Marco Mauro is a physicist currently employed as Scientific Coordinator at Novaetech, the first Spin-off Company of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Italy. He shared with us all the info about a project he’s been working on and based on Arduino Micro.
OpenQCM is a fully open source scientific microbalance capable of weighing mass deposition down to 1 billionth of gram:
The sensing core of the microbalance is a piezoelectric quartz crystal oscillator. The deposition of a very tiny mass on the surface causes the variation in the quartz frequency. openQCM belongs to a new generation of innovative smart sensor which boast high resolution and ultra high mass sensitivity. The open source strategy made the creation of openQCM available at low cost which represents a bit fraction of the cost of similar scientific products.
openQCM was built keeping in mind the emergent principles of the open source hardware movement. The open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology through the open exchange of all the project features, 3D design, electronics and software. The open hardware potentiality is even greater when it comes to hardware for scientific applications.
openQCM is exactly something like that, the first open hardware quartz crystal microbalance with applications in a wide range of scientific fields, such as chemical and biological sensing, material science.
openQCM has an Arduino Micro board inside at heart. By hacking the timer counter of the AtMega32U4 Arduino microcontroller, it is possible to measure the quartz crystal frequency variations using the 16 Mhz microprocessor clock. openQCM team has designed an Arduino Micro shield with an embedded quartz crystal oscillator driver circuit and a temperature sensor. The output of the quartz crystal oscillator driver is fed to the Arduino Micro timer counter and the analog value of the temperature sensor is fed to the analog pin of the board. This configuration allow you measure the quartz crystal frequency with a resolution of 1 Hz, which roughly corresponds to a mass resolution of 700 pg over the entire quartz surface in air.
One of the major challenge of an open hardware project is that such devices require funding to prototype and manufacture. That’s why the openQCM team have selected the 3d printing technology to keep high quality and low cost. Using 3d printing to print out the prototypes via the SLS process from OS Formiga P100, P110, P395, and P730, the openQCM team created the device’s parts, which required a precision down to 60 µm.
The open source concept made openQCM publicly available so that anyone (scientists, technology enthusiast, makers, hobbyist …) can study, modify, and develop the hardware based on the original design. openQCM is now working and ready to win the heart of the scientific community and more.
Some of you may have experienced that when you start to print a cube or box-shaped objects they can easily warp on the corners. The reason for this is the change of volume that plastic goes through when cooling down: it shrinks when becoming cooler. Even if PLA, the corn-based plastic we use on the Arduino Materia 101, shrinks much less than ABS, it can become a problem when printing things that require a high level of precision.
The 3d printing tutorial Kristoffer, our 3d specialist, prepared this week is not part of the ongoing LEGO power functions compatible series but makes you still play around modding the famous bricks to add some cool light effects.
If you follow the 8 easy steps you’ll be able to print bricks with Arduino Materia 101 that can include addressable LED’s in your models. As in the previous tutorials, he modelled it using FreeCAD, but the way he did it should be applicable to just about any CAD-software or 3d modelling software.
Notice that in the last step of the tutorial you can also download the perfect settings to obtain good prints out of small pieces!
This week we are presenting you a new tutorial on 3d printing of Lego-compatible pieces with Materia 101. Kristoffer designed a brick with the parametric 3d modeler FreeCAD that can hold a small servo. Following the 10-step instructions you can easily add wheels to robots built in LEGO and use specific servos with different sizes.
Using a 3d printer means playing with some hardware but especially some softwares. In the tutorial of this week, the fourth tutorial of our series , Kris is going to introduce you how to work with Slic3r, a G-Code generator for 3d printers and basically a tool you need to convert a digital 3D model into printing instructions for your 3D printer. Slic3r is an open source software able to cut the model into horizontal slices (layers), generates toolpaths to fill them and calculates the amount of material to be extruded so that you can reach good results.
The object you’ll be able to print with your Materia 101 is a pirate hook !
One of the pleasures of watching TV depends on the use of a remote control that allows you to change channels from where you are. In the tutorial of this week, Kristoffer made an add-on to a previous lesson teaching us how to control a computer with a remote control like the one of your TV using Arduino Micro, IR-sensor. The add-on is a custom and colourful 3d-printed case created with Freecad and Materia 101.
When you become a happy owner of a Materia 101 3d printer, the first days are really important to start experimenting with the right attitude. Understanding quickly how to get what you want from it means becoming aware of the potential applications of the 3d printing technology in your environment.
Take a look at the second tutorial focused on fixing things at home: “Making something useful” tutorial shows you how to start from a need, to design and print a solution. It feels great to be able to fix what’s broken!
Interested in getting in touch and showing your experiments? Join Kristoffer on the Arduino forum and give us your feedback.
Next week we are going to post a tutorial on how to create 3d-printed cases for Arduino boards. Stay tuned.
We recently launched Materia 101 3d printer, happy to know some of you are already using it and having fun with 3d printing. In order to lower the barriers to this technology even more and to allow you to experiment on interesting stuff, we planned to create a series of tutorials for beginners.
