Open-source hardware is that for which its designer:
- provides design files (in the preferred format for making modifications to them)
- allows the modification and redistribution of the design files
- allows the manufacture, sale, distribution, and use of devices from the design files or modifications of the design files
- without discrimination against persons, groups, or fields of endeavor. Additionally, the designer must release under an open-source license any software it has developed that is essential to the proper functioning of the device.The designer may require others to:
- provide attribution when distributing design files based on the original designer's
- provide attribution when manufacturing devices based on the original designer's design files or derivatives thereof
- release as open-source hardware devices based on the original designer's design files or derivatives thereofManufacturers of a derivative device must not:
- imply that the device is manufactured, tested, warrantied, guaranteed, or otherwise sanctioned by the original designer
- make use of any trademarks owned by the original designer without explicit permission
- We also recognize that open-source is only one way of sharing information about hardware and encourage and support all forms of openness and collaboration, whether or not they fit this definition.
Entries in open source (9)
Bryan Bishop provides a great overview of the Social Engineering-Knowledge Database (SKDB) project in an article at HPlus Magazine. The premise of the project is to create a standard environment for the development of complex 3D models by leveraging models and instructions that already exist. This is very similar to the open source software industry, in which the installation of a desired component automatically pulls in all dependent pieces, whether you know you need them or not. The hierarchical SKDB approach, if successfully executed, could supercharge the 3D model space and we'd begin to see very complex object assemblies appear.
You might be wondering why the project's name includes the word "social". That's because SKDB is inspired by the success of open source software - which works only because participants abide by a social contract as a condition of their use of the software. The same principle could apply to 3D model assemblies:
the Social Engineering-Knowledge Database (SKDB) project that provides the means for specifying dependencies and applying standards that can be shared by open source DIY makers. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you begin a new project. Someone may have already done most or all of the work for whatever you are trying to do, and then released the plans on the internet. And there are many common tools and parts involved in making things. The SKDB project directly tackles the challenge of packaging and distributing these plans.
It's not just about the model itself, either. Consider the instructions that might accompany an assembly of parts to create a larger object, or perhaps there are customized rigs required for the build that are not part of the final object. Once you consider all the procedures, equipment and supplies for a project, you can understand why this could and should be simplified:
Why not use hardware packages to make a lab or to make tools for an experiment? Instead of painfully picking through websites like instructables.com, thingiverse.com, or hardcopy magazines, package managers do the gritty work — generate the instructions or order parts over the web — and the user is freed to make stuff, rather than chasing down dependencies. Slowly but surely, computer algorithms are taking over these tasks.
If you want to get involved in the SKDB project, we'd recommend you head straight over to their Google Group, which currently has around 350 members.
We believe SKDB or something like it is a key requirement to take personal manufacturing to the next level. Yes, we can build things now. But can we build things together?
Via HPlus Magazine (Hat tip to Bryan)
GTS stands for the GNU Triangulated Surface Library. It is an Open Source Free Software Library intended to provide a set of useful functions to deal with 3D surfaces meshed with interconnected triangles. The source code is available free of charge under the Free Software LGPL license.
The code is written entirely in C with an object-oriented approach based mostly on the design of GTK+. Careful attention is paid to performance related issues as the initial goal of GTS is to provide a simple and efficient library to scientists dealing with 3D computational surface meshes.
The major features of GTS are:
- Object oriented structure
- Delaunay triangulations
- Robust geometric predicates
- Wide variety of surface operations
- Multiresolution models
- Continuous level of detail
- Collision/Intersection capability
- Graph operations
- Metric operations
- Fast rendering
As with any open source project, you are welcome to assist its development.
Via GTS@Sourceforge (Hat tip to Jordan Miller)
Contraptor is a DIY open source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping. Various Cartesian robots can be quickly assembled from Contraptor and used as a platform for projects such as XY plotter, mini CNC machine, 3D printer etc.
One of the original project goals is manufacturability at home with only basic tools, using inexpensive materials and parts readily available in hardware stores and online, with cost in the range of $400 and without the need for a custom-manufactured kit.
