Thursday, April 22, 2010

Makerbot Giveaway Entry #1



Shaker Flashlight:
Test print of Inner Case Housing:
Shaker Light Case designed to print on Makerbot:

This is a great idea with some less than perfect quality Chinese manufacturing!

If memory serves I Paid closed to 10 US dollars for one of these “Shaker lights” plus tax. Buy them on Ebay cheap but you must pay the postage, it still costs. No batteries great, simple to keep around and use when needed.

Mine had a few “issues” the switch didn’t lock in right and then I dropped the light and the case got all screwed up. Generally I like the light and concept it just needs to be “personalized” with RepRap.

These make great personalized gifts. My hope with this project is to personalize the lights for areas of usage. Seems I have a bad habit of picking up the light and putting it in another place then end up looking for it when I need it. So the fix is make one that says “Auto” on it, one for Bedroom, kitchen etc.

Problems with the original design you can purchase: The magnet is locked in with a poor seal on the end. The seal isn’t glued; it kinda just locks in very poorly. I highly recommend A decent bit of tape to lock the seal. If the seal unlocks then the “inner works” moves out of position and the power switch won’t make the correct contact.

The power switch is a very simple mechanism. It pushes the metal contact down, makes contact and you have power. As this project is only to replace the casing we won’t address the issues at this time.

The mirror type mechanism is basically some reflecting foil around the led light. One flat piece of reflection does the job but could be improved on. From what I gathered of the design the idea was to give a little light near the top of the light as well as out of it. Serves no purpose other than look cool.

My first run on this project: covers attempts to make a “clone” very close to the original design. It might have worked, but I put out a test print and asked some questions found that making a copy on a Makerbot would push the machine to its limits. So last minute as my software skills improved, the decision was made to start from scratch again.

Overview: The updated design has two parts

1) Inner Case Housing: is designed to be the printed area to use the “Shaker drop in package”. Contents of a self contained shaker power system, led light, and power switch.

The critical measurement is making the “Shaker drop in” package” fit inside your replication. To make this easy for future versions I made and posted a “test print”

2) Outer Case Package: Contents of the Plastic Lens, Lens Cover, seal and “Outer Case Housing”

In this design we focus on the outer case of the design. We have an “Shaker drop In” package, contents of a self contained shaker power system, led light, and power switch. The inner works fits inside of the outer case and is locked in at the top.

My Hope: This someone buys and stocks ”Shaker drop In” packages. They should be dirt cheap to buy in quantity. Resell them in printer packs of say 6 or 12 units.

This is the perfect demo print for shows. Just print out a bunch of the “Outer Case Housings” maybe personalizes with “made on Makerbot” or some such.

At the demo personalize a name on the Lens cover and make a quick print.

Great as a giveaway and great for giving personalized gifts!

More, Fine details Updated later...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Electrically Conductive PLA

I know the subject of my visit to the APEX expo might be getting a little old. It just was one of those times you had to be there to experience it, and the valuable contacts made.

One such contact was the chemist I met in one booth. Seems the firm he works for worked with various forms of plastic compounds including a super electrically insulating cousin of PLA.

Our conversation was about the RepRap project, making or printing pcb boards etc. So we talked about the possibility of removing the insulating properties of his material, and doping it to become electrically conductive. Can you say “Electrically Conductive PLA” to print out circuits? He took down his notes on the subject, and hopefully will follow up as a “Noob”

The seed has been planted. I know with all my other projects this must be passed on so others might water, and bring the process to maturity. My hope with this post is that enough attention will be gathered and Adrian and Vik will find the emails, keeping them from the spam bucket.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Essence of an Idea

Last night I was making a second round with the various materials obtained this week at the APEX expo. What nagged on me was the excellent part in production I found at the show. My hope was adapting the part to use in the “V Extruder” project. The part had one major flaw that made it impossible to work. Then the fix for this flaw hit me! It was late in the evening and exhausted, I went to bed. Would deal with it in another day or so.

Saturday: Woke up this morning and to help me wake up I fired up the laptop to get my eyes in focus. Then I put a few words in Google, something from last night. It lead me to a complete, and “brand new” concept, and process.

So my plans for today are screwed. It’s going to be over 80 deg. F, bright and sunshiny. I should be out and about and enjoying the spring weekend. What do I find myself doing after several hours? Documenting the “new processes” for admission to the Patent offices, how sad.

I find myself tortured again! I suffer from the same mindset Thomas Edison suffered from। He used to take short power naps, and would wake up and have fixes or brand new concepts available to him when he awoke. What tortures me, is that in prior times, most of my new ideas were 5-10 years ahead of the technology to manufacture them.

The RepRap projects have been very good to me and my way of thinking। The focus now is on ‘manufacturing”। So to sum up what happened to me this morning….my mind overnight worked out the problem or fix from last night,when I went to bed.

I have about a dozen or so other projects RepRap related in the works. So I Google that word this morning it all came together !!! My mind had combined the ideas from one project, with the fix from last night, and presto a “brand new” concept and process.

By now I’m sure the “Open source” people are all fired up with me saying the word “Patent”. Not to threat, I have it all documented. Parts of this new concept and process will become open in the future. On the restricted side,the licenses pay to bring the major part of the technology to market. Under the documented timeline my hope is to bring something out within a year or less, or maybe I’ll just sleep on this?

Time to enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome the Noob

I’ve had the very good fortune this week to attend the IPC APEX EXPO. Featuring advanced and emerging technologies in printed board design and manufacturing, electronics assembly and test.

In past years a project like RepRap wouldn’t gain much interest. With the world economy in such a mess,the companies are all hungry. I found a great deal of interest in the RepRap projects, so expect a few noobies in for a peak!!!

Use IFF for Rep Rap

The Interchange File Format (IFF)

Link to info and specs:

Y Iff ?
“One of the most disappointing lessons learned from IFF is simply that a pretty good standard can easily be ignored in favor of a huge variety of proprietary formats. A very large number of formats out there have carefully attempted to recreate just the basic functionality of IFF. In practice, this means that graphics programs are stuck supporting dozens of subtly incompatible formats, each of which has its own innovative set of quirks.”

IFF Official Specifications