After the sneak peak of some days ago, we are happy to officially announce the Arduino 3d printer . Completely open source and affordable, Arduino Materia 101 is a device aiming at simplifying access to the world of 3D printing and rapid prototyping.
Materia 101 is a precision 3D printer running on Arduino Mega, designed and developed in Italy, thanks to the collaboration of Arduino and Sharebot, two companies working with a similar approach to technology. It is ideal for beginners, makers and education.
Materia 101’s visual identity is curated by studio ToDo: the choice of essentiality of design and the white color of the machine suggests its ease of use.
The printer will be available only on the Arduino Store both as a kit and pre-assembled. Official pricing of the device will be disclosed at a later date but the kit will sell for less than 600 EUR/800 USD, while the pre-assembled version will be available for less than 700 EUR/1000 USD. The official presentation will be held during Maker Faire Rome, 3-5 October 2014.
Technical characteristics: Printing technology: Fused Filament Fabrication Printing area: 140 x 100 x 100 mm +/- 5mm X and Y theorical resolution position: 0,06 mm Z resolution: 0.0025 mm Extrusion diameter: 0.35 mm Filament diameter: 1.75 mm Optimal temperatures with PLA: 200-230° Tested and supported filaments: PLA Unsupported but tested filaments: Cristal Flex, PLA Thermosense, Thermoplastic Polyuretane (TPU), PET, PLA Sand, PLA Flex External dimensions: 310 x 330 x 350 mm Weight: 10 kg Usage: 65 watt Electronical board: Official Arduino Mega 2560 with Open Source Marlin Firmware LCD display 20 x 4 with encoder menu Preloaded with PLA printing presets Extruder block with filament pressure regulation
Trent Brook is a designer based in Sydney who created an elefant-shaped night lamp for his daughter Harpa (1 and a half years old). It has evolved from a small paper origami elephant with blinking LEDs, to a large 3-d printed elephant lamp shade with Wifi controlled RGB LEDs, microphone, speaker, and a custom designed iPad application to teach her about colour:
The electronics are driven by an Arduino MEGA 2560 microcontroller with ethernet shield for network control. Connected to the board is a 50cm 5V RGB addressable LED strip with 30 LEDs, a 3.3V microphone module for sound detection, and an 8ohm speaker for playing back generated ‘white-noise’ audio. Total cost for the all the electronics was less than $100.
Check the details of this cute project on his page on Behance.
Gleb Kanunnikau is a designer and trainer based in Minsk. He is part of a group of volunteers running a meetup group and an open laboratory bringing together people from the tech and education/media and experimental, hackerspace scene trying to solve a few very local and very practical problems that don’t seem to be getting a lot of attention from the tech community. Their initiative is focused on providing educational tools for children and adults with vision disabilities and is organized as an open laboratory with contribution from Minsk hackerspace (the first in Belarus), Belarusian meetup.bycommunity, and monogroup.by - community of architects and visual artists.
Gleb wrote me a long email and explained the aims and the context of their amazing work:
The problem is that schools for the visually impaired aren’t getting new books with Braille type and the education system for these kids is stuck in the 1970s, only now it is much worse (at least in the USSR there were factories and employment options for these people, as well as city districts with disabilities-friendly housing). They are the forgotten, invisible people – no textbooks means there are few people able to read Braille books – and they just can’t leave their apartments nor get education or a job.
Luckily, Ludmila Skradal, who works with these children on a regular basis as a tour guide and a teacher, had met a few architects, as well as people from the first Belrusian hackerspace and we’ve organized a hackathon a year ago.
We are building the first tactile museum exhibition for these children (but also for adults) on history/ethnography/architecture.
This is a sound/tactile installation that uses technology but isn’t tech-centric and solves a practical problem. We are combining hand-built architectural plastic models of buildings and elements printed with a 3d printer (open source mendel prusa, with Arduino inside) for small-scale columns and ornaments etc.
The models serve as instructional materials and partly substitute for the missing handbooks on history and culture that the children in schools for the visually impaired are not receiving currently.
The kids say that these architecture lessons were the first time they’ve been able to even imagine what buildings in cities “look like” above ground level. Things that were outside of their reach, like the clock tower on the city hall building, rooftops, column capitals were suddenly accessible – they were invited to touch the real city hall walls during the field trip to feel their texture and then they explored the model, and hearing the sound of the real city hall clock they examined it in the model.
The current goal is to build a museum exhibition unified by narrative and allowing self-exploration within the space, using Arduino for controlling the exhibits.
We hope that 3d printed objects could work as handbooks on history, culture, art. Maybe we’ll even print DNA segments that can be combined as like lego puzzles – so that kids can try to put together a DNA chain out of aminoacid plastic blocks to understand how the spiral of amino-acids looks like. There are many possibilities.
When chall2009 was a kid, he loved playing with Estes Rockets:
So I decided to get back into the hobby but using all of my maker skizzls. So here’s a really cool Arduino Rocket Launcher launching 3D Printed rockets from my MakerBot Rep2! Enjoy! Fully Open Source for anyone to make!