This set of four Nixie tubes display the number of people following bildr on Twitter. That’s neat; it uses an Arduino and some open source driver boards. But what caught out eye is the enclosure. The image above shows only half, but when assembled it’s a nice little cube that keeps the insides safe. This was laser cut using the Ponoko service and kicks off a design contest. Come up with the best idea for using 4 Nixies, their drivers, and $50 worth of Ponoko’s services and they’ll give you the materials to make it happen.
Creepy or not?
Do you find these faces creepy or cute? They can display a huge range of facial gestures and the German engineers who designed them were trying to avoid the uncanny valley. That’s the point at which human features on a robot seem quite real, but are off in just the right way as to cause revulsion. [Thanks Simon]
Water in your ink cartridge
Like all great hackers [Dean] digs through his neighbors’ trash. He found an inkjet printer but wanted to test it out before buying new cartridges. The old ones were dried up but he revitalized them with an injection of filtered water. It might get you through that quick printing project without a trip to Walgreen’s.
Laser-cut LP record
[Niklas Roy] demonstrates a laser-cut LP record. He’s using acrylic as a medium, kind of like a big CD with grooves in it. He’s got several tracks that are simple loops instead of the longer spirals you may be familiar with. They definitely sound different but it’s up to you to decide if that’s by design, or a fluke.
Star Wars cinema
Ever wonder what to do with those classic toys you’ve got sitting around? Here’s a little video that envisions your life with an AT-AT as the house pet. [Thanks Gabe via Wired]
[Segwaymonkey] picked up an arduino based drumkit circuit and needed a kit to place it on. He worked up a pretty cool design and had it laser cut out of acrylic. The cool part of the design is how he delt with the head motion of the drum. Each head has 4 “springs” that were also cut from the acrylic. The Arduino based drum circuit sits on a little pedestal in the middle, as though it were on display. We really like the design, but we have to wonder if a little noise dampening on the heads might be a good idea. He hasn’t released the plans, but says he might once he gets it perfect.
At Berkeley, they’re coming up with new ways to make their itty bitty hexapods. These are basically tiny flatpacked bodies cut from cardboard. The end goal is to not only make them smaller and faster to build, but to reduce the friction in the joints. You can download the files on their site as well as download movies of them in action. For a larger and somewhat less complicated flatpacked robot, check out the flatpacked 2 motor walker.
Ponoko is an on-demand manufacturing service. You submit your design and they’ll cut it out of one of their many materials. The site is built so you can sell your products or designs directly. They recently took a major step with the introduction of Designmake Prime. It’s a monthly subscription based service with many benefits. It lets you submit DXFs for evaluation instead of their standard EPS or SVG. You can request any material you want and they’ll provide direct support. You also get priority in manufacturing queues. While they’ve always offered an à la carte service, this new move puts Ponoko directly in the role of a traditional manufacturer. Offering manufacturing as a service shows their intention of former a relationship with their customers, but at the an individual level, which most manufacturers can’t approach because of scale.
Ponoko first came to our attention when RepRap published an acrylic version of their machine.
oomlout has posted some interesting plans for a simple robot. It’s based around an Arduino and is a platform similar to the Parallax Boe-Bot. The Arduino sends PWM signals to continuos rotation servos that drive the two main wheels. All of the structural components are laser cut from acrylic with slots to hold standard hex nuts. It’s an interesting technique, but the design has a lot of potential for improvement. Right now it uses two different power supplies and a breadboard for simple connections. From the video below, you can see that the balance could be improved as well. Continue reading “Simple servo bot plans”