Wes wrote in to say:
I am an Electrical Engineer (graduated May ’72, Texas Tech U), but I never saw or even heard of a homopolar motor until last week, when I saw an electric motor made from four parts on National Geographic’s program, “None of the Above“. When I first saw it, I figured it must be a hoax. A DC motor had to have a commutator and two magnets.
Only when I was browsing around in Wikipedia did I find an article on the motor. I happened to have everything I needed, so I built one, not really expecting it to work. To my great surprise, it spun up to a few thousand RPMs in seconds. I read Wikipedia’s theory of operation, but it didn’t make sense. Today, I came across your wonderfully clear and simple explanation, and now I understand the motor perfectly.
I simply cannot thank you enough for your drawing and explanation.
Thanks for writing in— we’re glad to hear you enjoyed learning something new! The instructions for making the motor and the discussion of how it works are in our articles:
John Keefe took LED throwies in a new direction, adding a tilt switch to a coin cell holder and a flickering LED to make candles that can be “blown out” by turning them on their sides.
Related: Simple LED Projects
We’ll be at The Tech museum in San Jose this Saturday, April 26, for an Open Make session with the theme of “Flow.” The event is in collaboration with the Maker Education Initiative.
Open Make activities run from 10 am to 2 pm and are free with museum admission.
Previous Open Make posts:
Katherine Scott posted on Twitter:
@EMSL eggbot being used for demos by IDS imaging at the @AIAVision show. Awesome.
Our friend AnnMarie, who is an engineering professor, wrote to say,
I keep showing the short CNN explains 3D printing video in talks I have to give to students, and always love that you and Windell are walking through the MakerBot store in it!
We were highly amused as we had never seen the clip, which was published in 2013. The footage must have been shot just after the 2012 NY Maker Faire. Having been featured in Wired Magazine for our own 3D printer, it is perhaps appropriate that when the video cuts to us, the narrator says,
The people at the forefront of this movement, they say they want this to be as common in peoples homes as the toaster oven.
(We show up for about one second at 1:35.)
The Robot Block Party was on the news yesterday, including a our very own Eggbot in action. You can watch the segment, titled “Robotics ‘Block Party’ Attracts Diverse Crowd To Palo Alto” over at CBS.
We’ll be at the Silicon Valley Robot Block Party on Wednesday, April 9 at WilmerHale in Palo Alto.
See the most advanced robotics research in Silicon Valley, the hottest robot startups, the coolest robot companies and all the just plain fun robots you can imagine.
The event is free and open to the public and runs from 1-4 pm. We hope to see you and your robots there!
The Open Source Beehives project is currently running a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of gathering information from sensor equipped hives throughout the world to help solve bee population problems like colony collapse syndrome. The sensors can also be used by individual beekeepers to monitor the health of their hive.
Even without the sensors and the citizen science, their hive designs are beautiful.
Over in the Eggbot forums, user ragstian has been poking around in the firmware for the the controller board for the Eggbot, the EBB. He found an easter egg: holdover code from an old demo mode which would do standalone plots without a computer attached. The plot above depicts one of the very earliest versions of the Eggbot kit.
And on the reverse, www.egg-bot.com. Nicely done!
A nice write-up on the Egg-Bot over at Brit+Co:
We realize it’s a little bizarre to have a crush on a robot, but we can’t help but blush at the sight of our newest geeky toy.