Plotters on Arduino and MakerBeam

From one of our customers we got back some great pictures and videomaterial he made of a polar plotter and a live plotter. He made great blog posts with several detailed photographs.

In this post we highlight the two videos. Here is the video of the polar plotter:

And you can watch the video of the live plotter here:


NEMA 17 bracket problems update 1

Update (20121127) NEMA 17 brackets came in! And even more surprisingly: we like them!! I just put them back online again. It is possible to order the brackets again. Finally!
Now we are waiting for the brackets of our second manufacturer.
Here is a picture of what the bracket looks like (the right amount of holes and a polished look).

Currently there are two manufacturers working on NEMA 17 brackets for two beams. Here is a link to an earlier blog post (20121026) about this.

The information we get on the first company is not that good.  They made the choice to make them with sheet metal instead of aluminum (AlMg1). This to make them stronger they say. Now the brackets are ready, but there is the question whether or not we want to have them polished, see picture. The answer is yes we want them polished! This will take a few more days. Probably they still will be in by the end of November. This is when we expect a new batch of black anodised beams in, so good enough for us. We have been waiting this long, we can wait a little longer.

We are very optimistic about the second company. Pictures of the finished product we have not received yet. However we did receive good drawings  and good feedback. The company even pointed out to us a flaw in the info we gave. That is why we are optimistic and are hoping we can get our servo brackets made there as well. We are working on this. Here are some drawings of the NEMA 17 brackets and the servo brackets.



MakerBeam version 2.0

We are proud of MakerBeam version 2.0. To increase corrosion resistance and increase surface hardness the beams are now anodised. As a bonus it also allows dyeing. We went with black. It looks good, but more importantly could work well in fields that use photography. Next to the black anodised beams we also sell clear anodised beams. This clear anodised version resembles the classic starter kit the most.

It was difficult to improve the profile and still completely stay in line with its distinct MakerBeam T-slot profile and width and height of 10mmx10mm. We think we succeeded. The new design has a thicker core. We hope this will strengthen the beams. The thicker core definitely has other bonuses. It gives you the possibility to thread wire on top to fit a M3 bolt. This will make MakerBeam even more versatile.
Changing the core also made the slides a bit wider. This increases the chances that standard, of the shelf, M3 6mm button head screws will fit. Whereas they just did not fit before.

There is a bit more info about the screws in our blog post from June 14th 2012. Here is a link.


MakerBeam used to build quadcopter

From Norway we got the following message and some great pictures.

Just thought I’d send you some photos of a quadcopter I and a friend built recently, using MakerBeam aluminum profiles. We used 4×30 cm long beams to make the arms, and mounted a plexiglas plate and a plastic box on top, to hold the RC receiver and the controller card. Beneath the plate we made a battery mount, and fastened all the wires using zip ties. We also modified the motor mounts so that they could be screwed directly onto the beams.

I all, I find that MakerBeam is very easy to use, and it is also very easy to be creative and modify different designs. Great! However, I have some suggestions for additional features:

– The starter kit could come with a set of longer M3 screws, to make it easier to mount “external elements” (not MakerBeams)

– It would be nice to introduce some kind of “joint”, so that one beam could rotate relative to the other. A combination with some kind of spring would be nice. For example, in our quadcopter this could be used to introduce spring damping on the legs.

Hope you like the pictures, and good luck with further development,



We think it looks great! Thank you Martin.

If you have pictures, videos or suggestion for MakerBeam please let us know!!


PCB mounting kit

Electronics and makerbeams work good together. It is possible to slide the PCB into the beams. Unfortunately this not always works well. The boards are filled to the edge with electronics and the beams are conductive. Mounting a printed circuit board on PCB standoffs (or spacers) could be an easy solution.

We are working to get these in our shop right now. Selling them as a small kit including the four standoffs, four bolts, four nuts, four washers.

Here are some pictures.


Shipping 900mm beams

For shipping our 900mm beams we have two options: a tube or a long box. Usually we choose the box. The box offers plenty of room to add more products, like bearings or brackets or beams in other lengths. This box measures 100cmx10cmx10cm and weighs 200 grams.

As you can see with 12 900mm beams there is still room for more. With shipping however there is also weight to think of. Right now shipping 2 to 5kg is roughly 6 euros more expensive than shipping under 2kg.