DIY Lambo That Made The Real Lamborghini Take Notice

When you start sharing your projects with the world, you never know who might take notice. [Sterling Backus] and his son [Xander] have been building a functional Lamborghini Aventador look alike in their garage, and the real Lamborghini company caught wind of it and decided to turn it into an awesome Christmas ad.

Named the AXAS Interceptor by its creators, the car is built from scratch around a custom tubular space frame chassis. Most of the body panels are 3D printed and then skinned with carbon fibre, with a few sheet metal panels mixed in. The interior is mix of parts from other cars and aftermarket components, with 3D printing to pull everything together. The drivetrain consists of an engine from a Corvette, a transaxle from a Porsche 996, with the rest of the chassis components being either aftermarket or custom-fabricated pieces.

[Sterling] got an unexpectedcall from Lamborghini, and they arranged to secretly sneak a real Aventador into the garage in the dead of night to surprise the rest of the family, and let them borrow it for a few weeks. Lamborghini got some marketing out of it, which most people would probably agree is a pretty good deal. We would admit that we’re quite envious.

The car is driveable, but still many hours from being complete. [Sterling] admits that he is no car building professional, but we’re impressed by what he has been able to achieve so far with this ambitious project, and we’re looking forward to the finished product.

If you want to get your feet wet with your first project car, here’s how you pick one.

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A Self-Healing, Stretchable Electronic Skin

In a report published by Science Advances, a research team from the United States and Korea revealed a strain-sensitive, stretchable, and autonomous self-healing semiconductor film. In other words, they’ve created an electronic skin that’s capable of self-regulation. Time to cue the ending track from Ex Machina? Not quite.

Apart from the inevitable long timeline it will take to see the material in production, there are still challenges to improve sensing for active semiconductors. The methods used by the team – notably using a dynamically cross-linked blend of polymer semiconductor and self-healing elastomer – have created a film with a gauge factor of 5.75×10^5 at full strain. At room temperature, even with fracture strains, the material demonstrated self healing.

The technique mimics the self healing properties of human skin, accelerating the development of biomedical devices and soft robots. While active-matrix transistor array-based sensors can provide signals that reduce crosstalk between individual pixels in electronic skin, embedding these rigid sensors and transistors into stretchable systems causes mechanical mismatch between rigid and soft components. A strain-sensing transistor simplifies the process of fabrication, while also improving mechanical conformability and the lifetime of the electronic skin.

The synthetic skin was also shown to operate within a medically safe voltage and to be waterproof, which will prevent malfunctions when placed in contact with ionic human sweat.

[Thanks Qes for the tip!]

Jubilee: A Toolchanging Homage To 3D Printer Hackers Everywhere

I admit that I’m late to the 3D printing game. While I just picked up my first printer in 2018, the rest of us have been oozing out beautiful prints for over a decade. And in that time we’ve seen many people reimagine the hardware for mischief besides just printing plastic. That decade of hacks got me thinking: what if the killer-app of 3D printing isn’t the printing? What if it’s programmable motion? With that, I wondered: what if we had a machine that just offered us motion capabilities? What if extending those motion capabilities was a first class feature? What if we had a machine that was meant to be hacked?

One year later, I am thrilled to release an open-source multitool motion platform I call Jubilee. For a world that’s hungry for toolchanging 3D printers, Jubilee might be the best toolchanging 3D printer you can build yourself–with nothing more than a set of hand tools and some patience. But it doesn’t stop there. With a standardized tool pattern established by E3D and a kinematically coupled hot-swappable bed, Jubilee is rigged to be extended by anyone looking to harness its programmable motion capabilities for some ad hoc automation.

Jubilee is my homage to you, the 3D printer hacker; but it’s meant to serve the open-source community at large. Around the world, scientists, artists, and hackers alike use the precision of automated machines for their own personal exploration and expression. But the tools we use now are either expensive or cumbersome–often coupled with a hefty learning curve but no up-front promise that they’ll meet our needs. To that end, Jubilee is meant to shortcut the knowledge needed to get things moving, literally. Jubilee wants to be an API for motion.

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A Simpler Method To Make Optical Fiber With 3D Printing

There are a lot of remarkable uses for optical fiber, chief among them being telecommunications and imaging. While fiber can be produced for a better price than copper wire equivalents, they’re still not easy or cheap to manufacture.

