posts tagged with the keyword ‘openscad’

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

2014.03.12

Boom Pole Mount

Recently I’ve been on a few shoots where I’m doing the audio, and if you’re holding a boom pole and trying to keep the mic out of the shot, it can be a bit difficult to adjust the recorder, which you’ve typically got resting on something nearby, or if you’re moving around, holding in your hand. Obviously I needed a “BPM” and this time it’s not “Beats Per Minute” but “Boom Pole Mount”, which will hold the Zoom on the boom pole freeing up one hand to made adjustments or, you know, help steady the boom pole. (Maybe it needs a better name, like “Zoom2Boom” or something.)

As often is the case… 3D Printing to the rescue!

3D model

I measured the second segment of the boom pole and it came in at 30.2mm in diameter, so I fired up OpenSCAD and started to design a piece that would mount to the pole. (I should also note at this point that I’m not the greatest at math.)

2D test

I thought that instead of printing a test piece I would make a paper prototype to test the fit, so I converted my 3D STL file into a 2D DXF file in OpenSCAD. I figured that wasting a bit of paper was better than wasting a bunch of plastic. It’s also much faster.

Silhouette cutting

I used the Silhouette Cameo to cut my DXF file using a page from an old calendar. (Reuse! Recycle!) Of course once it was cut I realized that I used 30.2mm for the radius instead of 15.125mm. Drat! Lesson learned, you can use d for diameter instead of r for radius in OpenSCAD.

Final 3D model

Back to the old drawing board, by which we mean the “constructive solid geometry” software. This is version 2 of the design. Version 1 was lacking the holes for the hex bolt heads to fit into on the flanges, and was a little thin. Version 2 seems to have resolved all the issues that version 1 fell short on.

Boom Pole Mount

A few bolts, nuts, and knobs (just like the arm uses) and we’ve got a pretty solid piece that I trust to hold the recorder to the boom pole with. The one thing we may need to watch out for is over-tightening the knobs, as that could lead to cracking the plastic. I can probably solve this by adding more infill to the print (it’s at 35% now) or by a slight redesign. We’ll field test this one first though, to see how it holds up.

2014.03.05

Assembled Arm

In my previous new arm post I banged out a quick ‘n dirty replacement arm to hold an LCD display on a RED camera using some 3D printed parts and a few nuts and bolts.

Arm Parts

Version 1 worked, but I wasn’t totally happy with it. Iteration time! The beauty of digital fabrication using a 3D printer is that it’s easy to revise your design and try something new.

Block 1

One of the issues I had with version 1 is that things spun around too much. Even with the tightening bolts, there was more spinning happening when less spinning was desired. I ended up adding a hex-shaped hole to hold the head of the bolt in place. This resulted in less spinning.

Block 2

I then figured that if one hex hole was good, two were better! Sadly, while this worked well for the first corner piece, it didn’t work as well for the second corner piece that was held in place with the nut knob.

Block 3

No problem! OpenSCAD makes it easy to comment out a piece of code and output a new STL file. I now have two (slightly) different versions of the connecting block. Oh, I also rounded the edges a bit, which resulted in a better print, and a better feel.

One thing to note here. Where I originally posted an image of the connector block (before I even printed it) I made a comment about milling it from Aluminum. (Though ultimately it was decided that a drill press and band saw might be all the tools needed.) Milling this new design would probably still be doable, but until I’m sure we like this version, what’s the point? I may end up revising again.

Nut 1

And then there was the knob… The knob I had previously been using was one of the first things I ever printed on my RepRap. I’m sure I grabbed it from Thingiverse, but I’ll be damned if I can find it now. It may have been removed. Nevertheless, I didn’t love it, so I designed a new one. This is version 1, which was ok…

Nut 2

This is version 2, with a nice hull operation to give it a more rounded feel, and (probably) make it a little bit stronger. This is my new 1/4″ nut knob from now on. (Unless I design a new one!)

Parts

So yeah, a few 3D printed parts, some nuts and bolts from the hardware store, and we’re in business.

Assembled Arm

Oh, there’s also a screw in place of a bolt on the main support, because attaching it to the camera will be ten times easier with this feature, and you may also notice a slightly smaller version of the knob on the lowest mount point. This is (probably) needed to allow clearance to tighten it. (I didn’t have the camera around to test with, but I’ll find out this week if it works.)

Update: Tested it, seems to work well! You can grab the files from Thingiverse.

Arm on RED ONE

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