Monthly Archives: April 2015

3D Printed Robots on YouMagine

In addition to Scrufie the adorable obstacle avoidance bot & the ELF AR Drone there are lots of other cool robots on YouMagine. Below we have a selection for you.

AFJay's Robot Chassis

AFJay’s Robot Chassis

Community Member AFJay made a low cost robot chassis in Blender. “This design seeks to minimize the parts count of a 3D printed robot chassis. All of the hardware for the chassis costs less than $10.”

3D Printed ROV Tether floats

3D Printed ROV Tether floats

AndrewThaler made tether floats for the OpenROV, a project to make an open source under water vehicle. These printed floats help keep your ROV’s tether clear from the sea floor.

Branez made Geometridae an interesting robot that pushes itself along.

3D printed MiniSkyBot wheels

3D printed MiniSkyBot wheels

Robotics researcher ObiJuan made wheels for the MiniSkyBot robot.

QueMeMojo is a lovely little bot that detects water.

pan tilt bot

Pan Tilt bot

Aleks made 3D printed pan tilt brackets for the Pololu Sumo Chassis.

Scrufie the adorable obstacle avoidance robot on YouMagine

Scrufie the adorable Arduino powered ultrasonic sensor obstacle avoidance robot

Scrufie the adorable Arduino powered ultrasonic sensor obstacle avoidance robot

In honor of our ELF VR Drone contest where you can win your own drone, I checked out some of the awesome robots on YouMagine. Rtheiss’ S.C.R.U.-F.E. is a “Simple C++ Robot with Ultrasonic-sensor” is a maze avoidance robot got printed when his, “two year old daughter fell in love with an old ultrasonic robot that I built in elementary school twenty five years ago.  It’s missing parts and no longer works, but she has treated it with love since she was one year old.” “For her third birthday, I set out to make a sub $50 Robot with easily replaceable parts.”

Scrufie the adorable Arduino powered ultrasonic sensor obstacle avoidance robot, side view

Scrufie the adorable Arduino powered ultrasonic sensor obstacle avoidance robot, side view

“My daughter adores this Robot.  She named him Scrufie”  Rtheiss is a teacher and hopes that this great Arduino powered bot will help his school learn “C++ coding/programming and Robotics.” “The print time is about an hour for all five parts, requires 7 soldered connections (beginner level) and takes about 2 hours for a beginner to assemble.”

Scrufie looks sad sometimes

Scrufie looks sad sometimes

A lovely story and a great inexpensive bot for education! You can download the parts and look at the Bill of Materials here for this $50 bot.


ELF YouMagine 3D Print Your Open Source Drone Contest

ELF Drone Hardware showing the 3D printed parts

ELF Drone Hardware showing the 3D printed parts

Elecfreaks is a Shenzhen based team of passionate electronics engineers. The team makes and sources electronics right at the heart of China’s manufacturing boom. They’ve developed a number of cool products and their ELF Drone is now live on Indiegogo.  The ELF is a small open source drone that streams HD video. The drone has VR so it lets you look through its eyes as well as letting you control it via a smartphone app. The drone has a 720p HD camera,will be shipped in July and is now available for $70. What we thought was really good about this project is that the team want to make the drone hackable. The ELF has 3D printed parts on it and they want communities to improve and extend the drone themselves. Since all the hardware and software of the ELF are open source we really hope many people will get involved in expanding it.

An ELF Drone, top view, showing the 3D printed parts in white

An ELF Drone, top view, showing the 3D printed parts in white & orange

The ELF team is offering you a chance to win 5 ELF drones. 3 drones will go to the first placed winner, one to the second place and another to the third place. The finalists will be chosen by the ELF team. Enter into this contest to build a better drone and win a fun smartphone controlled VR Drone. You can download and print the ELF drone parts here from YouMagine.

Criteria and rules

The contest ends the 1st of May.

  • The winners will be announced on the 3rd of May.
  • All entries must be tagged “ELF Drone Contest”
  • All work must be original and made available under an open source license via YouMagine.
  • The winners will be chosen according to 3 main criteria:
    • Originality
    • Printability
    • To what extent the design improves the ELF drone in making it more functional or by extending the drone’s functionality.
    • Winners will receive their prizes in July as the ELF ships.
    • First place: 3 ELF drones. Second: One. Third: One.

To help you the team has released two blog posts outlining 3D Printing design tips for FDM printers, the first one is here and here is the second. The tutorials are actually super helpful if you want to do some engineering and product design using 3D printing in general.

