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Browsing articles in "Cool"

Bartendro: A CNC Cocktail Mixing Barbot

Mar 9, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  No Comments
peristaltic pump

Long time readers will know I am fascinated by Barbots–robotic bar tenders that can mix up cocktails.  I just saw Bartendro on Kickstarter and thought it was neat:

The biggest problem with a Barbot is how to measure out the drink ingredients.  You need a way to meter multiple ingredients (15 in Bartendro’s most complex and expensive incarnation) that is food safe and easily cleaned.  I’ve seen Barbots with various tipping mechanisms that try to pour the alcohol from a bottle the way a human bartender would.  I’ve also seen them that use a valve that is opened for a specific time interval.  Bartendro uses what is probably the most commercial efficient mechanism–an array of peristaltic pumps.  Here’s a shot of a really high capacity peristaltic pump that shows the mechanism off well:

The concept is simple.  There is a length of tubing around the circumference.  Rotating the pump activates a cam action that pinches off part of the tubing.  The distance between the cams causes a “slug” of liquid to move through the tubing twice per revolution.  The volume of the “slug” is the unit of measure the pump is capable of dispensing.  It’s ingeniously simple, and the tubing…

Manufacturing is Cool Again: It’s About Time

Mar 7, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  4 Comments

Have you noticed that manufacturing is cool again?  Seems like it has been a long time.  But, thanks to 3D printing and a new DIY/Maker movement, there are definite signs that manufacturing is cool again and that the mainstream public is very interested in it.  Here’s a sampling of the cool:
Personalized Products
A number of big brands are announcing personalized manufacturing initiatives that involved 3D printing.  For example, the athletic shoe companies are really jumping (no pun intended!) on the 3D printing and custom manufacturing bandwagon.  New Balance is going to offer customized 3D printed spikes to the soles of their shoes:

They monitor athletes with over 100 sensors to determine the optimal placement of the spikes based on that athlete’s specific footwork.  Suddenly it’s become very hip to mention 3D printing in press releases for mainstream products.
Not to be left out, Nike has also announced 3D printed football cleats:

As another example, companies like Apple are doing personalized engraving on products selling in the tens of millions of units.  Apple in general has been all about cool manufacturing.  Expect to see personalization driving ever more innovative manufacturing technologies to the big leagues.
Mainstream Manufacturing Access
Companies like…

Neat Portable EDM Drill and Tap Remover

Feb 4, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  No Comments

As soon as I saw this video I thought, “What a cool product.”  It’s a portable EDM sinker that can be used to remove broken taps and drill bits.  EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) can literally disintegrate metal like Marvin the Martian’s Ray Gun.  It’s a fascinating process, and there are parts that are impossible to make any other way.  This little gizmo applies EDM to the problem of removing a broken tap or drill bit from the workpiece.  This is a problem we’ve all had at one time or another that generally leads to some strong language.  If you’ve got a workpiece you’ve invested a lot of work in, it’s very expensive to start over.  You need to remove the broken tap without damaging the workpiece, and this little machine from EDM Tech Center might be just the ticket.
Check it out:

There are no cutting forces to speak of for this application, so a compact Z-axis on a magnetic mount can do the job.  The bulkiest part is the power supply and controller which is still about the size of a battery charger.  Handy!…

Donek Drag Knife Adds Versatility to CNC Routers and CNC Mills

Dec 27, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Router, Cool, Products, Techniques  //  No Comments

Came across this unique drag knife from Donek Tools and thought it was very slick:

The video demo shows some pretty amazingly sharp cuts being made at high speeds because the knife orients itself.  It takes ordinary utility knife blades and comes in 2 sizes.

