3D printed stirling engine gas burner and flywheel

Stirling Engine

The 3D printed Stirling Engine with its new gas burner and heavier flywheel from Do It Yourself Gadgets:

Take a look at my upgraded Stirling Engine with its new gas burner and flywheel!
If you take a look at my previous post you’ll see how I built a 3D printed holder for my Stirling Engine kit. Since I needed a constant heat source I added a small gas burner salvaged from an old BBQ lighter and attached it to the engine.

See the full post on Do It Yourself Gadgets blog.

Check out the video after the break.

A Line-us clone


Barton Dring has a nice build log on his Line-us clone project:

I have been going to the monthly Amp Hour, Hardware Happy Hour meetup.  A lot of people bring something to show.  My projects are too big.  Also, you need to bring your own power.  The meetup standard seems to be running off a USB cord. I was brainstorming ideas, when I saw the Line-us project on Kickstarter. It looked like the perfect size and power. I also love the challenge of non linear kinematics.

More details at Buildlog.Net blog.

Paper Airplane Machine Gun V2.0

A little over two years ago we posted an amazing contraption that holds a stack of paper sheets, folds them into paper planes, and launches them. There’s now a newer version — the PFM A5 v2.0. It is over a meter long, weighs about 10 kilograms, and features a mind-boggling number of gears and moving parts. Video is embedded below.

In one end travels one sheet of paper after the next. At each stage in the process the paper is folded (symmetrically) and creased by a vertical wheel to make up the keel of the finished plane before launching out the other end. Amazing, and not a jam or “PC Load Letter” error message in sight!

This, of course, has a purpose… junk ads from the sky!

We covered an earlier version of this paper airplane gun back in 2014; the original was a marvel of engineering and this new version is no different.

There is very little that Dieter Michael Krone doesn’t know about paper airplanes. He has even written a comprehensive book (in German) with some excerpts on his site, along with a gallery of some of his work.

Thanks for the tip, [Itay]!

Filed under: misc hacks

Clear the Air Around Your CNC Router with a Custom Dust Shroud

Using a CNC router is a dusty business if your material of choice is wood. Sure, you can keep things tidy by chasing the cutter around the table with a shop vac, but that sort of takes the fun out of having a machine that can make cuts without you. The big boy machines all have integrated dust collection, and now you can too with this 3D-printed CNC router dust shoe.

Designed specifically for the X-Carve with a DeWalt 611 router, [Mark Edstrom]’s brush is a simple design that’s almost entirely 3D printed. The shroud encloses the router body and clamps to the mounting bracket, totally surrounding the business end of the machine. The cup is trimmed with a flexible fringe to trap the dust and guide it to the port that fits a small (1-1/4″ diameter) shop vac hose. The hose is neatly routed along the wiring harness, and the suction is provided by a standard shop vac.

Files for the cup are up on Thingiverse; we suspect it’d be easy to modify the design to work with other routers and dust collectors. You might even find a way to shroud a laser cutter and capture the exhaust with a DIY filter.

Filed under: cnc hacks, tool hacks

DIY Optical Sensor Breakout Board makes DIY Optical Mouse

Wanting to experiment with using optical mouse sensors but a bit frustrated with the lack of options, [Tom Wiggins] rolled his own breakout board for the ADNS 3050 optical mouse sensor and in the process of developing it used it to make his own 3D-printed optical mouse. Optical mouse sensors are essentially self-contained cameras that track movement and make it available to a host. To work properly, the sensor needs a lens assembly and appropriate illumination, both of which mate to a specialized bracket along with the sensor. [Tom] found a replacement for the original ADNS LED but still couldn’t find the sensor bracket anywhere, so he designed his own.

optical-mouse-sensor-breakout-squareThe github repository contains all the design files as well as Arduino libraries. Thinking others might share his interest in an easy to use breakout board for the ADNS 3050 that doubles as the mounting bracket, [Tom] started a Kickstarter campaign for a small production run.

