G B-)

Member Since: April 16, 2009

Country: United States

  • News - Vote for the OSHW Logo! | about 3 years ago

    Maybe I am missing something here, but IMHO there is no need for another logo. The Open Source logo already exists:
    http://www.opensource.org/logo-usage-guidelines
    If Open Source Hardware is NOT Open Source, what is it?
    If it IS Open Source, the logo is already done.
    Can we please stop squandering time and effort on creating the impression of divergence? Can we please focus on our common vision and shared values, get over ourselves and reiterate our message by using one logo. IMHO using the existing logo would be more powerful than using a different logo. A different logo unequivocally says “I am different from Open Source”.

  • News - Ponoko and SparkFun + 3D … | about 3 years ago

    BBB - I agree, the cost 3D printing is okay for small things, but the material cost becomes problematic as objects get larger. Some of the other physical constraints are problematic too.<br />
    <br />
    This is one area where I feel CNC machining could be so helpful. The structure of, for example, a large machine (a reprap?) is relatively affordable if it is made of mass-produced commodity materials, e.g. steel, aluminium, plastic, wood, …<br />
    <br />
    Of course, the physical and aesthetic properties of those materials are much wider than 3D printed plastic, so there are a lot more things we can do with them.<br />
    <br />
    The machining tolerances and finish quality of CNC machining can far exceed 3D printers too.<br />
    <br />
    I want to encourage folks to experiment with low-cost CAD-based personal manufacture, and really make the atoms, not just the pixels. ‘CAD literacy’ should improve :-) <br />
    <br />
    IMHO 3D printing is amazing, but a tiny fraction of the interesting and usable things we could make, so we need other on-demand personal manufacturing processes too.<br />
    <br />
    I hope this will also stimulate the software and services. <br />
    <br />
    Right now it feels like an uphill struggle to use Open Source software for personal manufacture. I am hoping fablab will teach me a better approach.

  • News - Ponoko and SparkFun + 3D … | about 3 years ago

    steve - Thank you!<br />
    <br />
    I’d heard about an outfit like that, but never found them! Thank you very much.<br />
    <br />
    I agree their prices seem too high, especially for the simple stuff I want to make. Even worse with international shipping I suspect :-(<br />
    <br />
    I want school children to be able to take a basic design, and extend, enhance and improve it. A bit like a Scratch project, but with atoms as the result. So maybe 20 related one-offs, rather than 6 identicals. A reasonable number of UK schools have laser cutters, but fewer use CNC machining which gives many more interesting options.<br />
    <br />
    I did realise just after posting, that I recently learned about fablab at the Madlabs Robot Hackathon. So we are planning a day trip to fablab. I am very excited.<br />
    <br />
    {begin rant:<br />
    It frustrates me that (in the UK) we fund pretty useful engineering workshops in universities, many from the “public purse”. Most of them are idle at weekends. Many of the obstacles to wider use seem to be insurance, health and safety, and staff and user training.<br />
    <br />
    It doesn’t feel like it is ‘beyond the wit of man’ to solve the problems, but there seems to be no incentive :-(<br />
    <br />
    This feels bad when engineering is dwindling, and appalling when folks are losing jobs; free access to an engineering shop might be enough to help folks create jobs!<br />
    end rant}<br />
    <br />
    Ignoring my rant (sorry about that), you’ve pointed me in a useful direction. More experiments are bubbling away in my brain :-) <br />
    <br />
    Thanks again.

  • News - Ponoko and SparkFun + 3D … | about 3 years ago

    Ooops, I should add … <br />
    <br />
    Please don’t interpret my comments as criticism of Ponoko. I wish them every success, and all the other companies who reduce the barrier to entry for personal manufacturing. These companies are liberating unexpressed talent across the world. <br />
    <br />
    It feels like there is a web site missing; it might collect together links for all of the small-volume ‘personal manufacturing’ companies. A bit like Freeduino.org. <br />
    <br />
    Or it might advertise or charge a small commission. It might become a bit like a product comparison web site, but for personal manufacturing services rather than end products. I should say, I normally hate product comparison web sites, so that may be an awful approach.<br />
    <br />
    The Makezine community isn’t it. Mabe this is something valuable for Sparkfun to do?

  • News - Ponoko and SparkFun + 3D … | about 3 years ago

    Sorry to be a bit “bah humbug” but this kind of service has been available since Shapeways.com came on line. More than two years ago? I think folks in my part of the universe got it back then.<br />
    <br />
    It moved a step closer when Farnell bought CadSoft, and released a version of Eagle which integrates Eagle with the Farnell parts catalogue and ordering (I haven’t checked to see if RS have the same facility with designspark, but it must be on the way). [I was told a couple of months ago that one of them will make the prototype PCB too, but I haven’t seen that yet.]<br />
    <br />
    Of course, Seeedstudio will take a design, make prototypes, then produce the production electronics and sell it from their web site for you. This stuff is real atoms, not just bits. Atoms and electrons don’t always do what you hoped, so quick, easy prototyping is critical. I assume Fritzing will make this still more approachable once they get everything working.<br />
    <br />
    Some of the proprietary PCB design systems also produce 3D models, making it simpler to design the physical parts to fit properly. This really helps if it is a ‘mechatronic’ item, where, for example, the electronics is directly detecting the behaviour of some of the mechanics. So that is an area where the Open Source community might give some help. Maybe KiCAD makes 3D models of the electronics to make case design easier?<br />
    <br />
    It feels odd that I haven’t found an online company like Shapeways, but which offers manufacturing using subtractive processes like CNC milling. Can anyone point me there? The strength and finish quality of those ‘subtractive’ processes can far exceed anything 3D printing can achieve; custom mag-alloy wheel hubs with integral PoV twitter message display anyone?-)<br />
    <br />
    I find it very interesting that Sparkfun have only just mentioned this. The world of ‘Making’ seems so close-knit, and I feel like it is all, pretty much, homogeneous. But maybe not.

No public wish lists :(