Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Doodling in 3D

Don't worry, he's mostly harmless! Basílio, a goodfella, a Lobster, a good friend and a Google SketchUp ninja!
Well, yesterday was AltLab meetup day, and the plan was: make a 3D model of an X axis carriage for a mini-mendel.
It was a success! After a few hours using Google SketchUp, we've managed to create a darn good looking carriage. The next step will be print it and assemble it.

Mini-Mendel X Axis mini-carriage

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm not in the mood...

At least it's what she said! Violeta... the printer, I mean :)
From the beginning, tuesday it's meeting day at AltLab and I've discussed with Mauricio the possibility of using the Mini-Mendel with an adapter, a Pen Holder to write the pcb's layouts. The X axis carriage from the Mini-Mendel was disassembled and after I've finished assemble it, it looked a little wobbly, and we don't want a wobbly printer!
So, Thingiverse to the rescue, and we found the Mendel Mini-Carriage, and of we go... to the Makerbot!!!
This was my first interaction with a 3d Printer, and everything went well... until... when the print reached about 1cm of height, the extruder decided stop the extrusion... damn!
We started over, but there was a suspicion over the laptop, so we've tried using the SD Card to print... it didn't work! Now the suspect is the version 3 firmware... and the laptop... it's a cabala or lack of luck :p
Did we give up? No, of course not, we've selected a smaller piece of the Mini-Carriage and pressed "BUILD", and all went as expected, the first piece of the Mini-carriage was a success!
Let's try another... and all went well.. until the 1cm of height... the extruder failed again :p
It was getting late, so we've closed the shop for the day... err... night.
But not everything was lost, we've plotted a plan to develop a Gen8 electronics, just wait for it :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Piccolo... ma non troppo

Piccolo it's the Italian word to describe a small thing, but size doesn't matter, small thing can surprise you! Take a look at this...

Piccolo is a pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform. For less than $70, you can assemble your personal Arduino-compatible kit for tinkering, developing and deploying basic 3D output. Be it plotting quick graffiti, printing a one-off business card on the fly, or multiple Piccolos working together to create a large mural, this kit provides a platform for experimenting with 2D or 3D digital fabrication at a small scale. This open-source design emphasizes simplicity, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.

Tiago Rorke | Diatom Studio,
Greg Saul | Diatom Studio,
Cheng Xu | CMU CoDe Lab,
Huaishu Peng | CMU CoDe Lab,

music: Wet Wings - Last Day of Summer |

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A 3D printer in your pocket!!!

Well, kind of, it depends how deep your pockets are!
This is Tantillus, a portable self replicable mini printer.
Brad (aka Sublime) went on vacations and brought along his Prusa, there's no need to say... it's big, clunky and not so portable.
He decided to create a mini Ultimaker and this is his prototype.
The building area is very similar to the original Makerbot in a quite smaller package (225mm x 225mm x 300mm), simply amazing :)
You can find more detailed pictures here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A great timelapse!

While investigating about RepRap builds, I came across with this time lapse, take a peek ;)

Complete TimeLapse of the assembly of a 3D Printer.

3D Printer-Manufacturer:
Derivation of the RepRap Prusa Mendel:


Builders: Bob Meltzer & Victor van Spaandonk

Thursday, February 9, 2012

RepRap Gen7 PCB... check!

Today went back to AltLab for a little learning experience. A great friend of mine, Fernando Afonso, came to Lisbon to the launch of MEO Kanal, a product he helped bringing to life.

Since he was here, he was invited by AltLab to give a small workshop on "PCB Making... The Fernando Afonso way". :)

The method used was Toner Transfer, where you print the circuit layout with a laser printer on cheap magazine paper (the more glossier is better), then, with the toner side over the copper side and woot... the "sandwich" off it go into a slightly modified laminator (around 10 times) and the it's submerged in freezing cold water.

The low quality magazine paper it's easily scrubbed off the pcb and it's ready to the acid bath.
We used Acid Cupric Chloride as etchant, when the pcb is submerged  it turns into a... kryptonite green... spooky I say!

In the end we've got a Generation 7 Electronics pcb for the Prusa Air... next step, buy the components and soldering it :D

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

With my little eye I see...

Yesterday was meeting day at AltLab. The lair was packed with t(h)inkerers, from guys fixing an audio amp, other trying to burn one atmega to use on a Gen7 pcb, freshly made, for his reprap, or should I call it repstrap?? His ambitious plan is building a 3D printer with recycled parts... He has already scavenged some printers for motors and rods! I can't wait to see the result.
But something caught my attention, Mónica Mendes using DIY microscopes! She hacked some poor webcams, well, some say lucky webcams (me included), and she was taking a peek into leafs, and I say, nature always amazes me.
Suddenly, at midnight the lights went out... a little piezoesc song starts to play... wait... that's "happy birthday to you" song.... and there it is, a delicious chocolate cake, garnished with some led throwies (what you expected?!?) appeared, Maurício's birthday!!! He got a surprise ehehe!!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

3D Printer = JAIL!

At least in one of the short stories written by one of my favorite authors, Cory Doctorow . 
“Printcrime” is a 2006 science fiction short story about man who goes to prison for illegal printing.
Can you imagine that? Well, maybe in a distant future... or not, but I'll bet the same thing happened when Prohibition was instated in the U.S., no one predicted it, for sure!
If you love sci-fi, and especially if the technology described in it is quite tangible or current bleeding edge, you'll find in his books a not so distant future.
One thing you'll be surprised is the possibility of download for free all of his books... you've read it right... F-R-E-E, as in nienti, nada, libre, मुक्त, bure... well, you've got it by now :)
Now, you go read the story and the reason why he wrote it in here, and... you'll read it all the books afterwards. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Will it Blender?

No, this post it's not about the Blender from Blendtec. If I'm going to build a 3D printer, I will need to learn how to make complex objects in 3D on my computer, right?
So, before taking a peek in for recommended software, I took a look at Blender... no, not Bender Bending Rodriguez from Futurama, it's Blender, an Open Source creation suite, offering a broad range of essential tools for the creation of 3D content, including modeling, uv-mapping, texturing, rigging, skinning, animation, particle and other simulation, scripting, rendering, compositing, post-production, and game creation... It's not per se a CAD tool, but it can be used for it :)
And guess what arrived at my mailbox early in the morning... A 7 hour workshop "Blender Beginners Class" by AltLab!!!! I've enrolled already, I can't wait for it :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Prusa Air... good lookin' hein?

Isn't she pretty? this is a rendering of a Prusa Air, a variation from the Prusa Mendel which it was already a simpler variation of the Mendel.
This is the printer I'll be building this semester, so, now I'm looking thru my social network, ways of cutting the acrylic.
Meanwhile, I may have found even more partners in crime... building wise and as members of AltLab... who knows?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hackerspace FTW!

Well, finally I've payed a visit to AltLab, a small hackerspace here in Lisbon. And what's an hackerspace? Imagine a room packed with tools, usable "junk" and the most important thing of all... t(h)inkerers :)
Maurício Martins (the coordinator of  AltLab ) introduced me to Tiago Rorke, a guru on ReplicatorG, Skeinforge, GCode and Makerbot operator.
For 3 hours, I watched and learned  how important is the calibration of the printer, the ability to control all variables involved in 3D printing.
Can't wait to get back :D