Possible solution for Storage Box

We found a possible “candidate” for the new storage box. It tested good. According to our experience it’s a really good quality plastic box with lots of useful features: e.g.: click-on lid locking system, 2 levels for storing… Ideal for storing and separating the smaller pieces, and has spacious place for even the 300 mm beams. Here are some photos to give a little hint how it looks and how the MakerBeam / OpenBeam items fit in it. We still search a bit further, but maybe you will meet with this one in our product range.

Team MakerBeam

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MakerBeam Storage Box – sold out

Because of the terminated production the MakerBeam Storage Box is not available at the moment. We are searching for new solutions/sources, that we can offer instead, and we let you know if the new box is available.

The more possible sources we have, the more suitable solution we can find. So, if anyone has an idea or contact for sources of plastic box that is ideal storage place for different sized beams, nuts, bolts brickets and other accessories, please share it with us.  Thanks in advance!

 

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Business and pleasure: Hannover MakerFaire

For us the MakerFaire started with this picture online, see below.

We were preparing a family visit to the Hannover MakerFaire.

MakerBeam was represented at the MakerFaire in Hannover by Chartup.
Thank you Anton!!

Saturday July 5th Johan travelled to Hannover to visit the Hannover MakerFaire. Since MakerFaires are fun for the whole family I followed later with our boys.
On Saturday he would focus on business. Sunday was scheduled for the pleasure part.

Preparing the business part.

Some impressions of the pleasure part.

Chartup with MakerBeam and OpenBeam in Hannover.

Elsie was a big attraction!

We had a great trip and wonderful days. Loved it!

Author:
Marlies de Stigter
Team MakerBeam

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Review – Corner Cubes

Introduction
Everyone of you who already used MakerBeam knows how difficult or rather time consuming it is to construct a corner out of three beams. Beside that, it costs a lot. You need up to three L-Shaped brackets, 12 bolts and 12 nuts. A new product solves this issue. It is a so called ‘Corner Cube’: a single piece of aluminum and three screws.

The biggest advantage of this new product might be that you can finally construct cubic corners. With the old method, using the L-Shaped brackets, you could not construct a cube as one beam was always “sinked” into the other. The new Corner Cubes connect the beams at their faces and therefore it becomes possible to create cubes as shown in this picture below.

Stability
Let’s start with the most obvious factor, stability. So far, we have all been used to the flat brackets which are screwed onto the beams with two screws per beam. The resulting joint provides a very stiff connection, see left picture below. It is obvious that the Corner Cubes will not provide the same joint strength due to their different design. However, our tests showed that this will not be of any issue for most applications. If required, the connections can be reinforced using the 90° corner brackets as shown below to the right.

 


Precision

This point is probably not that obvious at first, but after some thinking it becomes clear that the precision of the cubes themselves and especially the tolerances across different cubes matter a lot.
We have taken some measurements and the results were quite satisfying. From 12 cubes, we’ve found none that had difference from side to side larger than 0.1mm. A comparison between the dimensions of the 12 cubes lead to the same result: they are all equal to each another within a tolerance of 0.1mm.

Compatibility
The Corner Cubes only work on the new MakerBeams which have a threaded hole at each end. Therefore they can not be used with your current set of MakerBeams unless you have the tools to make a hole and wire tap the ends yourself.

This is also a limiting fact when it comes to custom sized beams. As the threaded center hole at the end of each side is not continuous, you also have to bore a new center hole and cut a thread yourself. However, only few people might have the tools and the knowledge to do this. Good thing that you can still use the old method!

Costs
Finally, let’s take a more detailed look at the costs. As mentioned earlier, you need quite a lot more pieces to build the traditional corner.

COST COMPARISON CORNER BUILD
Corner Cubes 90º L-brackets
Piece Price Quantity Total Piece Price Quantity Total
Cube 1,06 1 1,06 L-Bracket 0,65 3 1,95
Bolts Included - Bolt 0,06 12 0,72
Nuts Not needed - Nut 0,03 12 0,36
TOTAL 1,06 TOTAL 3,03

A traditional corner costs you €3,03. Compared to the €1,06 you have to pay for a ‘Corner Cube’ corner, that is quite a lot! Note: You can use just two 90° brackets to create a corner but then not each beam will be connected to both others.

