Guy restores a century-old letterpress to perfect condition

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Jimmy DiResta kept passing by a 1911 Chandler & Price letterpress sitting out in the rain. After buying it from the neglectful owner, he spent several years lovingly restoring it, eventually learning how to print with it. Read the rest

Door lock requires marble to open door

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Marble Lock

Paul Myers of Opulence Mechanics designed and 3D printed this door lock. You can open the door only if you have a marble. I guess a gumball would would, too. Read the rest

New Matter's MOD-t 3D printer - low price, excellent printer

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About 5 years ago, I bought a simple 3D printer*. It cost only $400, but it was fussy and the software was hard to use. The printer bed needed frequent adjusting, and the printed parts would get stuck to the printer bed. The overall quality of the prints was just OK, not great. Even with all of its finickiness and shortcomings, I found it useful for making simple repairs of stuff that broke around the house.

Last month, a company called New Matter sent me the new MOD-t 3D printer for review. The MOD-t also sells for $400 and also uses PLA filament, and I was curious to see how two similarly priced printers from then and now compare. After using the MOD-t almost daily, I can say with confidence that it is much, much better in every way than my five-year-old 3D printer.

The MOD-t has a sleek design. It's white, with a clear plastic shell that covers the printing area. The cover keeps the temperature consistent and reduces the noise considerably. The old 3D printer didn't have a cover and it was noisy. The MOD-t also has a fan to help set the plastic after it comes out of the heated extruder head. The helps greatly to reduce sagging of overhanging features on the part being printed.

Setup was a breeze. I went to the New Matter website, downloaded the application and followed the prompts. The MOD-t has built in Wi-Fi, which means I don't have to tether my computer to it with a USB cable while using it. Read the rest

Make: a Rick and Morty-inspired butter-passing robot

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Andre was so impressed with the existential crisis of a butter-passing robot as depicted in the cartoon Rick and Morty that he created his own, and shows you how to make one for yourself. Read the rest

3D print a baby universe at home!

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Dave from Imperial College sez, "We've taken observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background from the Planck mission and turned them into a 3D printed map of the temperature of the universe when it was just a few hundred thousand years old. Download the files and print your own baby universe!" Read the rest

Beautiful 3D-printed "metamaterial" sculptures that shrink when heated

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Researchers from MIT and the University of Southern California 3D printed tiny, and quite beautiful, sculptures out of two different materials that usually expand when heated. But the specific architectures of these sugarcube-sized sculptures instead enable them to shrink when heated. The effect is similar to a Hoberman sphere, the wonderful isokinetic toy sculpture that mechanically collapses to a fraction of its original size. From MIT News:

The researchers consider the structures to be “metamaterials” — composite materials whose configurations exhibit strange, often counterintuitive properties that are not normally found in nature.

In some cases, these structures’ resistance to expanding when heated — rather than their shrinking response per se — may be especially useful. Such materials could find applications in computer chips, for example, which can warp and deform when heated for long periods of time. “Printed circuit boards can heat up when there’s a CPU running, and this sudden heating could affect their performance,” (MIT mechanical engineer Nicholas X.) Fang says. “So you really have to take great care in accounting for this thermal stress or shock..."

Fang and his colleagues printed small, three-dimensional, star-shaped structures made from interconnecting beams. They fabricated each beam from one of two ingredients: a stiff, slow-to-expand copper-containing material, and a more elastic, fast-expanding polymer substance. The internal beams were made from the elastic material, while the outer trusses were composed of stiff copper.

“If we have proper placement of these beams and lattices, then even if every individual component expands, because of the way they pull each other, the overall lattice could actually shrink,” Fang says...

Read the rest

Prince's ashes rest in a 3D-printed urn shaped like his home

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In the entry of Prince's home-turned-museum, visitors walk past a 3D-printed ceramic replica of the building they just entered. What some may not realize is that the scale replica is in fact an urn containing Prince's cremains. Read the rest

Robots 3D-printed with shock-absorber skins

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MIT researchers developed a method to 3D print robots with soft, shock-absorbing materials that can be "programmed" to desired elasticity to protect bouncing bots, drones making hard landings, and eventually phones, shoes, helmets and other materials. From MIT News:

For example, after 3-D printing a cube robot that moves by bouncing, the researchers outfitted it with shock-absorbing “skins” that use only 1/250 the amount of energy it transfers to the ground.{? “That reduction makes all the difference for preventing a rotor from breaking off of a drone or a sensor from cracking when it hits the floor,” says (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory director Daniela) Rus, who oversaw the project and co-wrote a related paper. “These materials allow us to 3-D print robots with visco-elastic properties that can be inputted by the user at print-time as part of the fabrication process...”

“It’s hard to customize soft objects using existing fabrication methods, since you need to do injection moulding or some other industrial process,” says Lipton. “3-D printing opens up more possibilities and lets us ask the question, ‘can we make things we couldn’t make before?”

