Hackaday Links: October 28th, 2011

An accidental radial engine

Hack A Day’s very own [Jeremy Cook] was trying to figure out how to push four ‘arms’ out one at a time. What he came up with is a very nice model of a radial engine. Everything was cut on a CNC router and a motor from an air freshener provides the power.

Using a candle to produce light

[Chris] sent in his Candela Amplifier. It’s a Pentium 4 heat sink with a very bright Cree Xlamp LED attached to the base. A bunch of Peltier thermoelectric units are attached to the underside of the heat sink. Put the whole thing on top of a candle, and you can light a room. With a candle. Oh, he’s selling these, by the way.

Objectification and video games?!

We really feel sorry for our lady readers. Guys have so many choices for Halloween costumes, but just about every costume available for women can be reduced to, “Sexy [noun].” Whelp, here’s the Sexy Game Boy, just in time for Halloween. [kazmataz] gets a few bonus points because she went with the DMG-01. It’s better than Sexy Chewbacca, so she’s got that going.

Prototypable 32-bit uCs

[Ng Yong Han] wrote in to tell us about some newish 32-bit PICs that are floating around. The datasheet for the PIC32MX1xx/2xx chips is pretty interesting – USB support and an audio and graphics interface. Oh, they come in PDIPs for ease of prototyping as well. We haven’t seen much from the PIC microcontroller faction recently (Atmel is winning the holy war, it seems). Anybody feel like building something with these?

Makerbot dual extruder


[Lomo] at TU-Berlin is taking a class in rapid prototyping. He built a second print head for his department’s Makerbot Cupcake with a few other students. The result are pretty impressive, although from what we’ve seen, it’s generating the G-code that’s a pain in the butt.

Multicolor 3D prints the hard way

After drooling over the Makerbot dual-head extruder, [Brett] decided to get off his duff and make a proper multi-color print.

[Brett] has been making a few bottle openers for friends and has been successfully experimenting with switching filaments in the middle of a print. For his “Saturday Killer” bottle opener, he decided to push multicolored prints to the limit. For the “Saturday Killer,” [Brett] decided to print an abridged version of the classic Simpsons quote, “Beer, the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems” on the side of a bottle opener in 4 different colors.

The files necessary to print the Saturday Killer were generated in OpenSCAD. The general principle behind the design is to generate separate .STL files for the bottle opener and the sides, split those files into 2-layer chunks, and print those files while constantly adjusting the z-height. It’s not called the Saturday Killer for nothing, so [Brett] had to change the color of his filament 25 times.

A much simpler version of a complex multi-color print is [Brett]‘s Shepard Fairey inspired self-portrait. Still, we’re thinking a dual head extruder is somewhere in [Brett]‘s future. At least he’s got the technique down.

Cheap Ikea camera boom ensures shake-free video

ikea_webcam_jig

[Chris] recently got himself a nice web cam for documenting his Makerbot builds, and much like [Dino], he was looking for a way to get a bird’s-eye view of the action while keeping the camera nice and steady. While [Dino] ventured off to the hardware store, [Chris] tried a few different options that included tape, before heading off to Ikea to see what he could find.

$9 and a few Swedish meatballs later, he was on his way home with a “TERTIAL Work Lamp” that can be mounted on virtually any desk-like surface. He had to remove most of the web cam’s useless mounting hardware, doing the same with the lamp’s light fixture. He put together a small bracket in Google Sketchup, which he then printed out using his Makerbot.

It fit perfectly, and now he can get steady video of his Makerbot prints every single time.

An Interview With Bre Pettis, Founder of MakerBot Industries

For those of you that don’t know, the Makerbot is a 3D printer created by Bre Pettis. It is probably the best-known 3D printer that you can buy at a price point meant for the hobbyist. Although this article doesn’t go into how the MakerBot is made, it focuses instead about the business itself and the man behind it. Bre was a hobbyist maker just like many of our readers, but decided to turn his passion into a successful business.

Although not all businesses are a success, Bre has made quite a start at becoming one. His company now employs 50 people and is currently hiring (like this posting for a “Web Warrior”) and has just secured $10 million in venture capital funding! Check out the full interview for all the details. It may inspire others to go from “hobby maker” to “professional.”

For other 3D printing-related posts, check out this one about the RepRap printer which is capable of replicating itself. For other ways to make your own parts, this rotomold machine may be of interest or this semi-DIY CNC router.

Print the best mascot, win a shiny new Makerbot

If you’ve always wanted a 3D printer, here’s your chance to win one. Makerbot Industries wants the Internets to design a new mascot for them. The contest winner will receive a Makerbot Thing-o-matic.

Don’t worry about a chicken or egg situation with this contest. You don’t actually need to print your design (although printability is a quality considered when judging). All you need to do to enter is upload your design files before the deadline on September 28th. Designs must be robot themed, and anything uploaded as Private will be made Public after contest results are announce. It should be fun looking through all of the submissions. There’s several other design restrictions so make sure to read carefully before you get to work.

Those that would rather work with a soldering iron than design plastic robot parts need not despair. You haven’t missed the deadline for the 7400 Logic contest, which is accepting entries through October 21st.

[Easton's] animatronic hand gets 3D printed upgrade

[Easton] as been working with [Jeremy Blum] to come up with the newest version of his animatronic hand. You may remember seeing [Easton's] first animatronic hand, with which he won his regional science fair and made a trip to nations. Since then he’s been working on improvements, and with access to [Jeremy's] Makerbot he harnessed the power of open source design to make his own printed hand, extending a different Thingiverse project.

He’s still using the original sensor glove as a controller. It sends commands to the Arduino controlling the arm via an Xbee module. From there, five servos inside a fiberglass forearm move each finger and the thumb. The video clip after the break gives [Easton] a chance to show off all of the new design features, and finishes with a demonstration of the hand grasping different objects. We had a chance to chat with him briefly. He’s got big goals for himself, aiming to design a prosthetic arm for under $1000. That’s not a career goal… he’d like to get it done this year.

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3D printed Turtle Shell Racers bring Mario Kart to life

skimbals_3d_printed_turtle_shell_racers

Every once in awhile a project comes along that makes us say, this is why we want a 3D printer!”

[Skimbal] is pretty well known in 3D printing circles for the incredibly detailed designs he has put out in the past. This time around, his focus is on motoring, Mario Kart style.

His Turtle Shell Racers are ripped right out of the Mario Kart series of games, and are built in the form of the multi-colored turtle shells with which most of us have a love/hate relationship. Constructed atop cheap RC trucks, the Shell Racers require 20-some odd printed parts apiece, but looking at the final results we think the time and money spent would be well worth it.

After watching the videos below, we think you’ll agree that these things look like a blast to play with. The Shell Racers were actually so impressive that they managed to land [Skimbal] a permanent gig with MakerBot Industries.

If you want to try making a set of your own, there are extensively detailed build instructions and all the STL files you can shake a stick at over at Thingiverse.

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