Tag Archives: 3d printing

Astro Pi: 3D-Print Your Own Flight Case

via Raspberry Pi

Astro_Pi_Logo_WEB-300px

Background

Back in December, British ESA astronaut Tim Peake took two specially augmented Raspberry Pis, called Astro Pis, to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of his six-month mission. These Astro Pis are running experimental Python programs written by school-age students; the results will be downloaded back to Earth and made available online for all to see.

To satisfy the safety requirements that ESA and NASA have for small payloads aboard the ISS, we had to build the Astro Pi flight unit and put it through a rigorous qualification process.

Laser-etched Astro Pi

One of the two Astro Pi flight units

Ever since this case was announced back in May 2015, people have been asking, “Where can I get that case?”

At £3000 each, you can see why we only ever made eight of them. Why do they cost so much? Each half of the case is milled out of a solid block of aerospace-grade aluminium using a five-axis CNC mill. The two halves are then bead-blasted to give them a matt surface, then they’re anodised with a special coating to aid thermal radiation. After that, there’s some manual touch-up work, followed by installing the Raspberry Pi hardware and, finally, laser-etching the markings and logos.

That all adds up!

However, to quote from the original blog post where we announced it:

This will not be available to the public to buy because we’re only making a small number of them. We may however, in due course, release an object file so schools with a 3D printer can print one themselves.

With today’s blog post we’re making good on this promise!

The first attempt

Initially we just tried to 3D-print the original CAD files to see how hard it would be. The trouble with 3D printers is that they use hot thermoplastics, which can bend and sag under their own weight.

To avoid this, the printer creates what’s known as scaffolding and rafting to ensure the structural integrity of the object during the printing process. The user has to peel off this support material to get the original object they were trying to print. Any part of the object that overhangs will cause support structure to be built below it to prevent sagging. So the lower part of the flight case, with the grid of pins, came out chock full of the stuff:

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Scaffolding and rafting that must be manually removed

After about 20 minutes with a pair of pliers, and accidentally snapping one of the corner pins, we decided this would be too frustrating for most users.

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The base with scaffolding and rafting still remaining

The lid was slightly better. It was printed with the outer surface of the case facing downwards, to avoid support structure filling the internal cavity. But this meant that the outer surface came out with rafting all over it, and removing this resulted in a characteristic stringy finish that doesn’t look great.

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The lid, printed with outer surface facing down

So we set about modifying the design so that even users with low-end 3D printers would be able to successfully print it, with minimal scaffolding and rafting.

Several attempts later

Many thanks to Ben Martin from Solid Models in Cambridge for running off so many test prints for us, and to Jonathan Wells (who did the original CAD work) for the many tweaks and changes. Our own Creative Producer, Rachel Rayns, contributed lots of 3D printing experience which led to these decisions. It was most definitely an iterative process!

The first change we agreed on was to slice off the heat sink on the base, so that it could be printed in the opposite orientation. That way it would have nothing overhanging to cause support structure to be built between the pins.

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The heat sink as a discrete part (click for 3D STL view)

We then sliced off the top of the lid so that it could be printed with the clean side facing upwards, meaning the stringy side would face down.

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The lid as a discrete part (click for 3D STL view)

That was a lot nicer looking. So with the lid and heat sink sliced off, it meant the two original middle bits were left as discrete parts.

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The middle as a discrete part (click for 3D STL view)

We also removed the pillars between the USB and Ethernet ports because these snapped off easily. Finally, for convenience, we changed the corner bolt enclosures from a sunken captive screw to a straight-through M4 nut-and-bolt design.

astropi3d_attempt2d

The base as a discrete part (click for 3D STL view)

You can use epoxy adhesive (or similar) to join the heat sink to the base and the lid to the middle. When the Raspberry Pi and Sense HAT are installed it’ll end up looking something like this:

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The assembled flight unit, still missing a few buttons

New resource

To guide you through the assembly process we’ve created a brand new educational resource that covers everything from downloading the STL files and getting the fixtures and fittings you need right through to testing that you’ve wired up the push buttons correctly. Click through and take a look:

3D Printed Astro Pi Flight Case | Raspberry Pi Learning Resources

The Astro Pi flight case is one of the most desirable cases in the history of the Raspberry Pi. With this resource you will learn how to 3D print your own case and install the Astro Pi hardware inside it.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the cases you make – please show us by tweeting pictures to @Astro_Pi and @Raspberry_Pi.

By far the most exciting benefit of owning an Astro Pi flight unit is the ability to prototype and test code that could be run on the International Space Station. Head over to the Astro Pi website now to get involved in the new coding challenges!

