The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. The power of the rise may come from 3 different aspects:
(1)The rise of the open source hardware, the development of smart sensors and the better access of a variety of materials and tools offer a better way for the makers to use their imagination and creativity. And more and more expressive makes have been done by the makers.
(2) The rise of hackerspaces and the development of the internet offer the makers a place to share and communicate their works together, and these communications may improve the efficient and quality of the makers’ makes.
(3)The engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools make it easier for the makers to make their ideas come true. If they don’t have much money to start their projects, the funding platform for creative projects such as Kickstarter and Indegogo may offer the help. So things seem easier now if you have a good idea and want to make it come true, just make it.
The makers’ makes may include both traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, traditional arts and crafts, and electronic and mechanical works.
If we just talk about the mechanical parts of the makers’ works, they may come from 3 different approaches:
(1)Make by themselves as they have CNC and 3D printer and have rich experiences of machine works. They can make most of the mechanical parts but it is also not possible for most of the makers.
(2)Use plastic blocks such as Lego blocks to build their products. By this way, the build may be more convenience and flexible. But it seems to be “toy” while using these plastic parts.
(3)The third approach is to use standardized mechanical parts, and make the production from the factory. The products built by these standardized mechanical parts may be stronger and closer to the real industrial products. This kind of mechanical parts are popular these years around the world such as VEX and TETRIX. What I will use today is another brand called Makeblock.
2. Makeblock Combine with Lego NXT
One of the strengths of Makeblock is that it’s an open platform and can combine with many other parts and systems, such as Lego blocks. The basic hole distance on Makeblock is the same as the basic dimensions in Lego, both are 8 mm, we can easily combine Makeblock with Lego and use the rich resources of Lego blocks and NXT.
What I have built this time is a smart car, which is built using Makeblock and controlled by Lego NXT:
Andriod App for Lego NXT:
I have downloaded an Andriod App for Lego NXT by using Bluetooth from the website.
With this App, you can control the running and speed of the car.
You can see the full article and learn how to use this App here.
Youtube test video for controlling; http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-U_FWRy8nY8
How to connect Makeblock parts with Lego blocks:
There are two ways to connect Makeblock parts with Lego blocks.
One is that you can use a plastic rivet to connect them together as the following picture shows:
The other way is that you can connect them together by using Screw M4 and Nut M4.
There are 3 ways by using a Screw M4 and Nut M4.
(1) Insert the Screw into the hole on Lego block and tighten the screw on the threaded hole of Makeblock beam.
(2) Insert the Screw into the hole on Lego block and tighten the screw on the threaded groove of Makeblock Beam.
(3) Insert the Screw into the hole on Lego block and Makeblock Beam, then use a Nut M4 to tighten them together.
You can see more details as the following picture shows:
The strength of Makeblock threaded groove on the Beam:
The basic hole distance on Lego block is 8mm, and it may not be possible for you to add other part on Lego block while the hole distance on it is not the integer multiples of 8mm. But when you use Makeblock, you can connect parts on the Beam freely by tighten them on the threaded groove as the following picture shows.
Let’s have a look at more details about the connection of Makeblock and Lego blocks:
Makeblokc founder Jasen says:” Makeblock appeals to this sense of creativity, but it’s not just analogous to Lego, it is Lego-compatible. The basic hole distance in our platform is the same as the basic dimensions in Lego, both are 8 mm, so it’s possible to attach Lego blocks to Makeblock parts. Makeblock is an open platform, compatible with many other parts and systems. We don’t put any limit on people’s imagination.”