Monday, December 13, 2010

Procedural Objects

This Minecraft Like Rendering Experiment is extra-interesting from a rapid prototying perspective because it suggests a method to create a near infinite number of unique designs that fit some parameters, and are physically manufacturable. (if you design the procedure correctly)

It won't be long before someone gets a full color 3D print of their minecraft world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fab@home, RepRap or MakerBot?

A nice reply in the Fab@home Forums:
"I'm a little biased in my answer, but here is my honest assessment.

Fab@Home has a dremel attachment tool and can do 3 axis CNC milling. So if you were considering getting a 3 axis CNC machine, get a fabathome instead. You can use our software for controlling and planning the prints, or you can use the Snap motors program listed on the JRKERR website to use G-Codes to do milling and interface with MasterCAM or other G-code based programs.

Fab@Home has a much larger build area than the makerbot or repraps and can use a wider array of toolheads. Repraps are cheaper in terms of BOM but take a lot more care to build, and take a lot longer to build. Not to mention to cost of getting your initial plastic parts made. If you want something that you can order and use in a day, your options are Fab@Home and Makerbot."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Open Source Machine

"The MultiMachine all-purpose machine tool that can be built by a semi-skilled mechanic with just common hand tools."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mr.doob Voxels

Mr.doob Voxels is a nice simple little 3d editor that will work in any modern browser. It seems to work best in Chrome.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Make the Most Difference

When you give to charity, you should pick the charity that will do the most good with your money.

The work you do should be treated the same way. Your skills and time matter, and you shouldn't waste them. You should find the most important thing you can do, and do that.

This doesn't mean everyone has to do the same thing. Obviously everyones' skills are different, but it's also true that any given task can become saturated. No matter how important a task is, if enough people are working on it, your added individual effort might not do as much good as working on some less important, but understaffed project. It's great to be a Doctor, but it's possible for a society to have too many Doctors. On the other hand the skills you have (or could get) must have some field of application which is currently the least well served, relative to it's importance.

This is where you can make the most difference.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alien and Monolith

I was experimenting with cute mascots in Inkscape and I got this.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pushing towards easy open source robotics

This talk gets fairly technical in spots (the main audience was Google engineers) but mostly it's about New Devices plus Building Community plus Social empowerment.

It introduces a platform that aims to make advanced robotics simpler. Currently, 3D printers are doing fairly straightforward predetermined actions, and micro-controllers can handle this level of interaction. But why shouldn't a more advanced printer have an accelerometer to notice when it is jostled, or even a camera to see exactly where a part moved to and continue printing it correctly?

Awesome Open Source Wheel Tracks

Monday, September 6, 2010

RepRap sucks?

After many time building my RepStrap, printing parts for Mendel and finally build my Mendel, I asked on dev mailing list about "RepRap roadmap" -- seems there is no defined roadmap.

Because there is no roadmap, I can't know what will be RepRap in next 1, 3, 5 years. Will RepRap improve and be userfriendly, being useful for people? --- I don't think so, because none developers expressed that intention. It's clear not and objective and nor a priority.

This reminds me of the criticism Linux got when it still had really bad usability issues.

As user jbayless says:
"RepRap is difficult to build and tune, that's for sure, but it takes perseverance. I would have much more pride -- and faith -- in a printer that I'd built and helped to design, than in a closed-source competitor. But this approach is not for everybody. "

The core of a complex machine or piece of software will always be complicated and hard to configure. Once the ubergeeks get that core working, others can layer on interfaces that do the hard configuration automatically. If the core is open source.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Future Post on Future Posts

For several years I've been reading John Michael Greer's The Archdruid Report. Once a week he writes a thoughtful and informative essay on some topic, usually relating to sustainability or our future given peak oil. Often he gives detailed historical examples of major social changes or failures which mirror whatever challenge he brings to our attention.
I suspect that this tendency to bridge together the past, present, and future stems from some aspect of Druidry, and that this same mode of thought prompts him to give a distinctive structure to his writing. Every post begins with few paragraphs broadly outlining what he has written about in the past few weeks or months, and ends with a few paragraphs hinting at the topics which will be covered in upcoming posts. While this is not to unusual, he extends this pattern down to paragraphs themselves.
Just as he does with posts, he will often begin a paragraph by referencing and idea introduced in the paragraph before it. He explores and develops this idea and in one or two final sentences he hints at a topic to be introduced or explained in the following paragraph. This gives his post a quality which the Archdruid borrows from nature: fractal self-similarity.
Fractal self-similarity is the quality that lets us pretend that a broken off branch is a tiny tree. It is often evident when a simple initial process creates something rich in complexity. The style of The Archdruid Report encourages to you continue reading and to go back to the archives and read more.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elevator Pitch

3D Printers can make almost anything in metal or plastic. If they’re
developed, they will be able to make almost any device, and that will
change the world. Right now, not enough people know how to build them,
or use them, or even that they exist.
The Replicator Rabbit Project helps people by showing them how to use
incredibly powerful tools that we have today.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

K3D is easy to use, it has tutorials available on startup, is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, and it's Free Open Source Software (GPL)

Download K3D. (Or try your Linux package manager, it's probably in there.)

I followed this Demo, and though there are a few minor differences with the version I have, I modeled a coffee cup just like this in under 5 minutes.