Optical mouse sensors have often shown up as experimental movement trackers in hobby robotics, and even as low-res cameras. There’s a lot going on in these little packages and [Tom]’s fully documented open-source design tries to make it more accessible.

Filed under: hardware, peripherals hacks

The Potowitzer: A Rapid Fire Potato Cannon

If you’ve ever fired a potato cannon, you’ll know that they are a raucous good time, but are somewhat clumsy to reload after each shot. Seeing an opportunity to improve on the design and minimize the delay between launches, [Danger First] have concocted a fast reloading potato cannon — or should I say — Potowitzer.

The key here is that they’ve gone through the extra effort of designing and building honest-to-goodness artillery rounds for their Potowitzer’s manual breech-loading mechanism. Foregoing the inconsistency of potatoes, they’ve 3D printed a bevy of bullets and sealed them with propane gas into PVC pipe cartridges. Metal contacts around the base to carry current from a BBQ lighter to the inside of the cartridge to ignite the propellant. Seeing it fire at about 18 rounds per minute is something special.

This home-made piece of artillery looks like a blast to fire. The only issue appears to be that the rapid salvos are offset by the necessity of fabricating more ammunition — something that isn’t an issue with regular potato cannons. Remember to exercise all necessary precautions if you plan on using any kind of combustible.

If you want to get an idea of what’s going in inside these rounds — or the chamber of a regular potato cannon — check out this tennis ball cannon with a clear combustion chamber.

[Thanks for the submission, Ivan Owen!]

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, weapons hacks

Easy UFO Lights on your Drone for Halloween

Sometimes it’s not so much what you put together, it’s how you use it. The folks at Adafruit have put up a project on how to dress up your drone with ‘UFO lights’ just in time for Halloween. The project is a ring of RGB LEDs and a small microcontroller to give any quadcopter a spinning ‘tractor beam light’ effect. A 3D printed fixture handles attachment. If you’re using a DJI Phantom 4 like they are, you can power everything directly from the drone using a short USB cable, which means hardly any wiring work at all, and no permanent changes of any kind to the aircraft. Otherwise, you’re on your own for providing power but that’s probably well within the capabilities of anyone who messes with add-ons to hobby aircraft.

One thing this project demonstrates is how far things have come with regards to accessibility of parts and tools. A 3D printed fixture, an off-the-shelf RGB LED ring, and a drop-in software library for a small microcontroller makes this an afternoon project. The video (embedded below) also demonstrates how some unfamiliar lights and some darkness goes a long way toward turning the otherwise familiar Phantom quadcopter into a literal Unidentified Flying Object.

While it might be tempting to buzz people to show off the effect on Halloween, flying over or around people with what is essentially an airborne surprise blender is a needless risk. But you don’t need people around; drones (and some cleverness) have opened many doors for the amateur film crowd.

Filed under: led hacks

Monstrous Suit of Power Armor 3D Printed over 140 Days

fallout-armour-3d-printed-no-helmet[hirocreations] printed an entire suit of enormous Fallout power armor on his Monoprice Maker Select 3D printer, which took some 140 days and over 120 pounds of IC3D PLA filament. Happily, [hirocreations] was able to arrange a sponsorship with IC3D for the build – who would be crazy enough to use so much filament over so long for an entire 7+ foot tall suit, right? Over those 140 days, the belts on the printer needed to be replaced twice but it otherwise chugged right along.

Most of the parts were printed at 0.46 mm layer height. Individual parts were welded (melted) together using what is essentially a soldering iron with a flat tip; many parts were too thin for any kind of joints or fixtures to be practical. Parts were smoothed with drywall spackle, lots of filler primer, and painted. Some of the parts – like the chest armor – are mounted on a frame made from PVC tubing. [hirocreations] may have gone through 120 pounds of filament, but the end result doesn’t weigh that much; the suit itself weighs in at 85-90 lbs, the rest of it went to support material, skirts, and print failures.

