Deckard’s Binoculars [Maker Update #56]
This week on Maker Update, Blade Runner binoculars, setbacks at Glowforge, custom zipper pulls, JOY pads, and colorized laser engraving. This week’s Cool Tool is the Canary Corrugated Cardboard Cutter.
Advanced Project of the Week
Blade Runner Binoculars by JON-A-TRON
3D Printed Zipper Pulls by Paige Russell
JOY Controller by Ruiz Brothers
CANARY Corrugated Cardboard Cutter
Original Cool Tools Review by Taylor Bryant
Tips of the Week: Coloring Laser Engraving by Gareth Branwyn
Beam CNC campaign (via Vlad Lunachev)
3D Printed Cases for Circuit Playground
Louisville Mini Maker Faire
Santo Domingo Mini Maker Faire
Maker Faire Orlando
Baton Rouge Mini Maker Faire
Colorado Springs Mini Maker Faire
Fredonia Mini Maker Faire
Maker Faire Houston
Thalia Mini Maker Faire
Wenatchee Mini Maker Faire
Maker Faire Seoul
Maker Faire Atlanta
East Bay Mini Maker Faire
Derby Mini Maker Faire (Oct. 28th) Derby, Derbyshire
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This week on Maker Update, Blade Runner binoculars, setbacks at Glowforge, custom zipper pulls, JOY pads, a cardboard knife, colorized laser engraving, and CNC grid beams.
It’s Wednesday, I’m Donald Bell, and it’s time for another Maker Update. I hope you’re all having a good week. And for any of you affected by last week’s fires in Northern California, I hope things are looking up for you this week. I’ve got a fun show for you here, so let’s get into it, starting with the project of the week.
For Blade Runner fans, Instructables’ Jonathan Odom has this outstanding guide on creating Deckard’s binoculars, which make a brief appearance in the new film.
The project uses a mix of 3D printed parts that you’ll need to paint and weather to get the right look, and an off-the-shelf $13 monocular.
John includes all the files you’ll need to print the parts, and shows an overview of how the design was conceived. There’s even this beautiful exploded diagram of how all the parts fit together. It’s insane.
Aside from the monocular, some foam, a handful of machine screws and washers, and some bendable metal rod to form the hoop for the strap, everything else is 3D printed.
The skill I suspect you’ll get from this project is creating realistic weathering effects with paint. Jon shows off a number of techniques with salt and sandpaper and vaseline, to create a worn-in look.
And what’s really cool is that the finished project can actually be used as a functional monocular. You can do some super futuristic bird watching with it.
Time for a bit of news. GeekWire reports that some orders of Glowforge laser cutters are once again delayed. One customer in the article states that their original October 2015 order has been updated to a February 2018 ship date, though the air cooler for the unit may not arrive until May of 2018.
In a statement to GeekWire, Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro acknowledges the delays and is offering $200 in free materials and designs for customers who stick it out.
In a separate post, Dan had to deliver the news that orders from 20 countries would have to be refunded due to legal or logistical reasons.
It’s an unfortunate setback, but a good reality check for those of us investing in first-generation hardware from Kickstarter startups.
A few more projects to share with you. There’s a great guide from Paige Russell on creating 3D printed zipper pulls.
Paige breaks down the design process using the free and easy Tinkercad software. She shows how to measure the zipper you’re designing for, creating a negative from it, and the building that cavity into an existing shape you can use for your pull.
It’s an approachable guide with great writing and photos, and probably a great beginner project for students to sink their teeth in.
Over on Adafruit, the Ruiz brothers have a guide on making this adorable, universal USB gamepad they call JOY.
The project makes use of a bunch of small, ingeniously snap-together 3D printed parts. Inside, there’s a Feather M0 Express board, 4 buttons and an analog joystick.
Most notably, there’s also this 1.4-inch color screen that displays an animated eyes and mouth that responds to the joystick. Because the 3D printed enclosure masks out the rest of the screen, it’s almost as if the eyes and mouth are these separate, discreet things.
It’s a cool illusion. And the whole thing really is a great dive into how far these projects are really approaching mainstream product design.
It’s time for another Cool Tool review. This week, I’m going to show you a knife designed specifically for cutting corrugated cardboard. It’s made in Japan, costs around $8, and if you want one for yourself, using the Amazon link in the description helps support my videos and the Cool Tools blog.
Cardboard is an abundant resource for making crafts and mocking up design ideas. It’s especially great for kids.
Unfortunately, one of the most common tools for working with cardboard is a boxcutter knife, which is a dangerous tool for anyone of any age. It’s also really not a great tool for shaping cardboard. It cuts the stuff, but there’s really not much nuance with it.
The Canary Cardboard Cutter is a much more satisfying way to cut and shape cardboard. It has a finely serrated edge on both sides and a blunt tip. The edge could cut you if you sawed into yourself, but it’s unlikely to cut you from casual handling.
But when this thing comes into contact with corrugated cardboard, you can work through it like butter. Even without a pointy tip, you can easily work your way into any spot just by starting with the side of the blade and then pushing in.
It works against the corrugation or with it. And unlike scissors it doesn’t pinch the material at all and you can make long, swooping cuts with ease.
But what this does better than any other tool I’ve used is kerfing, which is to make a flexible joint on a material with a series of incomplete cuts. Using light pressure, you can get a consistent kerf cut for making hinges or tubes in cardboard designs.
As a bonus, I’ve had equally great results using this knife on foamcore, without any of the bunching you’ll sometimes get with a box cutter or x-acto blade.
Best of all, it’s just $8. If nothing else, it’s a great, relatively safe tool for breaking down cardboard boxes for recycling. You can pick one up using the link in the description. And remember, you can see thousands of reader recommended tools like this at Cool-Tools.org.
A few other tips to share this week. First, on Gareth Branwyn’s Tips of the Week column on Make, there’s this great technique from Laser Wood Minnesota on how to use a mix of TransTint epoxy dye and denatured alcohol to fill in a laser engraving with color.
So long as the wood has some kind of protective finish on it before it’s engraved, the dye mix will seek out just the engraving and the rest can be easily wiped away. It looks great.
I got an email from Vlad Lunachev about an Indiegogo he’s launched to create a CNC mill specifically for milling hole patterns into inexpensive wood beams so they can be used with Grid Beam projects.
The Grid Beam construction method has been around since the 1940s, as kind of an Erector set for wood. In addition to the CNC system, which is pretty ingenious, he also wants to create a web service to catalog and share projects. I think it’s a neat idea.
And the Ruiz brothers have also created some cool, snap-together cases that fit the Circuit Playground Classic or Express. It’s an awesome board, and the case just adds an extra touch.
Maker Faires! So many maker faires this weekend, but let’s go through them. There’s Louisville, Kentucky; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Orlando, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Colorado Springs; Fredonia, New York; Houston, Texas; Münster, Germany; Wenatchee, Washington; Seoul, Korea; Atlanta, Georgia; and Oakland, California where I’ll be, giving a presentation on my favorite projects from the past year of Maker Update.
Also, next weekend on the 28th, everyone in the UK should go to the Derby Mini Maker Faire. It’s in Derby in Derbyshire. It has the seal of approval from maker and vintage tool aficionado Dominic Morrow. That’s all the endorsement I need.
That’s it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, leave a comment, sign the email list, buy the thing, and be good to each other. Ok? Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week.