So far the project has been funded to the tune of $76,000 by 1173 people on Indiegogo. Check it out!



YouMagine Community Member Interviews Chris Payne

I’m interviewing members of our community to find out what kind of things they make, how they make them and why they make. If you have a suggestion as to someone you’d like interviewed or have a project you’d like to get others involved in please email joris at Chris Payne is Cpayne3D on YouMagine, his Single Bat ATSC Digital HD TV antenna caught my attention and I reached out to him to find out more about it.

Chris & his Single Bay ATSC HD TV Antenna

Chris & his Single Bay ATSC HD TV Antenna

Why and when did you get involved with 3D printing?

Around three years ago a friend of mine was flying an R/C multi-rotor aircraft in a park near where I live. I fly R/C electric planes so I was very curious about this. I asked where he purchased the multi-rotor and he began to tell me that he printed it on a 3D printer that he built. I knew instantly that I had to build one of these 3D printing machines.

Why did you need a 3D printer?

I have always been a tinkerer and have so many different hobbies. My hobbies generally require that I custom build parts and jigs, that I would normally create out of wood, plexiglass-plastic or metal. Now there was a way to create more complex parts without glue or screws.

What were some of the difficulties when you started?

The 3D printing phenomena has many challenges. Every step of the process seems to have a road block or two that could put a person off of getting involved.

At the start of my journey, I found printer designs on the internet that were comprised of nearly 50%, 3D printed parts. You couldn’t make a printer unless you already had a printer. This was a sobering thought for me. My friend who I recently discovered had a Mendel 3D printer gladly produced parts for the original MendelMax that I could build. It took a lot of time to print these parts, which was another revelation for me. After receiving the printed parts and sourcing the vitamins from local industrial suppliers, I was beleaguered one more time. The additional parts proved to be hard to source and also were expensive unless bought in bulk. In the end my MendelMax had issues due to imperfect smooth rods. I nearly gave up at that point.

My friend then showed me a web site that was selling kits made with makerslide aluminum rail. It looked professional, and there were no smooth rods. I ordered the mechanical platform kit (minus the electronics). A couple of weeks later the parts arrived undamaged. This is the kit that I am running to this day, although I have exchanged the extruder and hot end several times until a fool proof configuration was built.

In 2015, the marketplace in for 3D printer vendors has improved tremendously. The machines are available everywhere, and even at retail stores where you wouldn’t expect to find prebuilt 3D printers. What a difference a few years can make for this technology.

What tools do you use to design?

I use a combination of tools to create my designs. It all depends on whether I have the foresight to post the parts online or not. Any part or project that I intend to share online will be create in OpenSCad. This way the one who downloads the files can make alterations if necessary. Otherwise I may prototype a part very quickly using TurboCad 8 for MAC. I only have MAC computers at home, so this tool works very well.

What kind of things do you make?

I am very hobby driven, and I am always trying to solve every day problems. It is safe to say that I make things that other people may not make. I have quite a list of upgrade parts that I have created for 3D printers, repair parts for things that break around the house, a really great LCD controller housing for 3D printers, and finally a 3D printed implementation of an “over the air” UHF HD TV antenna.

Why an antenna?

A couple of years ago I had been keeping an eye on the North American transition of the over the air television broadcast from analogue to digital format. When the conversion deadline occurred in Canada, I decided to research the UHF information online. I discovered a long range UHF antenna element design created by Doyt Hoverman (born 1913) of the USA. This was very coincidental as his design was put into the public domain under the GPL license a few years earlier. I built an antenna using the Hoverman element with a home built wooden frame. I then installed the antenna into the attic at my home (all 20 lbs of it) and it worked great.

Since then I had the idea to make the HD TV antenna lighter and easier to build. And quite a few people that I had spoken to since the 2008 economy crash reluctantly had to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions out of necessity. This was not lost on me.

I found myself with some vacation time, and that was all that I needed to initiate a rough design for a 3D printable TV antenna in OpenSCAD. I challenged myself with two goals:

1 – build a lighter antenna to replace the heavy one in my attic
2 – build an antenna, with a minimal number of fasteners that anyone could build. Inexpensively.

You’ve built on top of other people’s projects. Who and why?

I have designed this printable antenna to accept the existing wire element designed by Doyt Hoverman. The element has proven to function very well, and it is simple to make without any complicate tools. Also, the element shape can be made from new or recycled aluminum material that you may have on hand. It was important to keep to the primary goals to make sharing of this antenna doable.

What can I do with the antenna?

