Collider Prints Hollow Shells, Fills Them

3D printing is full of innovations made by small firms who’ve tweaked the same basic ideas just a little bit, but come up with radically different outcomes. Collider, a small startup based in Chattanooga TN, is producing a DLP resin printer that prints hollow molds and then fills them.

colliderThat’s really all there is to it. The Orchid machine prints a thin shell using a photocuring resin, and uses this shell as the mold for various two-part thermoset materials: think epoxies, urethanes, and silicones. The part cures and the shell is dissolved away, leaving a solid molded part with the material properties that you chose.

This is a great idea for a couple of reasons. DLP-based resin printers can have very fine features, but they’re slow as dirt when a lot of surface area needs to be cured. By making thin-walled molds, this stage can go faster. The types of UV-curing resins out there for use in resin printers is limited by the need to photo-cure, while the spectrum of two-part plastic materials is much broader. Finally, resin printers are great for printing single topologically-simple objects, and molds are essentially just vases.

While we’re sure that there’s a market for these kind of machines in small-scale manufacturing, this is also an eminently DIY procedure. We’ve personally even made some hollow 3D parts and filled them with epoxy to strengthen them up, but never taken the last conceptual leap to thinking of the 3D-printed part as a disposable one-off mold. We’ve even cast chocolate in 3D-printed molds, with varying degrees of success. We’ve also seen great things done in lost-PLA casting. 3D printing and mold-making are made for each other. Building a single machine to run all of the steps, and taking care of the messy details, is a neat idea.

[via Engineering.com] and thanks to [RandyKC] for the tip!

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

3D Printed Greeting Cards

T’is the season to hack, and the maker brigade won’t disappoint — there’s no better way to crank out a few cute holiday tchotchkes than to fire up the 3D printer. [Niklas Roy] has released gDraw, a software package that creates G-code to print out 2D drawings on your 3D printer.

The interface is simple, allowing the quick and easy creation of basic vector drawings. The program then converts the paths in the drawing to a G-code representation that your printer follows to squirt them out in plastic. Think of it as the 3D printed equivalent of the “Stroke Path” tool in Photoshop.

[Niklas] chose to demonstrate the software by creating some interesting greeting cards that Big Christmas is sure to rip off next year and sell for $30 a pop. The printed plastic drawings give a fun 3D effect to the cards, and we’d love to see more examples of art created with this technique. The software was designed to work with the Ultimaker 2, but with tweaks, it should be able to generate code for other printers, too.

We’ve seen plenty of great festive hacks over the years — like this awesome laser projection setup.

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, Holiday Hacks

Jump into Pogo

A lot of modern PCBs have small pads with no components attached. They are often used as test points, JTAG ports, or programmer connections. There’s no connector on the board, just pads. To use those, test equipment and programmers utilize pogo pins. These are small pins with a spring inside, reminiscent of a tiny pogo stick.

To use pogo pins effectively, you need a way to hold them in the right position and something to put pressure on them while they are in use. [Joshua Brooks] used a strip board to hold them in place and clothes pin to keep the pressure on them.

The strip board is handy because it allows you to easily attach a wire to the pin without having to solder the wire to the pin. Some hot glue, cable ties, and heat shrink round out the clip. This is mostly useful when you have a very tiny board or lots of boards where you don’t want the expense of a connector on every one. In [Joshua’s] case, he was programming a lot of AVR boards.

We’ve seen a lot of 3D printed pogo solutions. If you have a laser cutter, you might be interested in an OpenSCAD tool.

Filed under: tool hacks

The Ninja Run: a VR Movement Experiment

VR is an area that is seeing plenty of DIY experimentation, and [FultonX] has an interesting hack of sorts in that he’s discovered something that meshes well with how we perceive motion and movement. It’s an experimental movement system for VR he calls the Ninja Run, and it somewhat resembles skiing.

ninja-run-analysis-optimizedEven room-scale VR suffers from the fact that the player is more or less stuck in one place. Moving the player from one spot to another isn’t currently a gracefully solved problem, and many existing methods are not immersive or have other drawbacks. One solution in use is a sort of teleportation, another “slides” the player to another area on command (like gliding across ice). [FultonX] found these existing solutions lacking, and prototyped the Ninja Run concept which he found was surprisingly intuitive and effective. Video demo embedded below.

[FultonX] found that using the “Ninja Run” position (head forward, arms swept back) to determine direction and speed of movement was both immersive and intuitive, and didn’t feel unnatural at all; in fact it felt more like having a super power. He has shared a demo and created a Steam community project page in the hopes of seeing if the idea has legs.

VR is an area in which, even as a hobbyist, it is possible to genuinely innovate with not only software projects but also from the hardware side. For example, Vive’s Lighthouse technology has been used to give positioning info to indoor robots.

