Armanicreations is going to Makerfaire NYC.

Makerfaire

For those of you who haven’t been already, Makerfaire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and love sharing what they do. It’s a wonderful chance for “makers” to bring to light their brilliant projects and ideas we otherwise wouldn’t encounter. It’s really the show of the year for us, and ideal for kids and adults, men and women, artists and engineers alike.

This year we’re proud and honored to have been accepted as part of the group of exhibitors at Maker Faire 2013. We will be joining other makers by showcasing our discoveries and innovations that help or inspire others in this growing community.

A sneak peak at what you’ll find at our table – in the 3D printing village: We recently developed electronics to support up to ten extruders per printer.
Come find us the weekend of September 21st and 22nd to experience our discoveries first hand! We hope to see you there.

Decapede has arrived, with Reprap expansion

2013-05-22 12.32.07

Ever wanted to control 10 stepper motors at once?  8 dc motors, fans, light switches, or heat sources?  How about a 20 amp heat source?  How about 7 thermistors?

How about…ALL of the above and at the same time with lots of continuous current output?

We wanted it, and thought you might too.  So we created the Industries3D brand with its first product as the Decapede + Reprap expansion, that can do all of the above (website in development). Although, total current load limits depends on the type and number of devices connected, it should be more than enough for even the extreme user.  Today we received our first professional prototype of this board, and it looks and feels of the highest quality boards we’ve seen.  And in case you were doubting it, it is open source, and lead-free.

Currently we acquired the G3D stepstick gerbers and also received those prototypes.  However, we do not feel confident about the performance of A4988 motor drivers as we once did, so now we are looking into the pololu stepstick replacement based on DRV8825 which has great reviews.  Our goal is to give you at least 1.5 amp outputs with 2 amp peak with no chance of failure or need for active cooling (12V-24V).

There are also a few minor details to sort out as far as board component orientation.  But if all works out as planned, this board would be on sale at a great crowd-source funded maximum reward tier of around $249 for an Arduino Mega + Decapede + Reprap Expansion + 10 DRV8825-like boards (2AMP safe output), and within about one month.  We still have to fully test and develop this board to ensure it will work for our potential users’ applications.

Review: 3D/DC II: 3D Printing Comes to Washington, DC

2013-04-24 19.22.53

The second ever 3D printing conference in D.C. was on April 24, 2013.  D.C. is not an especially large city nor has it ever been a mainstay of 3D printing (New York on the other hand is).  So it was great that this was not yet another low key makerspace or hacker house meetup, but a really professional setting in D.C. near the capital building.  There were as many exhibitors (About 30) as one of the larger maker faire tents.  Free food, beer, and wine was provided.  There were a lot of suits too. http://publicknowledge.org/event/3ddc-ii-3d-printing-comes-washington-dc

Despite the professional venue and aura, there was a sense of calm anticipation, and curiosity in there air.  I’ll try to cover these objectively here.  Of note, the number of times people brought up the 3D printed gun issue in an off-handed way was interesting.  No one took it too seriously as a threat (plastic guns really don’t exist because they can’t handle shock) plus many people had a libertarian attitude about personal freedoms.  There was some clear worry about censorship and government mandated product control.  However, it was not an area of major concern for people, as they were more focused on open source and having fun.

I also went into this experience, walking from station to station with an honest curiosity and blank mindset, trying to learn what motivates other people by listening to questions and answers.  In the words of one Reprap.org admin, the movement excites him because he can put a printer in the hands of someone in not-too-well connected country, and once they have a printer and some feedstocks, they can make and sell parts without paying heavy import fees…kind of spreading 3D printers in the world like a nice virus.  This person said he did not really see others as competitors and was happy to recommend another company’s printer if it was cheaper and worked well.

In other circles, people shared homage to a “stick it to the man” mentality, because they could buy a $300 printer kit of “arguably similar quality to Makerbot.”  On the flip side, there was one individual who persisted that Makerbot was of better quality because…well because.  This is the power of branding and marketing, in the views of some exhibitors.

The was some persistent cheeky attitudes towards the larger commercial exhibitors here (3D systems and Makerbot in particular).  This was demonstrated by the desire of others to open up printers to the masses by reducing the cost.  One exhibitor said the way he wanted to help do this is to keep companies from being able to make tons of profit, by making designs so affordable that one can only profit a little by selling components of kits.

In particular, on this day, one commercial providers’ machine broke and they couldn’t get in the machine to fix it for a demo particularly because it was a closed source design – and that was music to everyone’s ears in the open source movement (read: lots of snickering).

