Hardware primer hosted by Armanicreations and Vescarobotics was a great success

HARDWARE primter

On Feb 3, we helped the DC robotics group host its first ever robotics hardware workshop.  Thanks to PUNCHROCK in Adam’s Morgan for hosting us as their first technology outreach event.  PunchRock is a social entrepeneurship space.

The session consisted of 5 learning areas.  These included 3d printing, motor control, tapping, joining parts, and total hardware assembly.  For the next 1.5 hours, over 30 guests switched between the stations taught by Michael Armani and David Jones. At the end, a summary was given to the group explaining how to make a robotic prototype that matches the scale and stage of the endeaver.  As a result of these learnings, people got the best of our many years of experience and 10′s of thousands of dollars spent on trying different hardware strategies in our own product development.

The presentation is included here Punchrock presentation 2003 format.

Thanks to all that came!  Everyone was very smart, asked questions that were spot on, and learned some quick methods for robotic creations.  We are honored to share our knowledge with this group.

Paid Internship for makers and engineers at Armanicreations (Bethesda, MD)


We are looking for a Maker or hobbyist that would be interested in working with a start-up on the next generation of 3D printers.  This is a money maker, a resume builder, and eye opening internship/mentorship experience.  There is also opportunity for full time employment if the product launch is as successful as we expect it to be.

There is also the opportunity to earn a 3D printer for free (super state of the art, pellet dispensing, worth ~ $4000), depending on the amount of work done and the person’s qualifications.  Please have them email info AT armanicreations.com with a resume & short statement of interest or hobby background and innovative side-projects.  Please also include pictures of real-world prototypes you have worked on, or a link to your portfolio.

Dr. Michael Armani, Founder

Maker Faire NYC 2012!

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Dave and Mike attended the Maker Faire this year in NYC, Sept 29-30.  We got to meet some of the locally famous makers, such as the founders of MakerBot and Ultimachine, B9Creator’s, and the Useless Machine.  The turnout was outstanding, and there were many memorable people and technologies.  Just a small fraction of those are highlighted here, since obviously we can’t begin to cover the amount of stuff perhaps 50,000 people saw in two days:

A virtual reality screen (640×480 run on a Raspberry Pi belt-clipped processor) and a “glove” keyboard!  It took me about 60 seconds to start to get the hang of it; the glove was intuitive, and perhaps some day will be competitive with regular keyboards; look for future version that might blow out other proposed technologies (such and projector keyboards) in terms of ease, consistency, and costs.

I tried the keyboard part myself:

Also checkout related blog post: Keyboard Pants!

Shapeways 3D printed food-safe glazed ceramic custom cups were another neat feature.  The cups run around $50.  They were fairly fragile, I was holding an already broken handle and it crumbled in my hand, but they weren’t fragile enough that you would break it for home use (if you were very careful).  The material felt lighter than ceramic should feel, so I think it was too porous.

Although there was only this one display outside the arts area, we think 3D printed jewelry is big up and coming thing.  That’s why we are working on a personal affordable 3D wax printer here at ArmaniCreations for lost-wax casting methods at home.  The pictures about show mostly stainless steel, and they are presented as printed.  The quality and feel of the stainless steel is incredible, and the weight and texture felt great. The gold was also great.  The silver looked like old aluminum.

A very popular feature of many maker projects was 2D laser-cut acrylic.  Here, there was a specialized acrylic manufacturer that makes very, very cool prismatic multi-colored decorative acrylics.

This is a Delta-Robot inspired 3D printer.  It was surprisingly simple because each of 3 motors is individually a Z stepper configuration, but combined with the 3-arms together, they each provide XYZ through some complex trig.  The maker said there is software that handles it automatically.  The coolest aspect of this machine was that the arms were 3D printed themselves, and that the design has a lot of tolerance for error.

Surprisingly, there were very very few people printing anything besides PLA; in fact, the shift is towards PLA exclusively as lead by the latest Makerbot, which only uses PLA.  The reason is ABS is slightly toxic when heated and makers because sensitive to volatiles from ABS after long use (many personal accounts).  Only this one stand had the alternative materials, dissolvable PLA, and polycarbonate.  They showed a polycarbonate printout, which has some promise as a material.  However, polycarbonate usually has a heavy dose of bisphenol-A plasticizer, and the maker couldn’t tell us if this product was clean of it or not.  Armanicreations is very interested in and currently making new filament materials for 3D printers, which includes Rubber, metal-weighted PLA, and Delrin.

Also there was this very impressive, relatively simple, and mildly creepy (but still cool!) talking expressive robot.

This shapeways light-polymer cured plastic phone case was pretty cool!  Its quite the niche market.

Also, checkout the new $26.95 Digilent Chipkit Uno32, an arudino copy with a 80Mhz processor!

Last but not least, let us not forget our cherished sponsors at Eatly (a food emporium with a few stores in Italy, and New York), who we paid dearly for food, but it was worth every penny.  Its Italy’s Whole Food’s, and somehow they really imported the flavors of Italy.  Having had my best pizza ever in Venice, Italy, this pizza really could compete, and maybe even out-compete the average pizza I had there.  Ciao!

To read more or post comments, please see the reprap post here.

See us at the UMD Technology Startup Boot Camp – Oct 10 2012

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Dave and Mike with be attending the MTECH sponsored boot camp.  Our hope is to present our ideas at the crowd-sourced idea innovation elevator pitch to attract talented people to our cause.  We give back to all of our members through a combination of experience, academic credit, equity, and/or fee, depending on the situation and length of time involvement.  For more information, please see our help needed page and contact us if you are interested!  Ideal candidates live near the College park, MD or Bethesda, MD areas.

Armani Creations has received funding from UMD at least 5 times (see here for more info).  Hopefully, our latest projects will be just as prosperous.