Posts Tagged ‘make’

A Family Tree For Physical Things

Gears Gears Gears.

The search “gears” returns 407 things on Thingiverse, and “gear” shoots back 641. Clearly there is something that gets us excited about parts that translate torque from one thing to the next. The best example of our shared obsession is, of course, Heart Gears.

MAKE Magazine’s Sean Michael Ragan has gifted the world with a fantastic “family tree” (on his personal site) of the heart gears sensation on Thingiverse. Here’s a still image of the chart, but you should visit the link to get a clickable version. The post also includes the source code for generating the tree.


This is awesome awesome awesome. Our recent project at the Met, which will now be spreading into towns and cities, highlights how important it is to talk about the origins of physical things. Things and ideas have roots and families and beginnings. It’s so important to keep this in mind when uploading things in a community like Thingiverse. As a reminder, if you forget how to assign “ancestry” to your Thing, this blog post explains it.


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Top Five (Right Now) Things We Can’t Wait To See At Maker Faire

Posted by on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

It’s about to get really Maker Faire-ish on this blog! The MakerBot team is gearing up for our trip to San Mateo this week, where we will be throwing down some awesome with Makers from around the globe. Whoa-I-can’t-wait-why-isn’t-it-Saturday-yet?

If you’re going to be a part of Maker Faire this weekend, please stop by and say hello to us. But be prepared for MakerBot staff to be super interested in you and what you like to make.

Lots more info to come, but here are our Top Five Makers this year that we can’t wait to visit. Notice: this list is subject to change before the day’s out.

Cory Soto’s Dalek — building a “Dalek Mutant Vehicle…on a Yamaha G9 gas engine”. He’s been documenting his progress here.

Christian Ristow’s Face Forward — oh come on you have to be kidding me! A 12-foot tall robotic human face controlled by a bunch of joysticks. “Members of the public may operate the levers and play their part in the orchestration of an ongoing “river” of facial expressions.”

Wearable Computing Fashion Show by Lynne Bruning — “A fashion show that features wearable computing, soft-circuits and eTextiles from multiple designers, innovators and makers.” What more can I say?

Andrew Kaye’s 8x8x8 LED Cube — MORE LEDs!!!!! Filling a giant box with 512 LEDs is one of the best things one person can do for another person. Awesome.

Evil Mad Scientist’s High Tech Pumpkins — electronic, robotic pumpkins this Halloween. This is the world we want to live in. Evil Mad Scientist is going to show us how.


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Joinery – Not just for lasercutters any more

Posted by on Thursday, May 3, 2012 in Uncategorized
Joinery - Not just for lasercutters any more

Joinery - Not just for lasercutters any more

The Make Blog recent posted about CNC panel joinery techniques.  However, there’s no reason these really amazing assembly techniques should be relegated to just CNC cutting machines.  Any of these techniques could be easily applied to 3D printing to create objects that can be assembled without any tools or hardware.  Some of my favorite things to 3D print of all time are multi-part pieces that can be hand assembled.  There’s the dinosaur, the spider, the 27-to-1 gear ratio crank, and Tony Buser’s Toy Robot Toolkit.

Of course, having a 3D printer at your disposal means you don’t need to use joinery to create a 90 degree angle or a corner like those pictured above.  Even so, there’s no reason why one couldn’t use those same techniques to connect larger, more complex, 3D parts.  I would love to see an OpenSCAD library of joinery – little cutouts and tabs that could just be dropped into a design to make it snap-slide-slot together.

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I Have Seen The Future And It Is… Stephen “Gourd-head” Colbert

Posted by on Friday, March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
How to: Grow a Portrait Gourd

How to: Grow a Portrait Gourd

Apparently, growing gourds in molds is an ancient 500 year old Chinese artform!  By creating a mold of a sculpture and placing that mold around a young gourd, the gourd will grow and take the shape of the mold.  While this artform was almost lost in the 1970’s, the craft was revived by Mr. Zhang Cairi and the basics have now been condensed into this instructable by Make’s Tim Anderson.

This is one of those times when I’m just surfing the ‘net and realize, “Hey, that would be PERFECT for Stephen Colbert!”  I know there are Colbert chocolate mold makers out there.  Is anyone game for creating a Colbert gourd using a 3D printed mold?

From Instructables via Make Blog!

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What do you make?

Steampunk Couture: CNC Goggles by gianteye

Steampunk Couture: CNC Goggles by gianteye

Thingiverse is full of amazing creations by some amazing designers.  What I find really interesting is what people did before they had access to a 3D printer.  I used to, and still do, enjoy origami.  I know of others that built things using cardboard, others wood, others metal.

