This completely DIY casting furnace turned out just great thanks to all the work [Biolit11] put into it along the way. He wanted to replace his older furnace with one that was more efficient, and to that end he built a heat exchanger into the design. This way the exhaust will preheat the intake air.
The furnace itself started with the shell of an old electric water heater. Excluding the design process, the majority of the build involved mold making. For circular parts he’s using quick tube, the paperboard forms used for pouring concrete footings. For more intricate parts he shaped polystyrene. They are layered in place and high-temperature cement is poured to form the permanent parts. After it hardens the polystyrene can be removed in chunks.
The heat exchanger is the part to the left. It includes several wide, flat pipes made of cement for removing the exhaust. Around those pipes a snaking metal chase carries the intake air which picks up the heat as it passes over the exhaust pipes.
For his first run with the new furnace he melted down a bunch of scrap aluminum and poured ingots.
We think in might be absurdly vain, but wouldn’t it be fun to give everyone in your family a chocolate modeled after your mug this holiday season? [Eok.gnah] has already worked out a system to make this possible. It consists of three parts: scanning your head and building a 3D model from it, using that model to print a mold, and molding the chocolate itself.
He used 123D to scan his face. No mention of hardware but this face scanning rig would be perfect for it. He then cleaned up the input and used it to make a mold model by subtracting his face from a cube in OpenSCAD. That needs to be sliced into layers for the 3D printer, and he used the Slic3r program which has been gaining popularity. Finally the mold was printed and the face was cast with molten chocolate. We’d suggest using a random orbital sander (without sand paper) to vibrate the bottom of the mold. This would have helped to evacuate the bubble that messed up his nose.
You know, it doesn’t have to be your face. It could be another body part, even an internal one… like your brain!
The look of this crystal clear resin brick is pretty amazing. [Rupert Hirst] decided to encase his amplifier circuit in a block of polyester resin. We just hope he got everything in his circuit right because there’s no way to replace any of those parts now!
He deserves a lot of credit for working out a visually pleasing way to mount each component. There wasn’t any type of substrate used, but a few lower gauge wires were picked as the rails and they add some mounting stability. Before casting, he took the case of each of the three jacks apart and sealed the seams with some of the casting resin to prevent the final pour from filling them up.
Eagle CAD was used to design the mold. He printed it out on some card stock, then used a hobby knife to cut the pieces out and super glue to assemble them. A second layer of super glue was run on each seam to ensure they’re water tight. After the casting was made [Rupert] spent plenty of time sanding, routing, and polishing the brick to achieve this look.
This makes us wonder about heat dissipation. Do you think it will be a problem? Tells us what your opinion by leaving a comment.
Want some fancy ice for your next cocktail party? You can try to find spherical ice-cube trays but you won’t get the kind of results seen here. It turns out the trick to this isn’t how you freeze the water, it’s how you melt the ice.
[Brendan O’Connor] started this project after seeing an ice mold that could make beautiful shapes rather than just cubes. But the price tag was $1400. If he could make his own at a hackerspace we’d bet that would pay his membership for an entire year!
The concept is pretty simple. The video after the break shows the mold he was trying to recreate. It’s two hunks of metal with a shape milled into them. The mold is pre-heated, then an oversized hunk of ice is placed between the blocks. The heat melts away the parts you don’t want, and leaves a perfectly shaped ice orb in between. Gravity is responsible for pulling the mold halves together as they slide along some machined rods.
With a big hunk of scrap aluminum he milled two halves of a sphere. They can be sufficiently heated if held under running water, and a some leftover printer rails keep the two parts aligned as the ice orb is formed. Now [Brendan] just needs to work on his method of creating a crystal-clear ice block as a starter and he’ll have achieved total win.
Continue reading “Milling ice molds for craft cocktails”
What happens when an unemployed sailor has a ton of time on his hands? Well, evidently they become an extremely skilled prop builder. Then again our only reference point is [Throssoli]’s excellent Dead Space suit build.
[Throssoli] started this ambitious project by setting a months deadline for the helmet. Although he did not meet the dead line the results were fantastic and very true to the game models. Noting the reaction people had to the helmet out in the wild, and giving in to the fact that he really wanted the full engineering suit as seen in game, [Throssoli] set off to reproduce the entire RIG down to the illuminated face mask and back mounted spine-like health and stasis indicators. All it really needs are lead weights in the boots to give it that signature stompy Isaac feel. The build incorporates a lot of techniques we typically see in other game related prop builds, such as the black-washing and weathering effects seen in the wheatley puppet and mold making as seen in this Portal Turret build and even daft punk helmets. Keep in mind [Throssoli] is no stranger to prop or suit building, his portfolio of finished projects include halo armor and props, various Star Wars costumes, Mass Effect stuff, a Predator outfit you name it. We could easily loose half a day just perusing all the builds at the site so check it out for yourself!
[Andrew Ainsworth] has been making and selling costumes based on Star Wars character (some original, and some of his own creation) for several years. Lucasfilm sued him for $20 million back in 2004 claiming infringement of intellectual property rights. He stopped selling them in the US (as it was a US copyright) but now the UK Supreme Court has ruled in his favor, siding with his claim that the costumes are functional items and not works of art.
Good for him, but copyright issues aren’t what interests us here. The BBC clip showing him using a vacuum former to make the Stormtrooper helmet really caught our attention. A bit of further searching led us to find the thirteen minute video after the break showing the entire process, from sculpting the mold by hand, to forming the components, and the final assembly seen above. It’s a fascinating process that makes use want to build our own vacuum former (preferably on a larger scale than this one). It would come in handy whether it’s Star Wars, Daft Punk, or any number of other projects you’ve got in mind.
Continue reading “Making and selling Star Wars costumes ruled to be legal”
Finally, there’s a way you can feel like a real bad-ass while you’re formatting those TPS reports. It’s all thanks to this computer mouse built inside the skull of a dog. [Shannon Larratt] dug through his collection of skulls and came up with this one because it fits nicely in the palm of your hand.
Before you get too grossed out, this is not actually part of an animal’s body like another notable mouse hack that comes to mind. [Shannon] started with the skull of a small dog, making a mold for the pieces used in the finished version above. He was quite creative when fitting the electronic parts inside of his reproduction. He pulled the PCB from a $10 Logitech mouse and had no trouble getting it to fit into the base of the skull. But when it came to the buttons he ended up engineering a couple of rockers and used a belt to reposition the scroll-wheel. Not wanting to lose the middle-click feature there’s an additional lever for that functionality. We’d also like to compliment him on the quality of his write-up. Fantastic!