Putin your butt


Reddditor Amzfx created a Putin butt-plug by way of commentary on Russia's invasion of Crimea, and he's selling them on Shapeways for €20.22. The print medium seems a little too porous for safe sex play, and the nose looks like a likely candidate for painful snagging. Amznfx has more political 3d prints in his repertoire.

Check out my 3d printed Putin Butt plug (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

HOWTO make glowing, 3D printed cyberpunk spikes

Phil and Limor from Adafruit write, "Make your own flexible, spiky, glowing accessory using NeoPixel strip diffused by NinjaFlex flexible 3D printing filament! Magnets let you attach the spikes to anything in your wardrobe. The soft flexible enclosure holds GEMMA, the tiny microcontroller that animates the LEDs, and a rechargeable lipoly battery."

Cyberpunk Spikes (Thanks, Pt and Limor!)

Librarybox beta goes 2.0: self-powered Wifi file-server that fits in your pocket


Jason writes with an update to the amazing, kickstarted Librarybox project: "The LibraryBox Project, as a part of its ongoing efforts to bring information to areas without communication infrastructures, announced the release of the v2.0 public beta today. Boing Boing was kind enough to post about the very successful Kickstarter from July and this is the next stage of the project arising from that funding.

"LibraryBox is an open source digital distribution device, designed to route around both censorship and poor infrastructure by creating a hyperlocal digital file distribution point for use by libraries, educators, or anyone who wants to share files quickly and easily. The v2.0 release makes building your own LibraryBox easier than ever, while increasing the customizability and flexibility of the interface."

LibraryBox v2.0: Portable Private Digital Distribution (Thanks, Jason!)

Openknit: a Reprap-inspired open source knitting machine

The Openknit project is a Reprap-inspired, open source hardware knitting machine that can produce an adult-sized garment from yarn and a digital file in about an hour. The project includes plans for the machine, free/open software for designing clothes, and a promise to deliver STL files so you can print out the parts on your 3D printer.

Knitting, crochet, and other textile arts are, of course, a longstanding form of 3D printing -- using machines to deposit, align and interlock a feedstock to form 3D objects.

The Openknit garments are rather beautiful, as you can see from the Flickr set. If you're interested in understanding the underlying system, here's a good explanatory animation. It shows a high degree of ingenuity and skill on the part of the designers.

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3D printed, slinkoid skull-sculpture

Ryan sez, "This is the spiral skull that I created in Zbrush and got printed in strong, flexible nylon. It's being featuring at the 3D Printshow in NYC which wraps up Saturday." It's called "Mortal Coil" (clever!) and it's €66.59 and up on Shapeways. If this sort of thing excites and amuses you as much as it does me, don't miss the fan-folded paper slinkoid sculptures of Li Hongbo.

Cheaper PLA for my Replicator 2, delivered fast

SainSmart PLA works fantastically in my Makerbot Replicator 2.

I tried ordering plastic from Makerbot directly but delays on every color I wanted led to me check for other sources. Seems this complaint is common. Guess what? I saved $11/spool and got every color I wanted 2 days later.

Thank you Amazon Prime and the power of internet forums! There are lots of providers of PLA but people have a lot of trouble sorting them. From varying thickness of the strand's diameter to differing melting points of the plastic there is a lot to look out for. I found the SainSmart stuff to work very reliably.

After you order the plastic you will need to print a new spool holder. This pattern worked fine for me (I did rotate the model on the build plate, so it didn't build straight up!) Also, I read around on the internet and then experimented with extruder temperatures. The Replicator 2's default setting of 230F is too hot for the SainSmart, I find 215F works much, much better in my home.

I've tried Black, Red, Blue, Pink and Silver/Grey. So long as your build plate is level and the extruder is clear SainSmart works great!

SainSmart 1.75mm PLA filament

HOWTO build a robotic air-hockey opponent out of Reprap parts

Jose Julio realized that the drive-train and parts in a Reprap printer could be repurposed, along with an Arduino-controlled vision-system to create a robot air-hockey opponent. He documented the build here, and the code is on Github.

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Toronto's reference library gets a makerspace


Toronto's Metro Reference Library has unveiled its new makerspace, which sports 3D printer and scanners, Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, and digital AV production gear. They've also lured the Toronto Mini-Maker Faire into relocating to their space. The library's makerspace will over classes and workshops on programming, hardware hacking, and repairing your electronics. It's a great all-ages/all-comers complement to Toronto's existing makerspaces, including Hacklab, Site3, and Makerkids.

The location couldn't be any better, either. I love Metro Ref. When I was 14, I dropped out of high-school without telling my parents and started taking the subway down to Yonge and Bloor every day, spending all day at the reference library, spelunking in the shelves, subject indices and (especially) the newspaper microfilm, which was amazing. And I've always loved the idea of makerspaces in libraries: as I wrote during last year's Freedom to Read week, "We need to master computers — to master the systems of information, so that we can master information itself. That's where makers come in."

