axCut: An Open Source Laser Cutter


If you’ve always wanted a laser cutter and you have £1500 lying around (approx. $2500 as of today) — and you have access to a 3D printer — then you’ll want to take a look at [Damian's] open source laser cutter: axCut. The project has evolved over the last few months from some mockups in OpenSCAD to a working prototype.

You’ll want to dig through his blog posts as well as his YouTube channel for all the juicy details, but from what we can gather, [Damian] is on the home stretch. The current implementation includes a 40W CO2 laser with functioning laser control and an impressively quiet watercooling system. Although the build’s wiring remains a bit of a tangle, the prototype cuts (almost) as expected. His next hurdle is ironing out the air assist, which should prevent some fire hazard issues and keep the lens free of debris.

Check out a couple of videos after the break, and if you’re interested in getting into laser cutting but want to start smaller, have a look at the MicroSlice from a few months ago.

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Scratch-built Smart Flashlight


This flashlight has a face; one of the many tricks which [Hobbyman] included during the development process. The smart flashlight build turned out to be a great way to practice so many different aspects of product development.

It was envisioned as a light for use when walking or biking that could do more than just light your way or flash on and off. Of course we know it’s really just a reason to spend way too much time in his lair. He started with the electronics, driven by a PIC 16F88. The 5×5 LED matrix gives him just enough to work with for patterns and rudimentary text. The prototype is wrapped up into a pretty tight package which leaves enough room in the 3D printed case for 4 AAA batteries. As the project progressed more and more features were added in. The most current offering includes a temperature sensor as well as the ability to react to ambient sound. See for yourself after the break.

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Arduino-based Sieve of Eratosthenes


[Darkmoonsinger's] sister is finishing her graduate degree in mathematics, and [Darkmoonsinger] wanted to give her a gift that fit with her achievement. Naturally, building a Sieve of Eratosthenes using an LED matrix and an Arduino made perfect sense. If you’re unfamiliar, a Sieve of Eratosthenes is a simple, but very efficient, technique for finding prime numbers. Starting with a group of numbers, you step through each one in order. If it’s prime, you eliminate any multiples from the list. After a few iterations, the numbers remaining are all primes. After getting the LED matrix and sieve algorithm running, [Darkmoonsinger] designed an enclosure for the project. She made a couple of mistakes with this part, and happily included them for everyone’s benefit.

It only figures primes up to 64, and she lights the LED for 1 because it ‘makes the array look prettier’. Also, we couldn’t help but think that mounting the components a bit differently would have made a cleaner install (here’s a prime number generator with a backlit faceplate). However, that probably doesn’t matter to his sister. As they say, it’s the thought that counts, and we never get tired of seeing people build rather than buy!

Extruded rail and 3D printed connectors form a proper laser engraver


Fast and accurate is a good description of this laser engraver built by [Ragnar] and [Gunnar]. The’re planning to show it off at the Trondheim Maker Faire after the new year but they took it out in the wild for the PSTEREO Mini Maker Faire (also in Trondheim) this past August. The video below gives an overview of the build process and the engraver at work. But we also enjoyed reading the post about a few missteps in the early prototyping process. We call this one a proper laser engraver because it was purpose built from the ground-up. We still like seeing the engravers hacked from optical drives, but this really is a horse of a different color in comparison.

From the start they’re using familiar parts when it comes to CNC builds. The outer frame is made of extruded aluminum rail, with precision rod for the gantry to slide upon. Movement is facilitated with stepper motors and toothed belts, with all of the connecting and mounting parts fabricated on a 3D printer. The mistake made with an early (and unfortunately mostly assembled) prototype was that the Y axis was only driven on one side when it really needed to be driven on both. But filament is relatively cheap so a few tweaks to the design were able to fix this and get the production back on track.

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Amazing flight of a 3D printed rubber band powered ornithopter


We’re actually going to link to an old post from back in February because we think it’s equally as impressive as the most recent work. This is a 3D printed ornithopter powered by a rubber band (translated). The frame is much like a traditional rubber band plane. The difference is that after winding it up it doesn’t spin a propeller. The flapping of the four plastic membrane wings makes it fly like magic. Seriously, check out the demo below… we almost posted this as “Real or Fake?” feature if we hadn’t seen similar offerings a couple of years back.

The flight lasts a relatively long time when considering the quick winding before launch is all that powered it. But the most recent offerings (translated) from the site include the motorized ornithopter design seen above. It carries a small Lithium cell for continuous flight. These designs have a 3D printed gear system which makes them a bit more complicated, but brings steering and remote control to the party. If you want one of your own they’re working on a small run of kits. We figure it’d be a lot more fun to prototype and print your own. Sure, it’s reinventing the wheel. But it’s a really cool wheel!

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10-drive microserver is the clown car of the computer case world


[Coke Effekt] wanted to push his server’s storage limits to a higher level by combining ten 3 TB drives. But he’s not interested in transitioning to a larger case in order to facilitate the extra hardware. It only took a bit of hacking to fit all the storage in a mini-ITX case.

His first step was to make a digital model of his custom drive mount. This uses two 3D printed cages which will each hold five drives mounted vertically. To keep things cool the two cages are bolted to a 140mm fan. The connections to the motherboard also present some issues. He uses a two-port SATA card which plays nicely with port multipliers. Those multiplier boards can be seen on the bottom of the image above. The boards are mounted using another 3D printed bracket. Each breaks out one of the SATA ports into five connections for the drives.

[Thanks Pat]

OTM-02 is a 3D printed wristwatch


We love looking at roll-your-own wristwatch projects. Getting a project small enough to carry around on your wrist is a real challenge. But we think the OTM-02 wristwatch really hit the form factor right on the mark.

OTM stands for Open source Time Machine. It’s the work of [Hairy Kiwi] and he managed to bring the guts of the watch in at a thickness between 6.5 and 7mm. That includes the LCD, PCB, piezo diaphragm, and the battery. The PCB itself is a four-layer board built on 1mm thick substrate. It’s running an EFM32 (ARM) microcontroller which comes with hardware USB support. The little door sitting open on the side of the 3D printed enclosure provides access to the micro USB connector which can be used to charge the 150 mAh battery inside. That may not sound like much juice, but if you set the display to show minutes only [Hairy] calculates a battery life approaching 175 days. If you just have to have the seconds displayed you can expect about two weeks between charges.

Like the name says, this project is Open Source.

[Thanks Liam]


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