Other then the above review, I wanted to cover some select exhibitors themselves, briefly.

It was cool to meet the maker of PrintrBot, and discover how he created all these printer designs himself. Of note, he used nylon wire in his more recent super low cost release.  The nylon, which eventually stops giving after some hours of use, is believed to give better accuracy that bearings!  This make sense as it can’t skip on static friction during direction changes.  He also had some very impressive high-res designs smoothed with acetone vapor.  Finally, he has some partners make lost-PLA casts of metal, that were some kind of impressively heavy red metal, but had impressively coarse resolution too.

The maker of Filabot also showed, with some partners, and they were all very kind to explain the details of their project.  It was really cool to see their product in person, as there was some debate online if they could deliver a good product since it was a while since the kickstarter campaign had succeeded.  In fact, the machine seemed super sturdy, and was surprisingly large and heavy.  It had an accessory grinder they did not want to bother security with, so we didn’t get to see it, but they said they could put plastic waste within a few inches into it and then grind it.  Bottom line, it produces filament, and the consistency seems to be just enough for truly useful 3D printing.  It is shocking that one could make money on such a large product at their price point.

Others that represented themselves where the team at UPenn that printed dissolvable sugar supports for simulating vasculature in cell culture models.  The sugar is a clear, glassy, sucrose, dextrose, glucose mix that melts near 100C, and solidifies quickly.  It is hygroscopic, meaning, it can’t see humid air or it becomes a sticky mess.  So they keep the sugar in air tight 50mL tubes.  The sugar once printed is surrounded by a gel cell culture medium, which solidifies, and then the sugar can be dissolved away, and replaced with culture media.  Very cool guys, we salute you for making taking a leap from printing toys and spare parts to revolutionizing the biomedical field.

Finally, respect to one of our local innovators, Anderson Ta, a member of HacDC and exhibitor of his deltamaker.  Anderson also uses Nylon cables in this design and also finds that it is highly accurate.  Anderson was of special note because of all exhibitors, he had the only printer actually running besides the Upenn group.  It is funny that the home-brew printers work and the larger companies would not demo – there was clearly many people who had challenges with prints starting (A very common and nagging issue left in 3D printing).  This problem permeates even the most high end filament deposition systems.

 

Decapede Electronics is in the prototyping phase

Decapede layer small

Today we reveal our first product for Industries3D, the Decapede electronics and Reprap expansion kit, that allows you to inexpensively control 10 stepper motors with 2 amp current, a 20 amp driver, 8 one-amp drivers, 8 thermistor controls, and it’s open source!  It is compatible with Arduino Mega 2560. We will also release an open source firmware for it based on Sprinter.

Soon we will receive our first two prototypes and determine if the design is good, then we will launch this product for sale.  MSRP ~$250

To read more or participate in the ongoing discussion, visit:

http://www.reprap.org/wiki/Decapede
http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?2,193415
http://armanicreations.com/main/decapede-electronics/

 

17 Fantastic Sketchup Plugins, Bundled into one for your easy use

Picture of tinkered sdpsi pulley

We have been using sketchup more and more often, we we always feel there is a lack of proper tools, especially where freeform design is concerned.  This is true even for the pro version.  Luckily, Sketchup is open source in that in allows ruby script by unapproved 3rd parties to be added onto the software.  This enables some incredible applications.  For a list of the scripts we’ve taken and merged, and examples please refer to and respect the original authors, listed here.    We also added the DXF/STL import export tools formerly posted/created by Jim, which no longer have an original url on the web..

MEGA sketchup pack r1

  • Consider backing up your entire sketchup plugin folder first
  • To use these files, simple unzip the main file into your sketchup plugins folder, and reload sketchup.
  • Reload sketchup.
  • Two scripts were left optional for you to extract yourself:
  • Organize your new toolbox.
  • Go here to look for great guides and example

 

Converting from sketchup to DXF for others to view

IMAGE from meshlab

Converting file types is commonly an issues, especially when going from a vector to a mesh based to a polygon or line based system.  However it is possible to take Sketchup format and convert to DXF following some careful steps:

The easy way

  1. Download Google Sketchup 8
  2. Download and install the Sketchup DXF/STL output plugin 
  3. Center your part at the origin using the move command (or people in Autocad won’t find it)
  4. Select all parts to export
  5. Export as DXF with units in mm and “polymesh”
The hard way (this will test if your design is full-proof).  If the 3D structure is easily ruined in conversion, then there are hidden errors and it is better to know they are there then find out late.
  1. Download Autocad 2012 student version (Free)
  2. Download Meshlab (free)
  3. Download Google Sketchup 8
  4. Download and install the Sketchup DXF/STL output plugin 
  5. Select all parts and export as above in mm but select STL
  6. Import STL to meshlab.
  7. Export to DXF
  8. Import in Autocad
  9. Center the part, select grayscale and save as DXF or DWG.

