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5 3D Printing Clock Projects

Apr 10, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

Long time CNCCookbook readers will have come across my project-in-planning Astronomical Clock.  It’s one of those projects I promise myself I will be devoted to when my life is a little less busy (does that time ever come?).  Meanwhile, with a new 3D Printer on its way to CNCCookbook (just got the tracking notice yesterday, very excited!), I started wondering about making a clock with the 3D Printer.  Who knows, maybe this would be a good way to prototype some of the gear trains for my Astro Clock?  This also goes under the category of wanting to do something with CNC that my (nearly all) non-CNC friends would find interesting.  I make a lot of tooling and parts for other projects (spares for some of my cars, for example), but it isn’t very often that I get to make something they really think is cool.  The biggest hit to date had been a Turner’s Cube, but I digress.
This post is a survey of some 3D Printed Clockwork projects I found interesting.
Plotclock:  An Open Source 3D Printed Clock that Writes the Time
This first one has little to do with clockwork and everything to do with clocks and just…

AtomicCNC: Revolutionary New 3D Printing Process

Apr 1, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  10 Comments

3D printing is great stuff, but the reaction of many is that it is either a toy or at best only suited to prototype work.  Most 3D printing processes are too slow and too inaccurate to be used for full-scale manufacturing.  Until now.
I recently found out about an entirely new 3D Printing process invented by a Silicon Valley company called Atomic CNC.  Atomic are being very secretive about what they’re doing until they have all their patent ducks in a row, but I was able to get a preview of the technology and a few details.  Essentially, they have created a process that can 3D Print almost anything atom by atom (that pretty much guarantees any level of accuracy you might want) and at extremely high speeds.  If their claims are true, and they seem almost too good to be true, their new process will revolutionize manufacturing.  The founder, Gilbert Hughes, is a young Stanford physics student who dropped out to build his dream machine, the Atomic CNC 3D Printer.  The company has a great deal of funding from some of Sand Hill Road’s (that’s where the VC’s hang out in Silicon Valley) most prestigious firms.
I met Gilbert…

Foodini: 3D Printing Food in Your Kitchen for $1000

Mar 26, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

Are you ready for this?
Foodini has launched a Kickstarter program to sell their 3D Printer for Food.  The machine hails from Barcelona, Spain from a company called Natural Machines.  The earliest “investors” on Kickstarter will be able to get a Foodini 3D Food Printer for $999.  The Foodini retail price will be $1300.
The machine works by extruding food stuffs that are inserted in “food capsules” which are then placed in the machine.  Here is a shot of the machine and an extruder capsule:

The Foodini 3D Food Printer:  Very sleek design for your high tech kitchen…

Here’s the extruder capsule that it uses.  Kind of like a really big syringe…
Why would you want extruded food?  Well first of all, it’s just the coolest thing to show friends that you have a 3D Food Printer, but when that wears off you’ll still have the advantage of being able to make intricately designed food that would be too difficult or time consuming to do by hand.  For example, these Christmas themed chocolate confections:

Foodini uses the example of handmade ravioli:
Take an example of ravioli. How often have you made homemade ravioli? Rolling out the dough to a thin…

10 Cool Design Projects From Kickstarter

Mar 9, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

The exciting thing about CNC is you can make almost anything you can imagine.  For some, even more exciting is the prospect of owning their own business manufacturing products they have designed.  In the Internet Age that’s a lot more possible than you might think given the leg up in marketing services like Kickstarter can provide.  Kickstarter is a marketplace for not-yet-manufactured products.  The idea is to provide seed money that can be used to launch a product by offering the initial units in the Kickstarter marketplace.  Here’s a round up of 10 Cool Kickstarter Projects that are waiting for people to invest in their future as I write this.  Any one of them would make an awesome CNC project.  Think of it as inspiration for your own CNC Projects, or possibly as products you may not be able to live without that are worth investing in.
The Open Enigma Project
If you’re like me, you would be fascinated with an original German Enigma cryptography machine.  I’ve seen them (rarely) in museums a time or two and wondered at their complexity.  This Kickstarter project is all about duplicating the Enigma’s look and function using modern Arduino electronics.

