Brief, but interesting article about the rapid prototyping technology used in the new stop-motion feature film Coraline.
The Objet RP Polyjet technology uses photopolymer resin that is housed in cartridges and sprayed down in extremely thin 16 micron layers, four times thinner than the average human hair. As it’s sprayed down in liquid form, UV lights cure each layer, hardening instantaneously. Though the process is relatively fast, a heavy model would take up too much time on the printer so each model had to have the perfect amount of detail without relying on a heavy model, detail that changed depending on the shot. Laika had to print perhaps 70 tiny half faces at a time, building what they called “kits” for various expressions, kits that had to be produced with a rapid turnover. Throughout the production the artists were continually streamlining the models to give as much detail as needed while reducing the printing time to keep up with demand. Even though the Coraline puppet was designed at less than ten inches tall allowing the sets to be smaller and conserving space, the side effect was everything was smaller. Her hands were so small they were basically the same size as the armature inside.
Spatula Tzar, who brought us the controversial fly plane, offers a number of other interested projects, including this ball mill (a device used to crush metals and chemicals into a fine powder), made from mainly junk lying around the lab.
This device monitors household power usage and logs it to an SD card. A simple analog front-end amplifies the signals from voltage and current detectors and an ATmega168 microcontroller computes the power consumption using the formula P=V*I. The voltage and current are each sampled at 9615 Hz so the integration should be fairly accurate even for highly non-sinusoidal loads such as computers or fluorescent bulbs. A graphical LCD shows the power usage as a strip chart and can also act as an oscilloscope to display the voltage and current waveforms. The current is amplified in three stages (1x, 10x, and 100x) so that different gains can be used giving accurate readings for both high and low power usage.
Yikes, someone made a real “Fly Plane“. Not every cute illustration should end up “real” – Spatula writes -
After coming across this lovely image depicting the construction of a fly powered matchstick airplane, I had to try it for myself. Here are the flies, trapped within their impenetrable polyethylene terephthalate dungeon of doom. As difficult as it may be, avoid pouring the hydrochloric acid in with them. They find it very unpleasant, and may refuse to fly for you. Wait until after you get bored with the plane before you decide to bathe them.
The data-transfer and the connection to the server are maintained by a simple embedded Flashmovie in your page. The communication with other clients runs through the local Flashmovie and the Red5-Server.
The data-flow between two clients looks like this:
Imagine pulling up to an empty lot with a CNC-controlled ShopBot router, a rubber mallet, and a pile of 600 sheets of plywood. Add in some unskilled labor and a few days, and you could end up with a livable, permanent structure. Ok, you will need to add electricity, plumbing, and lighting, but thanks to Larry Sass‘s construction technique, precise interlocking notches and grooves keep the house together tightly without the need for screws or nails. Even the furniture can be built in to the design!
A prototype house was assembled for a MoMA show this summer in New York City.
By audience “vote” with applause (applause meter!) at the GreenGadget design competition presented by Core77 – the Tweet-a-watt won 1st place!! The prize was $3,000 and we’re donating it to Engineers without Borders – this open source hardware project, source code, schematics and all work present / future will be in the public domain. The audience at the conference seemed to value devices that could enact social change and our little twittering power meter fit the bill. Thank you so much!