It was great to find this latest shared post in my feeds. It is software and instructions to be able to create and print Fisher Price toy records. The Fisher price record player is a traditional roll playing (not role playing) music box, with the changeable tune in a round record form factor. It is plastic with bumps on. The initial set of instructions were for a removal process using a CNC lathe but have now been updated to an additive 3d printing one. You can find more out here
The video is actually the CNC lathe one but it is brilliant.
I think it is a great example of extending a product, in this case resurrecting one. It also made me cry with laughter at its brilliant eccentricity.
It is awesome to see professional the job done on the text I wrote and some of the pictures I provided, but added with a whole lot more.
Makie’s are in there, Second Life Reebok trainers, Minecraft printing and the TVRRUG reprap as seen on The Cool Stuff Collective and a Raspberry Pi case.
Two articles into this does that make me a journalist officially now 🙂
You can view it online with the viewer above or download it here as a PDF and there is a regular weblink too.
***Update there is also the newstand ipad version which looks brilliant too, flush magazine if you search on the app store 🙂
So virtual worlds last issue, 3d printing this issue whats next? I have a cunning plan.
Firstly this is not related to anything official to do with any major sports event, so no brand police actions thank you very much.
The other day I blogged about using some homebrew kit to make martial arts related monitoring. It is an ongoing side project, but as part of that I mentioned using the Blobo for some of it as it has a motion sensor. Well in the course of thinking that through I wondered if I might be able to do something a little quirky to bring my Makie alive.
With the hollow head in the Makie designed for an arduino lily pad I thought I would see what happened if I put the Blobo in as the brain. I mean a 3 axis bluetooth transmitting fully functioning device seems like a good idea and saves a lot of soldering 🙂
The Blobo nearly fitted in the head. Without the eyes in it is the right size as is.
However much of the Blobo is designed to give it a decent size and feel, so with the guts ripped out it looks a much better fit.
So here he is going for a “run” with the Blobo sprinting app.
I have the SDK kindly provided by Martin Gossling at Quarternion so I can write some more Makie specific Unity3d applications. So if you pick up the Makie or move him at all he will be able to respond.
Trying this project out led Martin to get in touch re the Choi Kwang Do requirements and in a wonderful bout of serendipity they have repackaged and upgraded some of the same principles of the Blobo into BPMPro which looks like a great thing for CKD practitioners to give a go so watch this space as this looks very exciting 🙂 I think that combined with Kinect to some brilliant insights and ways to fine tune technique (not just power an speed) will evolve.
So this has merged the threads of 3d printing with Makie, homebrew use of technology for things other than it was intended (Maker Culture), the modern martial art of Choi Kwang Do and some Unity3d. Funny little ideas need to be explored as they are often lynch pin to a wider goal. “Feeding edge: Taking a bite out of technology so you don’t have to” 🙂
Just as the Queen was arriving at St Paul’s for her Diamond Jubilee celebration another major event happened a little closer to home. The doorbell rang and the DHL man delivered my Makie. For those of you who have not been paying attention Makie’s are custom made 3d printed action figures and are in alpha here
Being an early adopter and exploring both what technology does and what it actually feels like it is important to be in these first waves. In 2000 I emailed and ordered a small 3d printed tub from a multi-million pound printer as a sample, in 2006 I got my avatar from Second Life printed, as a solid piece. Now, in 2012 I have designed a face, picked eyes, hair and clots and have a 10″ fully articulated 3d printed figure. Printed close to home in the UK. He, as it is a he, has a hollow head ready for a lilypad arduino and a hollow body suitable for a battery. He is also number 31 out of 100 from the very first alpha run. So he is physical proof that the future is here, and he will be coming on tour and to conferences to prove that very point. It is quite an advance over the past 12 years, and hard to ignore the physical evidence or progress.
He arrived in a very nice tube.
Everything neatly packed in that tube, look you can see his head…. lets loose that analogy!
And here he is, modesty covered by the ownership certificate.