A working albeit…

A Gearotic Project Video Start to Finish

Feb 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Software  //  No Comments

Gearotic is Art Fenerty’s specialized CADCAM program for gear design.  Art is the man who wrote the original versions of Mach3, so he knows a thing or two about CNC.  I have wanted a good video that will both teach you what Gearotic is capable of and also be related to a real project.  Art’s video about designing and building a “Ticker” was a great example, so let me pass it along here:

What you’ll see is Art’s narrative and demonstration of how to use Gearotic to design what he calls “Tickers.”  A Ticker is a sort of kinetic sculpture that uses escapements like you’d find in clocks to create some really interesting motions.
If you like clocks, gear design, or kinetic sculpture, Gearotic is a really neat piece of software to have on hand.  Even better, you can purchase Gearotic from CNCCookbook.  In fact, it’s even on sale for the next 2 weeks when you purchase it in conjunction with any other CNCCookbook software (the options are listed on that last purchase link) and use the President’s Day Sale “GEORGEWASHINGTON” coupon code at checkout.  For example, Gearotic and a 1 year subscription to G-Wizard Calculator would be $126.65 with…

CNC Project Ideas: Reskin Something

Feb 5, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  3 Comments

I hear you’re a machinist, you’ve got access to CNC machines, and you’re dying to do a cool project that your friends will love.  Youo just need the right idea.  How about this:
–  Take an existing product.
–  Discard, some all, or none of it.
–  Create a new skin for it that radically changes the product to something MUCH better.
That’s a Reskinning Project.  There’ll all over the web if you look carefully.  Here’s some ideas to get you fired up to Reskin something:
PC and HiFi Case Mods
Reskinning PC’s and HiFi’s has been going on a long time and there are some very cool results out there.  Heck, I’ve even fooled around with it myself.  I remember my Dad reskinned his monaural HiFi system by mounting it in an antique Victrola cabinet.
Check out these reskinning projects:

Minimalist PC design, straightforward to do via CNC.  See how it was made without CNC…

Art Deco style PC case…

Retro Philco TV PC is amazing, and ambitious.  So far it’s just a 3D rendering…

Woo Audio headphone amp combines clean design with retro tubes.  Must be nice to see those tubes light up the room at night.  I’m…

3D Printing for Patternmaking and Foundry Work

Feb 3, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

Sand such as is used for casting is a good medium for 3D printing.  The green sand already used for casting is a combination of ingredients that help it to hold the shape of the pattern placed in the sand.  The pattern is a reproduction of the part to be cast so that the sand forms a negative image of it.
In 3D printing the mold is built up layer by layer in typical 3D printing style.  Binder chemicals are used to lock down the sand in the proper shape.  Casting hollow parts requires cores, which can also be 3D printed at the same time.  Best of all, the sand without the binding chemicals supports all these parts as they’re being made, not unlike the laser sintering process.  The molds and cores come out of the sand just as they’ll be used at the foundry.
Here’s a video of the whole process using an ExOne machine to make a bunch of molds in sand:

You’ll note the work area for the 3D printer is quite large–like a gantry router.  This allows either creation of large molds or packing a bunch of smaller work together.  Filling the entire work volume of…

Why I Love CNCCookbook: A Chance to Make a Difference

Jan 29, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Cool, Manufacturing, Software, Techniques  //  No Comments

One of our users posted a note in our User Club today that made me feel good.  Here’s what he had to say:
I just got my yearly review at work, 4.28 % raise! Hey Bob, 6 months ago I knew nothing about milling. I couldn`t even spell VFM. I spent 14 hours training on what buttons to push before our mill operator went on vacation. I searched the internet for info. on milling and came across your web site. Every night after work, I read the vast amount of information you have posted on milling. I purchased both GWE and GWC. 6 months later I`m writing programs, I was informed I have increased production over 100% on my mill and cut tool cost by 1/3. In the spring I`m going to school to get my certification on the company dime!!! Love the products but most of all THANK YOU for the knowledge.
Thanks so much to “MrChaps06″ for posting your experience with our software and website–you really captured the essence of why I love doing CNCCookbook and our G-Wizard software.  What a great shot in the arm to get this morning!
This country of ours is starting to get…

Tormach Lathe Tooling and News on a Shipping Date

Jan 28, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  18 Comments

I wanted to give another update on my Tormach CNC Lathe this week.  I’ve been one of the Beta Testers.  Good news is that Tormach has announced the Beta Test is winding down and they’re hoping to make first sales in Q1 2014–right around the corner, in other words.  I know from my perspective the Beta Testing has gone extremely well with only minor teething troubles, all of which were corrected.  In addition, the Beta Team gave Tormach a number of constructive suggestions for how to improve the already very nice machines and most all of these were accepted.
I want to talk just briefly about the Tooling for the lathe.  As the Tormach article I’ve linked to mentions, you will need to make some critical tooling decisions up front–particularly with respect to the Turret.  I should say that all of the Beta Testers, including myself, bought the turret.  All of the others immediately started using their Turrets almost exclusively and report they work great.  I have not installed mine yet, having opted to try each of the options (QCTP, Gang Tooling, and Turret) individually.  This lathe is unique in that it has so many options.  The turret is really…

Von Dutch’s Toolbox

Jan 24, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments

I saw this one over on Garage Journal, which is a very cool web site if you like garage and home shop organizational articles.  Here is Von Dutch’s tool box:

I love it just for the hand lettering (if you didn’t know, Von Dutch was an amazing pin striper of hot rods, among many other things) and the great yellow color.  I love rolling tool boxes and seem to buy another one each year.  You can never have enough drawers and if you wait for the sales, they are way cheaper than the commercial style Lista-type cabinets.  I buy the nicer ones with the ball bearing slides.  I keep meaning to put big giant easy to read labels on every drawer but haven’t done so yet.
Check out the Garage Journal.  Endless threads about garage-related stuff.…

What’s Dell Going to Do With 5000 3D Printers?

