End of May 2013 Rob sent us this great picture and we had it on our homepage for a while. We love it too much to just let it dissappear into our archive. There must be a number of customers who grew up with Meccano, or something very similar, but want to throw in some modern day electronics as well. They will love MakerBeam.
There was another customer who hinted us about a Meccano-clone manufacturer that might be still of interest for MakerBeam customers.
In his words:
Perhaps it is a good idea to put a link on the makerbeam-site to the following internet-store : http://www.merkurtoys.cz/en/
It is the website of a well-known Meccano-clone manufacturer that makes meccano that uses a 10 x 10 mm grid and M 3,5 nuts and bolts. In the 80’s it was sold in the Netherlands under the name of “Tecc” but its real name is “Merkur“. It seems to me it is a great source for brackets , strips and angle girders that can be combined with Makerbeam and Openbeam.
Fischer Technik is another building system that is compatible with MakerBeam. Hopefully we will soon have some pictures to show you.
Wing type bolts and hinge bearings: available in our webshop as of today.
Wing type bolts
On our wish list it still read ‘wing type bolt’. The possibility to slide in a bracket midway between brackets already fastened was our aim.
When fastening a bracket to a beam the square headed bolts need to be slided into the beginning of the beam. This is not a problem when your project is all clear and you know exactly what you want to fasten. But when you decide to add brackets between other brackets you need to loosen and remove a bracket before you can add another one. This is time consuming and our wish was to come up with a bolt that would make it easier to add screws to an almost finished structure.
We’re happy to introduce the wing type bolt: the rectangular screw head of the wing type bolt gives the possibility to add screws midway. You can insert the screw midway of a beam and turn it to ensure tightening. This makes it easier to add brackets.
The wing type bolts come in a bag of 100 pcs and cost € 8,13.
We came up with hinge bearings to extend building possibilities. Hinge bearings make it possible to rotate 2 beams relative to each other. You can use the standard bearing to have beams rotate around a fixed point or axis. Making a miniature trebuchet now is possible!
Hinge bearings are an assembled product consisting of
– Bearings (10 pieces)
– Copper saddle band clips (5 pieces)
– Axes (6 long bolts in 3 lengths: 3 cm, 5 cm and 6 cm)
– Teflon tape (18 cm)
– Square headed bolts (10 pieces)
– Nuts (10 pieces)
Hinge bearings cost €17,50.
We plan to include a manual to the hinge bearings soon.
We added a new hex nut driver to our range of accessories. It is the very first makerbeam branded accessory! We love it. Not just because of the name. That is just a nice touch. We love it because this hex nut driver is suited for both 6mm and 12mm length bolts. It also fits our M3 nuts well.
This hex nut driver, or nut spinner, comes to replace the other hex nut drivers we have for sale. The small hex nut driver and the regular hex nut driver are no longer available in our shop. The small one could not handle the 12mm length bolts we sold. The regular hex nut driver we thought was too expensive.
The new makerbeam hex nut driver, as mentioned, is suited for both lengths. Plus it is available for a good price. The third aspect of this nut spinner we love!
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.
We think hex nut drivers are crucial in working with makerbeam. To get started you need a hex nut driver. To make one available at a better price we added a small hex nut driver to our shop. We also added this small hex nut driver to our new Smaller Beam Starter Kit. It is cheaper, but still offers everything you want to get started.
The small hex nut driver works well with our standard M3 6mm screws that are part of a starter kit. Unfortunately it does not work well with our new longer 12mm bolts.
On the left you can see that our standard 6mm MakerBeam bolts fit right into the small hex nut driver. On the right you can see the 12mm bolt is just to big. It sticks out and therefore it is not possible to completely tighten the bolt.
Something to remember when you are interested in our bearings. The bearings come with 12mm screws. If you want to work with our bearing than you need another hex nut driver. We then ofcourse recommend our regular hex nut driver!
Our new bolts arrived!!
And more importantly they fit!!!
left: new 12mm MakerBeam M3 screw, right: standard MakerBeam 6mm M3 screw
We already had a blog post about the difficulties with our quest for good fitting 12mm, M3 bolts. We thought that finding other lengths – other than the fitted 6mm M3 MakerBeam screws we offer – would be easy. Unfortunately this has proven to be more difficult. Not all screws fitted in that nicely. We now have resorted to actually grinding the screws to fit, one by one.
We had a limited number of screws that actually fitted. Or fitted at least three parts of the makerbeams. They are now all gone. Understandably the grinding of the screws to fit, one by one, is not a durable solution. For this reason we will reduce the number of screws we pack with our bearings from 12 to 10 pieces.
We are making good progress with an affordable custom made solution (thank you Andy!!). We hope to be able to offer you these new screws in the new year. We then also hope to pack more screws again. Remember we went from 15 to 10. Ofcourse we will keep you posted.
Team MakerBeam .eu
MakerBeam offers fitted button head screws with the Starter Kit. They are 6mm length M3 screws and especially made to fit the MakerBeam profile. Since MakerBeam is made to fit M3 we thought that finding other lengths would be easy. Just take some M3 button head screws and slide them into the MakerBeam profile. Unfortunately this has proven to be more difficult. Not all screws fitted in that nicely.
After some trial and error we thought we found the distributor with just the perfect screws. Socket Button Head Screws, M3, 12mm length. The screws we need to fit our bearings. We had some packages from one batch and one from another batch. And yes, you probably guessed it by now, these screws from a different batch did not match. Aaarghhh!!
We thought the problem was with the manufacturer not accurately applying the DIN standards. M3 socket button head screws adhere to DIN standard 7380. This standard stipulates meticulously most features of a M3 screw. But not all we found. The DIN standard does not stipulate the curvature of the button heads. That is what is the most critical for the MakerBeam profile.
We now have a limited number of screws that actually fit. For this reason we will reduce the number of screws we pack with our bearings from 15 to 12 until we have found a more durable solution. Right now we are working on an affordable custom made solution. Of course we will keep you posted.
MakerBeam is wonderful construction material and accessories will only expand the possibilities. Movement suddenly becomes an option when you add bearings and that is why we were looking for ones to fit MakerBeam.
The search for the right size bearings moved up a bit on our list of priorities after meeting the guys behind Ultimaker. Building a 3d printer with Mini T-profiles now is feasible. Or maybe someone wants to build their own CNC-machine, just to name another popular possibility. There must be all sorts of projects that can benefit from these little wheels.
When you use bearings you will need longer bolts. Also we think self locking bolts will make your construction more rigid. Ideal for the machine of your choice in working mode. We made a small pack with 10 bearings, 15 M3 12mm bolts 15 M3 nuts and 15 M3 self locking nuts for €15,-. We hope you will have fun with our latest addition to our webshop!
We are proud to tell you that one of our starter kits found its way to the guys behind Ultimaker, Martijn and Erik. It was a nice surprise discovering Erik had ordered a kit. Ultimaker works together with Protospace FabLab Utrecht. When they learned we would give a lunch lecture there it was real easy for them to attend. It gave us the opportunity to personally hand them a starter kit and to shake hands.
The relationship Ultimaker has with MakerBeam goes back a few years. A 3d print of a makerbeam was made some years ago. Back then it was just an open source hardware project paying the other budding open source hardware project a compliment. Today it was time for a more serious introduction.
The Ultimaker of course is in full production. The process of improving the production process is ongoing as well. Especially the production of the wooden framework takes up a lot of time. There is definitely room for improvement there. Could the aluminum Mini-T profiles of Makerbeam fit in? We talked about it and the guys of Ultimaker took their starter kit home. So who knows what beautiful combination the future will bring!