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Production of “The Lift”

We collaborated with VIMOD Studio for the development and production of an interactive light installation for a new emerging electronic music lounge in Mantova, Italy. The concept was to create an organic system of dancing particles illuminated by a perceived flow of energetic light. Drew Carson, a former Fab Academy and IaaC alumni, developed a modulated structure with integrated LED cells that were controlled by the frequency of the DJ set, courtesy of a custom interface programmed in OpenFrameWorks by VIMOD Studio.

The structure itself is comprised of triangulated MDF components that are faced with a cover leaf that holds the electronics. The design of the structure was created within Rhinoceros and then nested as well as processed by RhinoCAM. The sheets of MDF were milled on the ShopBot CNC. The LED cells that capture the energetic energy of the installation are frosted acrylic, which were cut using the Epilog LaserCutter. Electronics within the installation utilized two Fadecandy boards interpreting the data created within the OpenFrameWorks program and sent the signals to the right LEDs.

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Fab Academy week 6: 50 shades of Hello board

This week our students had the task of taking Neil’s Hello Board design, redraw it in EAGLE and add at least a button and one LED to it. For the newbies, EAGLE is a program that helps you to design schematics and circuit boards. It comes with a series of libraries with many components, to which you can add your own, as we did with the fab EAGLE libraries.

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You can see the serious (almost desperate) faces of our students while trying to work out the design of the Hello Board. Because EAGLE for beginner is no fun… It’s a nightmare. Some students described it as a Sudoku, others as a Labyrinth…

Would you believe that, given the difficulties,  we could come up with so many variations? Here some examples!

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The students than went on to mill and solder their components.

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These are some of our MARVELLOUS boards!

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We also tried some fun things. Gabriel designed, 3d printed and soldered a battery pouch:

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And Francesca cut with the Vynil cutter some copper traces, applied to the bottom layer.

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We also got on with some programming in the Arduino IDE. So all our boards blink at the pressing of a button as Lina shows us in her page.

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Fab Lab Bcn Open Day + Open Workshop // Friday 13th!

Join us next Friday, March 13th to a Fab Lab Barcelona Open Day + a Open Workshop with the Machine to be Another

Open Day

Our guests will have a tour in the Fab Lab to discover the machines and techniques we use in Digital Fabrication.

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Open Workshop

Participants will have the chance to experience what is like “to be another”.

Machine to be Another is an open-source interactive system designed to explore the relationship between identity and empathy through interdisciplinary performance-experiments drawing from neuroscience, VT, storytelling and performance art.

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Fab Academy Week 5 : we can scan and print you, your groceries and your garden

This week has been full of interesting experiments. Fab Lab students had to complete the task of designing a 3D object and printing it, as well as scanning other objects.

Some of us used the Roland Modela milling machine to scan small objects with the highest possible resolution, generating point clouds with 0.05 mm resolution.

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But we also tried more experimental approaches, like taking pictures of objects dipped in milk, and generating black and white gifs from them, to then generate through Fab Modules an stl file ready to print, as you can see below.

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And since our lab has the full set of amazing machines, and thanks to the help of the experienced Fab Lab team, some of us were also able to scan themselves using Scannect software and a Kinect attached to a Kuka Robotic arm. The arm is a lot steadier than a human arm, therefore the models generated through it have much better detail (and require lot less post-scan cleaning in softwares like Blender or Meshlab).

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Free software like 123D catch also seems to give pretty good results. It is enough to take 50 pictures of yourself from different angles to generate a 3D model!

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For the printing exercise students have occupied the printers almost incessantly for 5 days. Since the BCN Fab Lab has 2 Makerbots Replicator 2, a Z corp and a brand new Formlabs printer, we were able to use various techniques to produce our 3D designs. Flexible filaments such as Ninjaflex, resin and PLA have been used.

Some of the students printed directly on textiles, some replicated finely detailed bee-wax nets, some hacked respectable sculptures uploaded by the British Museum to create transitions between faces, others replicated the spraying system of a water gun, and some took advantage of the printers to create useful tools for our Lab!

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Thanks to Gabriel we will never again loose the tools for the Modela! We hope to see the file on Thingiverse soon and get lots of proud Modela owners to print their own mill tools holders!

We hope to bring you some inspiring new examples of work next week, so stay tuned!


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Fab Academy Week 4: happy milling!

Our Fab students have been introduced to the Roland Modela MDX20 milling machine and to the supreme crafting art of soldering. With great powers come great responsibility… So this week we have been busy troubleshooting, troubleshooting, troubleshoooting!  

For the ones that are new to PCB boards productions, there are different techniques of getting a board done. One of these is by milling the fine copper layer on plastic pcb boards with a super fine drill bit, using Fabmodules software to create the milling path (.rml file). Other techniques include etching (with nasty chemicals), using vynil stencils and solder paste, and many other techniques that our Fab students will definitely come up with in the next weeks!

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The board we produced is the FabISPan in-system programmer for AVR microcontrollers.  We had a record of 20 FabISP boards produced this week, and all working fine thanks to Local Guru Ferdi superpowers! Although to get to this result it took the whole group a lot of troubleshooting and collaboration. We had lots of different problems to solve: finding the errors in the soldering, detecting misplaced electronic components and flipped diodes, programmer errors, broken copper traces, Windows programmer incompatibility…

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If you are interested in learning more about our efforts visit the individual student pages. They all produced a great deal of documentation.

Yani Ylioja has redesigned the board with an additional led to show when the board is receiving power and being programmed!

Stay tuned for updates of future weeks!

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Fab Academy Week 3 : creativity with cardboard

The past couple of weeks have been busy at Fab Academy Bcn! Students from a variety of backgrounds – from arts&design, architecture and science&tech – started to play with some of the Fab Lab machines.

The Fab Academy week 3 has been very interesting. Students were asked to create a laser cut snap fit construction kit in cardboard. The design had to be composed by modular pieces that would allow the creation of a multitude of shapes.

Students used programs like Inkscape, Illustrator, Rhino, Grasshopper, Blender, Solidworks to design the prototypes. The resulting designs explored living hinges to increase the material’s flexibility, origami, chamfer design to improve the ‘snappability’ of the pieces and parametric design to make the prototype easily adjustable in case of use of different materials.

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We are looking forward to see more creative prototypes from our students and we’ll keep you posted!