Hacking Micro Copters – Flying Dragons

150516 Maker Faire Flying Dragon 1

I guess it isn’t too surprising, but it hadn’t occurred to me how easily cheap off-the-shelf items like micro-copters can be hacked. At the Bay Area Maker Faire, I ran across quite a few of the under USD$100 mini drones that had been modified by replacing their standard frames with custom designed 3D printed bodies.

A good example is the Dragon Drone pictured above. As long as you maintain the basic geometry, keep the body weight to a minimum and keep it balanced, the modified drone should fly almost as well as the original multi-copter.

Birds, eagles, dragons, UFOs… what will you make fly?

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Is 3D Printing Practical and Accessible? They Think So. (Video)

Get a look at 3D printing at the Boise Public Library  YouTube

People are always asking me if I think that 3D printing will become pervasive, if the average person would have any need or interest in printing out items. Being a strong believer in the proverb that “Seeing is believing”, I think this video that shows a Boise, Idaho father and daughter printing a custom wall outlet cover at their local public library says it all:

Of course, there will be those readers that question whether or not government funds should be provided to libraries for services like this - but that’s a totally different debate.

Via: Get a look at 3D printing at the Boise Public Library - YouTube

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Robosavvy Robotics Founder Limor Schweitzer Featured on Fox Business (Video)

 Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video

Robosavvy founder Limor Schweitzer was featured on Fox Business discussing the impact of 3D printing on robot design and manufacturing.

Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video 1

Schweitzer compared the cost of some well known research robots, which can run from $30k to over $1 million, versus much more accessible 3D printed humanoids in the $1,000-$3,000 range.

Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video 2

To illustrate his points, Schweitzer brought along two robots - Franky, a surprisingly complex and capable humanoid (closeup below), and Fonzie, a dancing and entertainment humanoid featuring the 3D printed head of Jason Bradbury - host of the UK Gadget Show program.

Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video 3

Here’s the full interview:

 

 

 

 

Via: Creating a robot with a 3D printer | Fox Business Video

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Great Makerbot Digitizer Sale Deal – 32% Discount

MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner | Maker Shed

I’m not sure why, especially since the product was just announced a couple months ago, but the Maker Shed currently has a super sale deal running for the Makerbot Digitizer. The standard list price of $1399.99 is discounted by 32% to $949.99 until New Years Eve.

The new scanner isn’t for everyone, as I mentioned in previous posts, but if you have the need to create 3D printable models from existing figurines or small items, this is a great deal.

One surprise that I wasn’t previously aware of is that the Makerbot Digitizer isn’t available for shipment to Japan, along with many other countries, due to restrictions on the laser used by the digitiser. Hopefully Makerbot will be able to sort that out soon.

Via: MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner | Maker Shed

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MakerBot Explorers Podcast Debut Episode (Video)

MakerBot Explorers Podcast  Episode 001  YouTube

How many start-up CEO’s do you know that host a podcast? Not many, for sure. As of today you can add Bre Pettis, the CEO and co-founder of Makerbot Industries to that short but illustrious list of podcasting CEOs.

In the inaugural episode of the new MakerBot Explorers podcast, Bre interacts with Corey Renner, Tom Burtonwood, and Thomas Lipoma to find out what they’ve been doing and creating with their Makerbot 3D printers. 

Via: MakerBot Explorers Podcast - Episode 001 - YouTube

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MakerBot Academy – Putting 3D Printers in All US Schools

Announcement | MakerBot Academy and America s Classrooms

Makerbot and America Makes jointly announced “Makerbot Academy”, a new initiative to support and strengthen American schools and STEM education. A big part of the initiative centres around giving students access to technology to foster interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm in STEM.

The new Makerbot Academy, with support from donors, plans to place thousands of 3D printers in schools across the nation. Here’s the opening text of the announcement:

We’re proud to announce MakerBot Academy, an educational mission to put a MakerBot® Desktop 3D Printer in every school in the United States of America.

