Posts Tagged ‘thingalert’

New Favorite MakerBottable Home Upgrade – Switch Locks

Light Switch Lock by Yllonnoce

Light Switch Lock by Yllonnoce

I’ve got three switches in my home that pretty much need to be in the “on” position 99% of the time. The consequences of having one of these switches flipped “off” ranges from minor annoyance to zombie apocalypse. One switch goes to our front porch light, one that my laptop is usually plugged into, and the last goes to our wireless router. For a while now I had wanted to create a little cover for the light switch – basically a hollow rectangular tube that would fit over the switch and prevent someone from accidentally flipping it. While I liked the idea, I never got around to actually making it.

And then a few days ago I saw Light Switch Lock by Thingiverse citizen Yllonnoce.  The design is so simple and elegant that I knew I would be printing it immediately.  It permits temporary uses of the switch, all the while discouraging accidental usage.

As a result of someone flipping a switch I have literally lost hours of work when my laptop battery ran out of power.  Once, as a result of a laptop losing power the hard drive never started up again.  So, from now on, this is literally going to be the very first thing I install into any home I live in.  At less than 3 grams, each one would probably cost about $0.12 in plastic that will absolutely save me hours of annoyance, frustration, work, and potentially even hundreds of dollars.

A simple light switch lock like this could even be used to discouraging the accidental use of a garbage disposal, power tool, or some other appliance.  Since these switch locks work upside down, it could even save money by discouraging the accidental flipping of attic or outdoor light switches.  Not bad for a $0.12 investment.

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Crayon Maker and Sharpener by CodeCreations

Posted by on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Pouring custom crayons into printed molds!

Pouring custom crayons into printed molds!

I’ve wanted to make a MakerBotted crayon mold for about as long as I’ve owned a 3D printer.  Now this is a reality thanks to Thingiverse citizen CodeCreations.  CodeCreations1 has shared his STL’s, OpenSCAD source code, and detailed directions for making crayon molds.

CodeCreations’ method involves using a printed container into which plaster of Paris is poured.  When the plastic is removed, it leaves a plaster mold with triangular crayon “troughs.”  Then it’s a matter of melting crayons, pouring the wax into the mold, and waiting for them to cool.

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  1. Who has one of the awesomest profile picture evar! []
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Jason Welsh’s Awesome Portable Folding Arduino Electronics Lab

Posted by on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Folding Arduino Lab by jasonwelsh

The Folding Arduino Lab by jasonwelsh

Thingiverse user Jason Welsh just shared this awesome MakerBottable Folding Arduino Lab.  This printable case is essentially a mobile electronics lab that has two drawers for holding parts and can fold up for easy storage and transport.  I suspect like many others, my electronics projects can get pretty unruly.  It would be really great to have a small case that could hold all the parts for a project in one place.  Whether you want to hold an Arduino and some parts or an Arduino with a shield on top, this folding project box was clearly well-designed to suit your purposes.  What I particularly love about this Thing is that once you’ve finalized your designs, the folding case would make a fantastic ready-to-go instant permanent project box.

If you’ve got three minutes to spare, definitely check out Jason’s video showing off the versatility of this box.

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A drawing robot brain shell! The PolargraphSD Case

Posted by on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in Uncategorized
A drawing robot brain shell!  The PolargraphSD Case

A drawing robot brain shell! The PolargraphSD Case

I have a confession to make.  I freaking LOVE Sandy Noble’s drawing robot project called Polargraph.  The Polargraph is a very simple to build, simple to operate, open source drawing robot that produces absolutely stunning results.  The entire robot is little more than (a) an Arduino (b) a motor shield or one of Sandy’s awesome Polargraph shields (c) some USB and power cables (d) two motors (e) some printed parts and (f) string, twine, wire, fishing line, or something similar you might have lying around the house.  You may even have many of these parts lying around your work area or hidden in an old printer right now.

Sandy has been constantly improving his Polargraph design, firmware, and software.  The latest iteration of his Polargraph kit includes a custom designed Polargraph Shield which includes a touch screen and operation from an SD card.  Even cooler, he’s using a 3D printed case for the drawing robot brain, featured above.  Having built a basic one myself, I was able to purchase all of the parts for about $100. 1

Importantly, my MakerBot has enabled me to customize the project and drastically reduce the cost.  Instead of beaded cord and sprockets, I designed and printed my own spools for using fishing line, motor mounts, Arduino mount, and gondola.  What would normally require specially machined parts or the use of a lasercutter, basically just cost me less than $1.00 in plastic. 2

Since the size of your drawing is basically limited only by the size of your canvas and the amount of string you have, the drawing possibilities quickly become staggering.  I was able to take a picture of R2D2, convert them into a single-line-drawing, and draw a three foot tall poster for my daughter.  Not only did she love the picture, she demanded it be put up in her room immediately. 3

