Now that the faire is over, we’re working on getting the photobooth pictures uploaded to an online gallery. If you left us your email at the faire then we’ll send you a notification when they are up.]]>
TrenchPhysics documents his experiments with taking objects created on his 3D printer and dunking into a bath of acetone vapor to produce a professional finish. 3D printers produce objects by printing them from the ground up one layer at a time. This causes every printed object to have visible ridges on it. The acetone vapor causes the outside layer of the 3D part to fuse together, eliminating the ridges and creating a uniform smooth surface. The end result makes the part very shiny.
Check out his video here.]]>
ECE student mitchelle was looking for a cool case to house his amp project. I suggested a companion cube and he delivered in less than ten days with the full cube. Crazy impressive speed if you ask me. Here is the link to the post if you want to see it.
Cunning Turtle has decided to enter Instructables and Jack Daniels Independence Project. We looked through all the things we built and decided it would be wonderful to resurrect Mega Claw. Of all the things we’ve built this one had the greatest impact on children and families. We won editors choice in Makerfaire 2010, but in 2011 and 2012 we haven’t been able to bring anything to the show. If we win the contest we plan to attend Maker Fair 2013 in style.
Here is our entry. http://www.instructables.com/id/Mega-Claw-20/]]>
Just an awesome looking robot that dispenses alcohol. It uses Bar Measures (measures) to dispense the alcohol and compressed nitrogen on the right to dispense the mixers.
This is perhaps one of our favorite computer cases that we’ve made over the years. Normally a cube isn’t an exciting deviation from the standard computer case, the rectangle prism, but this one is different. Not only is this cube weighted but it also a replica of the weighted companion cube from the video game series Portal. Some of you sober-eyed types who play video games might have recognized the similarity by now. How it resembles that cube you once had an encounter with, that abruptly ended when you threw it in a pit of fire. You monster.
This replica of the weighted companion cube was made with love (you wouldn’t know what that is). It was designed in SketchUp and cut out on our CNC machine. The cut out panels were then hand painted and assembled into the cube shape it is now.
Before I continue let me get this out of the way and say that manning up and finally buying a CNC machine was a great idea. For the first few months that we had it we would give it a design to cut and spend the entire time watching it cut out the design, mesmerizer by how it makes the wood disappears as the bit moves by. This is very similar to the time when I bought a roomba vacuum. I would turn it on and watch it do its entire hour-long vacuum run; all the while thinking to myself how much time I’m saving by not having to vacuum manually. Here is a video that shows our CNC cutting out the panels of the weighted companion cube.
The top of the cube has sections of the wood cut out and is designed to be the exhaust port. We originally planned to put a large, 140mm, fan right beneath it but didn’t. We ran the pc without the fan installed (didn’t have it on hand) and noticed that it ran plenty cool. Turned out that there was enough open space inside the cube for the warm air to freely flow through the exhaust hole. At the back of the case we opted to cut out a rectangle for the ports. We toyed with the idea to have the CNC cut out exact holes to match every port on the motherboard. It would look better than just a rectangle hole, no argument here, but at the same time it would make it a hassle to plug things into the ports, primary because the wood around them would be so thick.
We had this cube for about a year now and one of the unfortunate things that happened to it is that the wooden panel have became warped. It still looks great in real life though and definitely adds a nice touch to the room.
I was invited to two weddings earlier this year. The wedding of Whitney and Jeremiah then another wedding for Courtney and Phil. I went to both weddings and my gift to them was the photo booth. I learned a lot about generation 2 of the booth. Some things I really liked some things I hated.
The first wedding I transported the booth in a Honda Civic (right). The second wedding I transported it in the passenger seat of a Honda CRV(left). There was plenty of room in either car. I did move the passenger seat up in the CRV. It’s funny cause the CRV has a huge trunk, I chose not to use it just to see how it would be like standing up. The wheels made moving the booth very easy.
Here is Ilya smiling, he is smiling because the booth is battery powered and all we had to do was lift it and turn all the camera electronics on. Setup time was a little less than 1 minute for the booth alone. We added a blue tie dye backdrop and that took an additional 3 mins. It really made me wish we built a custom backdrop too. I think for certain venues I won’t even use the backdrop.
The weddings went amazingly well. Both couples were skeptical at first because the booth didn’t print but that didn’t stop guests. They had a great time and they agreed everyone loved the booth. Then we E-mailed them a nice zip of all the photos and they uploaded it to Facebook for everyone to enjoy. It was a much better instant satisfaction rather than waiting for a photographer to edit all the photos. Plus everyone can see each other’s photo booth photos rather than small low res print outs.
I captured a lot of data/statistics on what I people do and don’t like about this booth. I can’t help it I’m an engineer, making people happy with a design is fine and dandy, perfecting it is what I do. Time to take all that data and analyze it to see how to make gen 3 even better.
I really wanted the booth to pop. It had to be intuitive because there wouldn’t be an assistant attending the booth. Plus I wanted kids to be able to use it. We chose a design that attracts users like moths to a flame. It also attracts people to look right into the lens without thinking about it.
We had to try and fit everything into the booth. First was a big cut out for the camera. Then below it we made another cutout (not shown) for the display. The display had a bunch of knobs for color balancing so we had to add some large spacers.
One Button to Rule them All
To make it easy to understand and use, I wanted to use one button. Arcade buttons are really cool, but they are mechanical and eventually fail. A lot of buttons are only rated for 50 thousand presses. Arcade buttons are little higher in the millions of cycles. You would think this was enough, but if you ever worked in an arcade you’d know that even they need to be replaced. Since weddings have a lot of characters
drunk people I wanted something that would last as long as booth. I chose a capacitive touch button. This is similar to the touch screens we have in our phones. Below is a concept image from the reference design sheets.
Here is how our Capacitive touch button looks. We back light it with some nice blue LEDs.
One big problem with booths is how to let your user know what is going on. We looked at the state of the web and the most widely used design is a the scrolling buffer wheel. It can be used to display a countdown and indicate the user should wait. The reason we made it a big ring was it also tells users where to look without them understanding that there is a camera inside the box. The only down side is the I/O control and the crazy amount of work soldering it.
Mounting the Camera
To hold the camera in place we created a sliding right angle mount. It has two mounting points and two knobs to secure it as a fail safe.
Well that’s it the booth is done, now to field test it.]]>
Now that the aluminum base is done it’s time to figure out how to protect the camera. We started building a cardboard mock up then cut the road case parts and put it all together. A lot of really good photos of the build in this post.
Riveting is a cheap way to attach the aluminum corners. We had both a pneumatic and a hand riveter. The rivet goes into the hole and expands when the tool pulls on the nail. This forms a donut shape that locks it in place. The ones we were using are rated for 125lbs each. I highly recommend the pneumatic one since there are too many rivets.
This pin snaps off when fully pulled.
The panels are 1/4″ ply with abs plastic laminated on top. The rivets help hold everything together.
Nice view of the corner bumper. This will handle those pesky dings well.
So many rivets, so much cutting.
Here are how the rivets look on the inside. There are washers because the wood is too flimsy to survive the rivet process.
Here is a close up of how the box is attached to the stand we made earlier. This aluminum plate engages to some metal bolts and a plate on the inside. The whole thing is the second slide and beautifully counter balanced by the spring on top.
We noticed the booth started gaining some weight. We added some wheels to make it easier to roll in and out of venues.
All nice and compact, this stands around 30″ tall.
Nice view of the back of the booth. We even added a nice baggage handle so it is easier to move the booth.
Voila the booth fully extended.
Almost complete, now we just need to install the camera and the custom electronics and we will be set.