No one wants to design consumer electronics that last longer than a few years. This trend is an ecological disaster, with millions of tons of computers, printers, fax machines and cell phones ending up in landfills. In these landfills, all the lead and chemicals used to extract minuscule amounts of gold plating leech into the environment. Turning it all around is monumental, but reusing some of this waste can help make a difference.
[Masterperson] and [Maaphoo] have been working on a way to turn those tons of e-waste into something useful. They’ve come up with a framework for turning e-waste into 3D printers. With a clever application of Python and FreeCAD Macros, this project can generate a model of a 3D printer using motors, shafts, and bearings taken from discarded 2D printers.
Right now a printer can be configured by adding the parts you have on hand to a configuration file, running a Python macro in FreeCAD, and waiting until the macro generates the parts to build a cartesian bot. This macro also spits out the files for the parts that need to be printed, and can interface with Plater to optimize the placement of these printed parts on an existing printer.
It’s a very cool project, but it’s not done yet: the team is looking for help to refine the printer designs and possibly growing more designs than a simple cartesian bot. Anything that is explicitly designed to pick the meat off of 2D printers is a great idea, and turning those into real 3D printers is the cherry on top.
Like many of us, [Laurens] likes video game music and bending hardware to his will. Armed with a Printrbot, a couple of floppy drives, and some old HDDs, he built the Unconventional Instrument Orchestra. This 2015 Hackaday Prize contender takes any MIDI file and plays it on stepper and solenoid-based hardware through a Java program.
A while back, [Laurens] won a Fubarino in our contest by using a MIDI keyboard and an Arduino to control the Minecraft environment with Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time songs. The Unconventional Instrument Orchestra uses that Fubarino of victory to control the steppers of two floppy drives. He only needed three pins to control the drives—one to enable, one to set the head’s direction, and one to make it step once per pulse.
If ever you’ve been around a 3D printer, you know they make music as a natural side effect. The problem is getting the printer to obey the rests in a piece of music. In order to do this, [Laurens] used his software to control the printer, essentially withholding the next command until the appropriate time in the song.
The percussive elements of this orchestra are provided by a hard drive beating its head against the wall. Since it’s basically impossible to get an HDD to do this as designed (thankfully), [Laurens] replaced the control board with a single transistor to drive the coil that moves the head.
[Laurens] has made several videos of the orchestra in concert, which are a joy all their own. Most of the visual real estate of each video is taken up with a real-time visualization of the music produced by the software. There’s still plenty of room to show the orchestra itself, song-specific gameplay, and a textual commentary crawl in 16-segment displays. Check out the playlist we’ve embedded after the break.
Continue reading “Hackaday Prize Entry: Orchestral Invention Defies Convention”
Long boards are awesome. They feel like your surfing on concrete — amazing for hilly areas where you can coast around forever. The weird thing is, none of them come with brakes standard… Even though when you’re going down a hill you can easily hit 30-40mph! [Marius] decided to fix this, so he built his own 3D printed brake system for his Onda long board.
He designed the system in 3Ds Max and 3D printed the parts in PLA using his Printrbot Metal Simple (check out our review here). It uses an off the shelf bicycle brake pad, and brake cable as well as a few elastic bands. Currently only one wheel brakes, but it seems to be enough to slow you down — though he might mirror the system on the other side to obtain more braking power.
The long board he’s using does have slightly larger wheels than normal, but the system could be modified to use on a more standard sized long board. Stick around after the break to see it in action.
Continue reading “Long Board Takes a Brake”
Just when you think you’ve seen it all… [Fergal Coulter] over on the RepRap forums just came up with a method of 3D printing on inflatable structures — wait what?
The process uses a custom 3D printer with a paste extrusion head, and a 4th axis — with a pneumatic air supply. Using a spray deposition method, a silicone tube is formed, and then each layer is cured using a infrared light, which is also built into the system. Once the silicone is thick enough, it is then pressurized to inflate through the air-permeable mandrel. A laser then scans the shape of the inflated silicone to allow the computer to generate tool paths for the surface. Then you hit print. Simple right?
Continue reading “3D Printed Muscle is Inflated During Printing”
Oh to have a 6-axis robot arm to play with… For [Basia Dzaman’s] final graduation project for School of Form, she designed and 3D printed an end effect tool for an industrial KUKA robot — for weaving carbon fiber.
Through an iterative design process, she developed many prototypes of the tool until the one you see above. It’s capable of holding a Dremel multi tool which can be used to drill into a work surface for installing pegs which make up the custom weaving jig. The pegs (nails) are then installed by hand so that the robot can thread carbon fiber — fed through an epoxy bath as it is dispensed — onto the jig. In the example, she shows a traditional Polish handcraft called Snutki (a type of stitching), wrapping the carbon fiber in patterns around the pegs. Once the epoxy cures, a strong structure can be removed.
Remember the 6-axis robot that can 3D print in metal, and is currently working on 3D printing a bridge? [Basia’s] design could do similar things, for a completely different industry. You can check out [Basia]’s video for the project below.
Continue reading “Hackaday Prize Entry: Weaving Carbon Fiber With Industrial Robots”
Looking to prototype some of your designs for the Hackaday Prize? Miss the Shapeways Gift Card Giveaway we did? Well if you happen to live in NYC, [John Tirelli] just wrote in to tell us about a FREE 3D printing lab!
That’s right — free. They don’t even charge for materials.
And we aren’t talking about a bunch of community rickety RepRaps falling apart in someone’s college dorm, nope, this place has CAD workstations with SolidWorks licenses, industrial Stratasys printers (Fortus 250mic, SST 1200 es, and a uPrint SE Plus) — not to mention a Roland LPX-1200 DS 3D laser scanner! Oh, and they’re getting a Fortus 400 and Connex 3 Objet soon!
It’s all thanks to a grant for Haverstraw Rockland Community College, which allowed them to open up this Smart Lab.
RCC’s 3D Printing Smart Lab offers manufacturers a proof-of-concept center where they can evaluate, customize, and expedite prototypes in a sandbox environment. The Smart Lab’s services are available to New York companies free of charge. Assistance is provided by RCC staff and CAD (Computer Assisted Design) students.
How awesome is that? Sounds like you do have to be a New York Company… but you filed that LLC paperwork, right?
Continue reading “FREE 3D Printing in New York?”
Even with the cost of 3D Printers continually falling, entering the hobby still requires a significant investment. [Skeat] had some typical 3D Printer components available but didn’t have access to a printer for making the ever-so-common frame parts of typical RepRap designs.
[Skeat’s] plan was to cobble together a printer just good enough to print out parts for another, more robust one. The frame is made from wood, a very inexpensive and available material. The frame is not screwed together and doesn’t have any alignment tabs, it’s just hand cut pieces glued together. Each portion of the frame is laid out, aligned with a carpenter’s square and then glued together. This design and assembly method was intentional as [Skeat] didn’t have access to any precision tools. He stated that the only parts of the frame that had to be somewhat precise were the motor mount holes. The assembly process is well documented to aid anyone else looking to make something similar.
In addition to the wooden frame, all of the components are glued in place. That includes the bearings, rods, limit switches and even the Z axis motor! After seeing the photos of this printer, it would be easy to dismiss it as a poor performer. The below video shows that this printer’s print quality can keep up with any hobby level machine available. We wonder if [Skeat] is rethinking making another since this one works so well.
Continue reading “Wood & Glue RepStrap Works Surprisingly Well”