posts tagged with the keyword ‘openscad’

2015.07.18

Sparkplug

Typically when I model 3D object with OpenSCAD I tend to create things that are simple and functional, but I had to create a piece that had some extra decoration to it, and wow did it slow OpenSCAD to a crawl!

I know about the special variable $fn, but I didn’t know about $fa and $fs, so I’ll have to start using those as well to see if they can speed things up. (I usually use $fn to go between “low res” and “high res” when it comes to rendering.)

OpenSCAD probably isn’t the easiest modeling software to use (unless you like writing code) but I like the fact that it’s open source, gets updated fairly often, is parametric, has lots of great info on using it, and there are a ton of free libraries for doing interesting things.

I was using Rhino quite a bit earlier this year, and while the Mac OS X version is now ready, it’s $300 for a limited time, and $500 after that, and is somewhat crippled compared to the Windows version. It can do some amazing things, so I’m still contemplating a license for it… Or I may find something else (open source, perhaps?) that fits the bill.

(I’ll probably be post more about 3D software in the near future.. Stay Tuned!)

2015.07.05

Button Guard

While plenty of people tend to print baubles and trinkets with 3D printers, I tend to focus on solving problems by designing and printing usable things. A few weeks ago I designed these Lenovo IdeaCentre Power Brick Mounts and this week I created some button guards.

Button Guard

I was working on an audio player at the museum and Kathy mentioned that it was too easy to lean back and hit your head on a button which would either restart your book, or start another book, so I made this simple guard to put on the buttons before screwing them into place. Luckily we had filament that matched the color of the enclosure, so it looks pretty good.

Button Guard

If you’re using any of these buttons and need a guard, check out Thingiverse or Youmagine. The OpenSCAD code is fairly simple, so it should be possible to modify it for other buttons if needed.

2014.11.01

MakerCase

A few years ago I mentioned Rahulbotics’ BoxMaker, and I’ve used it plenty over the years when I needed to laser cut an enclosure, but when someone has a good idea, eventually someone else decides to implement their own version. (This is good!)

One of the other box making sites I’ve used recently is MakerCase, which has a few more features than Rahulbotics does, including a choice of edge joints, specifically t-slot, which lets you create cases that can be assembled with nuts and bolts, though the choice of nut & bolt sizes are a bit limiting. Still, it’s a good effort, and I use MakerCase quite often.

make-a-box is another one I’ve taken for a spin. It didn’t offer much in the way of special features, except for the fact that all the Ruby code is in github ready to be forked. (Of course if you prefer Java, look at Rahulbotics’ BoxMaker code instead. Or, check some of the other boxmaker code.)

If you’re looking for non-web-based solutions, supposedly 123D Make has a beta out with finger joints. But it’s been nearly a year and I still don’t see that option in the software. I’ve also tried this BoxMaker for Inkscape, but it just gives me errors and fails to work.

I’ve long wanted a box maker for OpenSCAD, and I did find Parametric box maker for lasercut on Thingiverse, and it’s definitely something worth playing with, though on my creaky old laptop it’s not speed demon. Still, I really like the idea of code I can download and run rather than relying on a web site to generate a box.

I’ll continue to explore box making options that work well with laser cutter and other CNC machines, but if I’ve missed an option you know about, please let me know!

2014.08.17

Wheel 1-Up

We’re planning a Nerdy Derby event at Maker Faire Milwaukee, and like last year, I wanted to 3D print a bunch of wheels, and yes, it is fun designing strange wheels. Most of my designs this year are refinements from last year, and I wish 3D printing were as simple as hitting “print” and walking away, but that’s not always the case.

Wheels 4-Up

I found that if I printed one object, it worked fine. If I tried multiple objects, things were failing, either with one or more objects, or everything. I’d try to print two wheels at once, and one would work, the other would fail. Slic3r allows you to generate the G-Code needed to print files, and has an option to print multiple objects, either by printing them all at once, or one at a time. Both of those options just weren’t working for me, for whatever reason. (My 3D printer is a RepRap I built myself, and yes, it has issues now and then.)

But you know the old saying… if you can’t fix it in hardware, fix it in software! So I did… You’ll notice that the image above shows four wheels with a small square connecting them. I ended up pulling an STL file into OpenSCAD (my favorite 3D modeling application) and then duplicating it four times and adding a small 1mm tall square between them to connect it all into what the printer would see as one single object.

