Laser-cut mechanical Donkey Kong

Complete with original NES controller!

This is amazing: Martin Raynsford combined a couple servos, switches, and ball bearings with an Arduino and a lot of laser-cutting to make a functioning electro-mechanical replica of the beloved old Donkey Kong game. Not satisfied with this awesome (and well documented) build, Martin already has plans to scrap version 1 and rebuild the game to bring in even more of the original gameplay. Genius!

Mathematical analysis of laser-cut ‘living hinges’

Area man finds practical use for math

[Patrick Fenner] realised that a bit of mathematical modelling could lead to better designed hinges. This could mean fewer rounds of trial-and-error prototype tests, which would reduce the cost of using lattice hinges in a project, and better fatigue resistance, meaning the hinges could be used for moving parts instead of just for static bends.

BotQueue: Open Distributed Manufacturing

I for one would like to welcome our open-source 3d-printing robot overlords

MakerBot co-founder Zach Hoeken announced BotQueue this week:

BotQueue is an online platform for distributing print jobs to multiple 3D printers for production. As the name suggests, it allows you to create a print queue which contains jobs. Your connected bots will grab jobs and produce them. As each job is competed, the operator is prompted to remove and verify the output. Upon successful completion, the bot will grab the next job and start producing it. This continues until the queue is empty. If a bot fails, it is taken offline for repairs.

You can play with it here.

Laser-cut Nixie Tube Geiger Counter

An amazing result from the Ponoko + Ogi Lumen + Bildr competition

Late last year Ponoko and Ogi Lumen sponsored a design competition for the wonderful community. The prize was a set of nixie tubes and a Personal Factory voucher for laser-cutting.

Instructables user moustachenator won the prize and put it to good use, building this exquisite Gieger counter. He’s documented the build process with loving detail so you too can build your own retro-futuristic radiation detector just in time for the apocalypse.

Laser-cut papercraft “Lamp X”

SketchUp + Rhino + patience

Here’s another great paper project. Sean Davies designed this lamp shade in SketchUp, modified it for construction in Rhino, then laser-cut 6 large sheets of strong paper and assembled it with fabric fasteners to create this wonderful organic form. Sean has shared his techniques with a straightforward Instructable so you can copy his work.

3D printed toy records

The future meets the past with this sweet OpenSCAD project

This is a cool project: Instructables user fred27 reverse-engineered the encoding pattern for an old Fisher Price toy record player and developed a method for 3D printing or CNC cutting new records. He’s also written software that allows you to convert your own tunes to play on the forty-year-old toy. This is an excellent demonstration of parametric modeling using the free OpenSCAD software. Brilliant!

Laser-cut force feedback controller for Angry Birds

Simulating a slingshot with an Arduino, motorised fader, and MaxMSP

{sound + design} released a beautifully executed and beautifully documented hack this month.

Super Angry Birds is a force feedback USB controller for Angry Birds that simulates the feeling of a slingshot. All the controls found in the game are available in this device. You can control the pull, the angle, and of course trigger the special power of the bird.

Underneath the slick design is a serious piece of hardware and software engineering work. Very cool.

Pibow: stacked laser-cut enclosure

A new way of building DIY electronics project boxes
Since the Raspberry Pi launched six months ago, a huge ecosystem of enclosure designs have sprouted up out of the creative commons community. The Pibow is a particularly innovative approach, consisting of a stack of laser-cut acrylic layers. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for this new technique to spread to through the community.

How to: design a laser-cut box for your DIY electronics project

Who doesn’t like putting things in boxes!?

This mixer rehousing project is the perfect example of what you can do with a laser cutter and an online box-making app. If you prefer to use a tool integrated into Inkscape to make your finger-jointed box template, check out this sweet plugin.

With tools like these it’s getting easier and easier to design your own project enclosures ready to be shipped from your Personal Factory.

DIY DNA with Arduino

PCR thermal cycler using off-the-shelf parts

This is another one of those projects that makes me think “who cares what it does, it looks awesome and I want one.” In this case it turns out to be far awesomer than I could have imagined: it’s an $85 DIY Arduino-powered DNA-sequencing device. Complete with comprehensive build instructions so you too can sequence your own genome. Amazing!