[via RoadToVR]

Filed under: Virtual Reality

Pi Keeps Cool at 1.5 GHz

Hackers have a long history of overclocking CPUs ranging from desktop computers to Arduinos. [Jacken] wanted a little more oomph for his Pi Zero-Raspberry Pi-based media center, so he naturally wanted to boost the clock frequency. Like most overclocking though, the biggest limit is how much heat you can dump off the chip.

[Jacken] removed the normal heat sink and built a new one out of inexpensive copper shim, thermal compound, and super glue. The result isn’t very pretty, but it does let him run the Zero Pi at 1.5 GHz reliably. The heat sink is very low profile and doesn’t interfere with plugging other things into the board. Naturally, your results may vary on clock frequency and stability.

[Jacken] staggers the shim pieces to afford more exposed surface area. Although copper is a good conductor of heat, using multiple pieces probably mitigates some of the advantage. On the other hand, using thermal compound between the pieces should reduce the microgaps between shims, so that will help.

In addition to overclocking, [Jacken] made some power measurements with all cores active and came up with a surprisingly low current draw (well under 1A). That’s a sample of one, though, so you should probably make your own measurements if it matters

This isn’t the first [Jacken] overclock we’ve seen but the new aspect is the low profile heat sink. If you are just in it for sport, you can overclock an Arduino, even. You can run at 65 MHz, as long as you don’t mind supply liquid nitrogen.

Filed under: Raspberry Pi

Pi Keeps Cool at 1.5 GHz

Hackers have a long history of overclocking CPUs ranging from desktop computers to Arduinos. [Jacken] wanted a little more oomph for his Pi Zero-Raspberry Pi-based media center, so he naturally wanted to boost the clock frequency. Like most overclocking though, the biggest limit is how much heat you can dump off the chip.

[Jacken] removed the normal heat sink and built a new one out of inexpensive copper shim, thermal compound, and super glue. The result isn’t very pretty, but it does let him run the Zero Pi at 1.5 GHz reliably. The heat sink is very low profile and doesn’t interfere with plugging other things into the board. Naturally, your results may vary on clock frequency and stability.

[Jacken] staggers the shim pieces to afford more exposed surface area. Although copper is a good conductor of heat, using multiple pieces probably mitigates some of the advantage. On the other hand, using thermal compound between the pieces should reduce the microgaps between shims, so that will help.

In addition to overclocking, [Jacken] made some power measurements with all cores active and came up with a surprisingly low current draw (well under 1A). That’s a sample of one, though, so you should probably make your own measurements if it matters

This isn’t the first [Jacken] overclock we’ve seen but the new aspect is the low profile heat sink. If you are just in it for sport, you can overclock an Arduino, even. You can run at 65 MHz, as long as you don’t mind supply liquid nitrogen.

Filed under: Raspberry Pi

External Link: Is the Mac Struggling Inside Apple?

Over at Bloomberg Technology, Mark Gurman lays out the case that Apple is indeed marginalizing the Mac internally, as we had suggested recently. Gurman cites numerous sources within the company who have revealed troubling changes. These days, the Mac hardware team gets less face time with Jony Ive’s design group, and managers have become more likely to float multiple competing ideas, meaning that time spent on losing designs ends up wasted. On the software side, Gurman says that there is no longer a dedicated Mac operating system group, with all engineers on a single team and many of them focusing on iOS first. Even Apple employees are asking if Mac desktops remain strategically important, which prompted a response from Tim Cook that was positive, if vague.

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

External Link: Is the Mac Struggling Inside Apple?

Over at Bloomberg Technology, Mark Gurman lays out the case that Apple is indeed marginalizing the Mac internally, as we had suggested recently. Gurman cites numerous sources within the company who have revealed troubling changes. These days, the Mac hardware team gets less face time with Jony Ive’s design group, and managers have become more likely to float multiple competing ideas, meaning that time spent on losing designs ends up wasted. On the software side, Gurman says that there is no longer a dedicated Mac operating system group, with all engineers on a single team and many of them focusing on iOS first. Even Apple employees are asking if Mac desktops remain strategically important, which prompted a response from Tim Cook that was positive, if vague.

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

Apple’s Wireless AirPods Were Worth the Wait

AirPods, Apple’s cordless versions of its iconic EarPods, are finally here. Julio Ojeda-Zapata spent time with the Bluetooth earbuds and found them to be worth the wait. Their audio quality is not spectacular, but voice calling works superbly, and wireless pairing with Macs and iOS devices is painless.

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.

Apple’s Wireless AirPods Were Worth the Wait

AirPods, Apple’s cordless versions of its iconic EarPods, are finally here. Julio Ojeda-Zapata spent time with the Bluetooth earbuds and found them to be worth the wait. Their audio quality is not spectacular, but voice calling works superbly, and wireless pairing with Macs and iOS devices is painless.

 

Read the full article at TidBITS, the oldest continuously published technology publication on the Internet. To get a full-text RSS feed, help support our work and become a TidBITS member! Members also enjoy an ad-free version of our Web site, email delivery of individual articles, the ability to make long comments with live links, and discounts on Take Control orders and other Apple-related products.