Donek founder Sean Martin invented the Donek Drag Knife to cut graphics for the custom snow boards he was making on his Shopbot CNC Router.…

What If CNC Machines Could Cook? Digital Gastronomy

Dec 24, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool, DIY CNC  //  1 Comment

What if CNC machines could cook?
I’m not sure what took me down this odd path, other than that I recently made up a batch of Texas Chili Fudge and a batch of Peppermint Bark for a Christmas Eve Party.  I have been dimly aware of some CNC cake decorating projects, and I confess to a fascination with cocktail robotics, but there is an odd little niche that involves using CNC to cook.  Since the Holiday Season can be very food oriented for some, why not take a look at a couple of these slick design concepts from Marcelo Coelho’s project Cornucopia:
The Digital Chocolatier dispenses ingredients into a thermoelectrically heated mixing cup to produce a custom confection…

The Virtuoso Mixer is all about automatically assembling your ingredients…
I like this last machine particularly.  Professional chefs use a technique called mise en place, which means to gather, measure, and chop your ingredients before you start cooking.  That business on the cooking shows where every ingredient is in a little dish waiting to be dumped in at the right moment is not just for the cameras, it’s how things are done by the pros.  I think of the Virtuoso Mixer as…

Movie Prop Maker Fon Davis’s Workshop

Dec 23, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

Make Magazine ran a fascinating interview of Fon Davis, who runs a neat movie prop making company called Fonco Creative.  It included a great video tour of his workshop:

Be sure to check out the original article for a bunch more photos and information.
I’ve noticed over the years that there seems to be a fairly significant underground community of people making props both for the film industry but also just for fun.  Always fun to see what they’re up to, and it often includes some CNC or some techniques that any CNC’er would find interesting and useful.…

Rose Engines: The Preferred Machine for Guilloche

Dec 6, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Techniques  //  No Comments

I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the brief blog posting on Engine Turning, Jeweling, and Guilloche was the most popular post last week.  It seems that others share my fetish for these interesting decorative machine arts.  As a result, I wanted to share a couple of great videos that really show how Guilloche (that’s pronounced “Gee-o-shay”) is done with a machine called a “Rose Engine”.  Perhaps the idea that a Rose Engine is used results in the use of the term “Engine Turning” for Guilloche.  I like that latter term better.  It’s more elegant and Engine Turning has become firmly entrenched in many minds as being the little abrasive circles that appear on metal.  I will take this opportunity to apologize for not using the proper accent on the term Guilloché, but it is just easier to type without it and the use of the term without it appears to be commonplace on the Internet.
Our first video is from a fine watchmaker that hails from right here in the good old U. S. of. A.  Roland G. Murphy makes spectacular hand-crafted wrist watches, and their video is also extremely well done:

As you can see from the…

Engine Turning, Guilloche, Damascene, and Jeweling

Dec 2, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Techniques  //  No Comments

Sometime, when you’re not doing much else, Google “engine turning”. You’ll find a number of extremely fascinating entries:

Classic engine turning by Eamonn Keogh…
That photo is what we classically mean by “engine turning” here in the States. It goes by a number of other names as well:
Damascene / Damascening (particularly for firearm bolts)
Ornamental Turning
Mottling (especially in the UK)
It is a purely decorative effect that is quite pleasing. Even more elaborate, more impressive, and also called “engine turning”, is the work done for fine jewelry, cufflinks, clocks, and similar purposes:

This work is often referred to as “guilloche” and to my way of thinking it’s more a type of engraving than engine turner.  Guilloche also refers to a type of enameling technique, which is another art form I would like to learn in order to complete my astronomical orrery clock.  Guilloche patterns can be generated mathematically, for example by this program.  At some point I will build a Wizard just for fun in our Conversational CNC product that will generate the g-code for guilloche engraving much like I’ve included a Turner’s Cube calculator in G-Wizard Calculator.
At some point, I’d…

CNC Holiday Project: EDM Reindeer

Dec 2, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

Stirling South is a neat site for the CNC hobbyist.  There’s a group of three working together on a variety of projects including a whole lineup of Stirling engines, puzzles, and some really nifty CNC arts and crafts. They have “pro” quality CNC machines from Haas and others, so its almost a bit beyond hobby status, but its fun to see what they accomplish. How about these EDM wire cut reindeer, for example:

The reindeer plans…

Finished Reindeer…
The reindeer were inspired by a woodworking project where one cuts them out in one axis on a scroll saw, then rotates and cuts the other axis. In this case, they used a wire EDM. Cool, eh?…

3D Printing Goes Mainstream: Staples to Offer 3D Printing Service

Nov 29, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, Cool  //  1 Comment

If there was ever a doubt that 3D printing would become a mainstream megatrend, this story should remove that doubt:
Staples has announced it will be offering a 3D printing service via its Office Supply stores.  The announcement was made today at Euromold 2012.  While this isn’t the first 3D printing service, it is the first to be announced by a household name like Staples.
The new service will be called “Staples Easy 3D”.  To use the service, customers upload their designs to Staples’ website, then pick up the printed objects at their local Staples.  They can even have the printed object shipped to their home or business, similar to the photo and document printing service they already offer.  The machines they’ll be using are Mcor IRIS 3D Printers.

