Japanese Lab Builds 5-Axis 3D Printer

A Japanese lab is investing some time in the possibilities of a 5-axis 3D printer. They show it printing using five axis as well as doing finish machining on a printed part. We’ve covered parts of why this is the right direction to go for 3D printing in another post.

It looks like they have modified an existing industrial machining center for use with a 3D printing nozzle. This feels like cheating, but it’s the right way to go if you want to start playing with the code early. The machines are intensely accurate and precise. After all, building a five axis machine is a well known science, 3D printing with one opens a whole new field of research.

There isn’t too much to show in the video, other than it’s possible and people are doing it. The Five-axis 3D printing and machining is uninteresting, we have been able to machine plastic for a long time.

However, they show one blue part in which the central axis of the part was printed vertically, but revolute splines along its outer perimeter were printed normal to the surface of the already printed 3D part. Which is certainly not commonly done. Video after the break.

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Frickin’ Amazing Clock

Wwood_clock_05e’ve featured a lot of clock builds, but this one, as the title suggests, is frickin’ amazing. Talented art student [Kango Suzuki] built this Wooden Mechanical Clock (Google translation from Japanese) as a project while on his way to major in product design. There’s a better translation at this link. And be sure to check out the video of it in motion below the break.

[Kango]’s design brief was to do something that is “easy for humans to do, but difficult for machines”. Writing longhand fits the bill, although building the machine wasn’t easy for a human either — he needed six months just to plan the project.

The clock writes time in hours and minutes on a magnetic board. After each minute, the escapement mechanism sets in motion almost 400 wooden cogs, gears and cams. The board is tilted first to erase the old numbers, and then the new numbers are written using four stylii.

The clock doesn’t have any micro controllers, Arduinos, servos or any other electronics. The whole mechanism is powered via gravity using a set of four weights. [Kango] says his biggest challenge was getting the mechanism to write the numbers simultaneously. While he managed the geometry right, the cumulative distortion and flex in the hundreds of wooden parts caused the numbers to be distorted until he tuned around the error.

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The Junk Bins of Akihabara

Akihabara, Tokyo has transformed over the years. In its present form Akihabara emerged from the ruins of a devastated Tokyo after World War 2 when the entire district was burnt to the ground. The area was rebuilt in the shadow of the Akiba Jinja (dedicated to the god of fire prevention), and a new breed of street vendors began to appear. Huddling under the protection of railway bridges, and dealing mostly in Black market radio parts, these vendors set a new tone to what would become Japan’s “Electric Town”. And as Japanese manufacturing prowess grew so too did Akihabara.

maid
Maids touting for business

Now of course Akihabara is also home to Otaku culture, and is perhaps best known in this regard for its maid cafes. Streets are littered with maids touting their cafes, somewhat incongruously among computer outlets and precision tooling stores.

My interests however lie squarely in Akihabara’s glorious junk bins. Of all places I think I’m happiest  digging through this mass of discarded technology from Japan’s manufacturing past.

A tour through the junks bins is like an archaeological dig. And in this article I will present some recent finds, and ponder on their relevance to Japanese manufacturing.

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Japanese Edition: 3Dプリンターで24時間以内に住宅建設。しかもリサイクル材料を用いたエコ建築。

3d printed house in china

by: [Hideyuki Yamamoto] based on this feature.

3Dプリンターメーカーが小さくて精度が高いプリンターを開発するのに躍起になっている中でShanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Companyという中国にある会社がオリンピックプールの半分程度の大きさの巨大な3Dプリンターで実験を重ねているとBBCなどは報じている。

http://3dprinterplans.info/3d-printer-plans-news-round-up-for-wednesday-16042014/

縦32m、横10m、高さ6.6mものマンモスプリンターで400m2の平屋一戸建て住宅がプリント出来る。FDM技術によりセメントと建築廃材混合の壁が作られ、その会社によると一軒あたり5000ドル以下で建てられ、1日あたりなんと10戸の製作が可能とのこと。

そのプリンターは数年前に設計され、WinSunが海外から部品を調達し、蘇州工場で組み立てられた。
この会社は街全体の家をプリントする計画を立てており、リサイクル施設を建設するための部材を集めているという。この家は、まずは青島にて販売される予定だ。

FDM技術を使えば軽量で耐久性のある家がプリント可能になる。この手法は間違いなくオランダのKamerMaker社による建築よりも早いであろう。耐久性や安全性に関してはまだまだ改善の余地があると思われるが、安くて短期間に家が建つ可能性が拡がる話題である。

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DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials Day 1

darpa-val1

Today was the first of two days of trials at the DARPA Robotics challenge at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Florida. Created after the Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, The robotics challenge is designed to advance the state of the art of robotics. The trials range from driving a car to clearing a debris field, to cutting through a wall. Robots score points based on their performance in the trials. Much of the day was spent waiting for teams to prepare their robots. There were some exciting moments however, with one challenger falling through a stacked cinder block wall.

Pictured above is Valkyrie from NASA JPL JSC. We reported on Valkyrie earlier this month. Arguably one of the better looking robots of the bunch, Valkyrie proved to be all show and no go today, failing to score any points in its day 1 trials. The day one lead went to Team Schaft, a new robot from Tokyo based startup company Schaft inc. Schaft scored 18 points in its first day. In second place is the MIT team  with 12 points. Third place is currently held by Team TRACLabs with 9 points. All this can change tomorrow as the second day of trials take place. The live stream will be available from 8am to 7pm EST on DARPA’s robotics challenge page.

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Sustainability Hacks: Poop power

Yes. That’s a motorized tricycle with a toilet. Let that sink in for a minute. Oh, that isn’t a concept sketch of something that will never be built. The Toilet Bike Neo is most assuredly a real thing.

Biogas, or methane produced from decaying plant or animal wastes, is a legitimate form of energy. Waste gasses from landfills make up about half a percent of U.S. natural gas consumption. The state of Vermont even has a Cow Power program of renewable energy. That being said, this is a toilet on a trike.

The bike was built for Japanese bathroom fixture manufacturer TOTO’s green initiative. Biogas is produced onboard the trike, so instead of going to the local gas station to fill up, you could just get a newspaper, coffee and bran muffin. There are tanks on the back of the trike containing “fuel”. This arrangement probably makes a rear end collision in the Toilet Bike Neo more terrifying than getting rear-ended in a Ford Pinto.

The Toilet Bike Neo is setting off on a trip across Japan on October 6th (today) to promote biogas. You can follow the updates on the Toilet Bike Neo’s Twitter.

A tip ‘o the hat to [jon] for sending this one in. You may now commence the jokes.