A new, free 3D design tool aims to help engineers with 3D modeling of their designs by being easy to use. RS Components and SpaceClaim joined forces to develop the tool, which can be used to model physical elements of designs, such as enclosures or interface panels, without having to learn complex feature-based 3D tools. It can also be used to develop early prototypes, either as a PDF file or on a 3D printer.
DesignSpark Mechanical aims to overcome the two major entry barriers faced by potential users: the cost and steep learning curve of traditional 3D CAD tools. DesignSpark Mechanical is free, and it uses direct modeling so that engineers and others involved in product development can learn to use the software within minutes. [via]
Free 3D Modeling Tool Facilitates Mechanical Design - [Link]
Clive Maxfield writes:
OMG! All the electronic and mechanical engineers I know (and even most of the marketing folks) are going to squeal like schoolgirls when they get their sticky little hands on this amazing, free 3D design software that will enable conceptualization and rapid prototyping, reduce costs, and dramatically accelerate product development. In short, this software is like a “Gift of invention that will bring your ideas to life!”
Quiet down my racing heart! I just heard the most amazing “hot-off-the-press” news. In just a few days as I pen these words, all of us who wish to will be able to design 3D models, assemblies, and enclosures for our designs using some incredibly intuitive, fully-featured 3D modeling software. And, best of all, it’s free! (And when I say “free” I really mean free, as in free for both commercial and non-commercial use with no limitations or licensing.)
Allied/RS Bring Free 3D Design Software to Everyone on the Planet! - [Link]
Jérôme Vuarand developed an application to visualize Gerber data, a simple 3D viewer for Gerber files. This tool helps to review Gerber files before sending them to a PCB fab house:
Over the course of the last 5 months I developped an application to visualize Gerber data. The goal was primarily to review Gerber files before sending them to a PCB fabrication house. It is very similar to the Mayhew Labs online Gerber viewer, except it’s offline (and has a few different features).My tool is program for Windows (32bits or 64bits) that use OpenGL for visualization (you will need a decent/recent video card). You can simply drag and drop Gerber files on it, or use the command line to configure it more deeply. I set up a page explaining most of that and giving download links
Simple 3D gerber viewer - [Link]
UV resin based mUVe 3D Printer releases source files:
The mUVe 1 3D Printer, an open UV resin based 3D printer was successfully funded on indiegogo back in April. As estimated, the first Ultimate kit was shipped out on Jun.20. Last weekend the team has completed building and shipping all of the Ultimate kits. Meanwhile Dean Piper, the maker behind the mUVe 1 3D Printer project, has shared all of the source material on their website
UV resin based mUVe 1 3D Printer source files released - [Link]
3D printing a battery itself is a remarkable achievement. A 3D printing a battery as small as a grain of sand is a giant hurdle forward in both, 3D printing and battery technologies. That is exactly what researchers working at University of Illinois and Harvard have done. To achieve this process the researchers had to create their own custom 3D printing technology. Although there are many types of materials 3D printers can use, most print objects using small liquid droplets, which build upon one another to create the object from the bottom up. For the researchers this process was not sufficient to achieve their goals. Therefore, they designed a 0.03mm nozzle, which releases the liquid materials continuously in a fashion, which is similar to toothpaste being squeezed from its tube. In addition, the researchers also invented a 3D printing material that is electrochemically active, which ultimately allowed the printed battery to store and release charges.
Micro-battery is 3D printed - [Link]
Infineon Technologies has released a family of 3D image sensor chips for touchless gesture recognition. Developed in cooperation with pmdtechnologies, the new chips are the first to combine a 3D image sensing pixel array with the digital conversion and control functions needed to develop very compact and accurate systems for gesture recognition applications in computers and consumer electronics devices. [via]
Image Sensor Recognizes Gestures - [Link]
Christopher Hawkins made this cool DIY 3d printed stepper motor: [via]
This is a programmable stepper motor and driver that I made out of some nails, magnet wire, neodymium magnets, a digispark microcontroller, and a 3D printed piece that I designed around these things. My goal was to make something about the size of a business card that moved. You can’t exactly fit it in your wallet but it does indeed move. It just a first draft- there’s lots of room for improvement. It has a step angle of 15 degrees (although the way I’m driving it, it is 7.5 degrees.)
3D Printed Stepper Motor - [Link]
Christian Aurich developed a script to import Eagle boards into FreeCAD. This way he is able to design custom enclosures.
The common solution until now is to export your board with eagleUp and assemble it with a case in Sketchup. This also gives you some drawbacks. The most important to me was that the Sketchup files are mesh based like the data used for 3D printing usually, but for further use in CAD systems this is not really usable. You also will not be able to get a STEP model that you can give to your costumers out of this data.
Script lets you import Eagle boards for use in FreeCAD - [Link]
Brian Bailey writes :
Flash memory has very quickly risen from being an obscure memory type to perhaps becoming the dominant memory type for many devices, including music players, cell phones, tablets and now increasingly servers and mainstream PCs. But flash memory does not scale quite as well as the more traditional DRAM that it is replacing. It is thought that DRAM can scale down to 1nm whereas we are already hitting some problems with the scaling of the floating gate in NAND flash. It is not thought that planar NAND can go below 10nm which is only a couple of processes steps away from where we are today.
3D NAND flash is coming - [Link]
With this free viewer, you can upload your Gerber files and have a 360 degree view of your PCB design. Launch the viewer to load your own design or view one of the example boards. So simple yet so effective! Worth a donate.
3D Gerber Viewer in your browser - [Link]