Shared posts

26 Nov 13:43

Is this the beginning of the end of the nation state? - 25/11/2014

Is this the beginning of the end of the nation state? - 25/11/2014:

"For about AU$70 and a thumbprint you can now become an e-resident of Estonia. It’s the first country in the world to offer what it calls a digital identity to foreigners. Some people say it may be the beginning of the end of the nation state."

25 Nov 14:42

Today’s Bulletin

by Ryan Oakley

The Smooth Talking Optics Man appeared in displays of liquid-crystals during Monday Night Prime Time to incite a riot. He assured The Public that The Public was to blame for The Public’s continued belief that the murder of an unarmed member of The Public by a well-armed member of Control Force was a criminal injustice rather than an unavoidable and legally sanctioned tragedy. Just, you know, one of those things. Nothing anyone can do. I wouldn’t worry. He promised to correct this misunderstanding by releasing secret information to the same public that he had just publicly indicted. His eyes glowed red throughout his speech and he only paused to answer questions from unknown reporters while catching bloated, corpse-grown flies with his forked tongue. He wore a charming black and white ensemble with a purple neck piece. SPQR.

The until-now secret information showed that the murderous member of Control Force believed he was being attacked by a demon with the strength of Hulk Hogan who could bulk up and run through bullets. His wounds from this frightful encounter consisted of a mild discoloration on the nape of his neck that could have been anything, really. These delusions were said to justify the final ten shots. The final ten shots.

While neither forensics nor a single witness of The One of Those Things have been able to confirm the presence of a demon (only that of a dead unarmed child left in the road for four and half hours and the uniformed man who admits to killing him) it remains possible that the officer himself was possessed by the ghost of Appius Claudius or his client Marcus Claudius, who infamously kidnapped Verginia in 451 BC.

More likely, however, is that the officer and these two ancient Romans were possessed by the same demon, The Vile Old Ghost, who often causes civic unrest by abusing power while wearing the bodies of petty, disgusting human males just as these males wear their petty, disgusting uniforms. Men who may be susceptible to astralnotic infection by The Vile Old Ghost should never be allowed any authority. They should never be entrusted with badges, guns or uniforms. Yet they often are. These baubles attract them. They provide camouflage.

The Vile Old Ghost is said to feed on the delusions of Control Force. These delusions are poisonous to human life. The 20th century attests to that and, frankly, not much else. Control Force currently seems to be experiencing a pandemic of these delusions. They have become a farm and a feast for The Vile Old Ghost.

Control Force must be quarantined.

Control Force must be eradicated.

Control Force is not human.

The Public has spent over a hundred days attempting to convince Control Force that both they and Control Force are humans rather than demons and performing loving rituals to exorcise The Vile Old Ghost from Control Force, thereby restoring whatever is left of Control Force’s humanity. After the Prime Time Incitement, The Public responded to the withholding of any possible zone where justice may emerge by forming into a variety of groupings. There, they once again asserted their humanity. Sometimes angrily.

Control Force, who had already been dispatched in a preemptive state of emergency to provoke these groupings into disorder, reacted to the assertion of their potential humanity by, once again, displaying their preference for exoskeletons and synchronized violence to even the most rudimentary human morality. Control Force interprets morality as a non-compliance and justice as a threat. YOU HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO DISPERSE. Control Force tear gassed human neighborhoods and marched in ant-like formation. THIS IS AN UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY. Control Force flooded the area with racist actions and delusions thereby constructing a series of zones over capitalist scaffolding. (They even turned The Target parking lot into a staging area, thereby making Target a legitimate target.) This polluted habitat is poisonous to all life except for Control Force. They thrive in it. They grow The Profitable Misery there.

From the safety of their exoskeletons, Control Force reinforced their founding delusion that people are property and property is people and both should be valued as such. A reporter attempting to spread this delusion was chased from one scene by a a teenage girl kicking a plastic bottle towards the camera crew.

Control Force ordered the humans to disperse so that Control Force could continue to hunt them at its leisure over the coming years. Their misery will be used to grow the hateful delusions most enjoyed by The Vile Old Ghost. They will be fined to support this.  