The first MakerBot Academy initiative includes 3D printing bundles for classrooms, an awesome Thingiverse Challenge, and generous support from individuals and organizations.

What You Can Do

1. Get the word out. Tell the teachers you know to register at DonorsChoose.org.

2. Support a school. Contribute to the effort by choosing a teacher; help get them set for the Next Industrial Revolution.

3. Participate in the Thingiverse Challenge. Develop models that teachers can use to improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Responding to a Presidential Call to Action

At this year’s State Of The Union address, President Obama announced a new initiative to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. He affirmed, “3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America.”

We’re inspired by the President’s commitment to keep America at the forefront of the Next Industrial Revolution and we’re eager to do our part to educate the next generation of innovative makers who will keep our economy strong.

Let’s Get MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers into American Schools

Together with America Makes, and by leveraging the crowdfunding power of DonorsChoose.org, we’re launching our first MakerBot Academy initiative:  Get thousands of MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printers into K-12 public school classrooms across the country — by December 31, 2013!

Via: Announcement | MakerBot Academy and America’s Classrooms

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Rapid 3d Printed Circuit Board System Promises a Wide Range of Substrates – Kickstarter

The EX¹  rapid 3D printing of circuit boards by Cartesian Co  Kickstarter

This Kickstarter project uses an innovative approach to produce 3D printed circuit boards on a wide range of different substrate materials.

It won’t meet everyone’s needs, and the long term reliability of the circuits it produces is still to be established, but if you do a lot of circuit board prototyping or want to explore more exotic applications like wearable electronics, this project might be just the ticket.

No etching, no harsh chemicals, and almost zero lead-time. Just print out your circuit board design using the two-pass system and you’re ready to install the components and test.

 

Via: The EX¹ - rapid 3D printing of circuit boards by Cartesian Co. — Kickstarter

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Bare-Bones Entry-Level 3D Printing – Kickstarter

The Peachy Printer  The First $100 3D Printer  Scanner by Rinnovated Design  Kickstarter

Want to get involved with 3D printing but don't have a big enough budget to buy even one of the current low-cost machines? If you aren't particular about the print quality or size, and don't mind waiting quite a while for delivery, then you might find the Peachy Printer Kickstarter project just what you've been looking for.

The design approach is minimalist, to say the least, and was originally hacked together using parts that Rylan Grayston happened to have laying around on his workbench. It looks very much like a school science project - which I'm not negative or being critical about. Actually I admire his ingenuity and creativity quite a bit.

 

The Peachy Printer  The First $100 3D Printer  Scanner by Rinnovated Design  Kickstarter 1

Rylan, with some help and assistance from his local hackerspace, managed to put together a resin based 3D printer that actually produces parts of surprising quality - surprising given the total lack of precision mechanical drives or other commonly used techniques. Instead of using a z-axis drive mechanism, Rylan decided to keep the build platform stationary while slowly increasing the resin level, drop by drop. By counting the number of drops that fall in the build container, and knowing the container dimensions, his application calculates the current resin level and drives the resin curing laser accordingly.

He eliminated the need for a dedicated micro controller and other electronics by using the audio headphone and microphone jacks on his PC. Of course, this approach is marginally robust and requires that you don't use your PC for anything else while printing - but it does work, which is brilliant.

At first I was a bit concerned that The Peachy Printer Kickstarter project might be a scam, but after watching the introductory video and looking at the associated photos, I decided that it's probably real. In any case the cost is extremely low - basically CAN$100 for one of the Peachy Printer kits.

As I mentioned above, if you do decide to back the project be prepared to wait a while. Most of the reward options have dates in the Fall of 2014 - about a year out at this point in time.

How's Rylan doing so far? Pretty good actually. The initial project funding goal was CAN$50,000, which he needed to improve some of the design and to order parts for the printers. As of October 12th, with 8 more days left to go, he has totally blown away the goal and clocked up CAN$591,450 all ready.

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