Mixing colors on the Reprap

3d printing has come huge strides in ability to construct detailed objects. Unfortunately, color is still a considerable limitation. Here, some people at the Reprap blog are having fun coming up with an extruder head that actually mixes two colors as it deposits them. Don’t confuse this with the dual head that Makerbot is touting that allows you to switch colors on the fly, this is a single head that actually has a cavity where the material is melted, then stirred to create a combination of the two. It is an interesting method of overcoming a limited supply of colors.

Having this extra stirring chamber means that there would be a small amount of material wasted any time that you wanted to make a change to the color, as it would have to be purged. There are some interesting thoughts in their comments on how to use this extra material most efficiently.

Solidoodle, a $500 3d printer

3D printers are very popular right now. We’ve seen them go from an interesting project to multiple commercial entities. Makerbot seems to be the poster child for the commercial side of things, at least they were. Their former COO [Samuel Cervantes] is now in charge of a new company called Solidoodle. Their main product is a complete 3d printing kit for $499. You supply power and a computer.

The Solidoodle is capable of building things 6″x6″x6″. The quality seems to be comparable to most of the others we’ve seen. They tout a .1mm layer thickness in HD mode (makerbot shows .2-.3mm). Not bad considering it is less than 1/3 the price of the makerbot replicator with a single extruder. The video after the shows it in action, as well as both with the optional case and door and without.

Printing point-to-point circuits on a 3D printer

[CarryTheWhat] put up an Instructable on his endeavours in printing circuit boards for solder free electronics. He managed to print a flashlight where the only non-printed parts are a pair of batteries and a couple of LEDs.

The circuit is a weird mix of point to point and Manhattan style circuit construction; after modeling a printed plastic plate, [CarryTheWhat] added a few custom component holders to hold LEDs, batteries, and other tiny electronic bits.

To deliver power to each electronic bit, the components are tied off on blue pegs. These pegs are attached to each other by conductive thread much like wirewrap circuit construction.

Right now, the circuits are extremely simple, but they really remind us of a few vintage ham radio rigs. While this method is most likely too complex to print 3D printer electronics (a much desired and elusive goal), it’s very possible to replicate some of the simpler projects we see on Hackaday.

[CarryTheWhat] put the models and files up on GitHub if you’d like to try out a build of your own.

3D printing from an Android device

[skullkey] over at the House4Hack hackerspace in Pretoria, South Africa wanted a way to get kids excited about technology and desktop fabrication labs. Wanting to give kids a visceral feel for the march of technology, he created Makerdroid, an android app that allows for the creation 3D objects on an Android tablet and preparing them to be printed on a Reprap or Makerbot.

What’s really interesting about this build is not only the fact that [skullkey] and his lovely beta testers are generating .STL files on an Android device, the object files are also being converted to GCode on the Android, without the need for a conventional computer. Makerdroid uses the very popular Skeinforge to generate the instructions for the printer (although a lot of people are switching over to Slic3r).

Makerdroid doesn’t need a PC to print objects out on a 3D printer, but we think the process of shuffling GCode files from a tablet to the printer with an SD card is a little archaic. It might be possible to print directly from an Android tablet over Bluetooth with the Android Bluetooth Reprap app that is currently in development. Still, we love the idea of printing objects we just created on a touch screen, as shown in the Makerdroid demo video after the break.

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Hackaday Links March 8th, 2012

Solder Your Pin headers Straight

straight-header solder

If you’re worried about how to solder your pin headers straight, why not try this simple trick and put them into a breadboard before soldering?

Etiquette for Open Source Projects

soapbox Phillip Torrone

If you use or develop open source projects, it’s worth checking out [Phillip Torrone]‘s Unspoken rules of Open Source article. You may not HAVE to do all the things he says, but it’s certainly a good starting point for being ethical with your hacks.

The [GoAmateur] Camera Mount

go-amateur camera mount for bike

If you can’t afford a professional camera mount for your bike, why not make one yourself? As pointed out in the article, normal cameras aren’t really made for this, so do so at your own risk. If this isn’t shoddy enough for you, why not make a mount for your 4 year old dumb-phone (Env2) out of a block of wood?

A 3D Printer BOM

If you’re wondering how much a 3D printer will cost you, or where to source the parts, this Bill of Materials for a Prusa Mendel should help. We would assume this project will be updated as everything is built, so be sure to check back!

MakerBot Assembly Time-Lapse

makerbot time lapse

Along the same lines, if you’re wondering about getting into 3D printing, this time-lapse of the Thing-O-Matic being assembled may give you some insight into what’s involved in getting one functional!

Print huge stuff with the Makerbot Replicator

The folks at MakerBot Industries are introducing their new 3D printer at CES this week. It’s called the MakerBot Replicator and features dual heads for 2-color prints and a huge build envelope for huge objects

From [Bre Pettis]‘ introduction video (available after the break), the build area is about 9x6x6 inches, compared to the about four-inch cube-sized volume for the MakerBot Cupcake and Thing-O-Matic. The Replicator also features optional dual Makerbot Mk. 8 extruders for two-colored printing. We’ve seen valiant attempts at printing multicolored objects with one extruder, and if you’d ever want to print with two filaments dual extruders are the way to go.

The replicator also features a nice control panel (which includes a Snake game), something that’s relatively rare on the 3D printers we’ve seen. The single extruder model will set you back $1750, while the dual extruder adds another $250 to the price. We really want one of these, but don’t take our word – check out [Bre]‘s intro.

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This Panavise Jr. Speed Winder should be in every maker’s toolbox


Like many makers, [Chris] has a Panavise Jr. on his workbench that he uses for just about everything. The tiny vise is great for all sorts of tasks, and is often considered an indispensable tool. The only problem with the vise is the amount of time it takes to open and close the thing.

[Chris] estimates that it takes somewhere between 2 and 3 million turns of the crank to move the vise’s jaws from fully open to the fully closed position. He figured that his drill is far better at mindlessly turning circles than he is, so he sat down and designed a bit in Google Sketchup to spin the vise’s crank knob.

He fired up his MakerBot and printed out his first “Speed Winder” drill bit. It was decent, but he thought it could be better. After a handful of revisions, he was finally happy with the results. He says it works great, and has posted the model on Thingiverse so that everyone can print one of their own.

Continue reading to see how [Chris] created the bit along with how much time this thing saves him. [Read more...]