Makerbot, Occupy Thingiverse, and the reality of selling Open Hardware

Yesterday, Makerbot Industries introduced the Replicator 2, a very good-looking 3D printer that will is probably the closest thing we’ll see to a proper ‘consumer’ 3D printer for a year or so. There’s only one problem. The new Replicator 2 is rumored to be closed source. If that’s not enough, [Bre Pettis], co-founder and CEO of Makerbot Industries will be speaking at the Open Source Hardware Association conference next week with the suitably titled talk, “Challenges of Open Source Consumer Products.”

Of course, the Replicator 2 being closed source is hearesay, and we can’t blame them for closing up parts their product; they have investors to worry about and people are blatantly copying their work. There was another change in Makerbot’s operation at the press conference yesterday: Makerbot now owns everything you’ve put up on Thingiverse.

This news comes from [Josef Prusa], creator of what is probably the most widely used 3D printer in the world.

[Prusa] begins his rant with the history of the RepRap. The project began with a team of core developers headed by [Adrian Bowyer], and supported by [Zach Smith], [Adam Mayer], and [Bre Pettis]. [Boyer] gave the guys a bit of money to start Makerbot, and it’s something the guys at Makerbot have never been ashamed of. Makerbot went on to create Thingiverse, became the darlings of the Open Hardware movement, and acquired $10 million from investors.

All things change, of course, and Makerbot is no exception. Along with the (again, rumored) closed-source Replicator 2, [Prusa] pointed out the Terms of Use for Thingiverse say that Thingiverse – and thus Makerbot Industries – owns everything submitted by Thingiverse users. [Prusa] started an Occupy Thingiverse movement in response to this discovery.

Honestly, we hope [Josef Prusa] is wrong on this one. We hope the specific clauses in Thingiverse’s Terms of Use granting itself a license to do whatever it wants with uploaded Things is just a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo added in by lawyers to protect Thingiverse from being sued by crazy people. Still, if rumors are true, it may be a portent of things to come.

In any event, [Prusa] will be taking his Thingiverse things down. He plans on posting his stuff on GitHub, probably the most Open Source-friendly community in existence. You can do the same with this GitHub template for 3D printed objects.

So, learned reader of Hackaday, what do you make of this? Is Makerbot right to close up their projects? Are we finally becoming disillusioned with Open Hardware? What say you?

Eventorbot 3D Printer

Tired of 3D printers that use t-slot construction? The Eventorbot is yet another open source 3D printer,  but it’s built out of steel and 3D printable parts. The design also aims to minimize the effect of vibrations by using a single solid frame. All of the wiring runs through the steel frame, which gives the printer a professional look.

The Eventorbot page on the RepRap wiki provides details on how to build your own, along with STL files for all the printable parts. If you want to see renders of the parts, they’re all available on Thingiverse. The material cost is $300-$500, and the assembled cost is quoted at $799.

Like many of the open source printers we’ve seen, this one uses the RepRap Mega Pololu Shield (RAMPS) to control the actuators. This is attached to a Sanguinololu motherboard, which runs the RepRap firmware.

The Eventorbot Youtube channel has a collection of videos detailing the assembly of the robot. Check out a video of a test print after the break.

Via Make

Continue reading “Eventorbot 3D Printer”

New extruder 3D prints tasty treats using chocolate

If you’ve never felt at home with a piping bag in your hands this chocolate extruder will come to your rescue. It can replace the plastic extruder head on your 3D printer (RepRap, Makerbot, most 3-axis CNC machines, etc.), letting you turn your digital creations into decadent reality.

The head uses a progressive cavity pump to feed the chocolate from a reservoir through the printing nozzle. It’s important to keep the chocolate warm or it will set up so when [Tomi Salo] designed the print head he included a heat shroud through which warm air can be circulated. He uses a shoe dryer to source the hot hair which is patched into the heat shroud with a length of tubing.

This extruder can be 3D printed but be careful what material you use. [Tomi] mentions that PLA is ‘sort of food-safe’ but ABS is not. We wonder if the design could be altered for milling out of aluminum or stainless? At any rate, if you’re going to give it a try you might find [Tomi’s] advice on working with chocolate useful.

[via @clothbot]

Printrbot files in the wild

After a few months of eager waiting, [Brook Drumm] has finally released the files for his paradigm-shifting 3D printer, the Printrbot. If you didn’t order one of these during the Kickstarter, you can now print your own set of parts.

[Brook] gave his Printrbot to the world last November with the promise of being extremely cheap, extremely easy to build, and having a relatively high print quality. The simplicity of the Printrbot was amazing, which probably led to the Printrbot getting $830k worth of funding on the initial Kickstarter. Although the files for the 3D printed parts are out in the wild now, there still aren’t any instructions on how to build it apart from a Flickr slideshow.

[Brook] promised to release the files for the Printrbot much earlier, but we’re guessing he’s been busy printing and assembling  the 1200 Printrbots that were claimed in his Kickstarter. While we’re on the subject of cheap 3D printers, [Richard Sum], the English gent behind the SUMPOD sent in a link of one of his $600 printers milling MDF and extruding for seven hours straight. We’re on the cusp of Star Trek-style replicators here, people.

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

panavise-jr-power-winder

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. Continue reading “This Panavise Jr. Speed Winder should be in every maker’s toolbox”

4Track robot gets around with ease

4track-robot

[Jon] has been developing a slick little RC robot in bits and pieces over the last year or so, which can constructed by anyone with access to a 3D printer. Servos and electronics aside, the entire thing can be put together in short order using the plans he posted on Thingiverse.

The robot makes use of four “caterpillar” type bots, which are all connected via a central frame. Once [Jon] had the general design for a single caterpillar bot down, he moved forward to create the robot you see above. His friend [Julián] lent a hand in the form of electronics and code, which allows the robot to be driven using a standard USB gamepad.

As you can see in the video below, the robot gets around nicely, climbing over obstacles with relative ease. While it is a bit loud, [Jon] says that’s due to the undersized servos they happen to be using at the moment. We think it looks great so far, but [Jon] already has plans to beef up the motors and add wireless control in the near future – we can’t wait to see it then!

Continue reading “4Track robot gets around with ease”

onshouldersTV knows how to use OpenSCAD

Recently there’s been a increase in the popularity of OpenSCAD as the tool of choice in the 3d printing community. [Gavilan Steinman] is putting out a series of webTV shorts on the use of OpenSCAD. While it lacks a lot of the features of big CAD suits (such as the ability to generate drawings of your parts), the community has proven it’s effectiveness as a design tool. There are only two episodes out so far but they cover  OpenSCAD, mathcast, 3d printing, and a really neat robot design.  Watch them below.

Continue reading “onshouldersTV knows how to use OpenSCAD”