Archive for June, 2011

Mighty Bottle Opener

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I’ve been wanting something printable that I could carry around with me, especially after this Colbert Report thing. I finally settled on designing a bottle opener: something I could show off.

Mighty Opener

There’s already a bottle opener you can print, and it works really really well. Unfortunately it’s the size of a small moon, so you can’t really carry it with you everywhere. The reason it’s so big is because it uses a penny to bear the load. You need to have something metal to save the plastic, and a coin is an ingenious, albeit large, solution.

To make the opener smaller the coin would have to go. Using a bottle cap came to me almost immediately, but finding the correct implementation took some time. The Coin-Op uses the coin to support the full load, and initially that’s what I tried to do with a folded over cap. Things improved greatly when I discovered that ABS is strong enough to lift a cap, it just needs a protective layer to keep it from being chewed up.

And thus the Mighty Bottle Opener was born! As you can see, naming things is not my forte. I was looking for something that would encompass everything great about this new opener I designed: It’s smaller, lighter, key-chainable, yet still really strong.

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SketchUp to STL Plugin with No Dialogs

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

When designing parts for the Makerbot my tool of choice is Google SketchUp. I’m able to do this easily (and for free) due to the work of Nathan Bromham and Konrad Shroeder. Their skp_to_dxf plugin quickly exports my model into stl format, which can then be read by ReplicatorG.

One minor annoyance though. Every time I run the plugin I need to specify “Millimeters” and “STL”. I’ve been revising a lot of models lately; trying things out then checking the resulting tool path in skeinforge. Somewhere around the 20th time specifying the SAME THING, I decided to go into the plug-in code and just hard-set my options.

The result is my variant of the plugin, which I’ve labeled skp_to_Custom. I did almost nothing. I commented out the dialog code and instead included a section at the beginning of the code where you can hard-set your options. That’s it. But MAN has it saved me some aggravation.


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Laser-Cut Business Cards

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

laser cut business cards
laser cut still wraps nicely

I’ve really been saturating the blog with ear-bud wrap posts lately. This should be the last one for a while. I decided to order some laser-cut copies of the earbud-wrap business card. They were a bit expensive, but I’ve been wanting to laser-cut something for some time. I went with 2-color acrylic, and I think they turned out really well.

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