Category Archives: Engineering

Analog Education and the 555

The article Can Analog Circuits Inspire Budding Engineers? over at Planet Analog discusses preparing students for dealing with real world circuitry by getting them started with analog circuits.

By building, probing, and observing the signals and their changes in these circuits without any code requirements, students can get a real feel for otherwise abstract concepts such as voltage, current, and more.

The author uses examples of projects and kits including our very own Three Fives Kit.

MakerCon 2015

MakerCon is a short conference put on by Maker Media in the week leading up to Maker Faire about the business of making.

Gael with InMoov

3D printing is a common maker topic, and MakerCon brought a few different twists to it. Above is Gael demonstrating InMoov, an open source 3D printed humanoid robot. There was also an incredibly inspiring talk about applications for medical 3D printing by Dr. Glenn Green.

Gigabot print

3D printing can be whimsical as well, as demonstrated by this “25 mm” drill bit by Gigabot.

Strawbees

The folks from Strawbees had built a quadcopter rotor cage with a clever servo actuator for flapping sculptural wings.

Clever flex design

I enjoyed seeing this attractive laser cut living hinge at the BotFactory demo.

Rogue Rover

Rogue Rovers are electric semi-autonomous ATVs designed for agricultural use to reduce farm injuries and pollution.

More pictures from the event are in my flickr album.

Fab Academy CNC Workstation Cart

CNC Workstation cart from Fab Academy
Erin posted on the Make blog about large scale CNC projects at Fab Academy, including a CNC workstation cart based on our design made by Lina Monaco. Lina goes into more details in her post here.

To design it I started from the Evil Mad Scientist’s CNC Workstation Cart redrawing to adapted it to our necessity as an horizontal PC, cables space inside, and last but not least without any screw or glue.

No screw no glue drawers

She posts about her design process, including prototyping using a laser cutter to make a scale model. It looks great—we especially like the cutout drawer handle design.

Blinky AVR Earrings

Blinky AVR Earring

Look what just arrived in the mail– Blinky AVR Earrings!

Blinky AVR Earrings

Not long ago, Rick posted on twitter about the ATtiny84 blinky earrings he had made, inspired by my voltage regulator earrings (which I now fasten on with the appropriate phillips screw).

Four blue LEDs blink in sequence, powered by a CR1220 battery. The board is traditional OSHPark purple, with an ISP header for convenient reprogramming. They’re lighter than they look and quite comfortable.

Thank you, Rick! I know what I’ll be wearing to Maker Faire!

RoboGames Wrap-up

Eggs decorated by the EggBot at RoboGames
Photo by Jim St. Leger

We had a great time at RoboGames demonstrating the EggBot over Easter weekend. Thanks to the contestants in both Combat and Bartending Art Bots categories that we were privileged to judge.

Erin
Photo by Jim St. Leger

Congratulations to our friend RobotGrrl, who took home a gold medal in the Best of Show category.

Schuyler and Roger show off the RoboGames logo as drawn by the WaterColorBot
Photo by Jim St. Leger

Congratulations also to our collaborators on the WaterColorBot project, Schuyler and Roger who won gold in Art Bots in the Painting category.

STEM at the White House Easter Egg Roll

Families gather around to learn more about how the EggBot works

From the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post, An Egg-straordinary Day of Science and Technology:

Interacting with EggBot, an art robot that can paint very intricate and precise designs on eggs. EggBot taught students about digital design, computer numerically controlled machines and robotics. This was also a fun way to celebrate National Robotics Week!

From the Mailbag: Interactive Game of Life

Game of Life by Forrest

Forrest shared these pictures of his Interactive Game of Life build.

I bought the project to help expose my two grandsons to electronics and learn how to build circuit boards.  Dan my 10 year old did one board all by himself just using your instructions. Josh my 14 year old did more than half of the boards and I finished them up because I only have the kids for limited time periods. I am so proud of them. Josh complete understands how the Game Of Life works…I don’t  HA!  We are planning on adding a instruction board to the bottom of the display so other kids can have fun.

I have a CNC router and built the frame.  The boards are screwed onto a piece of 1/4″ plywood which floats in the frame.  Not glue in.  I machined a loose slot around the inside frame pieces.  That way I can take the frame apart and easily change out of a board if necessary.  It has been so much fun to build and you have SUPER service.

We thank you so much and would like to build more projects that you may come up with.  As soon as I get more time with Dan we are going to build the clock.

He also shared his case design (105 kb dxf). Thank you for sharing your time and skills with your grandkids, and for sharing your pictures and design with the rest of us!