Makerbot Talk @ Ignite, Wednesday 14/April

Title says it all. For those so inclined, here's my very late notice that I'll be talking about Makerbots, Repraps and Thingiverse this Wednesday 14th in the Science Museum. The event starts at 6:30. Ignite is an event that asks “Enlighten us, but make it quick”. It was started by Bre Pettis and Brady Forrest as a way for local communities to share ideas and raise the “collective IQ”, and is traditionally composed of a little Make contest first, (like “Best Bridge Made of Popsicle Sticks”) followed by a series of five minute talks.

The Makerbot Better Live Mousetrap Challenge

So, last night (being about 26 hours ago I think) I posted a challenge to the Makerbot User's Group, asking for a live mousetrap that I could print, use, and award €25 for. Team Makerbot blogged it, and threw in a teeshirt if the winner was released under an open license, which just makes it all the more cool! Today, I received 5kg of plastic from, so I'm ready to start printing tomorrow.

Microlathe and Accelerating Returns in Rapid Prototyping

Rapid Prototyping is addictive. I knew it would be when I bought the Makerbot, but I didn't know just how much. Since the moderate success of Dremelfuge, I've gone a step further into multi-part, assembled devices, and I'm proud of the result. Microlathe is a Makerbot/Reprap printable Lathe that uses a Dremel for rotary power. I spent a day and a half designing the first draft of it in OpenSCAD, another evening printing the parts, and the minutes I could grab over the last few evenings testing it.

Dremelfuge: It works, and it's Available

Long Overdue Update: I'm very proud to say that, some time back, I updated the Dremelfuge design with better tolerances and a better shape to handle tubes. When I tested it (only once so far) at full speed on a dremel with two tubes full of fruit smoothie, it didn't eject or break the tubes at all. So there you go, Dremelfuge can now be considered the world's cheapest midi-ultra-centrifuge, capable of putting about 52,000g on up to six 1.

DremelFuge, First Go

I've had on my mind an idea for some time that I've wanted to try. Having a Makerbot has enabled me to experiment with mad science on a level I've not been able to before, so here it is: DremelFuge, a printable drill/rotary tool attachment that spins microcentrifuge tubes! I uploaded a quickly mashed-together first draft to Thingiverse, but didn't have a chance to print it that day as planned because I lost my laptop in town while Christmas shopping.

Ubuntu Karmic; Macbook Bliss at Last

History of Linux and I I tried twice previously to switch to Linux, and for a few reasons didn't end up having any luck. The first time I did so was around 2005, when I was living out of home for the first time. My room was beautifully minimalist; just a double-bed, a wardrobe, a Shuttle X desktop PC and a 5.1 surround sound system. The wooden floors and old timber beam made it warm and cosy.

Makerbot Update - Broke, Fixed, Printing!

Well, since my last post the Makerbot has been busy! Busy breaking and requiring troubleshooting and maintenance. But that's behind us now; I've a lot more knowledge of Makerbotting, and a much tougher Plastruder as a result. Many, many thanks to Mark Adams for the replacement part he printed and sent to me! It Broke So, I'll keep it brief. The Makerbot is prone to a failure that occurs when plastic melts too high up in the barrel; this leads to increased friction, but also to some molten plastic being shoved up into the insulator by displacement as the filament forces its way down.

Weekend Gadgetry; DIY 3G for iPhone, Makerbot Finally Built

I spent my weekend doing a lot of geeky stuff. The two high achievers were: 1) Getting my iPhone to have always-on internet despite not having a Data Plan (kinda), and 2) Getting my Makerbot working at last, and making a few test prints. Firstly, I'll reveal my ingenious hack for the iPhone. Actually, it's pretty simple, and possibly already done elsewhere. Anyway. Personal Area Network Hack If you have a mobile broadband modem for your computer, and you're using a Mac, follow these instructions and you'll have yourself a personal Wifi network for use with your smartphone, book reader or other-laptop in less than a minute, with only one free install.