Archive for the ‘3D Printing’ Category

Make Your Own Non-Transitive Dice at Home

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I recently discovered a YouTube channel called “Numberphile” where a documentary filmmaker Brady Haran does a series of short interviews and clips with different mathematicians and physicists about numbers.  Since my short description simply does not do this series justice – please take a few minutes and watch this recent video of theirs about how Richard Feyman defeated every government safe in Los Alamos.

Many of the videos in this series feature James Grime, a mathematician who recently invented a new kind of non-transitive dice as well as several games you can play with them.  That is, several games you can play with them and always win.  Non-transitive dice are designed in such a way that the first die will always tend to beat the second, the second will always tend to beat the third, and the third will always tend to beat the first.  Efron dice designed by American statistician Brad Efron and feature the same “circular pattern of victory” – but with four dice.  Grime dice by Numberphile star Professor James Grime feature five dice which have a similar “circular pattern of victory” with additional interesting properties.

Encouraged by Professor Grime’s infectious enthusiasm, I designed three sets of printable non-transitive dice (three non-transitive dice, four Efron dice, and five Grime dice) which you can print on your MakerBot at home – either as dice where you color in the pips or which you can print with dualstrusion.

By the way, my favorite part from any of these videos is where Professor Grime talks about how he thought up these dice in his mind, and now they occupy a real physical place in the world since he had them created.  This video includes a refrain any Thingiverse citizen is familiar with…  “I made a thing!”

(Also, please don’t use these dice for evil.  Remember that with great power, comes great responsibility.)

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Is It Just Us Or Is The Replicator 2 A 3D Mirror?

A 3D printer MakerBot Replicator 2 produces a sculpture at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover

Hey, we recognize that face!

This Wall Street Journal slide show has a cover photo of a really nice bust being printed on a MakerBot Replicator 2. It’s so good that when we put it on our Facebook page, the MakerBot Sales guys immediately noticed it’s the head of none other than our good friend Alexander Hafner, getting some attention at the CeBIT conference in Germany. The company Hafner’s Büro is a rockstar distributor for MakerBot.

Lookin’ good, Axel!


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MakerBotted Keys; Not Just For Handcuffs Anymore

Okay, we all read about the 3D printed key to open up handcuffs. Let’s shift the conversation, eh? What can a MakerBot do for your personal security?

There is an amazing series of lock mechanisms on Thingiverse, the latest appearing today from ttsalo (at the bottom of this post). A couple months ago, we all benefited from this Pin Tumbler Lock from atartanian. You should know that this lock is based on Thing-O-Fun’s Functional Pin Tumbler Lock Model, but it’s huge, like way bigger than any lock would need to be. Maybe you’re making an Alice in Wonderland playset with giant doors. Who knows?


The notes on the Thingiverse page say that IWorkInPixels plans to upload the OpenSCAD file so that we can make not just this lock, but also custom locks for ourselves.

More recently, user ttsalo in Finland started sharing designs for other locks. Here is one for a Lever Tumbler Lock.


In the video here, you can (just barely) see the bar at the base of the mechanism sliding in and out as the key is turned back and forth. With the right settings, and , that would be a pretty strong lock. Ttsalo didn’t stop there. Here’s a Fully Printable Padlock. On the Thingiverse page, he provides a lot of explanation about how to file and sand down certain elements of the whole mechanism make a fluid mechanism.


And now, for the pièce de résistance — no really, resistance — a Lockbox. What would fit in this? An engagement ring, maybe?



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What’s 3D Printing Got On Traditional Manufacturing?

Here’s a great review of some things that have been made with 3D printing devices, focusing on items that are much easier to achieve with a 3D printer than with traditional manufacturing. The list includes several hot items on Thingiverse. Our friend George Hart also gets a well-deserved shoutout for his impressive trailblazing on machines like The Replicator.

Fantastic mathematical sculpture by George Hart

3D-printed jewelry by Thingiverse user nervoussystem

Screwless Heart Gears and Screwless Cube Gears by Thingiverse user emmett


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Could You Really Manufacture Your Own Electronics?

What will our electronics look like when we are each making the manufacturing decisions for our own gadgets? And when you only need to make the one that you like, not one that ten million people will like?

That’s the question posed by Peter Krige, Alexander du Preez, and Hannes Harms at the Royal College of Art in London.1  Their O.System concept is like an online mix-and-match catalog of electronic components that you manufacture individually — with 3D printing — to suit your needs.

