I bought a 50-pack of plastic centrifuge tubes for $14 on Amazon a couple of years ago. I was planning to use them to do geocaching with my daughter but we both lost interest. I left the tubes in a bag in the garage.
A couple of weeks ago I needed a screw to fix something. I have a plastic bin filled with loose hardware - nuts, nails, screws, picture hangers, wire nuts, and so on. When I reached in, I poked my finger with a thumbtack. It wasn't the first time that a sharp thing in the box had poked me, so I decided to sort the stuff into separate containers. As I thought about what kind of containers I should use, I remembered the centrifuge tubes. I used those.
I could have just kept the tubes in the same plastic bin that I'd used to hold the loose hardware, but since I have a new Original Prusa I3 MK2S 3D printer (which is amazing), I went ahead and made a wall-mountable tube holder. I used Tinkercad to design it. Here's the model.
I used double sided foam tape to mount the tube holder on the wall. I'll need to print out 10 of these to hold all 50 tubes. Read the rest
This is NASA's new "space fabric" in development at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Poking a golden tortoise beetle ("goldbug") triggers the insect's color to change from gold to a red-orange. Inspired by the natural system underlying that insectoid superpower, MIT researchers have developed flexible sensors circuits that can be 3-D printed. Eventually, the technology could lead to sensor-laden skin for robots. From MIT News:
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“In nature, networks of sensors and interconnects are called sensorimotor pathways,” says Subramanian Sundaram, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS), who led the project. “We were trying to see whether we could replicate sensorimotor pathways inside a 3-D-printed object. So we considered the simplest organism we could find...."
The MIT researchers’ new device is approximately T-shaped, but with a wide, squat base and an elongated crossbar. The crossbar is made from an elastic plastic, with a strip of silver running its length; in the researchers’ experiments, electrodes were connected to the crossbar’s ends. The base of the T is made from a more rigid plastic. It includes two printed transistors and what the researchers call a “pixel,” a circle of semiconducting polymer whose color changes when the crossbars stretch, modifying the electrical resistance of the silver strip.
In fact, the transistors and the pixel are made from the same material; the transistors also change color slightly when the crossbars stretch. The effect is more dramatic in the pixel, however, because the transistors amplify the electrical signal from the crossbar. Demonstrating working transistors was essential, Sundaram says, because large, dense sensor arrays require some capacity for onboard signal processing.
Fictiv is a rapid prototyping company that can take concepts or finished designs and farm them out to a network of CNC and 3D printing companies to have your design fabricated, finished and delivered within 24 hours; to demonstrate their new open IoT platform, they've announced an open-source hardware IoT motorcycle kit that you're meant to be able to assemble in your garage in a weekend, and drive off on by Monday. Read the rest
Just look at that headline! It's a nounpunk antideepstate beanie short of pure condensed random Boing Boing. But the prototype PassivDom “autonomous 3D-printed mobile house” is a €200,000 effort at creating a completely self-powered dwelling fit for the "zombie apocalypse."
The first model, the ModulOne, includes solar panels that power the climate control system, a clean water system that takes moisture from the air, and air quality control system that includes includes carbon dioxide control. The frame is made of 3D-printed carbon fiber, fiberglass, and resists and the entire house is recyclable.
There are three models, from ultra-simple to full autonomous. The Autonomous house is 36 square meters and costs €59,900 to pre-order. There is already a model in Ukraine and they have a few thousand folks already on the waitlist for the houses. Luckily the team doesn’t take itself too seriously. They also offer a special “Zombie apocalypse” package that includes armored glazing, an alarm system, extra toilet paper storage, and a bible.
While the whole thing could be a pie-in-the-sky fantasy it seems that they have a real model built already and all of the technology is feasible. I, for one, look forward to spending my time in a zombie-proof passive house in the middle of the taiga.
I would rather not have to see the zombies. The name abbreviates "Passive Domicile," but PassivDom is brilliant; one supposes the innuendo may not be clear to its Ukrainian creators. No-one tell them! Read the rest
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