 

 

Armanicreations Leaders will be teaching a Hardware Primer at Punchrock for DC Robotics 2/2/13

HARDWARE primter

Armanicreations Leaders will be teaching a Hardware Primer at Punchrock in Adam’s Morgan, Saturday, February 2, 2013, 4-6PM.   Punchrock, DC’s collaborative community for social entrepreneurs.  1800 Wyoming Ave NW, Washington, DC, DC (map).  Spaces are limited so DC Robotics is encouraging a $10 donation for use of the space.

We will be presenting a general overview of hardware-software-actuators and specific teaching of the RAMPS 1.3 controllers, which process serial commands very efficiently to drive DC motors, steppers, servos, and even 10A sources!

Please see DC Robotics for more info or to sign up!

DC Robotics

DC robotis

Last Thursday, we participated in the second ever meeting of the DC Robotics meetup. It was great to meet other people with similar passions and interest in technology. It was an impressive group of individuals and I look forward to future meetings.

It took place at the unexpectedly sleek and inviting offices of iStrategyLabs, an inventive marketing company. Sleek tables, laptops, and colorful chairs decorated the open space. As we presented our crazy robotic ideas, the marketing staff stood in the kitchen working on their laptops late into the evening.

Here’s a list of some of the great projects that were presented and discussed by group members:
Robot Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo simulator
RGB-D sensors (Kinect, Xtion)
Drawing robot
Robotic strawberry picker
Robotic coffee maker
Lilypad Arduino and LED signal hoodie for bikers
Social Machine
Boe-Bot
Inexpensive RF communciation

In the next meeting, I have told one of the members I would help them scan in members with reconstructMe and print out 3D models of them! Should be lots of fun! I’m hoping these meetings will broaden our network of people that will share ideas and resources to help move our robotics projects forward.

Printing 3D parts from Mcmaster, SDPSI, etc without paying a cent!

Picture of tinkered sdpsi pulley

Or this should be called… “How to convert proprietary 3D cad data into undamanged STL files without paying through the nose for expensive software.”   Edit 3/3/13:  Another great site with even more 3D parts available for download is http://www.bbman.com/.

  • Step one: Goto SDPSI (as an example) and click on a specific L timing pulley part number.
  • Click on STC parts link and “download 3D models”.
  • On new tab, select file format “step,  .stp”
  • Let the internal website software convert the file for you (takes 30 seconds) and click download
  • Open the downloaded zip file containing a stp file, such as “a_6a_4-10df05016.stp”
  • Open freecad and open the step file
  • On the lefthand side, click the part name under “unnamed”
  • Under the help menu there is a submenu selection tool.  Select “Mesh Design” and the top menu will change to include “Meshes.”
  • Select mesh > create mesh from geometry, and leave the value at 0.1 on the next screen.  Hit enter.
  • Now on the left hand side, click “mesh”
  • On the meshes menu, select export mesh.  Select “Binary STL.”
  • You can now process this with Slicer, Tinkercad, Sketchup (with import library included on this site).
  • Print free parts!!

Robotic Harvesting

Harvester

Vesca Robotics is pioneering exciting new technology for robotic harvesting. Our advanced robotics and computer vision techniques will make it possible for automated systems to harvest delicate fresh-market crops.

Since the 1960s, farmers have dreamed of better harvesting methods. Over the years, there has been much success in mechanical (blind) harvesting. Yet, there are certain crops that are nearly impossible to harvesting mechanically. Some reasons include: plant damage, fruit damage, and crops that do not ripen uniformly. For such crops, robotic harvesting is the only solution.

Technology has come a long way over the past few decades. Low-cost electronics, improving computer vision, and new machine learning techniques have put robotic harvesting just within reach. It is no longer a matter of feasibility, but how soon it will happen. Vesca Robotics is determined to be the first to create a commercially-viable robotic harvester.

We are pushing the envelope of technology and human achievement. The future of technology and our company is exciting. If computer vision, machine learning or robotics excite you, we want to talk to you! We’re hiring. Please see our Careers Page for more details.

 

New site

BLOGWORDCLOUD

This is the new front end portfolio and home site, Armani Creations, which represents the projects a small cohort of makers and innovators.  Armani Creations is the parent company of all the projects listed here under current projects.