Cast Metal From Prints To Solidify Childhood Memories

As far as the hacker’s toolbox goes, the 3D printer is way up there in terms of utility. Sure, it takes time to learn the ins and outs of designing, slicing, and extruding, but after that, the world is pretty much your additive oyster. Follow those design dreams, or use it to replace the things that break. The icing on the cake? You can chase those dreams into other materials, because 3D prints can be used to cast metal.

[RetroTech Journal] wanted to fry up some rosette cookies, a Scandinavian delight from his youth that look a lot like fancy, personal funnel cakes. They’re made with special aluminium irons that shape the dough while it fries, as opposed to the jumbled chaos that is funnel cake.

Rosette irons come in a few traditional shapes, but once you get tired of those, it’s up to you to cast them in aluminium. And how would you go about doing that? By creating a firmly-packed sand mold using a mounted 3D print.

In the endlessly entertaining video after the break, [RetroTech Journal] takes you through the entire process from CAD to cookies. It has everything you could possibly want: LEGO stop-motion, claymation, a little bit of cooking, and a whole lot of knowledge. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

We’ve seen quite a few sand casting projects over the years, but this lathe is among the most useful.

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3D Printed Switch Uses Paperclip

We live in a time when all manner of electronic components are practically a mouse click away. Still, we like to see people creating their own components. Maybe a stock part won’t fit or isn’t immediately available. Or maybe you just want to build it yourself, we get that. [Aptimex] shows off a design for a 3D printed slide switch that uses a paperclip for the contact material.

Of course, it had better be a metal paperclip and we’d make sure the shiny metal was pretty conductive. Of course, you could probably use thick wire to get the same effect. It sounds like [Aptimex] was inspired by an earlier Hackaday.io project that created a few different kinds of switches using similar techniques.

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Look Ma, No Support For My Floating Holes!

Do you find supports to be annoying, when you use a 3D printer? A lot of time breaking away surplus pieces of plastic and then cleaning up the resulting ragged edges on your prints is certainly an unwelcome chore. But printing in free space is beyond the capabilities of even the most expensive printer, so it seems we’re stuck with supports for the foreseeable future. [Adam Haile] may have a solution to some support woes though, in the form of a clever technique for printing inset holes without support. His designs have a significant quantity of screw holes with inset heads, too far for the printer to bridge over so his technique breaks down the bridge into manageable smaller distances.

In the video below the break he shows how its done, with successive single layers that contain polygons bridging chords across the circle, with each layer approximating further to the final hole and the last holding the hole itself. Over a few layers the hole is created, without any support but with the minor inconvenience of a not perfectly flat inset. It’s a very clever idea, and one that we’d be interested to see further expanded upon by others.

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An All Lead Screw 3D Printer You Can Build Yourself

There was a time when the curious hardware hackerĀ  had to build their own 3D printer, because commercial models were so expensive as to be unaffordable except by well-funded institutions. We’re fortunate then to live in an era in which a good quality off-the-shelf machine can be had without breaking the bank, but that is not to say that home-made 3D printers are a thing of the past. Instead the community of rapid prototyping experimenters continue to push the boundaries of the art, and from that we all benefit. An example comes from [Morgan Lowe], whose 3DLS lead screw driven 3D printer joins the freely downloadable designs to be found on Thingiverse.

If at first sight you think it looks a little familiar, you are correct, as it takes its frame design from the popular AM8 metal frame upgrade for the Anet A8 off-the-shelf printer. It draws heavily from other A8 upgrades, and brings in some parts such as the extruder and bed from the Creality Ender3. This is the beauty of incremental open source, and the result is a belt-free printer that does a decent-looking Benchy on the bench, and as a party piece manages to print a slightly more hairy little plastic boat when suspended at 45 degrees by a rope from the ceiling.

When dipping a toe into the world of home made 3D printers it’s interesting to take a look into some of the earlier Hackaday RepRap posts, and see how far we’ve come.

Maker Therapy Joins The Fight Against COVID-19

We love talking about makerspaces here at Hackaday. We love hearing about the camaraderie, the hacks, the outreach, the innovation, everything. Even more, we love seeing all the varying forms that makerspaces take, either in the hacks they create, the communities they reach out to, and especially their unique environments.

Recently, we came across Maker Therapy, a makerspace right inside a children’s hospital. Now, we’ve heard about hospital makerspaces here on Hackaday before, but what makes Maker Therapy particularly unique is it’s the first hospital makerspace that gives patients the opportunity to innovate right in the pediatric setting.

Inspired by patients and founded by Dr. Gokul Krishnan, Maker Therapy has been around for a few years now but recently popped up on our radar due to their unique position on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a makerspace located right inside a hospital, Maker Therapy is in the unique position to be the hospital’s very own rapid prototyping unit. Using 3D printing and other tools, Maker Therapy is able to make face shields and other important PPE right where they are needed the most.

Here at Hackaday, we salute and give our eternal gratitude to all the health care professionals fighting for our communities. Maybe some of your hacks and other designs could be used by initiatives like Maker Therapy? Until then, stay home and stay safe Hackaday. The only way we’ll get through this is together.

Printed Brain Implants Give New Meaning To Neuroplasticity

3D printing has opened up a world of possibilities in plastic, food, concrete, and other materials. Now, MIT engineers have found a way to add brain implants to the list. This technology has the potential to replace electrodes used for monitoring and implants that stimulate brain tissue in order to ease the effects of epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and severe depression.

Existing brain implants are rigid and abrade the grey matter, which creates scar tissue over time. This new material is soft and flexible, so it hugs the wrinkles and curves. It’s a conductive polymer that’s been thickened into a viscous, printable paste.

The team took a conductive liquid polymer (water plus nanofibers of a polystyrene sulfonate) and combined it with a solvent they made for a previous project to form a conductive, printable hydrogel.

In addition to printing out a sheet of micro blinky circuits, they tested out the material by printing a flexible electrode, which they implanted into a mouse. Amazingly, the electrode was able to detect the signal coming from a single neuron. They also printed arrays of electrodes topped with little wells for holding neurons so they can study the neurons’ signals using the electrode net underneath.

This particular medical printing hack is pretty far out of reach for most of us, but not all of them are. Fire up that printer and check out this NIH-approved face shield design.

What Day Is It?

With much of the world staying at home at the moment, keeping track of our sanity and the day of the week is a bit of a challenge, especially without the normal daily routine to hold onto. To help with one of these problems, [phreakmonkey] has built a Day Clock. As the name suggests, it’s only purpose is to show what day of the week it is.

Avery simple device, the two main components are a servo and a Wemos D1 Mini, the popular ESP8266-based dev board. Using the NTPtimeESP library, it gets day of the week from the internet, and moves the servo to indicate the current day on a 3D printed face. Most readers should be able to whip one up in an hour or two, which can help keep sane in these interesting times.

For another Corona clock, check out [Elliot Williams]’ version that helps with keeping domestic peace. If you want to do something to combat the spread of the current epidemic, you can build a few face shields, make your idle computer available for Folding@Home or sew a few masks. Every bit helps.