The Mcor IRIS 3D Printer…
The specs on the IRIS are impressive:
–  1 million+ colours
–  Resolution of 5760 x 1440 x 508dpi (XYZ).  Printed layers are 0.004″ thick, while the X and Y axes have a resolution of 0.0004″.
–  Printable object size options are A4 Paper: 256 x 169 x 150mm, and Letter Paper: 9.39 x 6.89 x 5.9in
–  Input file types:  STL, OBJ, VRML
Resolution is…

A New Every Day Carry Product: The Ti2 Sentinel Cache

Nov 27, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment
Ti2 Sentinel Cache

The folks behind the original Ti2 pen project on Kickstarter recently dropped me a note about their latest Kickstarter project, the Ti2 Sentinel Cache:

It’s got a decidedly “Every Day Carry” feel to it and looks like a very cool EDC accessory.  The ends both unscrew to allow for storage inside the cache.  The Kickstarter project depicts a variety of uses ranging from keeping pills and waterproof matches to using one as a cigar humidor.  They’re machined from Titanium, and I’m sure the workmanship will be excellent just like it was on the Ti2 pen.
I keep wondering what I’d do with one as a diver, and then wishing they’d do a waterproof diver’s LED light with a similar style.  Maybe they’ll consider it for their next Kickstarter project.…

Zoho: A Machined Android Figure

Nov 27, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool  //  No Comments

Zoho is a gorgeous piece of machine artwork created by Mark Ho:

Zoho’s joints had to be pretty close to a human being’s to create such lifelike poses!
Zoho stands 43 cm tall, weighs 6 kg, has 920 parts, 101 of which are found in each hand. Of the 920 parts, 85 are mobile. Zoho was constructed of bronze and stainless steel.  Amazingly, Zoho was done entirely through manual machining–not a lick of CNC was involved.…

Anodizing a Multi-Color Logo Onto a Titanium Knife

Nov 27, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Techniques  //  1 Comment

Every Tuesday John Grimsmo does a new YouTube video in a series he calls “Knifemaking Tuesdays”.  Today we got a really interesting video that shows how he anodized a multi-colored Eagle Scout logo onto one of his knives for a customer:

I love engraving, anodizing, and all forms of finishing for CNC projects, so I wanted to pass along this neat video.  If you’ve never done any anodizing before, John has done a lot of it on both aluminum and titanium.  Titanium is neat because you can get different colors as shown on this log by using different voltages.  The other trick he shows is using Dykem as a mask to control exactly what gets anodized.…

CNC Knifemaking: Grimsmo + Tormach Style

Nov 19, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Beginner, Blog, CNC Projects, Cool  //  1 Comment

John Grimsmo’s latest Knifemaking Tuesday video is all about the course he taught at Tormach on how to use CNC machines for knifemaking:

I always enjoy John’s videos, but this one really brought a big grin to my face.  Clearly those guys were having a ball playing with the Tormach mills and making their own custom knives.  They got to touch on the use of the CNC Mill, CAM software, heat treating the blades, fixing warped blades on an arbor press, and a host of other areas, I’m sure.  Hopefully they’ll teach it again next year.…

Tormach Personal CNC Lathe Gets a Tool Turret and Bar Puller

Nov 15, 2012   //   by Bob Warfield   //   Blog, Cool, Products  //  2 Comments

I’ve been watching the ongoing development of the Tormach Personal CNC Lathe for a while now.  The machine is a slant bed lathe with a work envelope equivalent to a Hardinge HLV and looks like it’ll be a pretty nice entry-level toolroom lathe.  They just published a new video showing a multi-station turret with bar puller in operation:

Looks like it’s coming along pretty well.  6 months ago they had released a video showing some gang tooling in operation:

The two vids give a pretty good idea what to expect.  No data yet on pricing or when the machine will first be available.…




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