Conclusion
The Corner Cubes do not only make it possible to create cubic corners, they are also about three times cheaper. Should you already own the new MakerBeam with the threaded hole at the ends, the Corner Cubes only drawback are the lower stability compared to the traditional method. However, it is possible to use the 90° corner brackets to reinforce the construction.

Author: Joel Bodenmann of B-Electronics

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MakerBeam Corner Cubes – micrometers matter

The corner cubes arrived yesterday (May 15), late in the afternoon. While I was excited, made a few packages and started emailing customers, Johan tested some cubes and was not entirely pleased. What he discovered is that micrometers matter.

Notice the difference? Cube on the right shows a bit more shadow round the countersunk bolt as it should.

It looked like the special countersunk bolts did not sink as deep in the cube as should. First there was a sense of disbelief. The corner cubes are from the same manufacturer where we ordered our first batch from. Only for this batch we opted to have the cubes anodised.
Then we thought it maybe was a flawed screw. The particular screw used in that instance had an extra rim as Johan noticed. Other screws in the pack looked fine and tested fine, or did they?

Using a hex key driver and some force they looked okay. At that point we did not know whether it was this flawed screw or whether these cubes are different. Ever so slightly different and with the naked eye hard to identify. Especially in a hurry since I wanted to ship out backorders!
Later that evening we did some more testing and found that this batch of corner cubes is indeed different. The bolts do need sink in as deep. We are talking micrometers here. Here is a picture below.

Bolt on the right did not sink properly making it even more difficult for the bolt on the left to sink in.

We contacted the manufacturer. They are not to blame here. The difference is within their tolerance. There is a little room left. We made new drawings and are working on producing a new batch. Meanwhile we are thinking of reworking these corner cubes, 4000 pieces!

Johan did some testing on that as well. Here is picture with a reworked cube.

Bolt right and centre show the space that is needed for the bolts to properly sink in.

So for now it is back to the drawing board. Hope to have new, excellent, cubes here as soon as possible!!

p.s. The corner cubes were reworked and are back in stock.
We also worked on resolving the problem in the next batch. (20140613)

Author:
Marlies de Stigter
Team MakerBeam

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The Boss

Mr Peters from the International School of Prague made a great robot called The Boss. It is a great little robot with MakerBeam, arduino and 3d printed parts combined. Here is a little video to introduce the little guy.

Team MakerBeam.eu

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MakerBeam Comes of Age by Evil Mad Scientist

Back in 2009 when Sam Atman launched his Kickstarter campaign for the classic MakerBeam, Evil Mad Scientist helped support this launch. We are pleased we could show an improved version of the classic MakerBeam.  And guess what, they loved it!

Here is a link to the MakerBeam article on the website of Evil Mad Scientist.


Team MakerBeam.eu

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Warwick Mobile Robotics and the RoboCup Rescue competition

The Warwick Mobile Robotics entry at work at the Robcup Rescue German Open 2014

It's definitely looking like a robot now! Update: Friday March 28, 2014

Warwick Mobile Robotics is a research project carried out by a team of fourth year undergraduate students at the University of Warwick in the UK. The project involves the creation of a search and rescue robot designed to locate survivors in hazardous environments, such as earthquake disaster zones; removing emergency service personnel from danger.

The project has been running for the last seven years. Each team has made alterations to develop the previous robot design. This year, we are designing, manufacturing and programming a whole new, smaller, lighter robot capable of navigating moderate terrain in a smaller environment.

The aim is to develop a modular structure which will allow the robotic platform to be easily modified by future teams. The design will be focused towards achieving a low cost model with key features such as reliability, maintainability and modularity. It must have a maximum turning radius of 0.5 metres and a maximum weight of 25kg which makes it deployable by one person. The long term aim of the project is for the prototype to be further developed by future teams into a commercially viable design.