Anybody who has access to a 3D printer will be able to print the parts in less than 9 hours. Assembly is very simple and required only screws and a screwdriver. Install this antenna in your attic, or outdoors in an area protected from high winds and it will receive UHF television broadcasts from ground based transmitters ranging from Channel 2 to 69. You can connect the antenna to an HD TV equipped with a digital tuner, or to a digital tuner box or USB tuner on a computer or laptop. This antenna can be provisioned with a rotor to make it tuneable to receive even more channels. I should also note that it is incapable of picking up satellite transmissions, as this is a question that I often get asked.

What should I pay attention to when making this?

The project prints very well, no supports required. However, here are some things to keep in mind before you start printing:

  • Print with ABS filament.
  • No need for a raft.
  • Any warping of your prints will not affect the assembly.
  • Ensure that your first layer adheres properly to the print bed, or the base block may break free of the bed during printing. I print ABS on blue painters tape with the bed heated to 110c.
  • Ensure that your printer is able to successfully print short bridging spans (~ 6mm).
    Print the “BOLT & Nut” test strip first. It takes 19 minutes to print but it will ensure that your fasteners fit properly before you invest the time to make all of the parts.
  • Edit the SCAD file and set up your custom fastener measurements. It will accommodate your selected fasteners!
  • The [OUPUT = variable] allows you to choose which parts to export for printing.

Tips for selecting screw lengths before printing:

Here is a safe method for selecting the long screws.

  • Select the pole to mount your antenna. (eg: 1 inch, or 25.4 mm PVC).
  • Take note of the default fastener length for the printed parts (1.5 inches, or 38mm)
  • Add the two measurements:
    1 inch + 1.5 inches = 2.5 inches (25.4 mm + 38 mm = 63.4 mm).
    In this example the fastener length required is 2.5 inches, or ~63mm.

I really hope that people do find this project beneficial. It is very exciting to be able to create and share 3D printed objects that have a real world impact. To date, this antenna has been downloaded by users from USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and all over Europe. It is great to be able to witness just how easy it is to make a difference in the world through 3D printing.

Interview with Manon van der Sar about 3DPrint and education

Recently, at a 3Dhubs meeting, I met Manon van der Sar. She is the 3DHubs mayor of ‘s-Hertogenbosch and she likes to share her designs on YouMagine. Manon is a teacher and educational designer, just like I am.  She has good ideas about how 3D print and 3D design can change our educational system!  This is very exciting to me and therefore I would like to share some of her work and ideas with the YouMagine community.

Manon van der Sar and Ronald Scheer

Manon Mostert – van der Sar (25) is an entrepreneur (through Studio van der Sar) in the field of co-creation and digital fabrications. In 2011, Manon co-founded Fablab Rotterdam (linking Stadslab Rotterdam with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences), together with other enthusiasts and experts. The establishment of this Fablab, a place where you can make almost anything, has formed the basis for most of Manon’s current activities.

Manon is still actively involved in Stadslab Rotterdam and is now investigating the (desired) impact of these new creative environments on education. Based on her belief that the education world is still lagging behind, she is engaged in the development of new educational approaches through active research (research by doing). She has already developed new courses and is currently a teacher for two minors in Rotterdam, the minor+ (honours education) ‘Making for Professionals’ and the minor+ ‘Experience Design for the Internet of Things’. On January 29, 2015 the students of this minor exhibited their work in the Smart Pop-Up Store in Rotterdam.

Besides working on innovative education at college level, Manon has set up a Teacher Development Team composed of secondary school teachers, together with Peter Troxler, to devise and discuss new ways of educating students and developing new teaching materials. This group of teachers has visited several labs in Rotterdam and the surrounding area, with support from Betasteunpunt Zuid-Holland, to gather inspiration for the development of new learning environments and teaching materials. The group’s initial findings have been described (in Dutch) in a small publication.

“The 3D printer is an outstanding device that allows us to easily make new things and that creates a different learning curve than we were used to in our own education. Many current educational organizations are not yet able to integrate this new type of learning (‘just in time learning’) into their existing structures. Together with teachers and policy makers we will need to find ways to offer current and future generations a suitable learning environment,” according to Manon Mostert. Manon is an advocate for new education who provides a great number of lectures and workshops for a variety of educational institutions in order to explore this challenge and to offer practical examples to boost innovation in education.

Call for teachers and educational designers

Are you in some way involved in education, e.g. as a teacher or an educational designer? Do have ideas about 3D print and Design can change (or even revolutionize) education? I am interested in what you are working on and how your students are involved in your project. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. Just send an email to: ronald (at)