Tag Archives: space

Lots Of Links

Here are a lot of links I think are relevant to open hardware. The first is that apparently RepRap has its own magazine now!

Zero Cost Modeling of Space Frames – Julian Edgar demonstrates how to predict the failure mode of a complex frame (in this case a recumbent bicycle) without FEA software. The process involves making a scale model by soldering together copper wire then pulling on it to see where it bends or breaks. It’s a quick and easy way to see where the structure is mathematically weak.

XYZ SpaceFrame Vehicles – This is a principle for building modular bicycles and a few functional real-world examples. Here’s a pdf describing how to make one of the bicycles.

Open Source Government & Engaged Citizens: The Death Star Inspiration – Matt Micene writes, “Innovation doesn’t always result in direct business value, but can improve business in general. Innovating in the open means you can garner additional expertise you need to transform a marginal value into a direct value.”

A Guide For 3D Printing With a RepRap – ArvidJense has put together an infographic to help makers build things, specifically musical instruments, but the ideas can be applied to anything.

Someone Needs To Buy Makerbot Already – Steve Symington is talking about financial investment stuffs, but the interesting thing is that Makerbot only seems to have attracted serious financial interest after (or based on the promise of) abandoning open source principles.

Party Robotics – They are a startup focused on making open source drink mixing machines.

Using OpenSCAD for 2D Machining – Matthew Venn gives a brief overview of his process for modeling a multi-piece part in OpenSCAD and then using the projection() function to export DXFs for CNC milling.

Designing For Laser Cutting In OpenSCAD – This is a similar (but more extensive) set of instructions from a Dutch FabLab.

Make Your Own Arduino – streetjerk shows you how to put together a thru-hole Arduino from raw materials. This is particularly useful if, like streetjerk, you want to incorporate additional components (like a motor driver) into the board itself rather than use I/O ports.

Prepper Movement Embracing 3D Printing – PosserteusMaximus has compiled a list of links on how the preppers/survivalist community is becoming aware of, using and contributing to open hardware and 3D printing.

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Build The Enterprise Is The Biggest Open Hardware Project Ever

If you dream big, dream REALLY big. Dream spacecraft big. Build The Enterprise is a website devoted to laying out, in detail, how a primitive version of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek could be built in 20 years.

BuildTheEnterprise-banner

There’s a petition up on the White House’s website to assign NASA the task of a feasibility study. Only 20,000 more signatures to go! Interestingly, they decided to go with a promotional graphic that is eerily similar to that scene from Independence Day when a spacecraft blew up the white house.

BuildTheEnterprise-White-House-Petitionindependence day white house

 

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Legoification of Open Hardware on Genomicon

Over at Genomicon there’s a good post examining why it is vitally necessary for open hardware to “Lego-ify” if it wants to get any kind of wide acceptance.

Home computers started to really take off after the text-only interface of DOS was replaced with the graphical interface of Windows. Individual contributions to the web started to really take off after raw html code was replaced with higher level languages and tools. Tinkering with electronics is a lot more attractive when it doesn’t require soldering.

At the moment, possibly one of the largest barriers to entry for open hardware are CAD/CAM tools. Just like microcode, they have to be complicated because there are so many variables that have to be accounted for. However, they can slip into the background behind more user-friendly interfaces. But, any time you reduce complexity you have to decide which variables the user is allowed to manipulate.

Lego keeps coming up as a metaphor because it’s perfect. Lego handles all the nitty-gritty details of tolerances and compatibility, then simplifies the nearly unlimited design space into neat little packages. That kind of thing has to happen, and has to happen well, before a technology can achieve any kind of scale. The expert hobbyists can always figure out what’s going on, but the people who just want the technology to do something for them aren’t going to put up with much troubleshooting. Best Buy currently makes a lot of money hooking up audio/video gear, which is nothing more than plugging cables into boxes, because even that high-level packaging is too much for some people.

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Open Source Shepard Rocket Test Stand by Mach 30

Mach 30 is a 501c3 non-profit “dedicated to the advancement of humanity into a space-faring civilization…through sustainable leadership, open source hardware, and the use of mature technology.”

They’re starting small, with a test stand for Estes rocket motors. Their budget is fixed at $200, not including “consumables.” Their timeline is 3 months, assuming sufficient volunteer effort. Like this, only closer to the size of a microwave.

25,000 lb thrust LOX/propane motor run on available Horizontal test stand.

Mach 30 has an “open design pledge” rather than a traditional license: “In order to promote open sharing of the design of its hardware projects, Mach 30 will license all material related to hardware projects it creates under open licenses, asking only for attribution in return, without limits on the making, using, or selling of that hardware.” Basically, they seem to be treating the software as a solved problem, taken care of with the existing Apache License 2.0, but open hardware licenses aren’t as well developed, so Mach 30 is simply releasing them into the public domain.

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Makerbot Expands Into NY MetroTech Building

Openalia just posted a video from Ignite in which the founder of Adafruit lists off several open source hardware companies that make real money.

As if to put an exclamation point on the idea, Makerbot is expanding into a new building.

Not only are they expanding into downtown New York, they aren’t giving up their old space in Brooklyn, so they’ll have over 30,000 square feet to make more awesome stuff. As part of the expansion they’re planning on adding 50 employees by the end of the year.

Makerbot started just three years ago. Today, propelled by a rabid base of hobbyists and makers (and more than a little bit of excellent marketing), Makerbot is poised to become the “Kleenex” of 3D printers. When these little machines are as common as microwaves we might just be calling them all Makerbots out of habit.

Related Links:

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NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge

NASA is, like, totally still relevant. Word.

They sponsored the International (Intergalactic?) Space Apps Challenge as a way to encourage people to take all the stuff NASA offers for free and turn it into something the average person could actually use.

The “hardware” section includes the following challenges:

  • Suborbital Payload for Citizen Science (exposed or pressurized)
  • Low Cost Space Guidance System
  • SERVIR Open Hardware Camera Project
  • Handheld Hardware for Citizen Science
  • BakerFaire
  • WeLoveData Challenge
  • Nairobi Robotics

Yes, one of those is a project to figure out how to bake and eat bread in microgravity. Hey, you try celebrating without cake and see how you like it. Anywho…

Most of the solutions are software-based. Of the solutions chosen for global judging we’ve got one where you make a ring (for your finger) out of the 3D model of some satellite orbits. There’s also a project to make an open source underwater robot for exploring, you know, under water. They link it to space by (again) developing the software tool(s) that will allow for processing the data sent back by a remote rover.

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