If you’re looking for a very beginner friendly project that your kids will absolutely love, you should definitely try this one out. 4

  1. Had I been a little more patient and even slightly more competent, I could have built it for even less. []
  2. And my daughter got to choose the colors.  Which is why the fishing line spools are pink. []
  3. A few hours later I began to wonder why she had been so quiet.  It turned out she had spent the entire time coloring the poster in with her markers and crayons. []
  4. If you’re interested in such things, I’ve got about 50+ posts on my personal blog about my adventures in building and operating my DrawBot []
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Discworld Figurine by aesedepece

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Discworld Figurine by aesedepece

Discworld Figurine by aesedepece

Thingiverse citizen aesedepece has uploaded this really sweet model of a turtle, four elephants, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.  According to the physics of the fantasy Discworld, the entire world is a large flat disc, supported by four elephants who stand on a great giant turtle named A’Tuin as it travels through space.  Printed in three separate pieces and clearly very lovingly painted and assembled, this is a whimsical little model. 1

  1. I suppose if you included the MakerBot Mixtape module in this, you could play world music… []
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What would you keep safe with a plastic lock?

Fully printable padlock by ttsalo

Fully printable padlock by ttsalo

I remember once when I was in elementary school a kid said he wanted a case for his most valuable baseball card made out of diamond.  His reasoning was that if diamond was the hardest toughest thing known to man, then it would keep his baseball card safe.  Of course, this invited the obvious criticism that the case would be worth much more than any card he would care to keep inside it.1

There’s no doubt Thingiverse citizen ttsalo’s fully printable padlock is an amazing feat and working experiment in design, materials, and function.  Besides it’s function as a way to learn or teach others about how a padlock works, a fully plastic padlock would also be really useful to keep some things locked.  You could keep the contents of a cabinet safe from small children or a shed safe from small animals.  It might be useful for very time-limited purposes as well – such as for clothes for use in a gym.  And, don’t forget, given that there are no parts to corrode or rust, it could be used underwater!

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  1. Setting aside the other issue of how the heck you would make such a case in the first place. []
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The Robot Has Landed!

Curiosity's Snaps Picture of Its Shadow

Curiosity’s Snaps Picture of Its Shadow

Yesterday at about 10:30pm PST the Mars Rover “Curiosity” landed safely on the surface of the planet Mars and transmitted the above, its first photograph, back to Earth. 1  Thanks to Thingiverse citizen ThePlanetMike we can all have our very own Mars Curiosity Rover as a little souvenir to remember the day.

And, if you’re feeling particularly nostalgic, don’t forget to print a little copy of Tony Buser’s snap-fit Mars Exploration Rover.

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  1. You’ll note I refrained from making jokes about what would happen if Curiosity saw its own shadow… []
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Awesome Scale Armor by Krest

Posted by on Monday, June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
Scale Armor by Krest

Scale Armor by Krest

I was totally floored by this sweet shoulder scale armor by Krest.  It appears to use a leather cord woven through holes at the top and bottom to hold the scales together.  Krest’s 3D files include five variations on the scales so that they could experiment to get the best effect.  Frankly, I think the result is amazing.

Although Krest’s shoulder scale armor uses leather cords which can be adjusted for fit, I think it would be really interesting to use an elastic cord so that the armor could bend and flex.  While not nearly as authentic, it would also be interesting to use loops on the inside of each scale instead of holes which might allow for a seamless appearing exterior.

Scale Armor by Krest, the reverse

Scale Armor by Krest, the reverse

And, if you’ll forgive the pun, wouldn’t it be great to scale this model down for a smaller set of armor?

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Turtles All The Way Down by GuardToad

Posted by on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in Uncategorized
Turtles All The Way Down by GuardToad

Turtles All The Way Down by GuardToad

GuardToad’s whimsical and poignant “Turtles All The Way Down” by GuardToad invites contemplation contemplation of the cosmic and the microcosmic at the the same time.  Although it appears only the tray itself is MakerBottable, I think it’s not long before we see a fully printable version.

Frankly, I feel inspired to take this little chocolate gem and turn it into a companion piece – “Turtles All The Way Up” by stacking turtles on top of turtles.

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FULL SIZE printed Motorhome… 0.001% complete

Posted by on Monday, June 4, 2012 in Uncategorized
Just a few more parts!

Just a few more parts!

When I saw marcsulf’s Drawer Rail Support for his motor home I couldn’t help think…  “Wow, he could replace… EVERYTHING.”

Admittedly, it probably isn’t a very good idea to take an entire motor home and replace it little by little with MakerBotted plastic pieces.  Then again, if it works for cupcakes, perhaps it would work for a motor home?

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