router encoders for school students. The most memorable moment was me wanting to build my own laser cutting machine at home, and trying to import the tubes from china 3 years back, and getting it all broken through the customs. Local access to materials is important! Especially for someone who loves building things.
J: He wants to build everything from scratch, I am more of a person who spends more time in improving stuff and not reinventing the wheel. Michal, lets do one thing, lets start mining tin. (Laughs)
P: What is a regular work schedule for you people is like? All the time on 3D printers? Also what is your favourite tool around the lab?
J: I am mostly working on 3D printing, while he just assists me on workshops. As far as his individual work is concerned, there is loads of electronics, DJ-ing, organising events and of course there is college. We are fuelled by Coke and Pizza on gaming nights. We are big time into playing minecraft as it is exciting to build new stuff. We use an extension called Tekkit which is a very good modpack.
M: Favourite tool, should definitely be the glue gun and hot air solder gun.
P: Josef, what was your first project and did you publish it? Did you both start tinkering around the same time?
J: Michal has been tinkering with electronics since the time he was very young, I started only at the end of high school. But, I was into programing with php and python. My first project was using an Arduino and MaxMSP. MaxMSP talks to the arduino and an iphone. I controlled a remote RC car. (Smiles) I wrote to the local Czech magazine, nobody bothered locally, then I submitted the same to the english magazine, gizmodo and wired covered it. That was in the year 2009. The most recent coverage of that project was when Damien Stolarz of O’Reilly wanted me to write a chapeter in his book of iPhone hacks on the same hack.
M: The first time that I used a multimeter was when I was 9. I have made many projects but I am too lazy to document anything. (I catch a sneaky side glare from the older brother here.)
P: Who do you look up to in the field of technology? Which is the one city that beckons you to live in?
J: I used to look upto Bre Pettis before makerbot became closed source. Massimo Banzi, for of course Arduino and a good sense of humour. I would like to live in NewYork someday.
M: We both grew up watching Mythbusters hence Adam Savage I guess tops the list for us having this innate passion to create stuff.
P: What is the one thing that scares you?
J: Media scares me. The ability of the media to make anyone an overnight star, has lead to a bunch of people 3D printing guns. Which, as I can see, is not good for the 3D printing industry, it might bring a very bad name to all of us who are trying to do good with the same technology.
P: One last question, I saw your TEDx Talk dating 3 years back, your english then to the english now is very different, I see that now you can think in English. Whats the secret?
J: (Smiles) Good question and please do quote me on this. I learnt engish by chatting a lot on IRC channel #reprap on freenode, for the diction I watched a lot of english TV series. That TEDx talk was my first ever public speech at a large platform.
We are happy to announce the upcoming Josef Prusa’s and Alessandro Ranellucci’s workshop @ Officine Arduino / Fablab Torino, on February 16th and 17th. This two days workshop will cover the making & fine-tuning of the latest Prusa I3 with Prusa nozzle AND Ranellucci’s how-to slic3r lesson on Sunday.
If you ever want to jump on the reprap world, this may be the best opportunity. If you don’t feel like buying the printer but just want to follow the workshop taking notes & make questions, we do also offer a spectator admittance.
The workshop is part of the celebration of the first year of Officine Arduino and Fablab, soon more details about the complete program (stay tuned).
Over in Austin, Texas, Nathan Morgan has managed to stay distracted from the barbecue, waterskiing, sunshine and live music (Austin’s one of my favourite cities – I have no idea how anyone who lives there manages to focus on anything) for long enough to turn a Raspberry Pi into a natty little mobile computer, complete with screen and keyboard, 64GB SSD, bluetooth and wireless. There’s an integral touchpad, mounted with the LCD screen in a 3D printed case, in which batteries enough for ten hours of uptime, a powered hub and the Pi are hidden. In essence, what Nathan’s made here is a really, really tiny Linux laptop.
Nathan comes to this from a career repairing and refurbing Dell laptops; he’s got a lot of experience in portable computing and how things fit together cleanly. This project is a really slick, professional-looking piece of work, and we’re very grateful to him for making all the information necessary to make your own available to the community. He’s published a complete how-to guide, including a priced parts list, 3D printer SDL files so you can make a case, and a schematic diagram, so you can build your own.
Head over to Nathan’s blog for instructions and more photographs (or just click on the pictures here). Let us know if you decide to make your own Pi-to-go as a Christmas holiday project!
