Featured User : Bryan Perry Keeps It Level

We have a saying in English about being 'up a creek without a paddle'.  What that means is: you're in deep trouble and there's no way out.  Well, 123D Circuits user Bryan Perry's pump station monitor circuitry is built to prevent such a situation - because it's all about keeping the levels of water (or whatever's in the tank) within safe levels.

When we found out a 123D Circuits user was designing something that's part of a modern civic infrastructure we just had to feature him.  It's this kind of circuit that keeps cities from flooding in winter and reservoirs at proper levels year-round.

In a nutshell here's how they work: There's a water storage tank underground.  Inside are three floats at different levels.  When water rises it makes the bottom float rise, then the middle float.  When this happens the circuit tells a pump to move some water out of the tank and thus lower the level of water.  When the water drops below the first two floats the circuit then tells the pump to turn off.  All good, BUT if the water was rising so fast the third float rises the circuit will turn on the second pump.  For an interactive breadboard simulation where you can click on the "floats" - check out this extra circuit Bryan made.


In the picture above the two blue clips can detect current flowing through a wire and are how the circuit can tell if the pumps are actually running or not.  If they're not running when they're supposed to the circuit will send Bryan a text (see the Sprint box, that's what that's for). The black cylinder is a backup 5V battery and the green terminal blocks on Bryan's circuit connect to the pumps and floats.  The microcontroller on the board is a SPARK CORE.
The board below was designed in 123D Circuits.
Bryan pressed the "Order" button and 10 days later the PCBs arrived. 

Click the Read More button to continue and see Bryan's circuit embedded in the blog!   Read more »

You Can Simulate a 555 Timer in 123D Circuits

It is an absolute joy to make this announcement about a tiny, unassuming chip that has changed the world:  You read it first here.  You can simulate a 555 in 123D Circuits!

Whether you knew it or not, we've all touched a 555.  They're inside appliances like toaster ovens, microwaves, alarm clocks, little robots, zillions of toys, early computers and even a few spacecraft.  They're everywhere!

Don't believe us?  According to their original 1971 inventor, Hans Camenzind, production has steadily ramped up to an astonishing 1 BILLION 555s being made per year, and they crossed that threshold in 2003!


For the announcement we put together an example circuit that when connected to a servo lets you control the angle (or position) by turning a potentiometer.  Click the Read More button to load it.   Read more »

The Mighty Midwest Presents: The Chicago Public Library

 

This week in the Mighty Midwest we take a look at how 3D printing is changing the way visitors experience their local public library. Libraries have always existed as repositories of learning and information, and as technologies change there is a huge opportunity for them to adapt and bring those technologies to the masses. The Chicago Public Library has set up a Maker Lab in their downtown branch to bring new technologies to the people of Chicago. In the video below you can see how this Maker Lab is transforming the library experience by bringing things like 3D modeling and 3D printing, laser cutting, and more to the average person.

MeshMixer 101: MeshMix

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

In this video, learn how to drag and drop parts onto your model to create a unique 3D mashup.

How to easily generate 3D Printable enclosures for your electronics projects in 123D Circuits

We've been blogging a lot recently about 123D Circuits projects and users but it's time we talked about the "3D" in the name.

While circuits are typically designed in a 2D UI the 123D Circuits app will generate a perfect-fitting 3D enclosure for your Circuit.  Check out this 3D printed example of an enclosure generated by 123D Circuits: The Theremin.Theremin with Enclosure

Keep reading to check out how easy 3D modeling an enclosure can be with 123D Circuits.

Read more »

The Mighty Midwest presents: Tom Burtonwood

 

On this week's installment of the Mighty Midwest we have fan favorite, Tom Burtonwood. Tom is making great strides in showcasing Chicago as an epicenter of art and innovation. Tom, a Tinkercad and 123D Catch user, is an artist residing in Chicago, and he uses 3D scanning, 3D modeling, and 3D printing to transform the way we understand objects. Tom shares his knowledge of 3D printing in a number of capacities, including giving classes at the Art Institute of Chicago, teaching students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and helping people new to the 3D printing at the Firecat Projects gallery. Tom also joined us in San Mateo for the Bay Area Maker Faire this last May. If you saw our video from last week then you got a little sneak peek of Tom's work.

Earlier this year we had the chance to visit him all over Chicago to see how Tom helps diverse groups of people understand this new 3D printing technology that's sweeping the nation.

 

Be sure to keep up with Tom's latest projects on his website and on his Thingiverse account. 

Harsha P’s Clock Simulation is Right-on-Time

123D Circuits user and Instructables contest finalist Harsha P is back in the news again with his most excellent digital clock simulation.  Try it out, press the PLAY button in the upper right corner:

"Hours" by Harsha P.


Although Harsha does make printed circuit boards he has mostly focused on the breadboard simulation in 123D Circuits.  He says his favorite aspects of the application are the multimeters that can pinpoint the voltage at any node and measure the current through loops.  We agree, the multimeters are great, check out an example below:

three multimeters shown in breadboard simulation


There's more... Read more »

PLANT3D: Turning tiny office spaces into miniature gardens

How many times have you looked at the space in between your desk and your neighbor’s desk and thought, man, I wish there was a plant there? Or had a similar reaction upon viewing a groove in the wall? Or the narrow crevice between two armchairs?

Anyone faced with this predicament would have been stuck without a solution, as no manufacturer makes planters on such a small scale. Luckily, we live in a world with 3D printing! So I decided to act on my desire to turn tiny office spaces into miniature gardens for hearty, low-maintenance air plants.

News surrounding 3D printing tends to focus on the big things; 3D-printed houses, pieces of furniture, and custom prosthetics receive a lot of media attention. But the potential of 3D printing for small-scale life enhancements should not be ignored.

To make such small planters, I used 123D Design’s pre-loaded selection of primitive tools. Find my step-by-step instructable here and make your own tiny planters. In approximately fifteen minutes, you too can design crack-filling little gardens for all the cracks in your life.

MeshMixer 101: Selection

The Meshmixer 101 playlist is a series of videos to get you up and running with Meshmixer.

In this video, see how to select objects, multiple objects, and face selection for different editing capabilities.

Adafruit’s Noe & Pedro Ruiz Bring the Freshness

Some people need little introduction and Adafruit's Noe Ruiz is one of those people.  His projects on 123Dapp.com stand up with some of the best we've ever seen, and that's saying something!


UPDATE: Noe is part of a Duo!  Noe and his brother Pedro Ruiz get together on 3D Thursday at Adafruit to 3D model and 3D Print their projects.  They often get the party started by 3D modeling in Autodesk's 123D Design.  We highlighted one to start, check out Adabot!


Adabot can be downloaded from 123Dapp.com and 3D printed as individual pieces and assembled (with electronics courtesy of Adafruit).  Or you can open it up and edit in 123D Design.  Keep reading to see how... Read more »