Silica fibers require spinning tubes on a lathe, which requires the fiber’s core to be precisely centered. A new method by researchers based at the University of Technology, Sydney offers a simpler method using additive manufacturing.

There are still challenges in producing silica fiber, however – unlike commonly drawn polymer materials, silica requires high temperatures, up to 1900 degrees Celsius, to 3D print. Past attempts at glass printing using fused deposition modeling with high-temperature nozzles to pump out molten silica have been slowed by the viscosity of molten glass.

In order to overcome the temperature problem, composite materials consisting of a polymer with a lower melting point and silica nanoparticles are used instead. In addition, the researchers opted to use a direct laser writing printer. The technique involves drawing the molten material and pulling out the optical fiber. After the polymer and impurities are debinded and removed, it’s only an issue of sintering the silica to fuse the forms back together.

The method has been used to fabricate a preform that can be used for multi- or single-node fibers. While the technique isn’t perfected quite yet, it holds promise for reduced fabrication and material costs, as well as eliminating labor risks from the lathe-based work.

[Thanks to Qes for the tip!]

A New Method For Growing Watch Springs

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) recently developed a new technique for growing watch springs to tiny specifications. As it turns out, the creation of watch springs is ripe with opportunity for new materials research.

The technique involves using photo-etching and electrochemical deposition into cold, aqueous solutions. Compared to drawing and winding Nivarox wires, this is a fairly unconventional method for manufacturing. For as long as watchmaking has been around, creating the balance springs has been one of the most difficult parts of the job. The wires must be drawn to a thickness in the hundredths of millimeters and wound and tempered to the exact hardness, ductility, and elasticity while compensating for environmental factors. Many substances change their properties during fabrication, so the Empa team decided to look to pure materials research as a way to find a means for fabricating balance springs that would remain stable.

They took silicon wafers (the same kind used for solar panels and computer chips), covered them in gold and a thin layer of light sensitive paint, and etched the shape of a spring into the wafer. The wafer was then dipped into a galvanic bath containing a salt solution from a metallic alloy — the spring acts as a cathode so that when an electric current passes through the bath, metal is deposited at the base of the spring. Once the spring is built up, it is dissolved from the mold and examined. After a bit of smoothing, the final spring is washed and sent to a lab for prototype production.

The electroplated springs are currently on display at the Laboratory for Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures at the Empa campus in Thun, Switzerland. In the meantime, the first pilot tests are being wrapped up, and the team is beginning to work with Swiss watchmakers to see if their springs can hold up inside watch mechanisms.

[Thanks to Qes for the tip!]

How To Make An Electric Scooter Chain Sprocket With Nothing But Hand Tools

Sometimes, mechanical parts can be supremely expensive, or totally unavailable. In those cases, there’s just one option — make it yourself. It was this very situation in which I found myself. My electric scooter had been ever so slightly bested by a faster competitor, and I needed redemption. A gearing change would do the trick, but alas, the chain sprocket I needed simply did not exist from the usual online classifieds.

Thus, I grabbed the only tools I had, busied myself with my task. This is a build that should be replicable by anyone comfortable using a printer, power drill, and rotary tool. Let’s get to work!

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Replacing The 3D Printer And Router: A Tool For Manufacturing Human-Scale Forms

The purpose of Geometer becomes apparent when you realize its simplicity: [David Troetschel]’s project is to create an easily understandable design tool that encourages goal-oriented design. The kit comes with physical components and digital counterparts that can be combined in a modular way. They each have a specific geometry, which provide versatility while keeping manufacturing simple.

For the prototyping phase, small snap-on parts 3D printed on a Formlabs printer mimic the module components on a smaller scale. Once a design is conceived and the Geometer Grasshopper program finalizes the module arrangement necessary for the model, the larger pieces can be used as a mold for a concrete or hydrocal mold casting.

The present set of modules is in its seventh iteration, initially beginning as a senior thesis for [Troetschel]. Since then, the project itself has had an extensive prototyping phase in which the components have gone from being injection-molded to 3D printed.

The overall process for prototyping is faster than 3D printing and more cost-effective than sending to a third-party shop to build, which adds to the project’s goal of making manufacturing design more accessible. This is an interesting initiative to introduce a new way of making to the DIY community, and we’re curious to see this idea take off in makerspaces.