Tag Archives: thread

Makeblock Is A New Modular Aluminum Extrusion System

Makeblock is here to solve your robot problems. The t-slot aluminum extrusion is a tried-and-true way of building modular frames, and even simple mechanisms. It works, but it has an Achilles Heel…the nut.

t slot nut boltThat nut has to be inserted into the slot so that the bolt can torque down on the beam. Some designs include a nut that can be inserted straight through the slot and twisted instead of needing to be slid in from one end (FAZTEK). Others turn the bolt around so that the head of the bolt takes the place of the traditional nut and the nut tightens down from the outside of the bolt (MakerBeam).

A new Kickstarter campaign does away with the nut all together. Instead of using a t-slot, they have a slot with parallel sides and just the right threading to allow you to screw in a nut at any point along the slot.

Makeblock looks like an extremely well integrated system for prototyping cyber-electro-mechanical systems. They have the modular beam system itself, but they also have their own electronics with the correct footprint to fit on the beams and adapters for common things like Lego and servos. Additionally, they have it working in the real world and appear to have the manufacturing muscle to produce a lot of the kits.

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Solder Free 3D Printed Circuit Board

3D printing is moderately useful. It will become much more useful when it can produce more than structural parts.

Automatically placing and connecting electrical components is still a ways off, although lots of people are working on it. Until then, CarryTheWhat has demonstrated an impressive DIY method of producing circuit boards on a 3D printer.

The key to how this approach works is a series of pegs connected by conductive thread. By strategically wrapping the conductive thread onto a peg board generated in OpenSCAD, the components of the circuit can all work together.

It’s a bit bulky and crude, but it works. For example, here is a flashlight…

If you’d like to see a step-by-step description of the process, CarryTheWhat wrote it up on Instructables and on Thingiverse.

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