Boot-strap Open Laser Cutter hits first release

3D printing enthusiast Peter Jansen has announced the first release of printable parts for a laser cutter, as part of his Boot-strappable Open Laser Cutter (BOLC) project.

Designed to provide an open design for a laser cutter with a cut area of at least one metre square, Jansen’s BOLC looks to create parts from ABS using existing 3D printer platforms to keep the cost down to around five per cent that of a commercial platform.

“The printed parts represent about 10 hours of total printing time on a Makerbot or Reprap,” Jansen explains on the project’s Thingiverse page, “and are designed with the hope that they would be of general utility to anyone printing out a large CNC system – not just a laser cutter.”

The parts – which can be downloaded for printing now – include NEMA17 motor holders, idler brackets, pillow block bushing mounts, and idlers.

Sadly, while the cost of the parts required is inexpensive compared to commercial cutters of the same size, you’ll still need deep pockets: Jansen, a PhD student of Neural Computation at the McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, estimates the total cost of the build at around $2,000 (about £1,272.)

The Nanode breaks the 1K barrier


Ken Boak, of London Hackspace, has announced that his Arduino-compatible Nanode kit has just passed the 1,000 units sold mark. While that’s not quite at the level of the official Arduinos, it’s certainly not bad going for what started off as a small-scale hackerspace project.

The Nanode is provided as a kit, featuring an ATMega328P with Arduino bootloader and pin-compatibility with existing Arduino shields. Where it differs from the standard design is in the inclusion of an integrated Ethernet connection and a set of screw terminals for a local serial bus, designed to allow users to chain together multiple Nanodes into a local sensor network.

More information on the Nanode project can be found over on the official site.

Arduino Due – ARM meets Arduino

Arduino Due board

The Arduino team had a surprise announcement to make at this year’s Maker Faire: a new design called the Due, which makes the move from eight-bit ATMega chips to a 32-bit ARM-based processor for the first time in an officially licensed product.

Arduino Due boardThe Arduino Due is designed for those who find even the Arduino Mega a little restrictive. Despite retaining pin-compatibility with its predecessors – including the irritating pin spacing that precludes the use of Veroboard and the like without offset stacking headers – it packs in a wealth of new features including:

  • 96MHz 32-bit ATMEL SAM3U Cortex-M3 CPU
  • 256KB of flash memory
  • 50KB of SRAM
  • Five SPI buses
  • Two I2C interfaces
  • Five UARTs
  • 16 analogue inputs with 12-bit resolution
  • 52 digital inputs/outputs

Unfortunately, the Due isn’t available to buy just yet. The Arduino team is running the board through an invite-only beta process, after which pre-release ‘Developer Edition’ boards will be available to buy for those who want a say in the final release.

There’s no word on pricing yet, but as soon as we have our hands on one we’ll be sure to bring you a full review.