“Meter Crawler” is a normal steel measure crawls like a snail. It combines the movement of measuring and moving of snail. It is combined functions of objects and organic movements or human behaviors. Physical objects animate like animals or insects. A meter crawler protrudes its steel measure four or eight cm. The body of the crawler follows the steel measure and thus moves forward. When it is taken away from floor, it stops moving, and the steel measure holds into the case. When it is on a floor, it starts protrudes its steel measure and move forward.
This was the most elaborate Atomic Energy educational set ever produced, but it was only only available from 1951 to 1952. Its relatively high price for the time ($50.00) and its sophistication were the explanation Gilbert gave for the set’s short lifespan. Today, it is so highly prized by collectors that a complete set can go for more than 100 times the original price.
MAKE and Hack-a-day have a couple great gift guides (some even have Adafruit kits!) – so we thought we’d round up our favorite guides here.
Finding gifts for your family members and friends can be tough. Sure you love to solder, tinker, and write code, but maybe your grandma or dad can’t tell a resistor from an LED. Here are several gifts you can make: either kits you assemble/personalize or projects that are fun to make and give.
In this guide, we look at tools that are both fantasy wish list specials and practical tools that have stood the test of repeated use. Some are sexy and expensive, others more homely and affordable. We think every one of them is a winner as a potential gift for that active maker in your life — or for those who dream of more time for making, one acquired fetish object at a time.
You’ve probably been fantasizing about getting amazing gifts this December, like robots with servo-mounted laser pointers and authentic battle damage. It’s time to realize that it’s unlikely that this will happen. Stay calm. You can still get sweet hacky things if you just forward this gift-giving guide to your friends and loved ones. Join us after the break to see what we want and be sure to let us know what you’ve got your eye on.
The Arduino is an open source, inexpensive, powerful and flexible microcontroller board that is quickly becoming the preferred choice for a considerable number of electronics and robotics hobbyists worldwide. These qualities make the Arduino very well suited to learn basic Mechatronics concepts, especially within an academic setting.
In this webinar we introduce the ArduinoIO package, which allows the user to perform Analog and Digital Input and Output, as well as to control DC, Servo and Stepper Motors directly from the MATLAB command window.
Using this package instead of (or in addition to) the native development environment allows the student to focus more on solving the Mechatronics problems related to the project or task at hand, versus spending more time in writing, compiling and debugging C programs.
Looks like you need to provide an address (and more) to view the webinar, but the slides are here.
This is a timelapse movie of a CNC machine in action. The part being machined is an engine mount for a model steam engine I am building. Because this machine has no coolant capability the feedrates are slow, so the part took about 90 minutes to cut. I wanted to record the process, so I made a timelapse movie. My camera has an intervalometer built in to the firmware, but if yours doesn’t you can use LadyAda’s great tutorial to build one of your own.
Here are a few tips about shooting timelapse sequences:
Most cameras display a photo on the LCD right after you take it — turn this off — it’s just going to drain your battery.
If you’re shooting something that moves, make sure you have enough depth of field to keep moving things in focus.
Prefocus the camera and then turn autofocus off.
Set your interval appropriately — a good rule of thumb is “total number of seconds” / 1000. So, if your total duration is 60 minutes, a good starting interval would be 4 (rounded up from 3.6) seconds.
Use virtualdub to sequence the images into a movie and then convert to a video file — it’s simple and it’s free.
Timelapse is a neat artform with lots of room to play — have fun!
Here’s the g-code for the CNC so you can play along at home.
A quick installation prototype Emily and I hooked up with the libfreenect Kinect drivers and ofxKinect. The system is doing skeleton tracking on the arm and determining where the shoulder, elbow, and wrist is, using it to control the movement and posture of the giant funky bird! Speed project – made in a day using openFrameworks and libFreenect.
NEW PRODUCT – Digital RGB LED Pixels (Strand of 20)! RGB Pixels are digitally-controllable lights you can set to any color, or animate. Each RGB LED and controller chip is molded into a ‘dot’ of silicone. The dots are waterproof and rugged. There are four flanges molded in so that you can ‘push’ them into a 20mm drill hole in any material up to 2mm/0.08″ thick. They’re typically used to make outdoor signs.
The pixels are connected by a 4-conductor cable. Red is +5V, Blue is Ground, Yellow is Data and Green is Clock. Data is shifted down from one pixel to the next so that you can easily cut the strand or attach more onto the end.
Each dot is digitally controlled, with an internal 5-bit PWM LED driver (15-bit color for 32,768 different shades). The pixels must be clocked by a microcontroller, we have an example code linked below that works on an Arduino, it should be simple to adapt it to any other microcontroller.
The pixels use 5050 surface mount RGB LEDs, with brightness of about 500 mcd per individual r/g/b LED. If you need something much brighter, check out the Shiftbrites, they use a piranha-style LED that is 5000 mcd+
20mm diameter (0.75″) 16.5mm deep (0.65″)
64mm / 2.5″ apart on the strand
20 pieces per strand
15 bit color
5V power, 60mA maximum per pixel (LED on full white)
The MakerBot Botcave™ Retail Store opens on November 26th! As far as we know, this is the first time anyone has opened a store focused on open source hardware. It is getting set up right now as an actual physical retail store at 87 3rd Ave here in Brooklyn. We’re going to plan to be open Tuesday to Saturday 12-8 until Christmas eve!
Our second library is for those who want more color control, we has a full high-speed hardware PWM control system with 9 (512 color) or 12-bit (4096) RGB color (depending on how long the strip is). You can now animate strands of over a hundred of LEDs using only 3 digital SPI pins.
As any fanboy will tell you, there are graphic novels about everything. The Bible. Crime fighters that dress like bats. Mosquito-abating teenagers.
Now, for the fanboy who loves manufacturing, comes “Tinkerers: An Original Tale of the Near Future” by David Brin. Brin, the prolific author of such books as “Startide Rising,” “The Life Eaters” and “The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?” has taken on the manufacturing demise in America in a 24-page tome.
The book begins: “Imagine a nation that has lost its ability and desire to make things….” Tinkerers is set in 2024, a town where high school graduates go into service jobs and buy brand names from overseas. Our hero, who looks a little like Fabio, but with shorter hair, is one of the few handy folks left in town.When disaster strikes, he must use his skills to save lives.
In addition to the apps we’ve also included a new set of PDFs from MAKE – they recently released MAKE for devices that can read PDFs so we think that’s an extremely nice gift one could give this holiday season for the iPad toting’ engineer, student, tinkerer and more! We suggest buying the PDFs and putting them on a SD card to save and to give!
Electronic Toolbox HD – iPad Edition. Electronic Toolbox combines electronic reference material with calculation and conversion tools in one handy app. Whether a professional or hobbyist, the app gives users a collection of the most important electrical information right at their fingertips.
Ohm’s Calculator allows you to enter any two values of resistance, amperage, voltage, or power and receive the remaining two values via Ohm’s Law.
Electricity Electronics Magnetism. Hx Electricity, Electronics, Magnetism: This encyclopedia is about the discovery of three phenomena that have evolved the way we live and without which many of the benefits and amenities of today did not exist, will learn from their discovery, scientists, and how this tool has been used now and in history.
PDF versions of MAKE. Every volume of MAKE is loaded with exciting projects that help you make the most of the technology in your life. MAKE is a celebration of your right to tweak, hack, and bend technology to your will. And now, you can take that party with you on whatever device supports PDF! The PDF version of MAKE is available for only $9.99, and our 4-volume annual box sets are just $35.99. This is a great opportunity to pick up hard-to-find or out-of-print back issues.
If you have any app (or content) suggestions, post up in the comments!