Tag Archive | maker

The Illy Espresso Capsule Rocket Stove

Illy Rocket Stove

Ever since I heard of a rocket stove, I’ve wanted to build one. Essentially, its a hyper-efficient way of cooking using minimal fuel, basically twigs. Pretty amazing. So, when I saw the Illy coffee capsules at L’Artisan Cafe next to Modmama (shameless plugs), I figured it was a great way to salvage some trash and see if I could build one.

Generally, it didn’t take long. The hardest part was cutting the canister in a controlled-enough way so the fits were nice and tight (still not as nice as I was hoping). Its great to have it finished, but the anti-climactic part of the equation is that it uses ashes, yes ashes, as an insulation medium. So now to try it out, I either have to burn the hell out of some wood over the winter or figure out who I can mooch some ashes from. Guessing that getting them to save them for me will be harder part.

So, if you know anyone with a lot of excess ashes, send them my way.

Uncube start


I’ve been kicking around an idea for a minimalist set of blocks. Not just low detail (like all blocks already are, I suppose), but low material usage as well.

I guess the goal is to see how little surface area you need for them to still be easily stackable by a child. Here’s a couple of my first shots. Both are pretty fun, but they’ve already sparked some ideas about reducing material while increasing stackable surface.

I ordered a couple from Ponoko and threw up a KidMechano shop to see if I can sell a couple.  We’ll see if they show up any faster than the ModiBot

parts I ordered from Shapeways (which were supposed to be here last week! Arggh!)

ModiBot X parts


For a bit of fun, I’ve started out with a few Xevoz-compatible parts- 4mm peg holes, 6mm ball joints. Modibot itself will continue to evolve, but for certain it will be founded in a ball and socket system (connector sizes TBD).

My overall goal is to create a very minimalist system to start and then develop a broader range of add-on accessories that will snap on to flesh out the minimalist chassis. I’ll testing how robust the nap system will be if I take it down to a 5 mm ball and 3.5mm peg/hole.

Here are a few of the additional parts. No the prettiest, but functional.

1st part order- ETA Halloween


So the order for my first proto parts went in last week some time. This first test batch (upper arms) is coming from Shapeways.

I ordered a few parts to check the overall finish, strength and compliance of the snaps and the overall durability of the plastic itself. I tried a few of both the high impact white and black plastics. The price wasn’t bad at approximately $2.68 a pop.

I’m really excited to see what comes in the mail. It should be here on Halloween or a bit after. This first round is only multiples of one part, but it’ll be great to have something in my hands!

I’ve been using this project as a way to teach myself 3d modelling using Rhino. I gotta say its been fairly intuitive. Much easier than my prior attempts at Sketch Up and Blender (although it might be that this time I actually had something tangible to model).

If these parts work, I’ll open them up for purchase on Shapeways, or make some needed changes and try again.

Fingers crossed!!



I’ve been doodling on a mechanical figure platform for about the last 5 years. It continues to evolve, but its founded in my love of figure systems- from Micronauts to Lego to Centurions to Xevoz (of course). I miss the days when figure lines were built around a single figure and the fun was accessorizing him in a lot of new add-on kits.  GI Joe/Action Man and Barbie started this way.

So, I’m starting an exploration of the intersection of figures and construction kits. The larger goal is to create a larger play platform and bringing it to market in a very streamlined fashion using craft-scale processes and product-on-demand/fabrication platforms like Shapeways and Ponoko.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some pics of my first attempts at parts. Some of it will feel familiar and, as I start to familiarize myself with 3d modelling, will start pushing into some new realms. I’m interested to see where this ends up. It should be a lot of fun.