Apparently, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. We have been thinking about what to get for the Raspberry Pi owner in your life. Happily, MakeZine have done the hard work for us, and have come up with a terrific gift guide. Head over and check it out – once, of course, you’ve stopped by our own store and bought your Raspberry Pi fan a branded t-shirt, lovingly hand-knitted from Santa’s beard hair by elves*. All profits on the shirts go to support the charitable work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
*Details about t-shirt production may or may not be strictly speaking true.
Here’s something I’ve been hoping one of you would produce for a while now. If you’ve got kids, you’ll know that many baby monitors are disgustingly expensive bits of kit, whose price remains as high as it is in a pretty unpleasant bit of exploitation of the fear and worry that every new parent experiences. So I was really pleased to see Matt Kaar, a Pi owner from Virginia, make his own networked, high-fidelity monitor from a Pi and a USB microphone. He’s very pleased with the results: “You can hear a pin drop.” You can follow Matt’s detailed instructions on his website if you’d like to make your own. (Thanks very much for responding to my request to write about it, Matt!)
I’m sure that once the $25 camera board is released in the new year we’ll start to see some cheap camera monitors being hacked too.
We’re very pleased to see that Plan 9 has been ported to the Pi. Plan 9 is an open-source Unix-type operating system, which was originally developed at Bell Labs as a research OS. What’s particularly interesting about Plan 9 is that everything behaves like a file, whether it’s a local or a network resource. We recommend you have a play with it!
More than a year ago, people on our forums started talking about using the Raspberry Pi in a very specific piece of cosplay. If you’ve played Fallout, you’ll know that no self-respecting apocalypse survivor goes anywhere without her Pipboy. People were wondering whether a Raspberry Pi could be used to drive a working piece of costume, perhaps with a GPS, and definitely with a small screen and lots of blinkenlights.
I thought that particular thread of conversation had died quietly: I was wrong. Ryan Grieve has made a really nice example using a car reversing panel, a tub of polymer pellets, a handful of leds and an Adafruit cobbler.
His Pipboy has functionality including a world map, local map, radio and a twitter client – or at least it did before some shonky home-wiring caused the whole arrangement to burst into flames. Happily, the Pi survived, and photos were taken before the disaster. Ryan also has code so you can put your own together – just please be more careful with the wiring if you make one yourself. Electricity’s not a toy, kids.
Good luck in fixing her back together, Ryan! We congratulate you on your flameproofness.
Here’s a project with a more practical application. Gasser is a Pi-based, networked, mobile pollutant sensor for detecting nitrogen dioxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide, developed in Paris.
This self-contained unit’s BOM cost comes in at €255 (the majority of that cost is taken up by the very accurate sensor); this is cheaper and smaller than equivalent devices – and it’s still only a prototype! We wish LaboCitoyen all success with the project; it’s great to see a Pi being used to make our cities healthier places.
Like Raspberry Pi? Like 3D printing? Like biscuits? (OK, Americans: cookies.) This Thingiverse cookie cutter pattern from Tesla’s Moustache also comes with a recipe to make your own dough.
Learn about relays
Alex from RasPi.tv has some video to show you how to use relays to turn what he calls “useful, real, BIG things” like fans and lamps on and off, according to environmental conditions – too hot and the fan will turn on, too dark and the lamp will turn on. You can also hook the devices up to the network, so you can use a connected device, like your phone, to turn them on and off; and just because he can, Alex has also added some sound effects. This is a great tutorial. If you’re interested in learning about physical computing, it’s well worth watching this video and reading Alex’s blog post. RasPi.tv has plenty of other fun tutorials – I recommend you spend a few minutes browsing through the collection!
RC LEGO car
Finally, here’s a project to use up some of the LEGO you’ve been asking for for Christmas. Tom Rees has instructions on building a remote-controlled LEGO car, steered with an Xbox controller.
Hamburg Maker Meeting 2012, which took place last week and involved about 200 visitors and more than 20 exhibitors, has been a fantastic opportunity to meet and share experience regarding several topics, such as 3D printing, hacking, retro gaming and so on. At the Attraktor Makerspace, several projects have been presented and demonstrated by their inventors, among which we highlight a very nice Arduino-based floppy drive organ that has been employed to play the Tetris game theme.
Moreover, among the others events planned for the meeting, a special sneak-preview session allowed all the interested people to get some insights on the new Arduino Due board, released a couple of days ago.
More information can be found on the homepage of the meeting.