Super cool 3D printed wire stripper

Nifty design on Thingiverse

This 3D printed wire-stripper design is pure genius: when the razor blades come in contact with the wire, the LED comes on to tell you that you’ve cut deep enough. It’s simple yet brilliant applications like this that get me excited about the utility of hobby printers, and the power of Thingiverse to allow these cool ideas to spread.

Free 3D Software from DAZ

Digital Art Zone now offering free downloads

It can be pretty costly to set yourself up with 3d modelling software, particularly when you’re after the good stuff.

So you can imagine the buzz that’s followed DAZ 3D’s recent release of three of their major titles as free downloads for all to enjoy.

Modelling human figures? DAZ Studio Pro will sort you out.
Landscapes and environmental animations? Bryce 7 Pro has it covered.
And the one that has us talking here at Ponoko… 3D models both for rendering/animation and ready to export as .stl files? Hexagon does this and more.

To purchase this software suite from the Digital Art Zone would once have left you on the nasty side of $800, but for a limited time full version downloads are completely free.

Now all that’s left is to fire up your imagination…

Digital Art Zone

Remote controlled flying people

It’s a bird… it’s a plane…  it’s an RcSuperhero!

The Ponoko connection may be tenuous, but I’m going for it anyway. These remote controlled flying people are simply awesome.

The above clip was put together as a part of a viral marketing campaign for the film Chronicle, but don’t let that deter you if you’re keen to take to the skies yourself.

Downloadable PDF plans are available from RcSuperhero that you can send to your favourite laser cutting service; or you can get a head start and buy the laser cut foam, sub-structure and various parts in kit form. And then what? Simply whack in the required electronics and soon you’ll be launching your own human-shaped glider into the sky.

It must be quite a sight to behold in the flesh. What a brilliant idea.

via ubergizmo

A primer on 3D printing

2012 may be the year of 3D printing: Lisa Harouni on TED

We may be preaching to the converted, but for those who still aren’t convinced (or maybe even aren’t aware) of just how exciting 3D printing is, this recent TED talk gives a neat overview.

The speaker is Lisa Harouni, CEO of Digital Forming. Having specialised for a number of years pioneering software development for 3D printing applications, she is well placed to convince even the most sceptical of viewers that we are indeed on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution.

via TED

The Pirate Bay now lets you download physical objects

introducing Physibles

The world’s larget BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay, has just announced the addition of a new category of downloadable files — Physibles.

Physibles are described as “data objects that are able (and feasible) to become physical.” And it’s The Pirate Bay’s belief that “the next step in copying will be made from digital form into physical form.”

They are talking here of course about digital files that can be sent to fabrication equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, Jacquard looms and so on. And with the continued improvement of such technology and it’s increasing adoption, The Pirate Bay believes that “You will download your sneakers within 20 years.”

Physibles is currently classified as Other in the line up of available torrents: Audio, Video, Applications, Games, and Other, but perhaps one day we’ll see the addition of Objects to the main categories.

We mentioned the possibility of The Product Bay two years ago, and today it’s officially happening. “We’re thinking of temporarily renaming ourselves to The Product Bay – but we had no graphical artist around to make a logo. In the future, we’ll download one,” concludes today’s announcement. (I’ve taken the liberty of throwing one together.)

Although there exist a handful of sites to find downloadable product files, including them in such a hugely popular file sharing site is a significant step in the personal fabrication movement. And just the beginning of what could make 2012 the year of the product design copyright fight.

via @golan via @bre

OpenVSP: parametric aircraft modelling tool

NASA embraces the open-source philosophy

NASA kicked off this year by greatly expanding their commitment to open source, launching their new site

Ultimately, our goal is to create a highly visible community hub that will imbue open concepts into the formulation stages of new hardware and software projects, and help existing projects transition to open modes of development and operation

Some of the projects they’ve opened up are way over my head, but the one that caught my eye is OpenVSP:

OpenVSP is a parametric aircraft geometry tool. OpenVSP allows the user to create a 3D model of an aircraft defined by common engineering parameters. This model can be processed into formats suitable for engineering analysis.

How cool is that? Maybe you don’t have access to an aerospace facility, but with this tool you can invent your own far-out aircraft designs and print out the models in 3D from your Personal Factory.

[Someone should make an app for that…]

5 products from 2011 that you can download

Best of the Blog 2011 – Downloadable

They’re not quite as common as music and video files on the internet, but the mainstreaming of digital fabrication means that design files for physical objects are being passed around more than ever. Here are some of the coolest downloadable items covered on the blog in 2011:

1. A table with the digital design file built in

Download the design straight from the object!

This is my favourite of the bunch. There’s a project on Thingiverse for making QR code tags to stick on your creations, but this goes way beyond that by enabling downloads from the object itself! The QR code on the table in the picture is not a link to a website but instead the actual files necessary to make the table yourself!

Sculpteo 3D printing iPhone app

Make a vase from your own profile

For those who enjoy a novelty gift, the new iPhone app from Sculpteo might be just what you’ve been looking for.

A free download onto your favourite i-device is all that it takes. Use the app to snap a picture, and then with just a few simple manipulations the resulting data is prepared for printing as either a vase, a bowl or a coffee cup.
It’s not all about putting your pointy-nosed mug on a mug – the app can also be used to model your twitter statistics or customize an iPhone case.

With access to the Sculpteo community, this app is a great way to introduce people to the world of 3D printing and the possibilities that are enabled by the technology that we carry around with us in our daily lives.

Sculpteo via Engadget

Stead i Cam: laser cut handheld camera crane

DIY project to keep your footage smooth and steady

Professional looking handheld footage sometimes takes more than just a fancy camera. If you don’t want to make your viewers seasick, a camera crane is an essential tool to keep the picture gliding along.

Uploaded to Thingiverse by Frits Stam en Koen de Greef, this laser cut version can be whipped together using the supplied cutting pattern along with a few readily available off-the-shelf components.

Being able to achieve professional-level results by taking advantage of this open-source project will really cut costs for the film enthusiast. This kind of equipment is usually out of reach unless you have a huge amount of cash to burn, so it is great to see high-end tools becoming more accessible through the DIY movement.

Features of the Stead i Cam include:

+ removable / adjustable camera plate
+ weight swivels to compensate for an unbalanced camera
+ air bubble for leveling the camera
+ light weight design

Click through to see a short video of the Stead i Cam in action.   (more…)

Personal Factory Projects for the Holidays

Plus make-your-own Christmas decorationsThe time for giving is almost nigh, and the best kind of giving involves designing something yourself and beautifully crafting it, or finding something unique that wasn’t made by pre-schoolers in a third world dungeon.

We’ve got gift ideas, design inspiration as well as free files for making your own Christmas happiness.  There is the annual checklist: decorate the tree, decorate the house, decorate yourself.  Of course, some people decorate their pets also, but there’s something not quite right about puppies in acrylic tiaras.

Lots of designs under the cut: