A few days ago I posted about the Sugru exhibit at World Maker Faire and mentioned how handy it is for quick, or permanent, repairs.
Here's another example that Mac and iPad/iPod users will be able to instantly identify with. Using Sugru to provide protection and strain relief on an Apple power cable.
Sugru, as it comes out of the package is very malleable and is easy to form into the shape you want with your fingers. Then, over time, it air cures and becomes just as durable as more traditional rubber products.
Tools for every purpose…
It’s always fun to start a new project. Sometimes they are very practical and solve a problem, sometimes they are educational and help us to learn something new, and more often than not they’re a great excuse to buy new tools.
Events like this are great because they expose you to new tool suppliers. And, you get to meet the experts – people that are really skilled at using the tools. They are extremely approachable, and always willing to answer your questions or give you advice on your projects. Doesn’t matter whether you’re working in electronics, 3-D printing, robotic’s, woodworking, or even sewing and crafting.
Wood working tools
Inkjet Printed Flexible Circuits
Would be great for prototyping and for hacking if you could just print out your electronic circuits with your inkjet printer at home? That’s not possible yet, but Microsoft Research Labs is already doing it and they expect the technology to be commonly available in the not-too-distant future.
At World Maker Faire in New York City last month, they were showing off they have already been able to accomplish, and some of the applications that they feel it will be suited for. Put very simply, what they’re doing is using an inkjet head very similar to the one in your printer at home to print conductive ink on flexible substrates.
Flexible inkjet printed circuits
Usually when we talk about hacking electronic circuits and wires we’re referencing the people that bend circuits, but the folks at DIWire have a totally different approach. They’re are actually in the business of bending wires. Their new 3-D wire printer bends wires into curves that can be assembled to construct almost anything.
DIWire 3D Wire Bender
Practical uses for the printer include artistic design, small assemblies, organizers, and anything else you might want to put together with bended wire. It’s hard to tell exactly what uses it will be put to until it’s available to users and they get some time with it. It’s one of those interesting products that you know once people start to use that they will come up with things that are really surprising.
At this point the product is still a prototype. You can go to their website and give them your email address and other contact information so they can let you know soon as the product’s available. And, they expect to have a Kickstarter project active within the next month or so.
Low cost R/C hackable plane
Makers are constantly coming up with new ideas and ways to bring their dreams to reality without having to spend a lot of money. The good example is the folks at Brooklyn Aerodrome. Their basic concept was to put together a very low-cost RC airplane.
Of course they had a lot of failures and ran into a lot of brick walls in the process, but in a surprisingly short period of time they managed to put together a plane that would actually fly. Once they finish the initial testing and put some videos up on YouTube, the response was beyond their wildest dreams. Lots of people, all across the globe, wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Their design, which uses very cheap material for the airplane body, is open source. You can easily get the parts list, instructions, and advice from active builders via their website. And, if you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding all parts individually yourself, a kit is available online in the MakerShed. Of course the kit is with more expensive than hacking it together yourself, But some people will definitely want to go that route.
Prop & motor close up.
The Emergency Antenna Platform System is an innovative robotic solution to a problem that most people don't realise they have - until disaster strikes.
The system, specifically designed for use in natural, and unnatural, emergency situations, like the 2011 Japan earthquake. When a disaster of that magnitude strikes unexpectedly, as it did in March that year, there's an immediate need to communicate with the rest of the world outside of the impacted area.
The emergency antenna platform, which is surprisingly light and easy to deploy, utilizes a simple roller wheel approach to climb any available telephone or light pole, carrying a ham radio antenna. It's totally self contained, including a battery pack that enables it to keep running even when power to the area has been cut off.