June 7, 2017 AUTHOR: Donald Bell CATEGORIES: News Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Zoetrope Fidget Spinner [Maker Update #37]

This week on Maker Update, a zoetrope and a fidget spinner make a baby, an SLS printer from Formlabs, a Raspberry Pi weather chamber, component carnage, and a tiny OLED Pi screen. Our featured Cool Tool is the Hakko FX-901 cordless soldering iron

Show Notes

Advanced Project of the Week

Jon Odom Zoetrope Fidget Spinner
Photo and project by Jon Odom.

Zoetrope Fidget Spinner by JON-A-TRON


Photo by Formlabs.

Formlabs Announces Desktop SLS Printer, Automated Manufacturing System

More Projects

Storm Glass project by The Modern Inventor
Project and photo by The Modern Inventor.

Storm Glass – the Weather Forecasting Lamp That Simulates Real Weather Conditions! by The Modern Inventor

Component Creatures by randofo
Photo and project by Randy Sarafan.

Component Creatures by randofo

Cool Tools Minute

Hakko FX-901 Cordless Soldering Iron
Photo by Donald Bell.

Hakko FX-901 Soldering Iron on Amazon


Tom Sachs Travel Kit (submitted by Andrew Cavette)

Tips of the Week: Big Wrench/Small Bolt, Organizing Screws, Mailbox Garden Tool Stash by Gareth Branwyn

Michael Colombo's cardboard screw keeper
Michael Colombo’s method for keeping track of screws and bolts by poking them into a piece of cardboard and labeling them.

Pi Camera Focal Length Adjustment Tool

PiOLED Screen
Photo courtesy of Adafruit.

Adafruit PiOLED – 128×32 Monochrome OLED Add-on for Raspberry Pi


Vacation mode activated next week

Jordan and Donald

Kitty Grabs Back Build Diary

Maker Faires

Maker Faire Berlin Berlin
Maker Faire Paris Paris
Eastern Long Island Mini Maker Faire Port Jefferson, New York
Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Vancouver, British Columbia
Eugene Mini Maker Faire Eugene, Oregon
Manila Mini Maker Faire Bonifacio Global City
Castelo Branco Mini Maker Faire Castelo Branco
Hamilton Mini Maker Faire Hamilton, ON



This week on Maker Update, a zoetrope and a fidget spinner make a baby, an SLS printer from Formlabs, a Raspberry Pi weather chamber, component carnage, my favorite soldering iron, tiny OLED Pi screens, and Maker Faires.

It’s Wednesday, June 7th, I’m Donald Bell, and welcome to another Maker Update. I hope that summer is treating you well. I’m excited that I finally have some power outlets installed in the backyard studio where I record these. Fun fact! Up until now, I’ve been dragging an extension cord from my house through my yard every time I shoot these. But no more! I can finally set things up in a more permanent way.

There are some fun projects to share this week, so let’s get into it starting with the project of the week.

This week Jonathan Odom from Instructables (aka Jon-O-Tron) found a way to turn a fidget spinner into a Zoetrope animation loop.

It’s essentially a 3D printed sandwich of two spinners, with a reel of animation placed on the inside. Gaps on the outside tread provide a strobing effect to trick your eye into perceiving the separate images as a smooth animation.

Instructables employees like Jon have been killing it recently with great, unique projects and beautiful writeups. Not only does Jon include links to download all the 3D printed parts and sample animations, but he shows you step by step how he designed the whole thing in Fusion 360.

I love it, and I wonder how long before we see retail versions of these with little ads inside or dancing Pokemons. But for now, this is ours — so thank you Jon.

And now for news. On Monday, 3D printer manufacturer Formlabs announced their first desktop SLS type printer, the Fuse 1. The printer sells for $10,000. It’s available for preorder now, shipping in the Fall.

Until now, Formlabs has made their name with SLA printers, which create objects layer by layer using a vat of liquid resin that gets selectively exposed to light, creating very high resolution prints.

SLS printing takes another approach, depositing layers of powdered nylon and selectively fusing them with a laser. Because the unfused powder continues to surround and support the print, no support structures are necessary and the process lends itself to very sturdy prints, and complex nested designs.

