Archive for April 11th, 2011


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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Pro-Tip: Arrange STL’s for printing without supports!

Simple Hinge by PieterNr1

Simple Hinge by PieterNr1

Apparently, when you properly arrange objects in an STL for printing at once, you can do so in such a way as to eliminate the need for support structures!  Not only is this a clever use of limited build space, but it also conserves plastic while allowing printing of ever more intricate designs.

PieterNr1’s Simple Hinge above is the first object I’ve seen to use this technique.  It appears from the photograph that there is some slight drooping underneath the top two ledges – but I’m guessing this isn’t enough to interfere with proper operation.  Looking at his implementation of this technique, I have to wonder whether it could be used to print some of the various tracks and treads under development on Thingiverse.

Error - could not find Thing 7598.

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Tripod Quick Release Plates by zgbot!

If you have ever lost a quick release plate for a tripod, you know what a galling thing that is.  It’s a small but essential part of the system, and one that is different for almost every tripod head.

This is why zgbot’s quick release plates are so awesome — I don’t know if he’s printing replacements or extras, but I’m thinking he has enough to leave on all of his cameras now.

Error - could not find Thing 7665.
Error - could not find Thing 7667.
Error - could not find Thing 7668.
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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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