Using a standard 3-D printer, the team used a solid, a liquid, and a flexible rubber-like material called TangoBlack+ to print both the cube and its skins. The PVM process is related to (CSAIL Director Daniela) Rus’ previous 3-D printed robotics work, with an inkjet depositing droplets of different material layer-by-layer and then using UV light to solidify the non-liquids.

The cube robot includes a rigid body, two motors, a microcontroller, battery, and inertial measurement unit sensors.

Read the rest

French schools use 3D printed anatomical clitoris models in sex-ed classes

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The amazing internal anatomy of the clitoris is a mystery that has surfaced and vanished in history, coming into focus in 2005 (!), when Royal Melbourne Hospital urologist Helen O'Connell published her groundbreaking MRI studies. Read the rest

Polishing 3D-printed bronze coins in a rock tumbler

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Barnacules Nerdgasm used 3D printing medium with 80% bronze to make some physical bitcoins. The result was cool, but it got even cooler when he threw them in a rock tumbler. Read the rest

Open licenses don't work for uncopyrightable subjects: 3D printing edition

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Michael Weinberg (who has written seminal stories on 3D printing and copyright) writes, "We are seeing widespread adoption of copyright-based open licenses in 3D printing and open source hardware. This is great in that it shows that the culture of openness has really permeated the culture. It is not so great because a significant number of the things nominally licensed in these communities aren't actually protected by copyright." Read the rest

Airbus designed and 3D printed a motorbike inspired by a skeleton

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Aerospace corporation Airbus's Light Rider concept motorbike looks a bit like something HR Giger would draw (although his, of course, would be much cooler). In reality, the 3D-printed frame was inspired by skeletal structures that enable its bare-metal frame to weigh just 13 pounds but support a 220 pound rider. From the BBC News:

To design the bike's frame and swingarm rear section, (Airbus's) APWorks team collaborated with Altair Engineering, a US-based consulting company whose structural-design software works through the principle of "morphogenesis" — which in biology refers to process of environmental forces defining a natural organism's form and structure. Morphorgenetic software is written to create forms that achieve maximum strength with minimal mass, and Altair's system has contributed to the designs of such boundary-pushing machines as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Volvo Ocean 70 racing yacht, and the jet-powered Bloodhound SSC, which next year will attempt to break the land speed record...

The 3D-printing process employed to produce the Light Rider's frame is a marvel unto itself. The system uses a laser to melt powdered aluminium alloy in thousands of layers, each only 60 microns thick — about the width of a human hair. Airbus Group Innovations, the company’s research arm, developed the frame's aircraft-grade alloy, called Scalmalloy, which it claims matches the specific strength of titanium. The fabrication process — and the strength of the material — allows the morphogenetic software to specify finer and thinner structures than traditional tooling or moulding methods of manufacturing can produce. In fact, notes Gruenewald, the Light Rider’s frame even features hollow branches that hide cables and other components.

Read the rest

11,373,076-to-1 gear reduction

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Oskar van Deventer made a colorful gearing system with a reduction factor of 11,373,076-to-1. "The application of this type of extreme reduction gears is unclear," says van Deventer. "A patient person could use it to move a heavy train locomotive with a dental drill." Read the rest

Claude Shannon, MOOCs, and nanoassembly: what 3D printing is really about

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Neal Gershenfeld, founder of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, has been talking about making digital things physical and physical things digital longer than almost anyone, and his books -- notably FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop -- are visionary and inspirational ways to think about how information technology has changed our species' relationship with the universe; while the Fab Labs he helped invent represent the best and most thoughtful way that a makerspace can be built to suit local community needs. Read the rest

Watch this mesmerizing and magical zoetrope

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Akinori Goto designed and 3D printed this magnificent zoetrope where it won awards at the recent Spiral Independent Creators Festival in Tokyo.

(via This Is Colossal) Read the rest

3D printable, fully articulated Lion Force Voltron

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Holy cow! This is one of the most complex, and amazing, 3D printed objects I've seen: Lion Force Voltron! Swedish designer Juri designed and printed this fabulous model of the first Voltron.

The lions all merge to form Voltron, just like you remember!

More photos, and the files so you can build it yourself (ha! ha! ha!) are available free at My Mini Factory!

Are you ready to form Voltron?

Read the rest

This tiny camera can be injected with a syringe

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University of Stuttgart researchers used 3D printing to fabricate a tiny three-lens camera that fits on the end of an optical fiber no wider than two human hairs. Eventually, the technology could lead to a new kind of very thin endoscope for looking inside the human body. According to the researchers, the camera delivered "high optical performances and tremendous compactness." From Phys.org:

(The camera) can focus on images from a distance of 3.0 mm, and relay them over the length of a 1.7-metre (5.6-foot) optical fibre to which it is attached.

The "imaging system" fits comfortably inside a standard syringe needle, said the team, allowing for delivery into a human organ, or even the brain.

"Endoscopic applications will allow for non-invasive and non-destructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector," they wrote (in their scientific paper).

Below, the lens (blue) was fabricated directly on the optical fiber (red). The fiber and camera are emerging from a hollow, 27 gauge syringe needle:

Read the rest

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