At $10 grand, it’s not cheap. But considering that these things typically start at $200k, this is a pretty big deal.

A few more projects to share with you. This one is called the Storm Glass and it’s by The Modern Inventor on Instructables. It’s a weather forecast project that mimics local weather conditions, rain, fog, lightning, inside of a glass tube.

The project uses a Raspbbery Pi Zero W board, an Adafruit speaker bonnet for sound, a USB ultrasonic humidifier, a 5v water pump, and a Neopixel ring. All in, it’s about $80 in parts.

The project includes all the 3D files you need to print the base, the top, and the LED ring holder.

There’s a clear circuit diagram showing how everything connects together. The humidifier is there for creating clouds. The pump is there to bubble the water over the LED ring creating a rain effect. It’s a neat idea, and it looks sharp.

For something simple and goofy, I also like this Component Creatures project by Randy Sarafan. It’s just a fun excuse to solder up some random components and create little resistor dudes and capacitor spiders. Randy’s scene here is a little dark, but action packed.

It’s time for another 1-minute tool review sponsored by the Cool Tools blog. This week, I’m going to show you what is honestly one of my favorite, most-used tools in my home — the Hakko FX-901 portable soldering iron. It sells for around $32 on Amazon Prime, and by using the link in the description, you help to support these videos and the Cool Tools blog.

Three reasons I love this iron above all others. 1. It heats up fast. I’m usually soldering within 15 seconds — way faster than my plug-in irons and hot enough to use with lead-free solder. Using rechargeable batteries in here, I’m usually good for a few weeks of occasional soldering or probably an hour of continuous use.

Second reason: I can solder where it’s convenient. I can do repairs outside. I don’t have to sweat how long my extension cord is.

Three, the design is smart. You can stand it on its end. You can cap it while it’s hot. The cap automatically shuts it off. The batteries install in a clip that’s easy to swap out. And it feels pretty good in your hand, despite the bulk.

I do wish it wasn’t so top heavy. And I don’t love the blunt tip or the expensive replacements for it. But in the time that I’ve had this thing, I’ve reached for it every time over my plug in soldering irons and have not been disappointed.

If you want to pick one up yourself, use the link on the description. And you can see thousands of reader-recommended tools like this at cool-tools.org.

I have a few more tips to share with you this week. My friend Andrew Cavette sent me this recent Instagram post by artist and Maker extraordinaire Tom Sachs. It’s a series of photos documenting his travelling toolkit, and it’s packed with all kinds of interesting tools and hacks. I particularly like how he shaved his angle grinder handle down to just the essential nub.

Over on makezine, Gareth Branwyn’s latest tip roundup has a bunch of gems, including Michael Colombo’s method for keeping track of screws and bolts by poking them into a piece of cardboard and labeling them.

And two new interesting and inexpensive products I saw on Adafruit. One is a $.95 tool for adjusting the focal length on a Raspberry Pi Camera module.

The other is a small $15 OLED screen for Raspberry Pi that stacks right on the headers. It looks great on a Pi Zero. The example has it displaying the board’s IP address and processor load, but you could have it display animations or whatever you want.

I also wanted to let you know that I will be out next week on vacation, so it’s possible I won’t have a video for you. If I do, it will be something fun and prerecorded. The week after will be back on schedule.

Also, for a “more than you ever wanted to know” dive into how I built the Kitty Grabs Back electric Go Kart, I now have a monster build diary over on makerprojectlab.com.

Maker Faires! This weekend we have Faires in Berlin, Paris, Eastern Long Island, Vancouver British Columbia, Eugene OR, Manilla in the Phillipines, Castelo Branco in Portugal, and Hamilton Ontario. That is a great lineup.

And that is it for this week’s show. Be sure to subscribe, leave a thumbs up or leave a comment. Pick up that Hakko portable soldering iron, if you’re interested. And if you have a great tool or project to share, let me know. I’m Donald@makerprojectlab.com. Alright? Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you soon.

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