I was able to attend the Maker Faire in NYC this past Saturday and could not believe how much stuff was going. The whole 3d printing community was there along with other inventors and makers alike. Lets just say I felt at home. In the far corner of the Faire next to the "Bar" was the Jet Pony. It was pretty hard not to find considering every 15 minutes or so this contraption would be ignited and could be heard from about a mile away. Once the rockets were lit we had to take a couple steps back because of the immense heat being generated. It was like a steam punk Harry Potter ride. I couldn't agree more with Bill saying "Its not everyday you see adults riding rockets".
Walking around the Faire something in the air caught my eye. It had unbelievable control and had an alien look to it. The aircraft seemed to be suspended in the air and then in a split second a barrel roll was preformed. I have never seen anything like it before and that is when I set out to search for the source of this flying creature.
Next to the life size mouse trap we found Brooklyn Aerodrome. They have created the Towel -- a cheap, minimalist aircraft with unbelievable handling. The a/c launches straight from the pilots hands and is controlled through a RC transmitter. There are 2 flaps each controlled by a separate motor. The propulsion motor is mounted on the inside of the chassis to prevent damage to the propeller and is powered by li-poly batteries. I was able to get a couple minutes flying the Towel and let me tell you it is harder than it looks but was extremely addicting.
The plans to build the Towel are available on the Brooklyn Aerodrome website. As soon as our RepStrap starts printing in the next couple weeks I will be ordering the electronics to start this project.
The main reason I attended Maker Faire was to check out the 3d Printing Village. The village was comprised of RepRaps, Makerbots and custom built 3d printers. Makerbot had their own tent displaying dozens of their 3d printers along with some of their models and extruders. I gained a lot of knowledge from the RepRap developers that were present specifically that their is a mini Mendel that takes 1/3 the time to print. This may be extremely benificial to our RepStrap development considering the slow printing of the McWire. Another interesting printer I came across was developed by the people at Fab@Home. There 3d printer was completely custom. What made Fab@Home unique was their syringe extruder. Before a printing job, the syringe is filled with the material to be extruded. During a print compressed air is used to extrude the material in the syringe. This method allows for some interesting materials such as cheese whiz, steel and bone. Yep you heard me right, bone. Using powdered bone with a binding agent Fab@Home has been able to print objects made from bone. I was told at their booth that they hope this research will help aid in repairing broken bones.