So you’re looking to buy your first 3D printer, and your index finger is quivering over that 300 US Dollar printer on Amazon.com. Stop! You’re about to have a bad time. 3D printing has come a long way, but most 3D printers are designed through witchcraft, legends, and tall tales rather than any rigorous engineering process. I would say most 3D printer designs are either just plain bad, or designed by a team of Chinese engineers applying all their ingenuity to cost cutting. There are a few that are well designed, and there is a comparatively higher price tag attached.
I’ll start by going through some of the myths and legends that show up in 3D printers. After that I’ll go through some of the common, mostly gimmick, features that typically hinder your printer’s ability, rather than adding any useful function. Next I’ll go onto the things that will actually make your printer better. Finally, I’ll add some special consideration if you’re a beginner buying your first printer.
Continue reading “Kicking The Tires Before You Buy: 3d Printers” →
Swing sets and jungle gyms are good enough for your average back yard. But if you want to go extreme you need to build your own backyard roller coaster.
This impressive offering uses PVC pipe for the rails. At its tallest it stands 12 feet, using pressure treated 4×4 lumber as the supports. Pressure treated spacers span the tracks, with the uprights — which are cemented in place — in the center.
You can get a better look at it in the video after the break. This is a parent-powered system. Strap you kid in and then use a stick to push the car up to the top of the hill. We just love it that before the kart has made it back to the start the child is already screaming “again daddy”!
It doesn’t look quite as fast as the metal back yard roller coaster we saw some time ago. But we do wonder how they bent the PVC pipes and whether they’re strong enough to pass the test of time (especially being exposed to the sunlight)? Continue reading “Manpowered PVC Rollercoaster” →
While we normally don’t make it a habit to feature Kickstarter projects, we couldn’t pass this one up. [Barton Dring] from BuildLog.net is putting together a project called MakerSlide that we’re sure will interest many of you out there.
Through his various CNC builds, he has found that one of the more expensive and frustrating components to obtain is a linear bearing system. He notes that commercial systems are expensive, and while an occasional eBay bargain can be found, it’s not the ideal way of going about things. He also points out that homebrew systems usually work after some tuning and adjustments, but can be time consuming to build.
He is proposing a v-groove bearing system, complete with wheels made from Delrin, as a standardized replacement for all of the aforementioned solutions. He anticipates selling the rails for about 10 cents per centimeter, putting the average cost of a 4 foot system around $20.
As a bonus, he is offering up free MakerSlide materials to anyone that sends him a “new, innovative or interesting open source design or basic idea that uses the material.” You would only have to pay shipping in order to get your new project off the ground.
Standardization is always good, and seeing this rail system go into production would definitely benefit the hacker community. Take a minute to check it out if you are so inclined.
Adjusting the bit height on a router table can be a pain in the butt. Traditionally you needed to get into the cavity under the table top in order to make these adjustments, and it’s hard to make the adjustment and measure the height at the same time. Modern routers now offer the option to adjust height through a hole in the plate that sits in the router table, but this is usually only found on the more expensive models. Rather than buy a new tool [Urant] built his own router lift.
He’s using recycled closet rails to give his rig some smooth operation. These are the rails and runners that let closet doors hang from the top jamb. He saved them when replacing the closet doors in one of his rooms. There’s a triangular gantry which hosts the router, allowing it to move vertically on the three sets of rails. The threaded rod in the foreground of the picture above lets the woodworker adjust bit height by turning the nut at the top. Once mounted in the router table the nut is accessible through a small hole in the table surface.