Jan 23, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

Just read an interesting story on  Dell has just ordered 5000 3D printers from Polish-maker Zortrax.
Zortrax went through a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the development of the printer, and they’ve now launched their product and are apparently geared up for very large orders such as this one from Dell.
It’s a slick looking machine with capable specs at a very decent price ($1895):

Zortrax M200 Plug and Play 3D Printer
Build volume: 205x205x190mm
Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
Layer resolution settings: 100, 150, 200, 300 microns
Filament: 1.75mm ABS, PC-ABS and Nylon
SD card holder
Three different printing speed modes
Weight: 16kg
The sample 3D prints from their web site look very high resolution:

All this just begs the question:  What’s a company like Dell going to do with 5000 of these cool 3D printers?
The interview had this to say:
“Frankly speaking, we were surprised that any company, even a company like Dell, wants to place such an order! But after a while we realized how many printers we use in our own office… For a designer who prints a large number of prototypes it is much more useful to use 10 smaller printers on one…

A 3D Printer for Mad Max, Martian Astronauts, and Burning Men

Jan 17, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool, DIY CNC  //  3 Comments

This was just too cool to pass up.  Suppose you are in a post apocalyptic dessert world or perhaps an astronaut on Mars.  You’d like to do some 3D printing, but there’s no source of filament.  Just dessert and sunlight as far as the eye can see.  Well, if you had this 3D printer, you could use solar power to fuse dessert sand into glass:

Totally impractical?  Yes.
Totally cool?  YES!
The technology is similar to laser sintering, but with sand and sun power focused by a big Fresnel lens.
(Thanks to Trevor for bringing this video to my attention)…

Take the 2014 CNCCookbook CAM Survey

Jan 16, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products, Software  //  8 Comments

Another year is upon so it is once again time to do a big survey.  I like to alternate CAD and CAM surveys year by year.  We did a CAD survey last year and a CAM survey at the end of 2012.  These surveys are very popular because we always get several hundred respondents and I know of no other place to get a good cross-section of machinists participating in a survey so we can all see the relative popularity of these packages.  In addition, by comparing the results year over year, we get a chance to at least glimpse the gain or loss of market share by these different players.
Please participate in the 2014 CNCCookbook CAM Survey
Just click through that link to the survey form.  There are only a few questions and it won’t take long at all to get through it.  In a week or two, I will publish the results here on the blog.  Make sure you’re on the email newsletter list so you don’t miss it!…

Extreme CNC: Diamond Wire Cutting Granite Into Exotic Shapes

Jan 16, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

Here’s something you don’t see every day–granite being cut by a giant CNC diamond wire cutter into these exotic shapes for art and architectural use.  Here are some samples of this kind of work:

Pretty amazing work from stone!
And here is the Breton CNC Machine that makes it possible:
As you can see, the machine somewhat resembles a giant bandsaw.  There are two axes of movement enabling it to take slices out of the stone with a diamond coated wire.  For the more ordinary task of slicing a big block of quarried stone into slabs suitable for counter tops and the like, they make multi-wire machines that slice straight down and create many slabs at once.
Before anyone asks, I have no idea what the feeds and speeds should be for a beast like this, but I certainly am curious!
My thanks for making me aware of this machine go out to a web site and blog called Core77.  Their site is dedicated to the art of industrial design and there are many interesting articles there talking about tools and finished designs.  Check them out if you get a chance.…

Details: Essential for Successful CNC Design

Jan 7, 2014   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

CNC has the potential to make any imagined design real, and perhaps successful as a product.  There is an element of art if the design is inspired enough.  Perhaps you’re thinking of designing the ultimate CNC product of some kind.  Maybe it’s purely for your personal enjoyment, or maybe you have in mind something that would be a good Kickstarter project.  One of the things that may help is a good scrapbook of ideas to help stimulate the imagination.  I like to use Pinterest to collect such visual imagery.  It’s available there in great abundance.  As I was recently looking over some of my Pinterest images trying to get ideas for a new PC Case design, I started wondering about some of the different design details CNC can help with and decided to write this post that categorizes some of the motifs.  Whether you’re interested in PC cases, bicycles, gunsmithing, or a variety of other possibilities, you may find it useful to consider ideas along these lines for your own design projects.
Drillium:  Parts Lightening as a Design Motif
I came across the word “Drillium” looking at bicycle parts.  There’s a web site called “Drillium Revival” that talks about 70’s…




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