Posts Tagged ‘open hardware’

Robot Offspring Discovered On Thingiverse

They’re multiplying!

Backstory: after their debut at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2012, the creatures of the MakerBot Robot Petting Zoo were put onto Thingiverse. First Wheely, then Bumper Bot, Button Bot, and Bubble Bot.

And then we noticed that a couple of these bots were quietly re-made by two brave Thingiverse citizens. Woot!

Here’s Xephius’ version of Wheely, with a hilarious description below.

This is a descendant of early high performance sport UAV’s that settled in BC’s Fraser Valley. They can easily be identified by the bright yellow and red markings and tell tail Stainless Steel Rodgers hardware in Imperial not Metric. (Canadian Tire doesn’t carry any M3 hardware!) Because of the relatively low number of wild UAV’s in BC (420 in last count), they are protected by the Province. Recent observations show they are attracted to Poutine, Hockey pucks, and Timbits, seen here courting a Sieg X2 CNC mill…

Just hours ago, a new cousin to this Wheely derivative popped up, too! Here’s cornwarrior’s version of Bumper Bot.


Awesome work by these two superstar Thingiverse members Xephius (aka John Cooney) and cornwarrior (aka Josh Kugler)!

Two down, two to go. Who will complete the happy family?


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Robot Petting Zoo Up On Thingiverse

In further celebration of Geek Pride Day, we are pleased to announce that the masterpieces collection from the MakerBot Design Team known as the Robot Petting Zoo will now be available on Thingiverse!

You heard us talk about these and you saw it all over Engadget and CNET and a bunch of other spots. We are incredibly proud of these little guys, and not just because they won Editor’s Choice from Maker Faire. They represent what a MakerBot is capable of and the power of combining open-source hardware technologies.

Now it’s time for the more important phase in the project: when we put the files in your hands and tell you to run free with them. (Don’t run too free. In our experience, you’ll need a fence to keep these robots in one place). In keeping with the open-source, collaborative spirit of everything we do here, the designs are now yours to use as you please. And the beauty is you can take these and be inspired to come up with other pet robots, and help us turn this petting zoo into a robot circus.

The first set of files to go up are for Wheely, the “robotic chicken” designed by Michael Curry. Here is how Michael describes his pet robot.

Wheely is a domesticated subspecies of the common Flightless Aircraft.  Found in the disused aerodromes of the southwestern deserts, Wheelies descend from earlier generations of autonomous UAV’s.  They live in rigorously organized communities called ‘squadrons’ and spend most of their lives socializing.  Largely ambivalent to other mechanical organisms, Wheely retains his ancestors ability to detect electric fields.

Wheely is up on Thingiverse right now (!!), and the rest of the bots — Bumper, Bubble, and Button — will be up in the next couple of days. Go make these, make them different, make them yours!

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Ladyada’s Workshop LEGO Set: Vote And Make This REAL

Posted by on Friday, May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

We make an open-source robot so that people can make better things and a better worlds. That’s why we work really hard to keep costs down on high quality machines and plastic. We just want people to have this stuff and start imagining and doing.

What if kids could imagine the workshop of their dreams? What if little girl could look at a LEGO set and think of herself as a person who runs a technology company?

Ladyada, the master maker and hardware hacker at adafruit, and LEGO artist Bruce Lowell have created a fun, inspirational LEGO set to get boys and girls excited about engineering. Look at this set!


We are really excited about this LEGO set, and we need you guys to go VOTE for it at LEGO Cuusoo! In order for this to become a real set, it needs 10,000 votes. Help give kids the chance to imagine what it’s like to run a hardware and electronics company and learn about open source. This is what empowerment looks like at an early age, and MakerBot is in full support.

Just think what a kid might decide to learn about when she sees this laser cutter.


Or when he encounters this clean workspace with soldering station.



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How One Guy’s Idea Came To Life On A MakerBot At Maker Faire

I’m still buzzing from Maker Faire, which Annelise captured beautifully in the last episode of Season 2 of MakerBot TV. I met thousands and thousands of people at the MakerBot tent, including people who were discovering us for the first time and people who had all three generations of bots at home.

And then there were people in the middle, like Jason Huggins, or hugs on Thingiverse. Jason was part of the Grid Beam booth just down the path from our tent, and stopped by during set up on Friday to say hello. When I asked him whether he was a MakerBotter, he said no, but that he was a part of the community and had a good Thingiverse success story. Incidentally, Jason is the founder of Sauce Labs, a cloud version of the website performance testing services Selenium that he also started. But he is an enthusiastic open source hardware guy, too.

