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Get Kids Into Manufacturing With Guitar Building Camp

Aug 8, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, CNC Projects, CNC Router, Cool, Manufacturing  //  2 Comments

I love this idea.  As a musician (keyboard player) all all-around music lover, I understand the power of music.  There’s not much that’s more powerful when it comes to influencing positive change because it reaches out and grabs you at an intuitive level.
In Indiana, the Wells County Economic Development started a summer camp program where twelve lucky junior-high aged students designed and built their own electric guitars in the Southern Wells High School guitar building workshop.  In the process they learned how to do some CNC machining, project management, and quality control.  Each student got to do a custom designed body using CAD, whcih was then machined from a solid piece of poplar.  They did all the finish work including sanding, coloring, sealing, and assembling the instruments.  As an added educational opportunity, they toured several local CNC machining facilities to see how real businesses were using some of the skills they had learned.
This sort of thing would not be hard to replicate in a lot of places.  There are a lot of CNC Routers out in the wild, and I’m sure there are a ton of youngsters who would love to be involved with such a project.  3D…

3D Printing an Aston Martin DB4

Aug 5, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

Or at least 3D printing a plug from which a mold will be made from which a fiberglass body will be made.  Auckland, New Zealander Ivan Sentch has quite a project underway.  He’s building this plug using a Solidoodle 3D printer, which only has a 4″ x 4″ capacity.  So how do you build a life-sized car model from such a thing?  The answer is ingenious–by gluing together smaller pieces.  For example, a hood:

Kinda brings home that old saw about eating an elephant one spoonful at a time.  Once the pieces are glued together, the overall assembly is carefully sanded with finer and finer grits of sandpaper until a smooth, glasslike finish is obtained.  Sentch is pretty far along with the project:

Once the body has been completed in fiberglass, it will be housed on a custom spaceframe chassis that uses Nissan Skyline driveline parts.  The 3D printing part of the process is over 70% done, but Sentch estimates the car is probably 5 years away from being driven.  This is his first experience with 3D printing, and he just got the Solidoodle printer last Christmas.  He certainly had big plans for it.  While it’s natural to be skeptical…

The Crazy Things 3D Printed Robots Can Do

Jul 30, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

I recently came across 2 great articles that show the amazing possibilities for robotics technology that can be made by talented individuals in the era of Desktop Manufacturing:
3D Printed Robot can crack your phone’s PIN in 20 hours or less
Imagine trying all possible 4 digit combinations in order to guess someone’s PIN and access their phone.  Sounds like a lot of painful drudgery, no?
Well not if you 3D print a robot to do that work for you:

This little robot uses model airplane servos to power Delta-style arms that run around pushing in the codes on your phone madly.  Very cute, and it only cost $200 to build.
Quadcopter creates amazing videos of surfers in Santa Cruz
My hometown of Santa Cruz is a real mecca for surfing, but I’m not a surfer.  I hadn’t really had the chance to get right in there with them and see what all the excitement was about until I came across a site that uses a Quadcopter flying robot to swoop in and take some amazing video footage:

The video was taken by Eric Cheng.  He has started a site that’s all about doing video from Quadcopters called Rotorpixel.  In…

Laser Sintering: A New High Resolution 3D Printing Process Coming As Soon As Patents Expire

Jul 22, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, DIY CNC  //  No Comments
laser sintered part

Laser Sintering, or Selecting Laser Sintering as it is more properly known, is a process available today on expensive industrial 3D printers.  But, it has not been available to low cost 3D printers chiefly because the technology is locked up by various patents.  We saw the same sort of thing with FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) the extruded plastic filament technology.  According to Shapeways’ Duann Scott, when the patents on that technology expired, the cost of FDM printers went from fourteen thousand dollars to some being available for as low as $300 today.   The key patents for Laser Sintering technology start expiring in 2014.
Laser Sintering works by applying powder in layers and then using a laser to fuse the powder selectively into a solid.  There are several advantages Laser Sintering has over today’s FDM technology.  For example, no support structures are needed by laser sintering because the walls that would need to be supported are surrounded at all times by powdered material.  Laser Sintering is compatible with a much wider range of materials than FDM as well, and has even been used to create metal parts from steel, titanium, and various other alloys.  Laser Sintering of metals requires a more…

