Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I'm working on a new design for a homebrew CNC mill.  At roughly a 2x3 feet cutting area, I'll be able to use this to produce larger parts than I've been able with my 3D printers and smaller CNC machines.

I came up with a low-cost, DIY solution for anti-backlash nuts.  These, along with a lead screw, transfer the stepper motor's radial motion to linear motion for each axis - and are typically pretty expensive and hard to source with custom dimensions/specifications.  The ones I came up with, pictures above, total about $3.00 each, and are solely made up of components sourced from my local True Value hardware store!

I'm waiting to finalize the mill design until some of the pre-fabbed components arrive in the mail.  I'll then do some mock-ups and double-check measurements to make sure cutting parts and the final assembly will go smoothly.

I'll post more updates in July, when I return from overseas!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


A week from today my partner, Louisa, and I leave for China, where I am to speak at BIT's First Annual 3D Printing Conference in Dalian.  While in China, we're also spending time in Shanghai and Beijing.  Because I'm a geek, and the fact that this is my first time leaving the western hemisphere, I mapped out our journey:

First Stop: Los Angeles, USA.  Technically we just have a layover in LA, but it is long enough that we'll be able to hang out for a few hours and visit Louisa's brother.

Second Stop: Shanghai, China.  A good half of our journey will take place in this grand city.  I'm simultaneously thrilled and nervous to set foot in the largest city in the world...

Third Stop: Beijing, China.  We'll be taking a bullet train to Beijing, where we plan on seeing the Great Wall and exploring more generally Chinese customs in one of the country's best-known cultural hubs.

Final Stop: Dalian, China.  A business city - where the 3D Printing conference is taking place.  As Dalian is a coastal city, Louisa and I plan on finishing our adventure with a swim in the Pacific Ocean.

While our itinerary is relatively sparse (this is by design, as we wanted plenty of time for general meandering) I have found a few places I'd like to check out while in Shanghai, including:

DFRobot:  China's equivalent to Sparkfun, with offices in the Pundong district of Shanghai.

Xin Che Jian:  China’s first hackerspace.  I am hoping to attend one of their regular workshops in DIY hardware, software and/or digital fabrication.

Beijing Lu:  This district is Shanghai's largest marketplace for electronics and hardware.  Perhaps my most highly anticipated destination!

I'll be blogging my travel experiences during/after my trip!