Laser Wire Stripping

laser wire stripping

Do you find yourself needing to strip many ribbon cables? Isn’t it frustrating? Well, if you happen to own a laser engraver, this cool guide one of our tipsters sent us might just be up your alley.

The typical way to strip these is one by one, with a lot of swearing. Or, if you do it often, you might actually have the proper tool to strip them in one go. There is actually a third solution, and as it turns out, it’s one of the commercial ways it is done for accuracy, and it’s quite impressive. Here’s an entire imgur gallery of what some of the fancy stripping lasers are capable of — we particularly like number 3.

Anyway, if you do happen to have a laser cutter, it’s as simple as engraving a few lines, and setting up a jig to hold your ribbon. Take a pass on each side, and pull it off! There’s a video after the break, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. We can see this being super handy if you happen to be mass producing anything that requires ribbon cables!

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Raspi Mini Laser Engraver

raspiLaserEngraver

If you’ve got a lot of spare parts lying around, you may be able to cobble together your own laser engraver without too much trouble. We’ve already seen small engraver builds that use an Arduino, but [Jeremy] tipped us off to [Xiang Zhai's] version, which provides an in-depth guide to building one with a Raspberry Pi.

[Xiang] began by opening up two spare DVD writeable drives, salvaging not only their laser diodes but the stepper motors and their accompanying hardware, as well as a handful of small magnets near each diode. To assemble the laser, he sourced an inexpensive laser diode module from eBay and used a vise to push the diode into the head of the housing. With the laser snugly in place and the appropriate connecting wires soldered on, [Xiang] whipped up a laser driver circuit, which the Raspi will later control. [Xiang] worked out the stepper motors’ configuration by following [Groover's] engraver build-(we featured it a few years back)-attaching the plate that holds the material to be engraved onto one axis and the laser assembly to the other.

Check out [Xiang's] project blog for details explaining the h-bridge circuits as well as the Python code for the Raspi. As always, if you’re attempting any build involving a laser, please use all necessary precautions! And if you need more information on using DVD burners for their diodes, check out this hack from earlier in the summer

Real-Life Raspi-Controlled Redstone Lamp

redstone-lamp

Minecraft fanatics keep finding impressive ways to bring 8-bit components into the real world, and [Chris Tompson's] Redstone Lamp Replica is no exception. [Chris] wanted to extend his connection to the game world by not only replicating this block, but also by controlling its light-up effect when an in-game cube is lit.

The lamp is a product of the gang at Hive76, who worked together to develop a quick prototype using the Minecraft Python client pyCraft, an Arduino, a transistor and a temporary papercraft lamp mockup. Hive76 member [Kyle] pitched in to write the plugin for pyCraft, which listens for an on/off message and sets one of the RasPi’s GPIO pins accordingly. The hardware for the actual lamp was designed to smooth out the 8-bit quality into something a bit more precise. The result are laser-cut pieces of MDF with a zebra wood veneer laminated on top. The interior was finished off with amber cathedral glass and then the cube’s sides were glued together. The RasPi, PCB and LEDs fit inside, all snugly affixed together.

Swing over to the Hive76 project page for more details and links to the plugin, and see the video demonstration below. For another Minecraft-inspired real-life project, check out [Bill's] take on the BatBox.

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Constructable: Interactive Laser Cutting

constructable-interactive-lasercutting

Do you miss the old days of making things by hand, without the aid of a computer? Do you remember actually drafting drawings by hand? Well, the folks over at the Human-Computer Interaction group from the Hasso Plattner Institute have come up with a rather novel idea, combining manual input via laser pointers, to cut designs with a laser cutter. Sound familiar? A few days ago we shared another cool project on Laser Origami from the same people.

So what exactly is it? It’s an interactive drafting table which can produce very precise physical outputs from a rather imprecise input method. By using specific laser pointers, the user can instruct the laser cutter to cut, trace, or etch designs into the workpiece. A camera picks up the laser pointer and then the software cleans it up, by straightening lines, connecting the dots, etc. While only so much can be determined by the included video, it’s pretty impressive to see what the software comes up with while cutting the design… We can’t really imagine the programming behind it!

Between this and PACCAM: Interactive 2D Part Packing, it looks like laser cutting is going to get a whole lot more user friendly! Stick around after the break to see it in action, the results are quite impressive!

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Freeside’s Infinity Portal

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If infinity mirrors aren’t cool enough, the 10-foot-tall infinity portal should blow you away. Strictly speaking, the mirror itself is only 7′x4′, but you’ll still find yourself engulfed in the archway. The portal began as a simple prototype that we covered earlier this summer, which was just a frame of 2×4′s, some acrylic and LED strips. It works by putting lights between a two-way mirror and another mirror, reflecting most light internally and creating the illusion of depth.

The giant archway also began as a small-scale prototype, its shape and engravings carved out by a laser cutter. Once they were satisfied with its design, it was time to scale things up. The full-sized portal needed a a tremendous amount of stability, so the guys at Freeside built the base from wooden palettes. They needed the portal to travel to a few different venues, so the rest of the frame breaks down into components, including a removable wooden frame from which the acrylic hangs. A Teensy 3.0 runs all the WS2812 LED strips, which were chosen because each of their LEDs is individually addressable.

Check out the video below for an extremely detailed build log, which should give you a better idea of how massive and impressive this portal really is!

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Laser Origami!

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One of our tipsters just sent us a link to some fascinating videos on a new style of rapid prototyping — Laser Origami!

The concept is fairly simple, but beautifully executed in the included videos. A regular laser cutter is used to cut outlines of objects in clear lexan, then, by unfocusing the laser it slowly melts the bend lines, causing the lexan to fold and then solidify into a solid joint. It becomes even more interesting when they add in a servo motor to rotate the workpiece, allowing for bends of angles other than 90 degrees!

Depending on the part you are designing, this method of rapid prototyping far exceeds the speeds of a traditional 3D printer. The part shown in the included image could be printed in about 4 hours, or using the laser, cut and folded in 4 minutes flat!

Stick around after the break to see this awesome demonstration of the technology!

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