3D Printing Steel Muscle Car Body Panels

Jul 8, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Manufacturing, Techniques  //  No Comments

I am a total gearhead-car lover.  In fact, I got interested in machining and CNC largely through my interest in cars.  I will admit, I have spent more time on the CNC than the cars in the meanwhile, but the interest has never left me.  It’s amazing what you can make for cars with CNC, but there are a number of areas that have been more or less off limits.  Custom bodywork is a great example.  It’s very expensive, and the closest I had seen for quite a while was the ability to make molds with a CNC Router, provided you had the considerable Z-travels that such projects require,but that so few CNC Routers possess.  I participated in a project to make some carbon fiber wingtips one time and the CNC Router that was used was specially designed to have massive Z-travels because it was intended to make molds for composite parts for an air racer.
Some time ago I became aware of a fascinating technology for making arbitrary shapes from sheet metal, and my first thought was whether it could be used to make body parts for cars on a custom basis.  The idea is to use a CNC…

Remembering the Woman Machinists of World War 2

Jul 2, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  10 Comments

Most of you will have seen that we like to use photographs of female machinists from World War 2 like the one above on our product pages.  I chose these photos because they are evocative of the “can-do” mentality that we Americans have always had and that is particularly strong among those who make things for a living.  Nothing says “can-do” quite like the spirit of these photos.  Those were dark days in the world, but we faced down the Evil and triumphed, albeit at a cost of many lives.  Bob Marley put it well when he said, “Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
I have a special treat this Fourth of July, 2013.  I recently received a letter from one of the women in the photo series.  She is 91, living in Mesquite, Texas, and she and her family had seen the photos on our web site.  They brought back a lot of memories which she was kind enough to share.  Here is the letter she sent to me:
To Whom it may concern,
I am Grace Brown, born Grace Ann Janota, Nov 29, 1921.  Between the years…

10 Most Popular Articles and Posts for the First Half of 2013

Jun 24, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

Every so often, we like to let you know what our “Greatest Hits” are so you don’t miss out on them. We’re about mid-year, so this is a good time to take stock of what’s been successful over the last 6 months in terms of getting the most views.
To be honest, we never know which articles will turn out to be hits, so we cover a lot of ground and try to pay careful attention to what our readers respond to so we can produce more just like that.  There are close to 3000 articles on the site between blog and the rest of the site and we get around 2 million visitors a year.  Ours is a diverse audience that ranges from CNC pros at large manufacturers to hobbyists just getting started.  Like I said, we cover a lot of ground.  The good news is there are articles below that appeal to every group in our audience.
These are non-blog posts:
1.  CNC G-Code Course:  Learn g-code programming in easy bite-sized chunks.  We’ve invested a lot of time in this one and there are tons of articles.  We’re still not done and will keep adding more to…

CNC Engraved 1911 Trigger Shoes

Jun 24, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  3 Comments
custom 1911 trigger shoes

There are a lot of hobbies that involve customization–custom cars, custom guitars, and custom guns, just to name a few.  CNC is an ideal medium for doing such customization, and I’m always on the lookout for something new and interesting.  One time I came across some custom fasteners that were really neat.  This week I was poking around and came upon these custom CNC engraved trigger shoes for the venerable Colt 1911 pistol:

Pretty nifty, no?…

3D Printed Phone Case is Kinetic Art

Jun 18, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

One of the fascinating things about 3D printing is its ability to print things with moving parts.  That’s something that seems almost magical and nearly impossible (or at least seldom seen) with traditional subtracting machining (you know, turning and milling).
How about a 3D printed phone case that is Kinetic Art with moving gears?
That’s what Designer Chris Cordingly’s phone case is.  He modeled it in Autodesk Maya, and printed it at Shapeways.  I saw it on MAKE’s web site and had to mention it to the CNCCookbook readership:

Phone case as Kinetic Art…
Here’s a video with more on the project:

Speaking of gears, if you think they’re cool, check out Art Fenerty’s Gearotic Gear Design software and design your own cool Kinetic Art.…