Wheels Printed 4-Up

It worked! I’m now seeing much more success with printing, and getting sets of 4 wheels connected with a thin piece of plastic that’s easy to remove. Oh, I should also mention that our friends at Inventables were kind enough to donate some filament to this cause, so if you have fun building a car with 3D printed wheels at Maker Faire, be sure to stop by the Inventables booth and thank them for making it happen.

(BTW, MegaMag is printing way more wheels than I am, and going 40-Up!)

2014.04.02

RED Rail Mount

You may remember the Matte Box Flag‘s that I laser cut a while back, or the more recent LCD Arm that I 3D printed, well, there’s another accessory done now, and it took months and months to get it done. (Well, most of those months were due to procrastin—I mean, working on other projects.)

So our story begins with the RED Matte Box, which fits fine on the RED Lens, but when you slap a Zeiss Super Speed in place, the Matte Box can’t attach to it, no worries, RED sells two parts to solve your problem.

Rod Support

Universal Mount

Just drop $350 USD on two parts and you can now secure your matte box to the 19mm rods. This is an ideal solution, but as you know, I’m cheap, and I’m DIY, so away we go!

RED ONE

Here’s how it looks underneath. Those two piece attach together and let the matte box ride the rails, and there’s some latitude for adjusting the height of things. It’s nice hardware, for sure.

RED Mount

Once again I commend RED on publishing nice photos of their products…

RED Mount

…because it’s fairly easy to clean these up and trace them and create 2D profiles that can be extruded to 2.5D designs.

RED Mount

That’s much better! In fact, since it’s 2D I actually laser cut some wood to do a test fitting, since my 3D Printer was down for a bit when I was working on this.

Laser cut prototype

(It was a nice diversion, and honestly I just really like laser cutting things.)

Somewhere along the way though, I pretty much abandoned the idea of recreating the stuff RED has and figured I should just design my own. Maybe after the whole RED Arm debacle I realized their designs are sometimes lacking…

Anyway, I was overly complicating things, so I decided to go simple. Also, we’re 3D Printing here!

Rod Standards

Also, if making any rod-related things, I highly recommend you grab the Rod Standard Graph PDF from the OConor site.

RAIL Mount STL

This is what I eventually came up with. It’s mostly an extruded shape, but it does have some holes for the bolts including bits to lock in the hex heads, just like the Arm does. I wish I could say I just 3D printed this and that was it, but it’s far from it.

While I was working on this I was also working on calibrating the RepRap after the recent repairs, so I had a bunch of issues with things not printing as well as they should, or not exactly the right size, you know, like a 19mm hole printing at 18.673mm or 21.298mm. So I moved back to a bit of prototyping.

RAIL Mount DXF

I used the old STL to DXF trick (thought slightly modified) to create a 2D design from the original 3D file. Once I had a DXF file I could use the Silhouette Cameo to easily cut some thick paper to get an idea of size and dimensions. Eventually I was happy with how things were looking so I moved on to plastic.

RAIL Mount Small STL

Here’s the DXF file extruded to 5mm tall, with the idea being that I could print this much more quickly (and with less plastic!) that doing the full print which is 25mm tall. This worked well, and I was able to test fit it on the rods, but I was still having a few weird issues with the 19mm hole sizing.

RAIL Mount Part STL

I ended up pulling my 5mm STL file into OpenSCAD and doing a difference to subtract most of it and just leave a portion so I could print this and test the hole sizing even faster. This too worked quite well.

This all might seem like a crapload of work to get what I wanted, but there was much exploring and learning along the way, and believe it or not, that’s most of the fun in doing it for me. If I just downloaded and printed something, well, that’s good if you want a thing, but not as good if you want to learn the process of creating a thing.

RED Rail Mount

The final piece, with two 1/4″ hex bolts, some nut knobs (as seen previously), and two smaller screws and wing nuts to hold the matte box in place. There was a little bit of delamination in this print. I may try it on the LulzBot TAZ 3 that we just got in at Milwaukee Makerspace, as I think it will be a good test.

RAIL Mount

Hey, it works! It fits on the rods and holds the matte box in place. Simple enough, right?

RED Rail Mount

railmount15205

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