FAQ

Where are the STL files?

On GitHub.

Why are there four files, not two?

We sliced the case into four layers to minimise the amount of scaffolding and rafting that needs to be printed; it also keeps printing time down. The text of the blog post above explains this in more detail.

Can we modify the STL files?

Yes. They are released under the Creative Commons attribution license so you are welcome to modify them. Please note that GitHub has a great STL viewer and also has a 3D file diff, which could be useful for tracking changes.

Can we have the original CAD?

Currently, no. Raspberry Pi needs to retain the ability to be the sole manufacturer of the space-qualified Astro Pi flight unit. You are welcome to reverse-engineer the STL files we’ve released today, though.

How do you fit the hardware inside it?

The educational resource we’ve written covers this in great detail: check it out here.

I don’t have access to a 3D printer, but I really want this case. What can I do?

You may be able to find one at your local hackspace. You can also find local 3D-printing services through the 3D Hubs website.

The post Astro Pi: 3D-Print Your Own Flight Case appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Automating a bubble blaster with Arduino Micro

via Arduino Blog

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Thomas Renck is a coder and a maker. He went to Disneyland, saw a bunch of little kids having fun with bubble guns and realized that a bubble blaster is a sure way to measurably improve joy and happiness in life.

Back home, it took only two hours to create and add-on to automate the bubble blaster using a 3d printer, Arduino Micro and a servo:

On his blog you can find the tutorial, the sketch and the 3d files to make one yourself and bring more happiness in your life too!

A spider quadrobot built with Prusa and Arduino Pro Mini

via Arduino Blog

spiderrobot

It takes 14 steps, a Prusa i3 3D printer and a lot of soldering to build Spider Robot v3.0, a quad robot running on Arduino Pro Mini.  That’s what told us  RegisHsu, a maker who shared his project’s tutorial on Instructables and the 3d printable files on Thingiverse.

It took 12 months of work to build the robot and it reached the fourth generation of  design, that you can explore on his blog  if you are interested in its history:

This is my first project for the 4 legs robot and it took me about 1 year development.
It is a robot that relies on calculations to position servos and pre-programmed sequences of legs. I’m doing this is because of it could be fun and educational for 3D design/printing and robot control.

The robot allows cool customizations like adding IR detection:

A DIY smartwatch designed by a kid for kids

via Arduino Blog

owatch

Omkar is a special 8 years old who created a wearable device called O Watch: an Arduino Zero-based smartwatch kit for kids. The project, recently kickstarted, allows young people to learn programming, 3D printing and a bit of craft while making their own smartwatch and customizing it. The kit will be released with a series of learning tools including a kid-friendly website with easy tutorials, examples and a community to share creations.

He’s not new to DIY tech and learning as he’s been doing a few workshops to teach Arduino to other kids and likes it when they get excited about making Arduino projects. Omkar told us:

I was first interested in robots. But my dad got me started with projects that light up LEDs that were easier to learn and code myself. (ps: my dad did not let me get a robot kit at first :).

I decided to do a wearable project because there were many of them I saw in the news and I thought they were cool. I wanted to make a smartwatch so that I could wear it myself and share my project with my friends in school.

If you are a kid and are new to making, O Watch could be a great starting point as you’ll learn about coding, 3d printing, craft and also sharing. The Arduino IDE will be your  primary programming tool for the watch, the case can be 3D printed in a color of your choice and you’ll experiment on how to knot yourself a cool band to wear it.

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What are you waiting for? You have just a few days to back the project on Kickstarter and have an O Watch delivered to your home!

Adorable Automated Turret Launches Rubber Band Barrage

via Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers » Category: Open Source Hardware

turretgifThis 3D printed rubber band launching turret looks like it popped right out of Portal.

Read more on MAKE

The post Adorable Automated Turret Launches Rubber Band Barrage appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

Building a giant Iron Man suit you can actually wear!

via Arduino Blog

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If you are a fan of cosplay, props and hand built creations you can’t miss the work of  James Bruton. Based in Uk he’s got a personal project YouTube channel with a new video every week describing his work in details. At the end of June he posted the 34th “episode” of the project started nearly a year ago about  building an Iron Man Hulkbuster giant suit you can actually wear!

In the video below you can follow how he’s sorting out the arm mechatronics for the elbow, hand and cuff weapon with some 3D printing with Lulzbot and controlling the interaction with  Arduino Uno (electronic part starting around minute 10):

Explore the playlist of the project for other cool videos.