Carbon Fiber Ghost Watch

Jun 18, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Business, Cool, Products  //  1 Comment

Okay, I admit it.  I am a sucker for all cool things manufactured via CNC and using cool materials like Titanium or Carbon Fiber.  Couldn’t pass up this wild carbon fiber wrist watch:

I’ve written not too long ago about molding parts from carbon fiber, specifically wingtips for a fighter plane turned air-racer.  If you have the talents to manufacture something very high quality and beautiful like this watch, then you have the ability to create a business around that talent.  You just need to decide what your product will be and how you will connect with the audience that wants that product.
Speaking of watches that tell time in many time zones, I will always chuckle when I see one:
Pawnbroker: Burnt my fingers, man.
Louis Winthorpe III: I beg your pardon?
Pawnbroker: Man, that watch is so hot, it’s smokin’.
Louis Winthorpe III: Hot? Do you mean to imply stolen?
Pawnbroker: I’ll give you 50 bucks for it.
Louis Winthorpe III: Fifty bucks? No, no, no. This is a Rouchefoucauld. The thinnest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland, and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is *the* sports watch of the…

Wonder how a 3D Printed Guitar Sounds?

Jun 12, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

Since seeing the emergence of 3D printed guitars and running the article on the Americana Guitar, I’ve been wondering how they really sound.  There’s no doubt they look cool and are very unique, but in the end, it’s the sound that matters.
The same designer that did the Americana, Olaf Diegel, has done quite a few 3D printed guitars:

Really snazzy and unconventional look, yet with the classic silhouette.  Very cool, no?
Here is Olaf’s video on their sounds:

I’d like to hear a higher quality recording before making any final decisions, but my initial impression is their sound is very promising.   It makes sense as Olaf reveals they have a solid wood core tied to the conventional neck.   It’s not just plastic that we’re working with here.  I’d love to see something like this show up with one of the local Club Bands I’m very fond of seeing.  If any of you out there are actively engaged in making musical instruments via CNC, drop me a note if you’d be interested in writing a guest post for CNCCookbook.…

More on Using CNC’s as General-Purpose Motion Platforms

Jun 4, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, DIY CNC, Techniques  //  4 Comments

Our recent article on using CNC’s as general-purpose motion platforms has gotten a response from Tormach’s blog with even more great examples.  They go into some detail about how a Tormach Mill was used to help wind a special component for NASA’s Piper mission:

Creating these intricate arrays of tiny wire filaments was obviously a job that needed some automation, if only to keep the precision high and the manual boredom to a minimum.  The gizmo is a polarizing filter for the microwave spectrum.  Photographers have all seen these for visible light, but this is what one looks like for the microwave end of the world.
Here’s a video of the machine in action:

More details over on the Tormach blog!…

3D Printed Americana Guitar

Jun 3, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  2 Comments

I came across this one browsing and thought it appropriate since the Fourth of July is coming up in a month:

Guitar body is 3D printed stars and stripes…

The interior is filled with various icons of Americana, including the Statue of Libery…

Nice spot for a bald eagle…
I’d be really curious to know more about how a 3D printed guitar like this sounds.  If you’re happy with the materials available, there’s not much you can’t do with 3D printing.

DARPA’s Pick-Pocket Drone Robot

May 30, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  6 Comments
robot arm drone

I’m not sure that this has anything to do with CNC, other than that it had to have been made with a lot of CNC work, but I came across this picture of a DARPA-funded Drone that has a robot arm attached:

Can’t you just see this goofy thing swooping in to foil some despotic ruler’s evil plans?  I can see it now, “Who let that thing steal my shark’s frickin’ lasers from their heads?”  Or more likely, “Okay, who moved my frickin’ plutonium?”…

An Entire 3D Printed City?

May 20, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

Modelers must love 3D printers, especially those with decent resolution that make small plastic parts with fine details.  How about a model of an entire city done with a 3D Printer?
That’s what architectural firm Mitekgruppen did for Stockholm:

A 48 square meter model of Stockholm…
A Stratasys 3D Printer was used to create over 10,000 replica buildings for the model.
Are any of you gentle readers using 3D printers for modeling or architectural work?  This would’ve been awesome back when I was building a big HO train layout.…



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