Distant bystanders combed the data leaking from The Affected Area for iconography. Promising images were found. The demon is the reason for the season.

season's greetings








we hope 



23 Nov 10:52

Let's put the future behind us

by Charlie Stross

To the eternal whine of the superannuated free-range SF geek ("dude, where's my jet pack? Where's my holiday on the moon? Where are my food pills? I thought this was supposed to be the 21st century!") can be added an appendix: "and what about those L5 orbital space colonies the size of Manhattan?"

Well, dude, I've got your L5 colony right here. In fact, they turned it into a vacation resort. I just spent a day checking it out, and I'm back with a report.

As William Gibson remarked, the street finds its own uses for things: he might have chosen to generalize the observation by noting that if a thing is big enough and fantastic enough, people and the bizarre hominid hive intelligences called corporations will come together in groups to make a use for it, even if the use they find is nothing like the function it was designed for.

Big-ass L5 space colonies as envisaged by Professor Gerard K. O'Neill in his book The High Frontier turn out to be both economically and biologically questionable. To be fair, it's not entirely his fault: he took NASA's early-1970s estimates of Space Shuttle flight rates as gospel—one flight per week, costs around $1M/ton delivered into orbit—back when they were selling it as a "space truck". At which point, hauling 50,000 tons of hardware and 10,000 workers into orbit to build a gigantic factory town churning out gigawatt range solar power stations using materials mined from the lunar regolith and positioned where they could transmit microwave power beams down to Earth 24x7 sounded like it should cost about as much as the 350-odd tons and 6 astronaut crew of the ISS. And as a solution to the 1974 oil shock, it seemed like a good idea. If we ever do get space trucks like that, it might be time to dust off those concept drawings and go for it. But in the meantime ...

The 1990s were a time of wild commercial optimism, driven by the end of the cold war, rapidly burgeoning public access to the internet, and deregulation of financial and banking controls. All of these came with an eventual crash and an ugly hangover in the following decade, but at the time funds managers poured money into whatever high-tech startup sounded good with a cocaine high. Roton, the fully reusable surface-to-orbit helicopter, got funding. VCs lined up to pour money down the rat-hole that was Netscape Communications in the hope that they could sell a web browser (while Microsoft were giving theirs away for free). And in Germany, a bunch of very serious engineers did their best to take us back to the Gernsback Continuum by setting up CargoLifter AG, with the goal of developing the CL160, a gigantic cargo airship with a payload capacity of 160 tons and a 550,000 cubic metre lift volume. (For comparison: the Hindenberg, the largest airship ever built to date, had a payload of 90 passengers and crew, their luggage, and another 10 tons of cargo. Lift volume: 200,000 cubic metres.)

All these ventures came adrift, but not before they built extraordinary things. CargoLifter AG in particular bought the defunct Soviet air force base at Brand-Briesen Airfield, 50km south-east of Berlin: and before they ran out of cash they build a gigantic airship hangar. I use the word advisedly. The hangar at Brand-Briesen, known as the Aerium, is one of the world's largest buildings: The only larger buildings are the Boeing Everett works, the Airbus A380 super-jumbo assembly hall, and a Target distribution warehouse in Washington state. (It's 360 metres long and over 100 metres high: so large you could fit a Nimitz class super-carrier inside it.) It was a suitably ambitious plant for what was essentially a plan to build an aircraft with a cargo capacity even greater than the Antonov An-225 Mriya, with vertical take-off and landing thrown in as a bonus. And so, when CargoLifter AG went bankrupt in 2004, having completed the hangar, it should be no surprise that someone, somewhere, sat up and said to themselves, "hey, we could use that!"

So here's what happens. One morning you get up early in your hotel or apartment in Berlin. You collect your swimming gear, flip-flops, beach towel, and sundries. Then you wrap up warm, because of course it's November in Prussia and while it's not snowing yet the wind has a sharp edge to it. You head for Zoologischer Garten station (or maybe the Ostbahnhof if you're on that side of the city) and catch a train, which over the next hour hums through the pancake-flat forests and villages of East Germany until it stops at a lonely (but recently modernized) platform in a forest in the middle of nowhere.