The site currently includes sets for Structural, Basic Linear Motion, Electronics & Motors, Linear Rails & Bearings and Skins (plates & mounting screws). Numerous videos demonstrate how to put the stuff together into a variety of examples. Other examples show how Contraptor parts can be used with Sketchup and Thingiverse to develop more complex devices.
If you're looking for a great way to use standard parts on your project, consider using Contraptor.
Via Contraptor (Hat tip to Thomas)
Their first big venture is Mini-T, which is a
precisely downscaled model of larger T-slot building systems. It consists of extruded aluminum beams, 1 cm on a side, and various connectors and panels that slot into the sides of the beam, making up the full MakerBeam system.
MakerBeam is developing the Mini-T standard for open source hardware. Mini-T is a scaled down form of T-slot, an existing standard in building. T-slot is widely used for prototyping, automation, and enclosure; Mini-T will do all that, and a whole lot more.
The Mini-T design can be scaled up by factors of 2.5, 4 or 6 if necessary.
Be sure to watch the video, as Sam provides a great overview of the project.
MakerBeam is not stopping with T-slots; they have intentions of providing designs for all manner of connectors:
MakerBeam parts will allow for all kinds of dynamic motion as well. Hinges to animate edges, pivots for end-to-end beams, slides for beams to move along each other, and other basic mechanical connectors will be an integral part of the system.
we want it to work with every conceivable kind of gadget, widget, doohicky or sprocket out there.
MakerBeam mentions a few other areas they'd like to get into:
- Stepper Motors
- Solar Panels
- RC car motors
- Robotics packages
- Other construction systems like "Metal Strips" and "Plastic Blocks"
Open Manufacturing is about bringing free and open source software development methodology and philosophy to the design and construction of the physical world.
The philosophy is to take cues from the massively successful open source software community and see if analogous solutions could work with the 3D manufacturing space.
Eric Hunting lists many void areas within the "open" portion of 3D space today in a very provocative post. Some of his key points are:
- Makers tend to recreate existing objects instead of leveraging the tech to produce otherwise impossible objects
- Few if any standards for modular construction exist, ensuring that most projects are unable to leverage, say, huge libraries of existing part designs
- No repository for designs exists in the same manner as Sourceforge. (Well, one could suggest that Google's sketchup library is something like that, but it's not really like Sourceforge)
- Little standardized documentation and instructions exist for all of the required techniques, meaning non-commercial practitioners are largely on their own
We agree with all of this, and the rest of Eric's points in his brilliant article, too. One can find bits and pieces of the necessary stuff, but it just isn't organized in the same smooth operation we find with today's open source software. Once some of these capabilities emerge, we'll soon see 3D manufacturing "in the open" take flight.
Popular Mechanics and The Globe and Mail report on the possibility of using 3D print technology to custom build cases for the OpenMoko Linux touchscreen. The device is not yet available, but OpenMoko has set precedents by releasing all of their software source code - and now the designs for the case too! The article suggests that 3D print owners can reverse-engineer the case design and be able to produce replacement cases.
Ok, we've heard of expensive media for 3D printers, paper, sugar and other wacky stuff going in "raw" and coming out as usable 3D objects. Today it's pasta dough! The Fabaroni home-made 3D printer is capable of printing 3D objects with a moving head, much like other inexpensive 3D printers. In fact, it "loosely follows the Fab@Home design". Why pasta? The team investigated eleven different common foods to see which one was most suitable. Results:
Cheese wiz: too soft, took too long to solidify
Chocolate: pretty good viscosity, melted at 90 deg C, took a while to solidify
Chocolate sauce: too saucy, didn't solidify
Marshmellow fluff: too thick and too sticky
Vanilla frosting: too soft
Gummy bears: good viscosity, but takes a while to cool and is stringy
Gummy bears & Chocolate mix: mixture separates
Marzipan: too thick
Oiled marzipan: gross, and terrible consistency
Pasta dough: good consistency, hardens pretty quickly, flows well
Peanut butter: too runny, too oily
And the winner is...PASTA DOUGH for its good structure and speedy drying properties.
Approximate cost of materials: USD$1000, probably the least expensive 3D printer we've seen yet.