I went a bit elven with the ears, and went for solid colour eyes and the grey wig (I would have gone for the usual green hair, but there is always dye 🙂 ) The eyes can hair can of course be swapped out as this is a modular design.
Once dressed in his g33k science lab coat (one of the early clotehs designs that clearly appeals to the target market) he gave the Queen a quick wave.
These early alphas are labelled as over 14’s only something the Predlets were in awe of, as they have got used to checking the age ratings on games and alike and knowing if they are allowed new them. They were amazed still that he came from a 3d printer and that it was a one of a kind. Predlet 2.0 even gave him a little peck on the head to welcome him 🙂
I wonder what I will be having printed and where in another 6 years time?
Today Makies went live as an alpha. In case you had not been following this exciting new startup it is one that blends 3d printing with design. It lets you wizard up your own customised figure (lets say doll). The bulk of that figure is then custom 3d printed, but then some of the elements like clothes and accessories are added using more traditional methods. The site is in very early adopter mode as whilst you can design lots of Makies there are a subset of clothes available on checkout. Also this is the first limited edition run of 100 (I think I got in at number 50)
If you want to know who is behind all this then check out the team at MakieLab. I first got to hear about this because Alice Taylor (who as then at Channel 4) was going to come to one of our BCS animation and games development SG events to talk about how they used games at Channel 4. She was unable to come and do the talk at the last minute and had to be a little bit vague as she was in the process of resigning to go start Makielab up, but I didn’t know that 🙂 So when I saw her next we chatted a bit and got an tiny insight into what might be going on.
So, as an early adopter, 3d printing fan and as a sometime children’s TV presenter this really intersects a lot of things. So Feeding Edge is going to be the proud owner soon of a cute Makie.
Shapeways have another interesting 3d printing wizard application on their site. Called the Vibe.
As you will see form the video it is a mash up with Soundcloud. You pick your favourite music and isolate part of the waveform, that is then printed in relief form on an iPhone case.
Check out the Anarkik3d IndieGoGo project sitting there ready for you to invest.
There is a new website too for http://www.anarkik3d.co.uk/ yes that is a UK startup for 3d design and printing. The founder is Ann Marie Shillito, an internationally renown designer maker and contemporary jeweller. At Edinburgh College of Art, she instigated and led the original research into the effectiveness of a haptic interface for a 3D modelling package for designer makers. (As her bio say on the website). Ann Marie knows what works and so this makes it a very different modelling packages.
I look forward to printing some things out that I have designed with my Falcon using my reprap once it’s operational:)
Now that the 3rd series of Cool Stuff Collective has rotated from the ITV player there is not an easy resource available to see some of the future tech pieces that we did. It is a custom in TV land to have a showreel. So here is my second TV show reel featuring the lovely Vicky Letch and a cameo by Blowfish at the end 🙂
This is all down to all the guys and girls at Archie Productions and John Marley in particular getting this show going and trusting me to do my thing for the 38 shows we did over the past year or so.
I had to edit this up from the videos I had of the show, so it is a bit rough and ready but I am a tech g33k not a production suite guru (to continue the theme you will see if you watch all the 7 mins above 🙂
The video features arduino and open source, 3d printing with rep rap, skylanders, augmented reality, bloodhound ssc, tenori on, Kaspar and hydrogen fuel cells plus a bit of slapstick literally thrown in 🙂
Anyone who sees the conference and workshops I do will know that this all these things actually thread together to a bigger story of what the future will hold.
After a lot of driving I have safely returned from Hack to the Future in Preston. It was certainly well worth the trip to experience the energy and excitement of over 300 kids and 130 volunteers, speakers, parents and teachers gathering together to enthuse and learn about the world of computer technology. As I have mentioned, more than once, everyone needs to understand the technical revolution they are in the middle off. The implications of not doing so for industry, commerce, entertainment and life in general is just too huge to explain. What this gathering showed was that the facets of technology to get involved in, to use and explore are many and varied. It is not a question of just becoming a programmer and sitting in front of a keyboard. There are many more opportunities out there to fit peoples individual creative talents as they grow and evolve.
