So, I gave a talk at the Synbio Future conference in Cork, which was organised by SynbioAxlr8r and brought in some top talent in Synthetic Biology to speak about their work and the prospects for the future of the field, and Ireland’s role in it. My own talk was in the “translation” block, so I tried to discuss my experiences making a business out of Synbio. At the time, I was trying to raise money for IndieBB (an effort which failed), but I tried to keep that out of the talk except where it was relevant.
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.
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.
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 1.5ml eppendorf tubes.
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.
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.
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.
Long Overdue Update: This post has turned out to be one of the all-time most popular on my site, which surprises me to no end. Who’d have thought my crummy heatsink-and-tin thermal cycler would be cooler than isolating glowing bacteria or printing a 52,000g centrifuge? But, who am I to question human interest. It’s not like my interests are particularly normal anyway. However, I do think this post needs updating, since people keep returning to it and asking questions.
For a while preceding buying my own Arduino, I spent my time looking at all the cool projects people have used them for on the Make blog, Fashioning Technology and the Arduino wiki itself. Although I love all the projects that showcase the artistic use of electronics, and I’m impressed with the more utilitarian uses also, I see great untapped potential in the Arduino as a replacement technology for certain niches where equipment is prohibitively expensive.