Here’s how they see the process working:

In this system, people select their electronic products online. They can then visit their local O.Store to talk to the technician about the purchase and add personal touches. O.Products can constantly evolve through update cards in the post, while old electronic cards are sent back for re-manufacture or recycling.


Like Creative Applications writes, the idea that you just make an updated card or other component and send your old one back helps address the problem of electronics becoming obsolete. This sounds like the customized 3D-printed robots project from MIT’s CSAIL, and also like Bobby Genalo’s Art Phones project.

The world is really starting to think in terms of individual, on-demand products. Cool. But what is the role of the industrial designer? Do we all have it in us to think about user experience? Where’s the middle ground for people who really do just want products off the shelf?


  1. double checked the spelling of these names []
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Ze Frank Wants Your Face

So here’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna make a big light panel of some of your faces. Go to the page and look for the lightwall face mission and upload a picture of your face. Just your face on a plain background and try not to have any expression on your face. Look innocent.

I’m also going to ask you to include a short sentence of one thing that you hope for in the next year, 32 characters or less.

Enjoy the video and be a part of this cool exhibit!


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3D Modeling/Printing Camp For Kids: Price Dropped!


There is still time to enroll your child in a very important learning opportunity, and good news: the price has dropped and the eligibility has expanded!

NYU Poly’s Center for K-12 STEM Education and MakerBot are combining powers to get kids introduced to 3D modeling and 3D printing. This is an excellent chance to give them a leg up with a set of skills that will become very advantageous in the near future.

Here are the details:

Where: NYU-Poly Campus
6 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY
Room RH 214

When: July 9th-13th, 2012 from 9am to 3pm daily

Who: Ages 10-13

Cost:  $500 $400/student (includes a lunch voucher good in our cafeteria)

Email [email protected] to find out more.

Click here to sign up!


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How To Make A Quality Molecular Model

Rick Pannen has put up two super sweet posts on his tumblr “Phlegmatic prototyping” about creating a good 3D model of a protein involved in Alzheimer’s Disease. Rick writes that his friend is pursuing a PhD in chemistry and wanted the molecule model for research purposes.

Little problem: the data for the molecule was just a bunch of points in space, and Rick’s friend really needed a model of the surface of the molecule. The open-source program BallView is perfect for this job. If you set that program to “SES”, it generates a surface model using all the atom data. Rick writes that the model below actually didn’t run too well through ReplicatorG, but repairing in NetFabb did the trick.


Now the interesting stuff. Using a custom 3D printer built with MakerBot MK6 extruders, he was able to make the molecule. Of course because of the shape, he had to use some support structure. Here’s what the molecule looked like in black.


The next step was to sand blast the model and cover it in white paint. Then, tediously, to add in some color coding for different atoms: Red = Oxygen, Blue = Nitrogen, Yellow = Sulfur.


It doesn’t look like the model is available on Thingiverse yet, but here’s hoping Rick throws it up sometime soon! There are several excellent related Things already up, which you can find under the Learning category on Thingiverse. Remember to categorize all your new uploads carefully. It helps people find these resources quickly and easily.


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When You Know You’re Onto Something

Good morning and “Welcome to the big time!”

From Fabbaloo:

How do we know this? Has 3D printing really and truly made it to the Big Show?
The answer is easy and was found in our inbox last week. A gentleman kindly explained that he had obtained well over 200 domain names related to 3D printing and would gratefully part with them for a negotiable fee.
Yes, only when a topic becomes popular do the domainmeisters emerge from the dark with their word permutations and financial proposals. Fortunately, we already have the domains we need.
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New Robot Dog From Takara Tomy

From Lem at Robots Dreams:

There isn’t a lot of information available yet, but here’s what is rumored so far:

The new robot dog, named the Omnibot i-SODOG, is expected to have realistic dog-like movement utilizing 15 custom designed servo motors. It will feature voice recognition and respond to hand signals using motion detection sensors. In addition to a dedicated remote control that looks similar to the i-SOBOT humanoid control unit, i-SODOG can be controlled using a smartphone. We’re guessing that the interface will be Bluetooth.

My first thought was, “look at that face!” And then I thought, how cool would it be if the company that will release this robot, Takara Tomy, had a Thingiverse page where you could go and download different faces designed to work with their product?


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