You're wondering if you've made some sort of horrible mistake, but no: a shuttle bus covered in brightly colored decals depicting a tropical beach resort is waiting for you. It drives along cracked concrete taxi-ways lined with pine trees, past the boarded-up fronts of dispersal bay hangers and hard stands for MiG-29 interceptors awaiting a NATO attack that never came. The bus is raucous with small children, chattering and screeching and bouncing off the walls and ceiling in a sugar-high—harried parents and minders for the large group of schoolgirls in the back of the bus are trying to keep control, unsuccessfully. Then the bus rumbles and lurches to a standstill, and the doors open, and you see this:

Panoramic view of the Aerium

It's hard to do justice to the scale of the thing. It's one of those objects that is too big to take in at close range, and deceptively small when viewed from a distance. It's like an L5 space colony colony that crash-landed in on the West Prussian plains: a gigantic eruption from the future, or a liminal intrusion from the Gernsbackian what-might-have-been.

And inside it—I'm going to go with stock photographs because, alas, I was too busy enjoying the saunas to go back to the lockers and fetch my camera until after sunset (at 4pm, around this time of year)—it's, well ...

Panoramic view of Tropical Islands

Welcome to Tropical Islands, Germany.

You can get the history from the wikipedia link above: in a nutshell, the Zeppelin hangar was bought from the liquidators by a Malaysian resort operator, who proceeded to turn it into an indoor theme park. They stripped off a chunk of the outer cladding of the hangar and replaced it with a high-tech greenhouse film: it's climate-controlled, at 26 celsius and 64% humidity all year round. (That's pretty chilly by Malaysian standards, but nice and comfortable for the German and Polish customer base.) There's an artificial rainforest, with over 50,000 plants and a 5km long walking trail inside. There are about a dozen different saunas, hot tubs, and a swimming pool complex: there's a 200 metre long artificial beach with sun-loungers for you to work on your tan wrapped around an artificial tropical lagoon—a 140 metre swimming pool with waves. There are bars, shops, restaurants, hotels, even a camp ground for tents: and of course the usual beachside resort song and dance show every evening.

If you want to see it from above, a pair of helium balloons with wicker gondolas wait to waft you the length of the hangar for a guided tour: like the CL160 these aerostats are never destined to leave their hangar, but they're probably more profitable.

Tropical Islands is the mother of all water parks, with a separate play area for the kinder while the teens and adults discreetly down their pina coladas or Erdinger weissbiers in the thatch-roofed bars overlooking the beach. It's safe, and clean, and organized and curated and manicured to within an inch of its life. It's got that Malaysian high concept futurist vibe going, combined with German thoroughness and attention to detail, for an experience that's pretty much what you'd expect if Disneyworld opened a park in Singapore, only with fewer dire declarations of death to drug smugglers. It is in short thoroughly enjoyable if you're in Berlin and for some reason decide you want a relaxing tropical beach-side day out in an environment that's barely less artificial than an L5 space colony.

And then the real world—the panopticon future we never asked for but somehow ended up with all the same—intrudes.

Panoramic view of Tropical Islands

Entry is ticketed: you pay the basic entry price at a turnstile and in return you're issued with a band with an RFID chip in it, like a blank-faced plastic wrist-watch. You tap it against the turnstile, and go in. The changing rooms are first: your transponder has a number on it, and this is the number of your locker. To enter the sauna area (€10 extra for the day, or thereabouts) you go through another turnstile with a contactless reader. To pay for food at the restaurants, or a temporary tattoo at the tattoo parlour, you tap on a reader. Or drinks. Or a newspaper. They've abolished cash: you can leave your wallet safely in the locker—until it's time to leave, and then you settle up the balance on your transponder at an unmanned ATM, deposit it in an exit turnstile, and leave.

