Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Holiday Break Makes

For the holidays I have roughly four weeks off from teaching.  That, coupled with a holiday season of gift-giving, has given me the opportunity to make tons of smaller-scale projects in the studio.  I thought I'd post an overview of some of the things I've been making... I'll try to come back later to detail some of the more interesting projects.

The first holiday gift I worked on was this "Heart Milwaukee" wall piece.  Louisa and I designed this for her brother and his wife. I created a mask by laser cutting masking tape, then sprayed the exposed wood with an acrylic clear coat.  I removed the tape and stained the entire piece.  The clear coat acted as a stain resist, giving contrasting values in the wood grain.  Notice the shape of Milwaukee County....

My next Holiday Project was designing this angel cat tree-topper.  When we got our tree, Louisa jokingly said "We need a cat for the top."  Eight hours later we had one!  More details on thingiverse, here.

Louisa's sister in-law has a chocolate lab, Dixie, and is obsessed with labs in general. I decided what she needed was some lab-themed bling.  Made from laser cut acrylic, brass chain, and acrylic jewels.

Though intended for a human, it looks pretty good on Dixie, too.

I also had fun making custom boxes for gifts!

On the topic of boxes, my next project was creating a custom case for an iphone-camera lens kit I put together for Louisa.

Made from a recycled Tea Box.  I modified the dividers, added latching magnets, a handle, and foam inserts to protect the equipment!

Next up: fixing a NES cart for my brother, Joe.  This cart had a dead coin cell battery, which disabled its save-game capability.  I replaced the dead battery with a fresh one.  I also added a modified battery-holder, so in 15 years Joe can replace it again!

I also created a custom chess set for my dad.  More info on thingiverse, here.

For a white elephant party gift, I created this laser-cut capacitive touch led lamp.  I used an ATTINY85 chip for capacitive sensing and LED actuation.  This was a fun project.... I'll definitely post more about this later.

A little video demo of the lamp.

Finally, I created these last-minute keepsakes to bring as gifts for a post-holiday dinner party.  I reused the same graphic from the wall-piece earlier in this post.  This was made by laser-cutting the design from 1/8" black acrylic and 1/8" plywood, then swapping the pieces. This was fun, but became quite a little puzzle to put back together.

I'll have to come back soon and post more details and process shots from some of these projects.  Until then, happy holidays, and happy new year!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

3d printed tree cats are people, too.

Woke up this morning to a nearly finished angel cat. At 5.5 inches and 11 hour print  time, this is the largest and longest print I've done so far on my Up! Printer.

Well worth the material and wait.  This came out flawlessly.

A tree-topper I can be truly proud of.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cats are people, too.

Louisa asked the other day, while decorating our holiday tree, if we could put a cat on top instead of an angel (her and I share a deep passion for cats).  I couldn't resist.

This was created mostly by mashing together parts of other open-source models.  More details, as well as the STL file, can be found on Thingiverse, here.

The first print is under way right now, on my Up! Printer.  I'll post some shots when it's completed tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Robot genealogy.

Using my Prusa i3 variant to print parts for a custom i3 design.  This is for a workshop/residency I'll be doing at a school in Iowa in January.

This printer will be the official grandson of the Mendel Max I built 2 years ago.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Poor man's lathe.

For a new experimental 3d printer project I've been casually working on, I needed some pulleys for belt idlers.  I decided to try to turn my own from 608 bearings.  Since I don't yet own a lathe, I came up with the following method using a rotary tool and drill press...

Required hardware: 5/16th rod + 2 nuts, two washers that cover the entire face of the bearing (this will hold the bearing in the drill press) and a thick abrasive disc for shaping the bearing.

Bearing held in drill press.

Beginning to shape the bearing as it spins on the press...

The result:  a (rough) pulley bearing!

Photoshop madlibs

After familiarizing my 2D digital design students with selection tools and layer management in photoshop, we began my favorite exercise: photoshop madlibs.

Each student picks words from bins I set up, and will create a premise for a scene.

The next step is composing a scene in photoshop based on that premise.  Can't wait to see what they come up with!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quick and dirty CPU case

For the past few months, the computer I use for my rapid prototyping station has looked like this.  No tower, just a motherboard, power supply and hard drive in a pile.  I finally got around to creating a slightly less precarious setup.

I grabbed a sheet of cast acrylic for about 10 bucks from Home Depot.

I cut it into squares, and drilled holes to accommodate four foot-long 5/16" threaded rods (about $2 a pop from Local hardware store).

Using zip ties and 6-32 bolts (these are compatible with most CPU tower components) I secured each item to its own "shelf" and bolted said shelves together with the threaded rod.

Not the most novel solution, but it'll do just fine for now.  Also made for a good excuse to update my blog, as I've had little time to work on anything else this week.

Upgrade to rapid prototyping station complete.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wearables project: Rapid prototyping

Fresh print with support material still attached.

Support material removed and tentative white foam rubber padding added.

I can see right away that many tweaks to this design will be necessary.  The front part of the form looks okay, and is similar to what I had in mind.

But the back side of the form is bulky, awkward, and slightly uncomfortable.  Francois agrees.

Compared to original paper model. 

I may have to start over, but considering this process only took a few hours, I'm happy to learn from mistakes and have another go at it.  This is the beauty of rapid prototyping!