Robotic dexterity using…coffee?

One of the biggest obstacle within the realm of robotics is how to grip things. Sure, if your robot is placed at an assembly line where all the pieces are the same shape, it may be simple. But what if you want your robotic hand to be able to grip any shape? What was a seemingly impossible request before is now so easy, you can make it at home! All you need is a party balloon, ground coffee and a vacuum pump, and your robotic gripper can lift almost anything. And if you add a pressure pump, it can even throw things!If you don’t believe us then just watch this fantastic video from Cornell Creative Machines Lab! Isn’t it amazing how the simplest of materials, combined just right, can solve the most difficult of problems?

 

How electronics know up from down

All modern mobile phones today have a part in them called “accelerometer” that can tell up from down and even how the phone is moved in 3D space. Several makers across the world have also found new uses for these parts such as in robotic hands, quadcopters and even musical instruments. But how does accelerometers work? The engineerguy has the answer, and its all in this video. Not only does he explain how it works, but also how it is made at microscopic scale. Anyone interested in electronics, robotics or even general physics should definitely watch this video!

Casting metal objects…on the beach?

Casting metal parts is difficult, needs special sand, crucible, furnace and tools right? Wrong! Unless you absolutely positively need your object to be of professional quality, you may be able to go to your nearest sand beach and make it there! With the simplest tools and resources, Chaîne de coursdedesign made this amazing clip of how to make a simple metal stool. But this solution doesn’t end with stools, most object that doesn’t need a two part mould can be done in this way. The metal in this video is pewter, but we see no reason why metals with higher melting points, like aluminium, couldn’t be used. And best of all, if you use old worn out tools and pots, the only cost is fuel and metal! So gather your friends and have yourself a beach/casting party!

The simplest electric motor in the world!

Electric motors come in many size and types, but the homopolar motor is without a doubt the simplest motor in the world. While the efficiency and torque is lower compared to ordinary motors, the ease of construction and small size makes it a very interesting build and a possible perfect fit for small-scale mechanics. All you need is a battery, neodymium magnet and copper wire, that’s it! In this video from Nicole Zavi a normal double A battery is used, but there is not reason why a button cell can’t be used instead and result in a motor that only measure a couple of millimeters in width and height. This video is the best we have found so far, since it not only shows many variations of wire design and how to use it for a practical purpose, but also the importance of adjusting the tightness of the wire and balancing it on the battery. To make it easier to balance it, we recommend making a small dimple on the top of the battery with any metal tool, like a screwdriver. We believe that this type of motor has more potential then it has gotten credit for in the past, and we would love to see how you use this in your project, so be sure to send us your homopolar pictures or videos!

 

How to weld plastic sheets together super easy!

In a previously added video (Inflatable Bag Monsters!) you can see that ordinary plastic bags and garbage bags can be used to make balloon like art that moves around, but how can you weld all those pieces of plastics together? Well its extremely simple, as this video from ThreadBanger (Man Vs. Pin) shows. Here, plastic tarp is used to make a big water mattress like object, but the basic process of welding can be used for almost any soft plastic sheets and many different purposes. And best of all, if you use old shopping/garbage bags, you’ll get to recycle in the most gratifying way possible!