Last fall, Jason started his project Bitbeam, which he explains this way on his blog:

Bitbeam = Lego + Grid Beam = Awesome

To clarify: Grid Beam is a construction system created by Phil and Richard Jergensen, and Bitbeam is a miniaturization of that concept to just the right scale that it’s compatible with Lego, and especially Lego Technic.

Jason added Bitbeam to Thingiverse last September as a file for laser cutting, and before the day was out, there were two derivatives including a version you can make on a MakerBot. He was really excited to tell me about that, and I was excited to hear it. One person put an open source hardware idea into the community, and someone else, a total stranger, took it from one way of making things into another in just a few hours.

And here’s how Maker Faire chapter of this story makes it more awesome. When Jason told me at our tent on Friday that he had still never seen his Bitbeams made on a MakerBot, I said I could easily run the file through ReplicatorG for him. I did that in a spare moment that same evening, which took me all of two minutes, and finally caught up with Jason on Sunday to show him the final product. This was the look on his face.

A Happy Hugs

And this was his tweet to me:

It’s nice when a grown up can be genuinely surprised and delighted by something. Jason told me that he has no real interest in laser cutting the Bitbeam pieces in balsa wood — although, I have to say I really think they’re nice looking — and would rather just tell the world to get a MakerBot and make all the pieces themselves. He twisted and bent the ABS parts in his hand and said the durability was better than the wood. Just to be sure of the quality of the design, we linked one up to one of his Bitbeam constructions on display. Perfect fit!

MakerBotted Bitbeam attached to laser cut Bitbeam

I was thrilled to meet Jason and to give him a little confirmation that his idea of making his designs on a MakerBot was a great one. This was really easy because we were at Maker Faire together, but this is exactly the kind of thing that happens in hackerspaces all the time. If you own a MakerBot, I hope you give yourself the thrill of making something for someone, and letting them tell you their ideas that could take over the world.

This stuff never gets old.


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3D Printed Animatronic Hand

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How do you take an already-amazing animatronic hand, and make it even cooler?  You 3D Print it!

For the past year, Easton L has been developing his concept for an animatronic hand capable of being controlled by a flex-sensor equipped glove.  For his latest prototype, Easton created a derivative work of a 3D printable hand already available on thingiverse, and constructed a forearm using fiberglass.  Since  I had been lending Easton advice on the project for some time anyways, and he was unable to get access to a 3D printer, I volunteered to “makerbot” the components for the hand and send them to him.  The result is seriously impressive, and it works exactly as you would expect – Flex your finger, and the corresponding finger responds on the hand.  It’s strong enough to pickup full cans, and versatile enough to pick up tennis balls and other unusually shaped objects.

His work is so impressive, in fact, that Easton has been featured in the September issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine (check out their post about him online).  This project is totally open source, so download the cad files from thingiverse, and the source from my site.

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Submit proposals for the Open Hardware Summit!

Posted by on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

The deadline for the Open Hardware Summit is fast approaching!  Get your proposals in by June 24th.  They go to proposals [AT]

We know that at least some of you are using your bots to prototype fantastic free-as-in-speech projects. Make proposal for the conference, which will be here in NYC this September 15th, to share what you’ve learned and make an impact in the community!

Read more about it here; full details follow after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Source Laser Cutting/Engraving Station from

Posted by on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

The 2.x Laser - Open Source Hardware Laser Cutter

As the Open Hardware movement takes off, evidence of the benefits of this practice continues to surface in projects such as the 2.x Laser project, a 2nd generation open source laser cutting/engraving station created by Barton Dring over at Dring made significant modifications to his first model based on continued experimentation and feedback from participants at BuildLog.net1. His design shifted from a focus on designing-for-self-replication “to a more robust design with stronger metal parts.”

As a result of the efforts of Dring and the community, a hardy DIY lasering tool with a 12” x 20” x 4” work envelop — a tool that would be, frankly, quite dangerous to design from the ground up on your own — shifts from a cool CNC experiment to a low cost alternative to commercial models. At the moment, all that is available is a Bill of Materials and assembly instructions2, but Dring estimates that sourcing the 2-axis CNC elements might cost you $450-$800 depending on your available tools3, with the CO2 laser and power modules costing at least another $400. He plans to resume offering kits for the parts not easy to obtain elsewhere via BuildLog in a few weeks.

BuildLog 2x Laser wiring

  1. A site self-described as “the open source equivalent of the research notebook.” []
  2. prototype parts kits have sold out []
  3. Having a MakerBot at your disposal sure wouldn’t hurt. []
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