Citizen Science: How Big is a Bird Egg?

emu egg in ostrich eggbot

While talking about egg sizes in the context of the Eggbot project, we realized that while we have access to a few samples, we do not have a good understanding of the normal variation in the sizes of various bird eggs.

The sizes of chicken eggs are well understood and well regulated, but for other types of bird eggs (like the emu egg above) the sizes are not necessarily so standard. If you have access to other types of eggs or eggshells, we’d like your help in gathering data about the size and variation in these other types of eggs.

We’ve set up a survey form to collect egg size data and we plan to post about our results once we have collected enough data.

Thank you!

Eggers using Eggbots

One of our favorite things about the Eggbot is that we get to connect to the communities that embrace it and find new uses for it. One such group is (not surprisingly) egg artists. They affectionately call themselves “eggers” and are, more likely than not, members of the International Egg Art Guild. One of their enterprising members, Fran, has been creating patterns for use with the Eggbot and sharing them through the Eggers Eggbot Group on Facebook or on Thingiverse.

A pattern, after being marked with the Eggbot using a pencil or marker, can be carved, painted, or decorated in a variety of ways. Carving is generally done by hand using a lightweight air powered drill (such as the Turbo Carver).

As with any specialized group of enthusiasts, they have regional shows to display and sell their creations, and to buy and sell the tools of the trade. Fran uses her Eggbot both for marking eggs for her own projects, and for marking eggs to sell at shows for others to finish.

The Eggbot is particularly useful in evenly distributing a repeating pattern around the egg—something that can be difficult to do by hand. The interlocking circles shown on two of the ostrich eggs above were also used to make the egg ornament at the top.

Thank you to Fran for sharing your pictures and projects!

Designs for Eggbot by RoboGenius

We’ve been watching the work of RoboGenius for quite some time. He has created some of the neatest non-geometric work anybody has done on the Egg-Bot. Recently, he uploaded a number of his designs to thingiverse, which means you can try them out, too. He has also been posting great pictures of them to flickr. When asked in the Egg-Bot user list how he created them, he posted:

The short answer is that it’s all done line by line in Inkscape.

The slightly more tedious answer is that it starts with an image (generally something off the web, or that has some significance to me), then I import that image onto my 3200px X 850px template in Inkscape and position it where I want it on the egg/ball. I then take a look at the image and decide how many color layers I’ll be needing for the plot and add those to the project, naming them sequentially followed by the color I use for the layer (for example: 1 – Yellow, or 5 – Black). I always begin with the lightest colors first, and generally end in black. Then it’s simply a matter of tracing over the picture on the correct layer using the bezier line tool (Shift + F6), and bending those lines with the path editing tool (F2). Once I get the basic lines created, I’ll create and fill any solid shapes using the EggBot Contributed Hatch fill extension (spacing should be set to 6 for eggs). To add shading, you simply go over the same places a couple of times with the same color, which can be achieved with Copy and Paste, and occasionally the shading can be enhanced by altering the angle of the line to match the angle of the shape or intended shadow (the Master Chief design is a good example of this technique).

That’s pretty much it. To finish off the project, I like to color all of the lines in a layer to match the marker used in that layer, then delete the layer with the picture in it.

Thank you for generously sharing both your designs and your techniques, RoboGenius!

How to make precision fine line edible ink pens

A guest project by Dan Newman, contributing Evil Mad Scientist.

Egg Warning Label

For my Eggbot plotting, I’ve had two seemingly exclusive goals: to execute
designs with food safe inks, and to use pens capable of producing fine, crisp
lines. Now, thanks to Lenore’s recent investigation of food safe markers combined with a simple five minute pen modification, it’s possible to achieve both goals with the same pen. Yes, I can have my eggs and eat them too!

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Evaluating some Food Safe Markers

Food Marker Brands

We have, at a number of different times, come across situations where it was desirable to use a food safe marker. One example is our custom message hearts project, another is in the course of making circuitry snacks. The topic came up again recently in discussions of Dan Newman’s Nutrition Information and Omelet Recipe eggs, where commenters were debating whether or not one should eat an egg after it has been written on.

There are three types of food safe markers readily available in the US. We tested all three in an Eggbot and just for kicks, by hand on a bit of rolled out fondant.

Black Comparison, Large Text

The primary differences between the markers were in the shades of the red and black, the ink flow rates, and the texture and shape of the nibs. Colors like blue, green and yellow didn’t show significant differences, although it should be noted that the blues in all cases (no matter what color the plastic was) were closer to a sky blue.

Food Marker Tips

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