Sam Putnam was the one who came up with the idea of MakerBeam. You can find his story on Kickstarter. He thought of all the measurements, bracket types, quantities etc. and had the first batch made.Johan here thought it was a very good product. He backed Sam his Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately Sam did not take his idea further. The next step, a website: makerbeam.com, remained ‘under construction’ for about three years. In 2011 we created the webshop makerbeam.eu and made makerbeam available here in Europe. We are happy to announce that MakerBeam.com is officially in our hands. It is no longer under construction and redirects to makerbeam.eu.
We innovated the beams and we are planning to innovate the website as well. MakerBeam.eu will pretty much stay as it is. We will renew our webshop on the Makerbeam.com address. So… we will try to avoid it but maybe you will stumble on an ‘under construction’ notice on the .com website again this year. Sorry!!!
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.
From Dejan Kocbek from SMAKsoft we received pictures of his project hexapod with only 4 legs and 8 servomotors (economic version). Though it is missing some legs to really be a true hexapod it is a great project! It is a good example of how to use makerbeam for robotics. Thank you Dejan!
SMAKsoft by the way is a distributor of MakerBeam.
The MakerBeam knee joint video shown here is the first in a series of cSprings videos Sean Reynolds put online. A project page is to come but in the mean time you can find a couple of videos under his YouTube channel.
You should definitely see the other videos as well. They are great and very interesting. We of course love them because of the use of MakerBeam! I chose this video because at first glance it shows a simple setup.
It is a good example of MakerBeam as rapid prototyping tool. The added equipment, like the spring and hinges, make it clear you can add lots of things yourself. In the video an Arduino processor is driving the best servo on the market with a 5-20 lbs spring for flexability on the MakerBeam skeleton. MakerBeam provides the basics and you can build from there.
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
On 18 November Frits Lyneborg of Let’s Make Robots fame posted a video featuring MakerBeam (after 2:43). Now it has almost been a month since his video ‘3D Carver of Invisible Stuff’ came online on the Make Magazine blog. And what a month it has been for a small webshop that is trying to build a name! We were overwhelmed by the demand that followed this video. The MakerBeam Starter Kits were flying of the shelfs that week in mid November. It was awesome!
Ofcourse we were pleasantly surprised. We had our worries too. We were contemplating to order a new batch just before. That week we knew we had to order. We tried to speed things up but there was a moment we were looking at almost empty boxes.
Luckily we had ordered longer beams before. We knew there was a demand for the 900mm beams. There were some people that even had requested this length. We were really happy these arrived. Meanwhile we also had to order bearings, eye plate kits, cap nuts and more.
Shortly after, the batch of beams we ordered arrived. With this arrival we were almost fully stocked again. Only the production of shorter beams (<150) was delayed and so we created a Longer Beam Starter Kit. It has proven to be a good substitute for some people or even more to their liking.
And the regular starter kits? We just have to wait a little longer. We still do not have a set date yet for the arrival of the shorter beams. The manufacturer expects them to have them ready before the holidays. Then they need to be shipped to us. We hope to be able to ship the starter kits early in the new year.
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!!