A step-by-step “idiot’s” guide.
Arduino has made it easier than ever before to build sophisticated electronics projects. That being said, there is still a significant learning curve for people who have absolutely no idea what they are doing when it comes to electronics.
This “Beginner’s Guide” for the Arduino by Brad Kendall is a great introduction. It starts from the very beginning and assumes no knowledge whatsoever. If you want to make something with an Arduino and you don’t know how a breadboard works, this is the guide for you. It will walk you through setup and your first couple projects.
Also be sure to check out the official Arduino Getting Started and Tutorial pages.
Taylor Gilbert is a proponent of creative technology including Arduino, Processing, and repurposed hardware. Follow him @taylor_gilbert
Download it, modify it, print it.
As much as we love low-cost 3D printers and what they can do for makers, their relatively low printing resolution can limit their applications. So it’s always particularly special when someone makes something awesome with a low-res printer.
Léo Marius made this camera for his graduation project from the School of Arts and Design in Saint-Etienne, France. It’s a surprisingly simple construction, and he says it should print in about 15 hours on a Rep-Rap or equivalent. It takes some pretty decent pictures too, especially if you’re into the old-fashioned look. Marius made an Instructable documenting the project, and the files are available on Thingiverse. Check out his blog for information about the development project, but you’ll have to translate it from French.
Continue past the jump for more images, including pictures taken with the printed camera.
Cutting layer after layer after layer . . .
Digital fabrication is usually at its best and most impressive when used for something more complex than could be practically produced any other way. Laser cutting can achieve any level of detail and complexity, limited only by the material being cut.
This sculpture, “Foundation Stone,” by Mitchell Biggio, is one such example. Cutting out each layer by hand would require an inordinate amount of time, not to mention the sheer monotony of it. Biggion made this piece as part of a Computer Modeling for Sculpture Projects class at SCAD. Be sure to check out the class blog for some other fascinating projects.
If you can build it, Arduino can run it.
Arduino’s massive success among the maker and hacker crowd is undisputed, but it’s usually seen more as something for experimenting and prototyping than a component for professional applications. JF Machines Ltd has handily proven that idea wrong with an industrial printer run by five unmodified Arduino boards.
Smarter than the average tool.
As wonderful as CNC milling machines are, they aren’t exactly portable. Material has to transported to and from the location of the machine, and it has to fit within the work area. The Handibot is small enough to bring with you to a work site, and it can be placed wherever it’s needed on material of almost any size.
The Handibot is something between a traditional power tool and a CNC mill. It’s a power tool made smarter with a lot of help from apps and digital fabrication techniques. Learn more about it and get one for yourself on the (already) fully-funded kickstarter campaign.
Digital fabrication helps Buttercup to walk and swim.
Buttercup the duck was born in a high school biology lab in November 2012 with one foot turned backwards. Since this birth defect rendered him unable to walk or swim, Buttercup’s foot was amputated in preparation for a prosthesis.
After the leg healed, engineers at NovaCopy produced a new foot 3D printed in ABS plastic that will be used to make a mold and then a permanent silicone rubber prosthesis for Buttercup. Follow the story as it continues to unfold on Buttercup’s facebook page.
Show your support for the next industrial revolution.
AtFAB has developed a new line of furniture to be produced using locally distributed manufacturing for the consumer market. They are asking for backers through their kickstarter campaign to help fund the first few, pilot, production centers. Later, they will integrate their production with Ponoko and 100kGarages to make their production system truly local.
Locally distributed manufacturing has been around for a little while, but it has been mostly limited to the maker/DIY community. It simply isn’t accessible enough for most people. AtFAB already has considerable experience developing digitally fabricated furniture in the maker community, and now they are using that knowledge to launch a line of furniture for the consumer market. AtFAB will deliver flatpacked furniture, complete with hardware and instructions, to your door.
The open source programming language for makers and creatives gets a major update.
Processing, an open source programming language and environment, has been used extensively by millions of artists, designers, experimenters, and makers since its development in 2001. It made sophisticated programming accessible both in terms of ease of use and cost (free). Recently, Processing 2.0, the first full new version, was released to the public.
Algorithmic design, digital fabrication, and silkworms work together to make a pavilion.
MIT MediaLab’s Mediated Matter group used inspiration from the cocoons of silkworms for the Silk Pavilion. Silkworm cocoons are made from one long, continuous silk thread. The pavilion uses the same approach, but with some high-tech help.
A new way to 3D print without the need for support material.
The Mataerial 3D printer uses a 2-part thermosetting resin instead of the thermoplastics commonly used in extrusion-based 3D printers. This approach allows the machine to print a line directly into the air with only a single point of contact with a surface. The surface doesn’t need to be horizontal or even; the material will even adhere to a vertical surface.