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.
Hinge bearings 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.
From Bodenmann Electronics we received the good news that the 3D printer Joel is been working on is nearly finished. Pictures of this were already available on our site under News&Projects. Video footage of some test runs are available online. Here is the video from test #1. In the video the Y-axis is tested.
Bodenmann Electronics by the way is a distributor of MakerBeam.
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!
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.
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.
James Hardiman made a x-y carriage using MakerBeam and the bearings we sell through our webshop. It is the world’s first MakerBeam x-y carriage. Or so we think. Let us know if we are wrong.
The design looks good. We do have some comments though. Here the bearings are on the inside of the frame. If you put them on the outside there is more space for the frame to move. Also if you use three bearings in one dimension it is stable. Then a single beam would be stable and you do not need a frame to realise stability.
James Hardiman is working on a book about 3d printers. He is also looking into the power of making. What is happening with 3d printing, homemade cnc machines, sites like etsy.com and makerfaires in various places is sometimes referred to as the industrial revolution 2.0 or micromanufacturing.
Johan and James met each other in the Netherland at ProtoSpace, the fablab in Utrecht. There Johan handed James a MakerBeam starter kit. The x-y carriage is James his first serious MakerBeam project in connection with his book on 3d printers. We love the initiative. Thank you James!!
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!
Thursday September 1st we were at Protospace FabLab Utrecht to give a lunch lecture and introduce MakerBeam there. There is a lunch lecture every month at ProtoSpace. The topics vary widely. The lunch lecture is a very informal meeting. For us it was a good opportunity to introduce MakerBeam to a small but interested audience. We left one kit behind. FabLab’s well filled toolbox now has a new addition.
A FabLab offers the ideal environment for prototyping. Johan hoped to work on the Wandy lux after the lunch lecture. That did not work out that day. Instead he worked on sheaves to fit our aluminum Mini-T profiles. It gave us information about what size and shape we want. Now we are looking for sheaves we can buy of the shelf.
We feel that MakerBeam needs more accessories to truly make it irresistible material and are looking for accessories to complement the MakerBeam starter kit. We will keep you posted on this topic.
Johan his prototyping plan also did not work out because of a very interesting meeting we had with the guys from Ultimaker. In our next post we will tell you more about this spontaneous meeting of maker minds. It is this meeting what prompted the sheaves prototyping excercise.