So, I’m curious – what do you make?  How do you make it?

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Ancient Inspiration for Modern Robots

Posted by on Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Karakuri is the ancient Japanese practice of creating incredibly intricate automata using weights, pulleys, and wires.  The video above features some of these robots rowing boats, shooting arrows, turning somersaults, and practicing calligraphy.  Think back to the amusement park rides of the 1960’s – with the exception of a recorded song, those little robots were also completely operated by weights, pulleys, and wires too.

The amazing thing about 3D printing is it enables everyone to create works every bit as intricate and complicated as these little robots.  Now anyone can focus on purpose and design rather than technique.  If a handcrafted robot can select an arrow, draw it back on a bowstring, and fire accurately at a target – there’s no reason you couldn’t do the same thing using 3D printed plastic parts too.  The real question isn’t whether we could reproduce these kinds of actions using 3D printed parts, but rather what could we create with printed parts that would have been difficult or even impossible using these ancient means?

Via Make

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Teaching Science by Making Stuff

Posted by on Monday, July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
YouTube Preview Image

Dale Dougherty, founder of Make magazine and the organizer of Maker Faire, posted a great video about how making things helps kids learn to be enthusiastic about science.  There’s also a shot of a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic in action @ 9:25.  🙂

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Getting Started with MakerBot

Posted by on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Getting Started with MakerBot

Coming later this year from MAKE and O’Reilly Media, Inc., Bre and MakerBlock have teamed up on a new book: Getting Started with MakerBot.  Here’s just a little blurb to whet your appetite:

Get a hands-on introduction to the world of personal fabrication with the MakerBot, the easiest and most affordable rapid prototyper available. This book shows you how the MakerBot open source 3D printer democratizes manufacturing and brings the power of large factories right to your desktop. Not only will you learn how to operate MakerBot, you’ll also get guidelines on how to design and print almost anything you can imagine — including models, mechanical parts, puzzles, and toys.

What’s more, this book is coming out under a Creative Commons license, and you can read the text of the book as it’s being written,1 through the magic of O’Reilly’s Open Feedback Publishing System.  The book is available right here.

  1. No pressure, right? []
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Posted by on Monday, April 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Make Your Own Gears by Dustyn Roberts

Make Your Own Gears by Dustyn Roberts

I don’t know about you, but I am continually envious of the really excellent designs up on Thingiverse that make use of gears.  Greg Frost, Emmett, and Whosawhatsis have been rocking Thingiverse lately with their incredible designs incorporating gears.  But, what’s a simple blogger with zero gear-knowledge supposed to do?

Well, Chris Connors, teacher and Maker-extraordinaire, recently posted about gears, motors, and attachments thereto over at Make: Online!.  His post referenced a gear tutorial by Dustyn Roberts, author of Making Things Move, all about gears.1

I learned more about gears in Dustyn’s first paragraph than I did after hours of trying to design my own gears from scratch.

One nice thing about gears is that if you know any two things about them – let’s say outer diameter and number of teeth — you can use some simple equations to find everything else you need to know, including the correct center distance between them. In this project, we’ll design and fabricate spur gears using free software (Inkscape) and an online store ( that does custom laser cutting at affordable prices out of a variety of materials. If you have access to a laser cutter at a local school or hackerspace, even better! You can also print out the template and fix it to cardboard or wood to cut the gears by hand.

Dustyn’s tutorial style to explaining gear mechanism is very nuts-and-bolts2 with lots of pictures, diagrams, and charts. 3 4

  1. Also, both were speakers at Botacon!!! []
  2. Pardon the pun []
  3. I think I hear some skittering spiders in our future… []
  4. Please don’t click that link. []
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A Dalek Doing Its Part to Help Save Humanity

Recyclinate! Dalek tagged with recycling instructions by TBuser

MakerBot Operator Tony Buser was reading a blog post at Make about using a MakerBot to print items for home repair when a comment caught his eye — a suggestion that given a MakerBot’s ability to print anything an Operator wants out of plastic, designers should offer a handy tool for adding recycling triangles right onto models for printing.

Well, Tony took this suggestion seriously and has released to Thingiverse a recycling-stamped villain from the Doctor Who universe — along with tools and instructions for similarly stamping other objects. I have a feeling Tony’s experiment will suggest loads of possibilities to other MakerBot Operators. Already, I’m thinking about stamping designer, printer, or user initials or chops onto the bottom of my designs.

Bonus points for using a Dalek to help save the world a little bit. Re-cyclinate! Re-cyclinate!

Error - could not find Thing 7720.
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