Of course there's a down-side. You can imagine a hapless tourist, buying entrance with their credit card, not realizing that their issuer's mainframe will decide their card has been stolen: they enter, and like Charlie on the MTA they can never leave. Trapped forever, unable to pay the robot it's exit fee, they live feral lives trapped in the interstices of a tropical future ...

But that's just a harmless fantasy compared to the real down-side. Every turnstile you go through, every drink you buy, every experience you request, can be logged and tagged with your unique ID. Yes, you can pay cash for everything: but the resort operators still know that someone entered the sauna area then, 42 minutes later, proceeded to Bar number four and bought a pint of Erdinger Alkoholfrei. And there are cameras. They've actually made wearing a tracking tag a rewarding experience. Of course it's entirely voluntary, keeping count of entrants and exits can be justified as a safety measure, and it saves you from having to carry cash around in your swimsuit ... but, but, tagging!

After you stop spluttering with indignation, you realize that it's an inevitable part of this package. Hell, Disney do it too, don't they? And now your imagination cuts loose. Let's imagine ourselves in that bright future of space trucks and (relatively) cheap orbital access, of hard-hat construction crews building out our solar future at the L4 and L5 libration points. They'll live in space colonies, derived from Bernal spheres or O'Neill cylinders, for it's too expensive to commute from Earth's surface to orbit even with fully reusable spacecraft as cheap to operate as airliners, as long as we rely on chemical fuels. These habitats will be comfortable, long-duration homes ...

O'Neill colony concept, via wikimedia

... And they're going to be as artificial as, and even more vulnerable than Tropical Islands. If someone goes nuts and tries to blow a hole in the wall of the fourth largest building in the world, well, there are evacuation routes into the car park. The failure modes for space colonies are much deadlier, so the panopticon paradise with tracking devices and cameras everywhere seems to be pretty much an inevitable corollary of such an environment. So, too, are climate control and the curation of space. The Aerium is cunningly filled with distractions and diversions, until the 5km rainforest walk seems unexceptional, even though it's folded into a space less than 300 metres long: it's as twisted and knotty as your intestines. Long-duration orbital colonists will need a sense of space: many of the same techniques—lots of interrupted sight lines, branching routes and creative environmental features—will almost inevitably be deployed. Everyone's going to be under surveillance the whole time, behaviour monitored for signs of stress. Any children are going to be shepherded, lovingly but firmly, away from harmful things like airlock doors and plumbing, protected by doors that refuse to open for the unauthorized and robots that offer alternative, more attractive diversions for the fractious and bored or merely curious.

So: I had a good time visiting the L5 simulator at Brand for my regular scheduled glimpse of our future in the off-world colonies. But I happen like novelty swimming pools, artificial beach resorts in giant geodesic structures, and spas with clothing-optional saunas. I can even kind of cope with omnipresent surveillance and being tracked everywhere: that's the real spirit of the age. I wasn't expected to strap myself into a spacesuit and go outside into the chilly darkness with its weird smell of gunpowder, diesel fumes and barbecue, working in an environment as deadly as the deep ocean. The surveillance was of the most anodyne kind, monitoring my spending and how much time I spent in each feature: not looking for tangible signs of stress with gentle but draconian enforcement waiting in the wings. And at the end of the day I could put my clothes on, pay up, and catch the train home. From L5, the best you can hope for if you can't handle it any more is that they'll lock you in a capsule with an oxygen bottle and some ration packs and fire you, screaming, at the Earth.

Anyway, this is the future, folks. It's built from the bones of the past, it's unevenly distributed, and it's already here. And while it's an interesting place to visit, I'm not sure I'd want to stay.

(The title is, of course, a tribute to Jack Womack's extraordinary historical post-apocalyptic novel of the same name.)

13 Nov 12:01

Phantom Terrains The man who can hear Wi-Fi wherever he walks -...

