Lamps are interesting pieces of homeware. They can be purely functional, but often they become expressions of the true vibrancy of industrial design. The “DuoLux” from [seabirdhh] may not yet have graced the cover of prestigious European design journals, but this folding lamp does have some great style for a 3D-printed design.
The lenses themselves are cut from scrap polycarbonate twin-wall sheet with a linear pattern which does much to add some art-deco flair. They’re placed inside a pair of 3D-printed tubes mounted on a zig-zag arm, with the tubes themselves carrying G4 lamp sockets for use with compact plug-in LED modules. 3D-printed knurled knobs allow the easy adjustment and aiming of the lamp as required. Power is from a 12 V DC adapter as you might expect, and everything is mounted upon a simple round base.
It’s a tidy build, and one that could be improved further by adding a weighted base for more flexibility in aiming the lights. It’s something we’d love to have on our own desk given the clean geometric style and presumably great light output from the LEDs. Alternatively, consider modelling your lamp on Earth’s very own moon itself!
3D printing lets the average maker tackle building anything their heart desires, really, and many have taken to using the technology for audio projects. Printable speaker and headphone designs abound. The Head(amame) headphones from [Vector Finesse] are a design that combines 3D printed parts with hi-fi grade components to create a high-end listening experience. [Angus] of Maker’s Muse decided to try printing a set at home and has shared his thoughts on the hardware.
Printing the parts has to be done carefully, with things like the infill settings crucial to the eventual sound quality of the final product. Using a properly equipped slicer like CURA is key to getting the parts printed properly so the finer settings can be appropriately controlled. The recommendation is to print the pieces in PETG, which [Angus] notes can be difficult to work with, and several prints were required to get all the parts made correctly.
Assembly is straightforward enough with kits available with all the fasteners and electronic parts included. Subjectively, [Angus] found the sound quality to be impressive, with plenty of full bass and clearly defined highs. Overall, it’s a positive review in the areas of comfort and sound quality.
Detractors will note that the kit of parts costs over $100 USD alone, and that after hours of work and printing, the user is left with a set of headphones made out of obviously 3D-printed parts. It seems destined to be a product aimed at the 3D printing fanbase. If you want a set of headphones you can customise endlessly in form and color, these are ideal. If you prefer the fit and finish of a consumer-grade product, they may not be for you.
Researchers at Columbia have used multi-wavelength lasers to cook 3D-printed chicken. Apparently, it tastes like chicken. We were not overly surprised that 3D printed chicken protein cooked up to taste like chicken, but, then again, you have to do the science.
While additive manufacturing is the latest buzzword for all kinds of manufacturing, there’s also been a variety of attempts to 3D print food. We’ve seen pizza printers and fake steak printers, too. It makes sense that you don’t want to print raw food — the finished product needs to be cooked. You can see several videos about the process, below.
Typically, detecting glyphosate — a herbicide — in a beverage requires a sophisticated test setup. But Washington State University has a 3D printed sensor that uses nanotubes to simplify the detection of the toxin.
The idea is very similar to inexpensive blood glucose monitors. The test will eventually find use for human samples, but the initial testing was for detecting contamination in orange juice.
While there are still plenty of folks out there tinkering with custom 3D printers, it’s safe to say that most people these days are using a commercially-available machine. The prices are just so low now, even on the resin printers, that unless you have some application that requires exacting specifications, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to fiddle around with a homebrew machine.
As it so happens, [Nicolas Tranchant] actually does have such an application. He needs ultra-high resolution 3D prints for his jewelry company, but even expensive printers designed for doing dental work weren’t giving him the results he was looking for. Rather than spend five-figures on a machine that may or may not get the job done, he decided to check out what was available in kit form. That’s when he found the work of [Frédéric Lautré].
He purchased the unique “Top-Down” SLA kit from him back in 2017, and now after four years of working with the machine, [Nicolas] decided he would share his experiences with the rest of the class. The basic idea with this printer is that the light source is above the resin vat, rather than below. So instead of the print bed being pulled farther away from the resin on each new layer, it actually sinks deeper into it.
Compared to the “Bottom-Up” style of resin printers that are more common for hobbyists, this approach does away with the need for a non-stick layer of film at the bottom of the tank. Printing is therefore made faster and more reliable, as the part doesn’t need to be peeled off the film for each new layer.
[Nicolas] goes into quite a bit of detail about building and using the $700 USD kit, including the occasional modifications he made. It sounds like the kit later went through a few revisions, but the core concepts are largely the same. It’s worth noting that the kit did not come with the actual projector though, so in his case the total cost was closer to $1,400. We were also surprised to see that [Frédéric] apparently developed the software for this printer himself, so the tips on how to wrangle its unfamiliar interface for slicing and support generation may be particularly helpful.
Unfortunately, it sounds like [Frédéric] has dropped off the radar. The website for the kit is gone, and [Nicolas] has been unable to get in touch with him. Which is a shame, as this looks to be a fascinating project. Perhaps the Hackaday community can help track down this mysterious SLA maestro?
The fascination of watching a 3D printer go through its paces does tend to wear off after you spent a few hours doing it, in which case those cool time-lapse videos come in handy. Trouble is they tend to look choppy and unpleasant unless the exposures are synchronized to the motion of the gantry. That’s easy enough to do on FDM printers, but resin printers are another thing altogether.
Or are they? [Alex] found a way to make gorgeous time-lapse videos of resin printers that have to be seen to be believed. The advantage of his method is that it’ll work with any camera and requires no hardware other than a little LED throwie attached to the build platform of the printer. The LED acts as a fiducial that OpenCV can easily find in each frame, one that indicates the Z-axis position of the stage when the photo was taken. A Python program then sorts the frames, so it looks like the resin print is being pulled out of the vat in one smooth pull.
To smooth things out further, [Alex] also used frame interpolation to fill in the gaps where the build platform appears to jump between frames using real-time intermediate flow estimation, or RIFE. The details of that technique alone were worth the price of admission, and the results are spectacular. Alex kindly provides his code if you want to give this a whack; it’s almost worth buying a resin printer just to try.
While the concept might seem quaint to us today, microfiche was once a very compelling way to store and distribute documents. By optically shrinking them down to just a few percent of their original size, hundreds of pages could be stored on a piece of high-resolution film. A box of said films could store the equivalent of several gigabytes of text and images, and reading them back only required a relatively simple projection machine.
As [Joerg Hoppe] explains in the write-up for his automatic microfiche scanner, companies such as Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) made extensive use of this technology to distribute manuals, schematics, and even source code to their service departments in the 70s and 80s. Luckily, that means hard copies of all this valuable information still exist in excellent condition decades after DEC published it. The downside, of course, is that microfiche viewers aren’t exactly something you can pick up at the local Big Box electronics store these days. To make this information accessible to current and future generations, it needs to be digitized.
[Joerg] notes there are commercial services that would do this for you, but the prices are just too high to be practical for the hobbyist. The same for turn-key microfiche scanners. Which is why he’s developed this hardware and software system specifically to digitize DEC documents. The user enters in the information written on the top of the microfiche into the software, and then places it onto the machine itself which is based on a cheap 3D printer.
The device moves a Canon DSLR camera and appropriate magnifying optics in two dimensions over the film, using the Z axis to fine-tune the focus, and then commands the camera to take an image of each page. These are then passed through various filters to clean up the image, and compiled into PDFs that can be easily viewed on modern hardware. The digital documents can be further run though optical character recognition (OCR) so the text can be easily searched and manipulated. In the video after the break you can see that the whole process is rather involved, but once the settled into the workflow, [Joerg] says his scanner can digitize 100 pages in around 10 minutes.