Nov 19, 2017 | By Benedict
Putting together a 3D printing project is a surprisingly great way to relax, so print away the stresses of school or work with these five cool 3D printing projects, each of which can make your day-to-day life a little easier or simply more enjoyable.
3D printed Raspberry Pi baby monitor
We start with a project for the tech-savvy parents out there: a 3D printed Raspberry Pi baby monitor. Dmitry Ivanov’s “Fruitnanny” consists of a Raspberry Pi 3, a NoIR camera, iPhone lens, microphone, and several other electronic components housed within a 3D printed shell. It’s got all the functionality (and more) of standard off-the-shelf baby monitors, but also gives you an excuse to play on the computer for a bit rather than change diapers.
Designed in SketchUp, the 3D printed baby monitor case was successful at the third attempt (with help from Ivanov’s friend Christos) following a couple of designs that didn’t print properly. The 3D printed parts include a main case, top cover, cap, and specially designed cradle for a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor.
“At the beginning I thought it would be an easy task, probably someone already had built something similar,” Ivanov says. “Google found dozens of projects but none of them had real-time audio and video capabilities which I wanted to have in my project.”
Those looking to replicate Ivanov’s clever little device—with video capabilities and much, much more—can explore his project here.
3D printed balloon vase widget
If you’ve just had a baby, you’re likely to be receiving a lot of flowers in the near future, if you haven’t already. You might even have thrown a baby shower that required lots of balloons. So why not 3D print yourself a little plastic widget that lets you turn ordinary party balloons into rubber vases?
Designed by Evan Gant, the BalloonVase is a surprisingly clever little life hack: the balloon suspended over the 3D printed device looks small and flaccid when it’s empty, but add a few cups of water to the empty balloon and it expands to just the right size to hold a small bunch of flowers. Simple but brilliant.
Sadly, this one’s more BIY than DIY, since Grant wants you to get the widget through Shapeways, but we’re sure that talented makers out there could try designing their own. Then again, it’s only around $13—cheaper than most ceramic vases out there.
3D printed CB radio dashboard mount
Citizens band radio is a short-distance radio communications network used to transmit and receive messages over short distances—a bit like using a walkie talkie. It’s used in disaster relief operations and other areas of work that require a convoy of vehicles.
Unfortunately, most cars aren’t build to accommodate CB radio equipment, which can be a problem since CB users generally need to use a handheld microphone to transmit messages. These days, it’s all about bluetooth iPhone connections and other luxuries, which are admittedly quite useful but which really don’t make you feel like you’re in an action movie.
CB radios do though, and Alex Loizou, who drives a Subaru Forester, 3D printed his own dashboard CB radio mount that replaces a decorative trim piece in his vehicle. The custom adapter was designed using TinkerCAD, and holds both the microphone and handheld transmitter of Loizou’s radio.
Choosing a dark filament for his print, Loizou even managed to make his 3D printed hack blend in with his Subaru dash. A nice touch, for sure.
Take a look at the project here. Again, there’s no link to any downloadable STL files, but the comprehensive photo gallery should provide plenty of inspiration to drivers who use CB radios.
3D printed ‘MNT Reform’ vintage laptop
The MNT Reform is a modular, open source laptop made with 3D printed parts and inspired by classic PCs like the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Designed by Lukas F. Hartmann, the fun computer uses a quad-core NXP i.MX6 QuadPlus SoC, an off-the-shelf RC 7.4V LiPo battery, and LCD screen. It weighs 1.5 kg including the battery, which isn’t so bad considering how incredibly bulky it looks.
“The first prototype of Reform is quite a brick,” Hartmann admits. “While it is only 28 cm wide and 17.5 cm deep, its complete height including the display adds up to 5.5 cm to accommodate for all the connectors of the development board and to allow room for experimentation before shrinking everything down.”
According to its designers, the MNT Reform is made using a variety of 3D printers, including Formlabs resin 3D printers, which were used to fabricate parts of the keyboard.
And this 3D printability is one of the many ways that the MNT Reform allows users to get more closely involved with their computer.
“I understand that most people want a digital appliance to get out of the way and make their lives easier,” Hartmann says. “But I know that there are some who would like to better understand and take control of their device—for reasons of security, curiosity, or the desire for personal customization and hackability.”
You can get hacking yourself over at the MNT Reform website.
3D printed cable-bot flying camera
If there’s one device more important for your household than a baby monitor, it’s surely a flying video camera for keeping tabs on your, er, tabby. Micah Elizabeth Scott’s 3D printed “Tuco Flyer” is a cable-driven camera rig designed exclusively for filming Scott’s cat, Tuco.
“My cat Tuco co-stars on my electronics and reverse engineering streams, but really, he deserves his own show,” Scott explains. “This project is a robotic camera for my cat, which will stream on Twitch with interactive control. The robot consists of a moving ‘flyer’ portion with a camera, gimbal, and sensors. Four ‘winch bots’ hoist it around the room on cords from the top corners.”
See the cat-tracking device in all its cable-driven, 3D printed glory here. Scott’s GitHub repository for the project allows makers to edit the Tuco Flyer CAD designs and modify them to their own specifications.
And while you’re making your cat the center of attention, why not dress him or her up in 3D printed cat armor too?
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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