Watch these cool sphericons roll across a table

From our friends at Futility Closet:

Fit two identical 90-degrees cones base to base, slice the resulting shape in half vertically, and give one of the halves a quarter turn. The result is a sphericon, a solid that rolls with a bemusing meander: Where the original double cone rolls only in circles, the sphericon puts first one conical sector and then the other in contact with a flat surface beneath it, giving it a smooth but undulating trajectory sustained by a fixed center of mass.

And that’s just the start. “Two sphericons placed next to each other can roll on each other’s surfaces,” writes David Darling in The Universal Book of Mathematics. “Four sphericons arranged in a square block can all roll around one another simultaneously. And eight sphericons can fit on the surface of one sphericon so that any one of the outer solids can roll on the surface of the central one.”

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Robot millipede printed by 3D printer that can spew out multiple materials

It's historically been tough and slow-going to 3D print objects made from multiple materials. Now, Harvard researchers developed an ingenious nozzle that enables the 3D printer to spew out eight different materials at the resolution of a human hair. To demonstrate the system, they printed fantastic flexible origami structures and even a "soft" robotic millipede from a variety of epoxy and silicone elastomer inks. Mark A. Skylar-Scott, Jochen Mueller, and their colleagues from Harvard's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering presented their work in the scientific journal Nature: "Voxelated soft matter via multimaterial multinozzle 3D printing"

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Learn to 3D print your own sneakers in just a few minutes

This modern cobbler shows us how to make a smart pair of sneakers using a Prusa i3 MK2 3D printer, some fabric, and a few other household tools and materials. Definitely worth a try! Read the rest

Cool hand-cranked laser show made from 3D printed parts

Evan built this nifty mechanical laser show on his 3D printer. The gizmo has two rotating cams that tilt a laser pointer up and down and from side to side in such a way that it draws different 3D shapes. In this video he explains the math behind it. You can download the model at Thingiverse

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Source: carbon monoxide identified in deaths of California couple, cats

Update: According to a source close to the family, a toxicology report is complete and indicates carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death. What produced the gas, though, remains unconfirmed.

A young couple and two cats found dead in their Berkeley, Calif., apartment may have been overcome by fumes vented from a "3D printer", reports CBS News. 35-year-old Roger Morash and 32-year-old Valerie Morash were discovered in the morning by a visitor.

The source said that the couple was using a laser 3-D printer that was venting into their residence. Symptoms and signs consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning were found in their bodies.

Police evacuated the apartment building and called in PG&E and the fire department’s hazardous materials team to look for a gas leak or some other hazard but no contaminant was found.

There's some alarm online about the identification of a 3D printer as generating carbon monoxide (the fine particles are a known risk). CBS News's law enforcement source probably misidentified a another kind of machine, such as a CNC or laser cutter, more likely to vent dangerous fumes.

There's a crowdfunding effort underway to support the victims' families; SFGate reports that a memorial for the Morashes was held Saturday. Read the rest

New Matter's MOD-t 3D printer on sale for $(removed)

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed New Matter's MOD-t 3D printer. It was $(removed) at the time, but the price has temporarily dropped to $(removed). This is a great deal for an excellent 3D printer. I've been using mine like crazy since I got it. Read the rest

3D printers needed to crowdsource a giant Rosie the Riveter

Todd writes, "We the Builders brings together 3D printer operators from all over the world to create sculptures that inspire makers. Our sculptures have toured maker-related events of all sizes around the northeastern United States, from local STEAM education events all the way to the White House. They are crowd-sourced, made up of hundreds of pieces 3D printed by people like you, and then mailed to Baltimore." Read the rest

Using my 3D printer to fix broken stuff around the house

I'm slowly getting the hang of using my 3D printer to make useful things. Last week, I made sliders for the legs on our pool chairs. This weekend, I made a doohickey to hold our freezer's ice cube container lid in place. The container would often crash to the floor when the freezer door was opened because a plastic hook had broken off. It took me a lot of trial-and-error to make this little doohickey (my failed prototypes are in the picture below) but once I arrived at a solution that worked, it felt good!

If, for some reason, you want the 3D model, I put it on Thingiverse. Read the rest

I finally 3D printed something useful

We have two 30-year-old poolside chairs. They might be 40 years old. They are excellent metal chairs with adjustable backs. The problem was that the plastic sliders on the bottom of the legs had long ago disintegrated, leaving nothing but bare metal. So, when my wife or kids dragged the chairs across the concrete, the legs would make a brain-curdling screeching sound. I had been thinking about making wooden plugs to stick into the hollow legs like corks, but then I realized I could easily make custom sliders with my 3D printer. Read the rest

The $100 Peachy 3D Printer is amazing

$100 buys you a snap-fit 3D printer. Whitney Hipolite of says the resin-based Peachy Printer is "amazing."

One of the great things about the Peachy Printer is that since it is only available in kit form, it can can be completely customized to the size you want. The build volume can be modified depending on the size of an object you need printed, and even the color resins can be mixed in order to create new colors. Want a yellow-green color? Then mix the perfect amount of yellow and green. Peachy Printer will offer 8 completely mixable colors.

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Makerbot announces three new 3D printers, including a massive 47.5cm tall monster

Yesterday at CES, Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis announced three new 3D printers, including a massive, fifth-generation Replicator capable of producing objects that are 45.7cm tall and 30.5cm wide/long. Interestingly, all three new models -- there's also a simple, one-button version and a desktop prosumer version -- sport clear plastic sides. 3D printers are very susceptible to disruption from even slight breezes (the wind cools the plastic between the nozzle and the previous layer) but there's a completely batshit patent on the totally obvious "invention" of putting see-through sides on a 3D printer, so in general printers don't ship with sides, and manufacturers don't publicly advise their customers to add plastic sides to their machines. Read the rest

Engraving a Klein bottle with an Eggbot

The Evil Mad Scientists were presented with a challenge: inscribe one of Cliff Stoll's hand-blown Klein bottles, an object of surpassing beauty and odd topology. They modified an Eggbot plotter to etch the surface of a Klein bottle with a diamond engraver attachment. Read the rest

Mug Marker: a cardboard robot that decorates mugs

The Mug Marker is a Don McRae's cardboard mug-decorating robot that uses an Eggbot-style EBB controller board and stepper motors to draw precise patterns on your favorite coffee-mug. Lenore from Evil Mad Scientists has a writeup on the design process and the way it performs. Read the rest

Scratch-building a keyboard

When Jesse Vincent's boss stole his beloved keyboard, it set him on a long journey to make his perfect and ideal keyboard from scratch (ish -- he bought the keycaps premade). This slide deck documents nine generations of scratchbuilt keyboard prototypes. Vincent is now planning a Kickstarter based on his experiences, making some kind of custom keyboards for the world.

Building a keyboard from scratch

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Two-headed Makerbot: the Replicator 2X

MakerBot have announced an update to its Replicator 2 3D printer, this one an experimental model with two heads.