It was known from the start that weight could become a serious issue, so [hirocreations] went for a very light infill (10%) and 3-4 perimeter layers; he also extruded at a high temperature (~230C) which he said seemed to provide a very strong layer bond with the settings and filament he was using. So far, he says it’s taken some very hard knocks and nothing has broken or cracked. He has a short video series documenting the assembly, and you can see some of the raw armor parts before any finishing in one of the videos, embedded below.

Models used include the T-45b Helmet from Daniel Lilygreen and the Raptor Hand by e-NABLE (updated design here) combined with models of the armor that [hirocreations] extracted directly from the game files and modified for his own use.

We have seen the Maker Select range before, like the MP Select Mini and we recently posted this review of the Monoprice Maker Ultimate. So far as we know, [hirocreations] is the first person to put their printer through this kind of 140-day marathon.

[via Reddit]

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

3D Printed Nozzles Turbocharge Microsphere Production

Researchers at MIT have used 3D printing to open the door to low-cost, scalable, and consistent generation of microencapsulated particles, at a fraction of the time and cost usually required. Microencapsulation is the process of encasing particles of one material (a core) within another material (a shell) and has applications in pharmaceuticals, self-healing materials, and dye-based solar cells, among others. But the main problem with the process was that it was that it was slow and didn’t scale, and it was therefore expensive and limited to high-value applications only. With some smart design and stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing, that changed. The researchers are not 3D printing these just because they can; they are printing the arrays because it’s the only way they can be made.

A standard manufacturing process for microspheres is coaxial electrospraying, where electrostatic forces and a specialized nozzle are used to encapsulate particles as they emerge from an aperture. Unfortunately, current methods have very low throughput because they have only one emitter, and must choose between low flow rate, or consistent particle size.

The researchers developed a method using a 3D printed array that is not only scalable, but consistent in output. 3D printing was needed to make the complex network of channels required for uniform operation, all at a fraction of the usual cost and fabrication time involved in testing and developing such devices.


Streams of encapsulated microspheres – each about 25 micrometers in diameter – being emitted from an array of nozzles, illuminated for the picture. Electrostatic forces drive the liquid’s movement. On the right, red is used to show the helical channel of the “shell” liquid inside the nozzle.

No mention of which SLA printer was used, but the detailed report says “The devices were fabricated using a high-resolution SLA printer (pixelation ∼25 μm) with a layer height equal to 25 μm and absolute tolerances in the x–y and z directions equal to 50 μm and 125 μm, respectively” and that the printed material is an opaque green. Do those specs sound familiar to anyone?

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks

LED Bulb-shade Cityscapes

Cost-effective LED lighting for your home has opened up many doors for more efficient living, but also some more creative illumination for your living space. If you want to bring the dazzle of city lights right into your home, [David Grass] has two projects to sate this desire in perhaps the most literal way possible: Huddle and Stalaclights.

These clever, 3D printed bulbshades are possible since LEDs emit very little heat, and can be printed in a variety of designs. Huddle is named for — and illustrates — humanity’s coalescing into cities as the centre of modern life from which most of our information and technology emits. Stalaclights offers an inverted perspective on the straining heights of skyscrapers and is inspired by the Art Deco era and the expansion of cities like New York and Chicago.


[Grass] — in bringing the technological achievement of the modern city closer to awareness with these projects — hopes to draw attention to the problems of urban life and how they can be addressed in a sustainable way. The combination of efficient LED bulbs and art is perhaps a low-impact manner of achieving this.

In the age of 3D printing, designing art and enabling attachment parts — even for light bulbs, apparently — takes only some imagination and accessibility. If you lack a 3D printer and there’s no maker space nearby, take matters into your own hands and check out our short guide on how to set up one of your own.

[via This Is Colossal. Thanks for the tip, Itay Ramot!]

Stalaclights All

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, led hacks