In order to achieve these design aims we have opted to use MakerBeam and OpenBeam for the chassis and arm structures. The off-shelf beams and fittings provide the perfect solution to our design requirements. The beams themselves have the required structural integrity, are lightweight and can easily be cut to length. Assembly times will be short due to the design of the beams and future years will be able to modify the size of the structure with ease. This suits the modularity of the design.

The team are testing the robot’s capabilities at the RoboCup Rescue competition held in Germany in Magdeburg during the Easter break (April 3-5). The RoboCup Rescue is a competition that tests the robots search and rescue abilities in a simulated disaster environment. The team has decided to enter this competition as it provides an exciting engineering challenge beyond the scope of our undergraduate project requirements and a socially significant real world application for mobile robotics. The team won “Best in Mobility” from 2009-2012, “Best in Manoeuvrability” in 2012 and won the competition in 2010. Last year, the team entered the World RoboCup competition for the first time and placed 10th in the world. Our aim for this year is to enter two robots into the European competition for the first time.

The team is really grateful for the support of MakerBeam in the creation of our robot and we are excited to assemble all of the parts which are currently being manufactured!

24/02/2014
Lauren Rutter (Sponsorship and Publicity Coordinator and Chassis Designer)

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Bracket design

In november 2013 a guy called Aleksandr sent us an email asking our input for a design problem.  He sent us an email with some Sketchup pictures laying down the problem. He also made some sketches of possible solutions.
The brackets he proposes will not be taken into production, but the sketches are great to discuss here.  They clearly demonstrate a design problem we often encounter with MakerBeam. In working on our stepper motor brackets for example we encountered the same problem. The problem in short: MakerBeam is definitely small in size!

First the problem Aleksandr had. Aleksander wanted to connect beams crosswise, see below.

Beams to connect crosswise.

He also made pictures of possible brackets that will solve this problem. He was thinking of what looks like a combination of the 90 degree bracket and the corner bracket. We could see his problem. We could also see that this problem could be easily solved by our right angle bracket. Back then we just had received some samples. This helped to explain Aleksandr we were working on a solution. You can see his drawings below and a picture of our solution at the far right.

The brackets suggested by Aleksander make clear it is not easy to create brackets for MakerBeam. Here is an overview of his suggestions.

Suggested corner style brackets

What is not immediately obvious from these drawing is the problem of space. The corner style brackets leave no room a nut driver. Or, since you do need a nut driver, it is better said they leave no room for the bracket itself.
Let’s do the math. The diameter of the nut driver is 8mm (nut outside dimension: 5,5mm). The width of the beam is 10mm. This leaves for ony 1mm of space on both sides for the material. This is too thin for metal to make a strong corner connection.
The diameter of the screw by the way is 2,8mm (M3).

The right angle bracket is a much simpler solution. It is now available in our shop. Here is a link.

Leaving room for a hex nut driver is something that is overlooked in a number of bracket designs we received. We love to hear ideas regarding brackets and are always looking forward to receive new ideas for brackets.  Or for other products suited for MakerBeam (and OpenBeam) for that matter. If you think of designs remember MakerBeam is a wonderful small and lightweight product with the emphasis on small!

Team MakerBeam

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Right angle bracket

A new product is available! It is the right angle bracket pictured below. To see the product in our webshop click here or on the picture.

Right angle bracket (b90p12ra) for MakerBeam and OpenBeam

The introduction of a new bracket is a good start for the new year we thought.  This right angle bracket is very similar to the 90 degree bracket. It’s right angle shape however gives the opportunity to connect the beams crosswise. And with beams we mean both OpenBeam and MakerBeam beams! This fastener is suited for both. Below are a few more pictures.

Left: right angle bracket. Right: 90 degree brackets

A cross connection of the beams is possible.

A cross connection can be made with both OpenBeam and MakerBeam

The right angle bracket is suited for both OpenBeam and MakerBeam.

There also is a pdf with a drawing and some measurements available. You can find this pdf here: pdf drawing right angle bracket makerbeam

Team MakerBeam

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