Printing images with a wood burning CNC machine

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Just to clear up any confusion from the title, this wood burning CNC machine runs on electricity. The wood burner acts as the print head. It’s the thing in the upper right of the field that looks a bit like a soldering iron. In this case it’s being used like a dot matrix printer.

We suppose this is a form of halftone printing, although it doesn’t produce the uniformity we’ve seen with mill-based halftone techniques. [Random Sample] built the machine from wood, drawer sliders, and stepper motors with toothed belts. His Python script takes an image and transforms it into a file which can be used to guide each of the three axes of the machine. An Arduino receives these commands via the USB connection. Each image prints in a grid, with darker pixels created by leaving the hot tip in contact with the wood for a longer period of time.

Don’t miss the sample video embedded after the jump.

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Hackaday Links: May 29, 2012

Teensy CNC mill

The guys at Inventables put together a neat CNC router kit that looks very interesting. It uses Makerslide linear bearings and CNC’d parts to make a surprisingly cheap frame for something that can engrave wood and metal. Inventables is running a Kickstarter-esque preorder to fund this production run but right now they’re 30 orders short. We’d like to see how these routers turn out in the real world, so if you’re on the fence (or just want a CNC router), this might be the time to buy.

DIY solder fume extractor

[Jared] sent in a fume extractor he put together. It’s a small PC case fan with a carbon filter sandwiched between a pair of grilles. Not much, but if should keep those wonderful flux fumes away from your face.

A million fake Internet points to the first person to come up with a DIY clone

[filespace] shared an awesome Electrofishing video with us. Electrofishing pulses a DC current through two electrodes attached to a boat. This current causes galvanotaxis in fish, causing them to swim towards the anode. The fish can be caught with a net and released afterwards; there’s no damage to the fish at all. We’d love to see a DIY solution, but throwing M-80s into a lake doesn’t count.

Improving GSM reception with a bit of metal

[Raivis] lives in the country, so even his voice reception on GSM is terrible, let alone data. Inspired by an earlier post, [Raivis] built a discone antenna to improve his cell signal. Now everything is crystal clear and his Huawei E1752 USB/GSM modem improved from 3 mbps down to 5 mbps down.

CNC halftone photos

[Dana] sent in a few pics of a project he’s working on. He’s making halftone prints with a CNC and metal. We’ve seen this before, but we’re really loving [Dana]’s take on it. He’s using two-layer engraving plastic with a .005” engraving tool on his CNC. There’s a gallery of his work after the break; [Dana]’s portrait is 14000+ dots and took 6 hours, his bosses kids are 16000+ dots and took 4 hours, and [Dana]’s niece is 5500 dots and took 35 minutes. Very awesome work, and now [Dana] has fulfilled a lifelong dream of machining his face.

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Half-tone CNC with man-powered Z axis

We think this is an intriguing take on half-tone art. It’s a CNC machine that uses an Arduino and two stepper motors to draw on a paper-covered drum. But you’re not just going to set it and forget it. To simplify the device, the Z-axis is not mechanized, but requires the dexterous opposing digit of a person to actuate.

The first prototype used a frame cut from plywood, but the developers moved to some attractive laser-cut Lexan for the final version. The rotating drum was inspired by observing the off-set printing process. It greatly simplifies the build when compared to a flat CNC bed. But including a Z-axis solution that could account for differently sized dots really opens a can of worms. Because of this, the choice was made not to automate that task, but to leave it up to the user. A clickable Sharpie does the marking. When the pen is in place, you click the plunger to hold the felt tip against the paper until a dot of the appropriate size has leeched onto the paper.

It’s not a bad solution to the problem. Especially if you don’t have the high-end milling equipment necessary to do this on a piece of plywood.

[Thanks Dron]

Hackaday Links: October 16, 2011

Spinning DNA animation using sprites

[James Bowman] shows a way to use sprites to simulate parts of DNA moving in 3 dimensional space. The animations are driven by an Arduino board and Maple board, which allows a comparison of the processing differences between the two. [Thanks Andrew]

Tiny Pong

This Pong game is so small (translated), you’ll be fighting over who gets a closer view of the screen.

More CNC halftone pieces

[Christian] made a bunch of halftone pictures with a CNC mill. He took the concept from [Metalfusion’s] halftone projects and ran with it. He even posted some video of the machining process (turn down your sound before viewing this one).

Most useless machine

[Jumbleview’s] take on the most useless machine makes the entire lid shut off this rocker switch, instead of using a separate arm for the task.

7400 rectifier

[Noel] is using a couple of 7400 chips in an unorthodox way to form a full-wave rectifier. They’re not powered, but instead used for the internal diodes. It’s his entry in the 7400 contest.

Making better CNC halftone pictures

[Jason] was messing around with CNC machines and came up with his own halftone CNC picture that might be an improvement over previous attempts we’ve seen.

[Jason] was inspired by this Hack a Day post that converted a image halftone like the default Photoshop plugin or the rasterbator. The results were very nice, but once a user on the JoesCNC forum asked how he could make these ‘Mirage’ CNC picture panels, [Jason] knew what he had to do.

He immediately recognized the algorithm that generated the Mirage panels as based on the Gray-Scott reaction-diffusion algorithm. With this algorithm, dark areas look a little like fingerprints, meaning the toolhead of the CNC router can cut on the X and Y axes instead of a simple hole pattern with a traditional halftone. After a little bit of coding, [Jason] had an app that converted an image to a reaction-diffusion halftone which can then be converted to vectors and sent to a router.

It’s a very neat build and we imagine that [Jason]’s pictures would cost a bit less than the commercial panels. Check out the video after the break to see the fabrication process.

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Creating halftone pictures with a CNC machine

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[Metalfusion], built himself a nice looking CNC machine and has been experimenting with some out of the box uses for his new tool. One novel use he is particularly fond of is creating pictures with his machine (Google Translation). While you might imagine that he is simply using the CNC as an engraver, literally drawing images on the surface of his workpiece, what he is doing is far more interesting.

He developed a small application that takes an image (jpeg, gif, or png) and converts it to a set of pixels, which can then be tweaked and skewed to his liking. The application exports the halftone image to a DXF file which can be fed into the CAD application that he uses to control his CNC machine. The CNC does the rest, using a v-shaped router bit to cut holes into his workpiece, generating a physical halftone picture from his digital image.

Thought the process does take some time to complete, the resulting images are well worth it. If you are interested in trying this at home using your own CNC machine, the DXF Halftone application is available on his site for free.

Continue reading to see his halftone generating CNC in action.

[via HackedGadgets]

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