Instructables.com is a fountain of good stuff for the DIYer. Here are a few recent favorites:
Rubber band-powered car toy
This 18-step Instructable from Thingiverse user mrigsby is really straightforward and you get a fun toy to play with at the end! What impressed me here is that this project was Mike’s first experience with 3D modeling software. He used Tinkercad to design the car, and seems to think it was pretty easy.
To make a wheel, you just drag a cylinder onto the workspace. Set the diameter and the thickness and you’re almost done. Drag a hole onto the workspace, adjust the diameter and place it in the center of the wheel. Group the hole and the wheel. That’s it.
He made this on The Replicator, and shares his tricks, too. For example, to make these pieces with a raft underneath, Mike says he has had the most luck setting the build plate temperature to 115° C, rather than 100° C.
You can find all the files for the Rubber Band Powered Car on Thingiverse!
Tilt-Shift Lens Adapter
Here’s another Instructables/Thingiverse gem, made especially for the photo geek. A tilt-shift lens is “used to create a miniature effect or a very shallow depth of field in your photography,” and if you shoot from a high angle pointing down, the accessory “creates the illusion of looking down at a miniature model.”
What I liked about this project in particular is the cost savings here. Joe Murphy, author of the Instructable, says the professional version is pretty pricey; “we’re talking $1000- 3000.” So I decided to just make one for myself and see how much it costs in ABS.
Answer: at 7 grams, the part costs $0.30. And it took 19 minutes, from digital to tangible. So there ya go.
3D-Printed Circuit Boards
Just as a blog post at Oppino.com noted a lack of experiments with 3D-printed circuit boards, an Instructable showed up from CarryTheWhat, an Open Source Hardware group with a presence on Etsy and Thingiverse.
In this step-by-step, you get careful instructions on making the circuit board itself from files available on Thingiverse. There is a library of files for all the different components and advice on arranging them successfully. The example in the Instructable will output a simple circuit to get an LED to blink.
This is admittedly not complex stuff, but it is remarkable to see a DIY circuit project that involves no soldering or etching. All of these parts have been “thoroughly tested on the MakerBot Replicator, with ABS plastic,” according to the Thingiverse page.