I think I would have been there anyway, but with my Cool Stuff Collective super g33k hat (or rather tshirt) on and the subjects I covered in the 38 or so shows this diversity of interests and skills, plus some linking together of the arc of what I talked about on kids TV fitted rather will with aims of the gathering. Teknoteacher (seen below) was the spark for Hack to the future and then a great rallying of many key organisers and doers piled into.
Being an unconference the agenda formed on the day and a put my talk up twice on the board. Once in the main auditorium and once in a class room setting. The latter worked better for various reasons and ended up in a packed room. However it is always good to be able to share some of this stuff and I was pleased that at least half of each audience had seen the show.
I was also really pleased when I mentioned Forza4, Skylanders and Minecraft that the audience in general already knew the basics of what it was I was talking about, which meant I could explain the much further reaching impact of things like 3d printers when taking in the context of these sorts of gaming platforms.
I also cut a lot out of the talks as there is a more full hour+ version but we were working to 30-40 mins.
Meeting and talking to many people from all over the place was great too. I am sure out paths will cross at future events related to this subject too.
It was great it was a saturday with volunteers, but we all know that this sort of passion for the future and for science, with this sort of diverse options to fit with the interests and abilities of the community needs to be wired into education from the earliest days. There were a lot of very cool teachers at the event, passionate about making these changes. They were fellow evangelists but I am sure they also suffer the evangelist curse that the people in control over their time or budget have no idea why these people are doing what they are doing, until they have finished doing it when its so patently obvious they assume it was their idea in the first place. If it makes the changes happen its great but its a tough rough before, during and after.
Many of the talks had kids completely captivated, there were a lot of practical hands on things like soldering and coding going on too. Freakyclown was doing a brilliant job of multiple talks on his pretty extreme ethical hacking and pointing out that they really should all get into tech in order to protect us all from the bad guys. Which he did by pointing out that he spent the first part of his career getting in trouble and using his powers for the dark side. As with many grey hats they have to have been there in order to have made the choices and gathered the skills to do what they do. If you get a chance to see him speak, or need to really understand whats going on out there persuade him to one of your events. Whatever you do for a living, whatever industry the things he talks about will affect your lives.
The presentation I talked through was pretty much the same as the vienna one last week (or most of the ones I do at the moment) in slides but the conversation and tone went to some different triggers. Mainly telling kids to keep playing games because experiencing them and using all the features of them start to turn you into a maker and builder. With Minecraft being a typical example.
Eyebeams was kind enough to post a quick interview we did capturing why the event was important.
ProactivePaul also posted a handy 5 minute montage of the entire day. It happens at 2:20 to have my screen as I sparked up Opensim and showed who we created and distribute objects and code directly in virtual environment. (I couldn’t do the live demo in the auditorium session but could in the classroom)
There was a massive raffle at the end for everyone kids and helpers alike. My name got pulled out of the hat and so I now have another Arduino board which is fantastic 🙂
The closing keynote was the very eloquent Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at CMU; Leader of @CompAtSch in Wales. He tied it all up by reminding everyone just ow important computers are, how they impact every aspect of your life and how the traditional geek image is not really that accurate anymore. (Something I try and play with as G33k on the TV, claiming geek back and showing its about sharing and showing the technology not just insular technobabble and lacking social skills).
It was also good to be travelling up with Andy Piper just after his big resignation from IBM after 10+ years. A fellow eightbar originator we share a lot of the same ideals, ideas and history in the expanding tech world. Andy was coopered into being crew at the event as well as organise and run the Nanode session which is a derivative of Arduino.
Here he is moving quickly to explain something on the charts before setting about making some very cool flashing lights
My journey deeper into the RepRap 3d printers is continuing at a pace. This is good as it is about 14 years since I “quite fancied getting one” but didn’t have a spare £200,000 and the company I worked for couldn’t quite see the point, which at the time was fair enough.
It was in 2006 when I nearly spent a few thousand on one, but bought Second Life islands instead.
Now it is all merging, as predicted. The 3d design of virtual worlds and the tools around those provide a great distribution mechanism for content to be printed. It’s not all completely straightforward but in this Maker Culture we only need a few bits that hook together to put a workable solution in place for most things.
