[Luke Towan] has a cool HO scale Escalator mostly made of 3D printed parts, with some laser cut acrylic, for a station on his HO model railroad.
Escalators are mesmerizing to watch – there’s something magical about the stairs unfolding at the bottom and folding up at the top. But they’re very hard to model.
[Luke Towan] has done it – his 3D printed version closely resembles the real thing mechanically. Pins are carried around, cantilevered out from a 3D printed chain. A stair swivels on each pin – at the bottom each stair’s free end rests on a ‘bottom’ far enough down for the stairs to be level, while on the incline the ‘bottom’ is just below the pins. It’s a tricky build.
If you like pushing the envelope of what 3D printing can do this is an interesting project, even if you’re not planning to build an escalator. There are lots of tips for making small mechanisms with 3D printing, and for making small mechanisms that work reliably without stuttering.
There are few things that we all can agree we hate, and the shrill of your alarm clock waking you from a wonderful slumber is definitely high on that list. To wake up more naturally, [nutstobutts] created an automated curtain opener.
The curtain opener is very simple; a stepper motor in the control box pulls a string, which is run to an idler on the far side of the curtain rod and through two clips, attached to the back of each curtain. This design makes it so that both curtains will open smoothly at the same time, and will always come closed again directly in the center. This design is especially favorable for students in dorms or those that live in an apartment, as the installation requires no screws in the wall or permanent modification to the curtains.
The curtains can be opened and closed either by pressing a button on the control box or by sending HTTP requests to the ESP32 that controls everything. This allows for integration with many different IoT systems, for instance [nutstobutts] has been having Home Assistant open the curtains every morning at 6:30 a.m. in lieu of an alarm clock, and then closing them automatically at 9:00 a.m. to help save on cooling costs.
At the dawn of 3D printing, support structures were something to avoid. ABS is a hard substance to clear off, and the slicers did a comparatively poor job of making structures that were easy to remove. Today, supports are not a big deal and most of the slicers and materials allow for high-quality prints with supports. We were printing something with supports the other day and noticed that Cura has a support floor and roof function. Curious, we did a quick search and found this very comprehensive post about the current state of support.
With 25 topics in the table of contents, this isn’t a 3-minute read. Of course, you might wish to skip over some of the first parts if you get why you need support and understand the basic ideas. We became more interested when we reached the geometry section.
An Israeli start-up company, Redefine Meat recently raisedabout $6 million to perfect and commercialize its technology to 3D print meat alternatives, sometimes called alt-meat. The company claims that producing animal protein for consumption is unsustainable but that their product reduces environmental impact by 95% and has other benefits such as containing no cholesterol and a lower cost to consumers.
Reports say the ingredients of the faux meat includes three different plant protein sources, fat, and water. We assume the fat is also plant-based. The prototype printer can produce about two pounds of “meat” an hour, but their next machine is supposed to be capable of about ten times that production.
They aren’t the only company in the space, either. Novameat is also 3D printing meat. There’s also competition from companies that are basically growing real animal tissue in labs without the animals–so-called cultured meat.
Although there was briefly a company called Rotary Rocket, the term is much better known as a nickname for the Mazda RX-7 — one of the few cars that used a Wankel, or rotary, engine. If you ever wondered how these worked, why not print a model? That’s what [Engineering Explained] did. They printed a 1/3 scale model and made a video explaining and demonstrating its operation. The model itself was from Thingiverse, created by [EricThePoolBoy].
One thing we really liked about the model was the use of lights to show the different stages of combustion. Cool air intake is a blue light, hot air is red, and so on. It really helps visualize what’s happening. You can watch the video below.
If you haven’t seen a Wankel before, it is a clever design. It has very few moving parts and offers very smooth power transfer and high power to weight ratio. The downside, though, is that the engine deliberately burns oil to lubricate and seal, so it is difficult to meet emission standards and requires a lot of oil. The fuel efficiency of current designs is not very good either, especially since manufacturers will often trade fuel efficiency for better emissions.
We have a friend who has always been obsessed that he didn’t invent the Weed Eater. After all, it is just some fishing line and a motor. We might feel the same way about Easy-Peelzy, which [Maker’s Muse] reviews in the video, below. The idea is very simple. Two squares of material that have magnets in them and one surface is something similar to BuildTak. You mount one square down on your print bed and then put the other square down so that it magnetically sticks. Print, and then pull the top square off and pop your print off.
Judging from the video this looks like it works very well. The price looks high until you realize the currency converts to under 20 U.S. dollars.
Summoning 4chans, 9gags, Reddits and other denizens of easily-digested content, Liberty Games stripped apart a dilapidated “Baby Doll” pinball arcade machine and turned it into this meme-spouting monstrosity. A complete redo of the vinyl and graphics to sport dozens of familiar internet tropes was first, then they had Shapeways create internal scenery and finally some electronics were added to spice things up.
We have seen PINMAME-based digital machines but this took a different path. Pinball machines this old pre-date common transistors so they rely on electro-mechanicals for everything. This made hacking the machine challenging so the team intercepted most of the signals and tied them into a Raspberry Pi with a Pi-face interface board. A videoscreen was added to the scoreboard, triggering all manner of memey videos and sounds according to actions performed and unlocked on the screen.
If you yearn for expired pranks of years gone by and are bad at pinball, you are in luck. Losing the game gets you Rickrolled – over and over again. On the plus side, Nyan Cat rockets away to bonuses and even the Admiral himself warns you of impending danger.
We resisted the urge to write this article as a chain of one meme to the next, you will get plenty of that from the well-documented project conversion and the following video. Someone in the comments will probably make a list of all memes.