In a brief interview with Torontist, Toronto City Librarian Jane Pyper explains why the library's opened a makerspace:

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Key 3D printing patent expired yesterday


Yesterday marked the expiry of US Patent 5597589, "Apparatus for producing parts by selective sintering." This is one of the core patents in the 3D printing world -- the patent that allows 3D printer companies to charge more for fine nylon powder than Michelin-starred restaurants charge for filet mignon. The high cost of consumables in 3D printing has been a major barrier to innovation in the field -- selective laser sintering produces a fine finish that the patent-free fused deposition modeling technique used in Reprap-style printers can't match -- and now the brakes are coming off.

However, there are still lots of patents (including some genuinely terrible ones) in the 3D printing world, so the expiry of 5597589 doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see a flood of cheap printers and cheaper feedstock -- given the murkiness of the overlapping patent claims and the expense of litigating each one of them, radical new entrants into the field are still facing a lot of risk that has nothing to do with making great products at a fair price.

In a good piece on 3D Print, Eddie Krassenstein speculates about the scary supplementary laser-sintering patents lurking in the wings, pointing out that Stratasys (the major competitor of 3D Systems, who owned 5597589) didn't design their entry-lever printers to use SLS, even though they knew that the patent would be expiring in early 2014. Krassenstein suggests that this means that Stratasys knows about some other gnarly and deadly patent that would torpedo them if they went SLS.

But I'm a lot less convinced than Krassenstein is about the potential of a competitor taking the risky step of making a SLS printer that sticks to the claims in 5597589. Virtually every technical idea is covered by a stupid, overbroad patent, and yet people start businesses every day that open them to legal liability from a troll or an entrenched incumbent. If the potential for a patent suit was, in itself, a sufficient deterrent to raising capital and starting a business, we wouldn't see any startups. And a company that sticks to the claims in 5597589 has a powerful weapon in any patent suit: the USPTO granted 5597589 20 years ago, and so if they granted overlapping patents since, they were manifestly in error, a matter that is relatively (in patent terms, anyway) easy to prove.

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3D printed fingernails

NYC-based artist duo The Laser Girls produced a set of 3D printed artificial fingernails they call Sour Razz. They're made of dyed nylon.

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Building a fully open, transparent laptop


Bunnie Huang is a virtuoso in hardware engineering, and a hero of the open source hardware movement. In this Make post, he documents how he and Sean "xobs" Cross prototyped a laptop that was open and transparent to a very great degree, secure against all attacks short of dopant-level hardware trojans. The post -- and the photos of the gloriously fuggly laptop, which they dubbed "the Novena Project" -- is part requirements document, part philosophical statement, and part engineering text. I love Bunnie's reasoning for wanting an amazing, open laptop: he spends the majority of his waking hours with it, so he wants it to be as amazing as possible, and it's worth him spending the time and money to get there. I also love the requirements he sets out for genuine "openness" (I put some of these after the jump, below). Most of all, I love how this thing looks: rough-hewn, gloriously unfinished with its 3D printed panels, and as bursting with potential as the Colossus.

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Medical makers: 3D printed prostheses, junkbot operating theaters, and networked mutual aid


In Paging Dr. MacGyver, Julian Smith profiles a wide range of medical makers, from patients to carers to doctors, each of whom has homebrewed some important piece of medical or therapeutic equipment. From DIY prosthetic limbs to the wonderful Dr Oluyombo Awojobi, whose rural Nigerian clinic is graced with a collection of his brilliant improvised devices built from scrap, Smith makes the case for a networked world where medical needs, ingenuity, and a spirit of mutual aid and collaboration are offering new opportunities for making each other healthy.

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Wearable planters: 3D printed translucent jewelry, with plants!


Etsy seller Wearableplanter has a wide range of 3D printed planters: rings, jewelry -- even bicycle vases! They're intended for use with succulents, small flowers, and sprouts. They're watertight and translucent, and you can see the roots through the material.

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Edible sugar 3D printer at CES

3D Systems' display at this year's CES included the ChefJet 3D printer, whose output medium is flavored (chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon) sugar (it's softened with water and set with alcohol). The monochrome version is less than $5,000, and a full-color version will ship later this year at less than $10K. It's marketed at the food industry, and comes with simple modelling software. The technology's come a long way since the Evil Mad Scientists came up with the CandyFab five years ago. (via Singlarity Hub)

Complain about overpriced plastic dingus and a stranger will model a free 3D printable version


Back in April, a redditor complained that a simple plastic cable-comb (used to bundle cables) was too expensive at $45. Later that day, WillySF modelled a printable cable comb and linked to the shape files (1, 2). It's a bit of a futuristic moment, no?

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