Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

Who wouldn’t want a mirror that compliments them first thing in the morning? [Michael]’s  Magic Mirror does this and more.  [Michael] got the idea for his mirror during an epic Macy’s shopping trip with his girlfriend. While looking for a boyfriend chair, [Michael] noticed a mirror with a lighted sign behind it. Intrigued by the effect, [Michael] realized he could build it – and build it better!

Back at home [Michael] set to work. The Magic Mirror uses a piece of one-way mirror, similar to infinity mirrors. Instead of LED’s and another mirror, [Michael] wanted to embed an entire monitor behind the glass. In order to keep the mirror thin, [Michael] needed a monitor with cables exiting toward the side or bottom rather than directly out the back. He found what he was looking for in an Iiyama monitor. Yanking the case off a brand new LCD can be a bit nerve-wracking, but [Michael] pulled it off in pursuit of a thin final product.

Magic Mirror’s frame is built with standard 2×4 lumber. [Michael] had the foresight to include some cooling holes for the heat generated by the monitor. The heavy 6.5Kg final product required a double mounting point.

With a good-looking case, it was time to get some equally good-looking data to display. [Michael] used a Raspberry Pi to drive his display. He switched the Pi’s display mode to portrait and installed Chromium  in kiosk mode. The entire mirror is essentially a web page. [Michael] used some simple HTML, CSS and Javascript to pull time and weather data down from various feeds. The page is rendered in a clean Helvetica Nueve Neue font with matching icons. A handsome build indeed!

Straw Based Filament?

Straw Based Filament

PLA (polyactic acid) is often toted as one of the most environmentally friendly and safe filaments for consumer printing, since it is derived from corn products — not fossil fuels. But there’s a new contender on the market, and that is a type of straw-based plastic filament — which also promises to cost around half as much!

Designed by a Chinese company called Jinghe, the material is made by grinding up various dried crops like wheat, rice, and cotton, which in China is typically burned to get dispose of. The sawdust is then mixed with additives like polypropylene, silane coupling agent, and ethylene bis(stearamide). It is then extruded into a pellets of uniform size to allow for easier processing. From there it can be used for injection molding (melting temperature between 160-180°C), or further extruded into filament form. The filament  and resulting prints are a woody color with an interesting fiber-like surface finish, with decent part strength.

The company has signed a $320,000 USD contract with the Shantou city government to produce this type of plastic for toys in the European market — If production ramps up, it could well become one of the cheapest filaments available!

We like to cover all these alternative filaments as they come out, and there is becoming quite a selection! If you hear of any new materials used for printing, don’t forget to send them in to the tips line!

[Via 3ders.org]