Good day, dear reader! Might I interest you in in a chance to cultivate your cultural side? Would you be interested in indulging in a bit of art? If so, then indeed, the Midsouth gentle Makers will be hosting just the event for you! At Noon on the 10th day of September in the year 2011, it will be our pleasure to host a class on sculpture. Those in possession of minds sharp enough to participate can look forward to the opportunity to construct an elegant luna moth, such as the one represented in the following depiction:
This will be an intermediate level class, but it should prove simple enough for any clever rapscallion who genuinely wishes to participate. We are charging a paltry $20 per person to partake in this opulent opportunity. This cost must be pre-paid prior to the occurrence of the class, because the cost will go towards the procurement of the appropriate materials. Those of keen mind can sign up at the following link: http://www.midsouthmakers.org/events/
We encourage our participants to provide any extra embellishments they might wish to use to distinguish their sculptures. Specifically, the discerning sculptor might want to bring some flat backed cabochons, or “glass beads” as the Plebeians say, that can withstand temperatures of at least 300°F to embellish their creation. Lastly, were you to be so fortunate as to possess sculpting tools already, such as an acrylic rolling pin or brayers, we would humbly ask that you bring these along with you to the class. We sincerely look forward to the honor of your presence!
I get a lot of blank stares and strange looks when I tell people that I am working on a 3D printer. As such I’d like to set out to explain what one is as well as show off what I’ve completed on mine thus far.
So you ask, “What exactly is one of them there 3-Dee printer things you’re talking about?” In short, it is a rapid prototyping machine. Since I’m sure that clears it all up and removes any further questions you have in your mind, I’m done here and everyone’s good to move on to the next blog right? No of course not. The best explanation I have is it’s a machine that takes a plastic material, melts it down, and places a thin layer of the melted plastic one layer at a time until you have a finished object. It is a printer that works like your old school inkjet printer but also moves on a 3rd axis to make non flat prints.
The idea is as follows. What do you do when you want to develop some brand new, earth shattering, world stopping, sign of the apocalypse product that has never been in existence before and it needs a custom part that even Nostradamus didn’t predict? You design it of course, in your favorite 3D modeling software like Google Sketchup or Blender or any of the other dozens that are out there. The show stopper before was how you went from a digital model to something tangible that you could hold in your hands and break if you are one of those accident prone individuals. It always meant that you had to go pay some exorbitant amount for a machine shop to make you just one of that item, and heaven forbid that item didn’t fit the needs on the first round. I’m sure you can imagine where the price would go up rather quickly in development. So why not just make it out of cheaper material and something that works just well enough to serve as a proof of concept. Well, that’s exactly what the 3D printer does for you.
A handful of months ago two of the other members at our hackerspace and myself all decided we wanted to build our own Prusa 3D printers. No real defined reason behind it other than we knew we wanted our own printers, and that if we had one it would open new possibilities to us. Since there is no real completion point for these things, it would simply be that once we had it “working” we could use it to create new items and repair or replace old ones that were no longer available. That in a nutshell is the appeal of having such a device and the driving force behind our continued development of them. One of the single most awesome things about this particular printer that we are building, the Prusa. Is that it’s relatively cheap, easily reproducible, modular, and upgradeable. Currently we are in the process of getting them fine tuned and working to some extent. From there we’ll be able to spend further time using it to upgrade itself and improve it’s quality. Expect to see more details in the near future right here on my very own blog enlightening all of the saga of blood, sweat, tears, cursing, and agony that is the way of life a homemade 3D prototyping machine is.
Sonny recently shared his current progress of his UAV Quad Copter project and included a test flight video.
So today I had my first real flights with my quadcopter UAV. The setup is pretty advanced and it takes a lot to get up to speed. I’ve learned a lot from my build. I made custom printed PLA motor mounts, which have worked out really well to hold them on the end of aluminum pipes. Unfortunately the cross in the middle which is also PLA could not handle the rough landings and cracked. I’ve secured it for the time being, but I think I’ll be milling something better Wednesday. If I can work out the stability issues, I’ll bring it Friday. Anyway, check out the first flight/set of flights.
Ben sent me this writeup of his progress on his Rep Rap Prusa printer. Here’s his progress using one of the teensyduinos that PJRC: Electronic Projects with Components sent us.
I am currently building a rep rap Prusa 3D printer and one feature I want to add is a Graphic Display to display the nozzle temperature and the heated bed temperature. Once I had the Teensy in my hands, I rummaged through my parts bin and found a 128×64 graphic LCD.
As an Arduino newbie, I was blown away how easy the Arduino environment is to get up and running. Within minutes, I was able to get the IDE installed and the Libraries installed for the Teensy.
Using the GLCD example on the Teensy’s website, I populated my breadboard. The Crystal Fontz LCD (CFAG12864B-YYH-N) I used in the project has the NT7107C driver, not the KS0108 found in the GLCD example. The pin out on the Display ended up being different, but worked just fine.
My plans are to use the I2C output on the GEN7 Prusa electronics to send the temperature data to the Teensy over the i2c bus. For prototyping, I used the “Bus Pirate” to send i2c commands to the teensy to simulate the GEN7 electronics.
This Friday February 18th at Republic Coffee we’ll have members showing off their Arduino projects and answering questions about the Arduino platform. We’ve had a lot of interest in getting started with various Arduino boards so come learn more about the great things you can do with an open source platform.
What is an Arduino? Arduino is a physical computing platform and a software development environment for controlling various things like motors, sensors and even entire devices. The hardware and development environment are open source and there is a very large community of developers and hardware hackers out there working on projects. The hardware is also quite inexpensive. There are also “Getting Started” kits that are a package of items to help you hit the ground running with your Arduino.