Archive for the 'Making' Category

Building BB-8

Monday, April 10th, 2017

I’m building BB-8. This should have come before my post about adding an aluminum band to BB-8’s dome, but non-linear writing is good for the soul (or something like that).
The main body and the dome are both made out of foam. The dome also has aluminum and 3D printed parts on it.
I’m using a hamster […]

Using littleBits for robots

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

littleBits is an electronic building set. It allows you to plug together various electronic parts to quickly build a device.
I’ve been using a littleBits set to build robots. So far, I’ve only built robots involving simple parts–I haven’t used an Arduino, so there’s no programming involved.
The littleBits sets are nice for being able to very […]

Thought experiment: Asimov’s First Law of Robotics

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

Asimov’s first law of robotics states, “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” This sounds reasonable, so here’s a thought experiment about designing some robots to implement it.
The first robot has a camera and a water pistol, together with the ability to move […]

Iterative design for 3D printing

Monday, January 16th, 2017

Imagine you want to design a two part box (base and lid) to hold a deck of cards.
One approach would be to design the box, add any 3D decorations (label, texturing, etc.), then print everything and hope it all fits. If you know your printer and material well enough (e.g. tolerances, shrinkage), then this can […]

Why should children learn 3D printing?

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Children should learn 3D printing so they can learn to think and design in 3D. 3D design and printing is being used in more and more industries all the time: architecture, medicine, and manufacturing, to name a few. Children that grow up learning to think in 3D will have a huge advantage in business over […]

Makers are a force for good

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

When you make something, it brings joy to you. If you share it with your friends, they get excited too. If you share it with a wider audience, via a blog or showing it at a Maker Faire, then more people get excited–either excited to make what you did, or excited to make a project […]

Makers are serial novices

Friday, July 8th, 2016

A maker is a serial novice. I’ve built several robots. Each time I build a new robot, I learn something new–either a new skill, something new about electronics, or something new about programming.
Every project we do as makers has at least one new thing for us to learn. Great projects have more than one thing […]

Adding an aluminum band to BB-8

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

For my BB-8, I’m doing mixed materials. The dome and body are both Styrofoam, with additional materials added as necessary. One of the pieces I’ve added is an aluminum band around the bottom of the dome.
I managed to find a strip of aluminum at Ace Hardware that’s 1/16″ thick, 3/4″x48″. The band only needed to […]

3D printing is one tool

Monday, June 20th, 2016

3D printing is only one tool in making. Saying “I only do 3D printing” is like a carpenter saying “I only use a saw”. We use 3D printing for a variety of purposes:

Calibrating settings (e.g. layers, infill, print speed, overhangs, rafts, etc.)
Test prints (checking sizes and fit, overall look, supports)
Internal parts
Parts to be combined with […]

Finishing 3D Prints

Friday, June 17th, 2016

I’m building a BB-8. My BB-8 is a mixture of Styrofoam, metal, and 3D printed parts.
Here are a couple of the 3D printed parts:

These pieces printed pretty much the way they’re sitting. On my printer, this left ridges going around parallel to the circles. I finished these pieces by sanding. So much sanding. I spent […]