After doing the 3d printing piece on Cool Stuff Collective I said to Malcolm Napier I was up for joining in his Thames Valley RepRap User Group (TVRRUG) as they were gathering a group of people to mass buy and tweak the RepRap Prusa model. The cost of this being well below any other way of doing this, in the hundreds. Whilst its a bit of a trek to go to the meetings (part of this is about socialising the tech) there are plenty of online ways to share. That of course is the point and where being a metaverse evangelist fits in.
I picked up the first parts of the kit from Malcolm last Friday. Then spent a few nights with spanners, youtube and a hammer putting together the first part of the kit. I am primarily a software person, mechanical engineering has never been my strong point, though electronics, soldering etc is or was. So I figured that if I applied myself and got the right tools, with the support of TVRRUG I would be able to make this work.
So it started as a cardboard box of bits. The main structural pieces are metal rods, joints, angles and moving parts have been printed on a reprap (which is the point of the design to self replicate)
Its gives you a bit of a oh heck where do I start moment as you unbox.
However, the prusa video explanations get you going very quickly. The fixed camera position and clear audio really helps. There is text to read and fall back to but I found the audio and visual worked just fine.
Once the first parts went together…. we were away
The end triangular structure soon took shape
Bearings and motor holders attached to cross beams, washers all over the place
Next the frame started to take its tentative steps to standing upright.
By this stage I realised (and was also being told by the instructions) that getting the measurements correct and squaring off the frame was very important.
It is around this time my software mind thinks… we can get the basics going and revisit performance and tweak it later, but instead an engineering mind thought, for once, no! get the tools measure it properly with verniers callipers and make this thing work as close as possible, and keep revisiting this as bits are added.
(There are two types of good software developer. The precise engineer who builds exactly to spec, very much needed skill and the other sort that builds for flexibility, using the spec as a guideline. Both skills complement one another and you have to know when to do each. I am not suggesting software is a giant bodge, though in many case it may well be)
Having got the frame it was then very exciting to put on the plywood moving platform which has tube bearings. It is here that using tool to make it as accurate as possible (i.e. not a quick look with a tape measure) seems to have paid off. I did have to have a couple of goes and strip this bit down but now have a relatively smooth running platform.
By this time I was on the specific instructions by TVRRUG as we have a slightly wider machine and some parts have been modified, which is the nature of all open source development including mechanical ones.
Last night was the final pieces of this bit of jigsaw with the vertical drive stepper motors the the rods that that lift up and down
There was a tiny bit of adjustment needed again to make sure things were squared off and equal as putting the final rods for the x axis showed there was a millimetre or so of pushing needed to get the last screw in place. However I think the care in the early stages paid off. I may still have to get more accurate but it feels right, looks right and doesn’t wobble 🙂
So there is it, ready and waiting for the user groups next batch of pieces. Having built one to this stage it would make building another considerably easier.
As with all these things it is good to doing things, to be hands on and not just talk about them. Of course there is a way to go yet but I hope in the not too distant future I can start exploring some of the ways we get things to print. After all I have the haptic device, virtual worlds, minecraft etc all generating the right content.
So I will become a fully fledged fabricaneur. Making things as a business.
Whilst on the subject of 3d printing I also popped along to the Aram Gallery 110 Drury lane. A furniture shop that has a 3d printing exhibition running for a few weeks on its 3rd floor. This is called Send to Print / Print to Send
It had all sorts of examples of 3d printing. It was interesting hearing the comments of some of the other visitors as they tried to figure out the impact of all this. I tried not to dive into the conversations and enthuse at them 🙂
The full set of pictures is here
I was really pleased to see the examples of solar sintering there form the self contained desert machine by Markus Kayser
His video of this experimental art form was going down rather well earlier in the year.
The gallery was showing a number of videos including this one of the work.
They also had a fully completed reprap there, a slightly different model to mine but great to see one close up again and take the time to look at it, with a more experience eye onto its construction.