several chocolate figurines of various sizes

Cast Your Own Holiday Chocolate Bunny, Or Rather Mouse

The art of forming and using a mold is, well, an art. The already tricky process would be made even harder by using a fickle material, like chocolate. This is exactly where [Alexandre Chappel] found himself as he tried to cast his own chocolate figurines.

The starting point was a 3D low-poly model of everyone’s favorite fictional electric mouse. He tweaked the model to add offsets so that after the model was vacuum formed, there would be something to clamp onto. [Alexandre] was left with four different pieces, and he vacuum-formed them with 1 mm PETG plastic. Electing for white chocolate to add coloring, he started heating the chocolate. Adding too much colorant resulted in a seized mess, so the process was a bit of trial and error. Finally, he poured in chocolate and spun it around to form an even layer of chocolate as a shell. The flashing lines were easy to trim with a utility knife.

The last thing to add was a little splash of color via airbrush and food-grade paint. The results are stunning, and even though the techniques are simple, the results came together nicely. The files are available on his website if you’re curious about making your own. If you’re curious about more clever casting techniques with chocolate, take a look at the creative use of diffraction grating to get iridescent chocolate.

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Vacuum Forming With 3D Printed Buck Tutorial

[Matterhackers] has a nice video tutorial on using vacuum forming to create plastic items. Sure, you have a 3D printer, but vacuum forming has some advantages if you are making thin and flexible items quickly. But don’t feel bad. The master item in the process is from a 3D printer. Like a mold, the forming won’t produce a duplicate of the master, called a buck. Rather, the buck provides something like a die that the plastic wraps around.

While obvious vacuum-formed items include such things as take-out food containers and plastic blister packaging for retail items, you can also make more substantial items. Apparently, all theStar Wars movies in the original trilogy used vacuum forming to create stormtrooper armor.

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Incredible Luminosity In A Portable Package

If you’ve ever wanted to bring the brightest day into the blackest night, this flashlight shall give you sight. With a 100W LED array powered by up to 32V, this thing is exceedingly bright — it clocks in at about 9000 lumens! But the best part is that all every little detail of the build was documented along the way so that we can tag along for the ride.

The all-aluminium case houses the LEDs and their heat sink, voltage regulator and display, the AD and DC adapter and converter boards and their connectors, and fans to ensure adequate ventilation. It’s powered by a custom-assembled 6400 mAh 11.1V lipo battery or DC 20V 10Amp power supply via XLR for rugged, locking connection. The battery pack connection was vacuum formed for quick-swapping, and the pack itself will sound off an alert if any of the three batteries inside the pack run out of power. A nifty added feature is the ability to check the remaining charge — especially useful if you’re looking to bring this uncommonly powerful flashlight along on camping trips or other excursions.

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Use A Big Magnet To Set The Time

This bulky package is a Nixie tube wristwatch. We still like [Woz’s] watch better but this one has a few nice tricks of its own. Notably, there aren’t any buttons to set the time. Instead, a large magnet is used to actuate a magnetic switch inside the body. Speaking of enclosures, the┬ácase is aluminum and the face plate is polycarbonate but looks like it’s been vacuum formed. Check out the clip after the break.

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Vacuum Former Toy

vacuum

Vacuum formers are still fairly rare in our community, so it was a surprise to see that in the 1960s Mattel marketed one as a toy. It used a hot plate to mold plastic sheets into various shapes. The design was updated by Toymax in the early ’90s to use a light bulb heating element to make car bodies, like some sort of manly Easy-Bake Oven. The home-built machines we’ve seen are a much larger scale. In 2005, we posted [Ralis Kahn]’s version that employed an electric grill as the heating element. [drcrash] has since built on those plans, hoping to develop an even cheaper device.

[via Gizmodo]

Nintendo Sixtyfree Lite-R Portable N64

n64

Nothing says Christmas like Nintendo 64 and benheck forum member [SifuF] has a treat for you. His Nintendo Sixtyfree Lite-R stuffs all the guts of at Nintendo 64 into a compact handheld package. It features dual joysticks and triggers. The display is a PSone screen with all of the extra board trimmed away. The part that really makes this project shine is the case. It’s vacuum-formed 2mm sheets of polystyrene. Another nice touch was the volume and screen brightness. They’re adjusted by holding down start and then using the other buttons. It doesn’t have internal batteries, but can run off of a 7.2V Infolithium.

[via Engadget]