Phantom Terrains

The man who can hear Wi-Fi wherever he walks - New Scientist

I am walking through my north London neighbourhood on an unseasonably warm day in late autumn. I can hear birds tweeting in the trees, traffic prowling the back roads, children playing in gardens and Wi-Fi leaching from their homes. Against the familiar sounds of suburban life, it is somehow incongruous and appropriate at the same time. As I approach Turnpike Lane tube station and descend to the underground platform, I catch the now familiar gurgle of the public Wi-Fi hub, as well as the staff network beside it. On board the train, these sounds fade into silence as we burrow into the tunnels leading to central London. I have been able to hear these fields since last week. This wasn’t the result of a sudden mutation or years of transcendental meditation, but an upgrade to my hearing aids. With a grant from Nesta, the UK innovation charity, sound artist Daniel Jones and I built Phantom Terrains, an experimental tool for making Wi-Fi fields audible.
10 Nov 05:02

deletlng: bird of war


bird of war

19 Nov 18:38

Something happening somewhere

19 Nov 19:40

How Magic Leap Is Secretly Creating a New Alternate Reality

by Sean Hollister

GOD DAMNIT! This is exactly the HMD idea I've been toying with for years. I've been shopping for endoscopes and pocket projectors to put together a prototype...guess I should move faster on these things

How Magic Leap Is Secretly Creating a New Alternate Reality

Don't you hate it when someone claims to have a magical new technology, but won't tell you how it works? When I saw that a super stealthy startup called Magic Leap had raised $542 million to make animals appear out of thin air, I resolved to find out exactly what was going on. Here's what I found.


11 Nov 05:46


13 Nov 04:34


14 Nov 02:21


20 Nov 01:53


20 Nov 11:01


18 Nov 19:00

Space 3D Printer Is Installed

by General Fabb

A few short weeks ago a SpaceX cargo craft carried a unique experiment: A 3D printer designed for space. Now it’s being installed.

The device was installed in the microgravity “glovebox” and will be used to study the extrusion process in a weightless environment. The first items to be printed, as is the case on the ground, will be calibration “coupons” to ensure the device is operational and properly forming objects. 

Once proven to work, the printer will produce a variety of test objects designed to check out various properties of micro-gravity-3D printed objects have predictable strength, flex and other engineering characteristics. These will be compared to control prints made on the ground to understand the differences between printing environments. 

The 3D printer was produced by startup Made In Space. This is their first 3D printer in orbit, and if it succeeds, it won’t be the last. 

No, they’re not yet printing usable objects. This is only a test to understand whether the technology works. If it does, one can easily imagine NASA equipping future spacecraft with 3D printers to enable part production onsite in space, thus avoiding the costs and delays of shipping parts by cargo craft to the space station. NASA could even transmit an entirely new design to the ISS for immediate production, a new capability for spacecraft. 


17 Nov 17:47

The Brain Dump by Bruce Sterling

THE BRAIN DUMP by Bruce Sterling

Of you Internet world people, many know our new bad troubles here in Ukraine. Beloved cool techno-culture center “Izolyatsia” is seized by ethnic rebels in city of Donetsk. Armed separatists get real drunk, bust up the art gallery, carry off all our favorite 3DPrinters. No nice gadgets left in Izolyatsia now, just landmines.

We are independent digital culture center from Frunze, Hirske, Borivske (careful not mentioning exact village where we live). In our “Brain Dump” hackerspace we are underground alternative freeware hack scene. Total do-it-yourself. Share everything, build own desks from old packing crates. Way into Linux, Wikipedia and Instructables. Every day we learn something good from Internet community.

In Brain Dump we have broadband, so we are watching cool videos from “” We see on Motherboard that Iraqis, Mexicans and Syrians getting shot up and bombed even worse than us. We are grateful to explain ourselves on much-respected Vice classy website backed by Intel….

18 Nov 17:00

New Electrically Conductive 3D Printer Filament Option

by General Fabb
F-Electric print.jpg

A new project promises to deliver “ultra conductive” 3D printer filament. 

The project is driven by Functionalize, who have launched a crowdfunding campaign to gauge interest and gain funding for further development. Their fundraising goal: USD$100,000, which could be difficult to achieve given the USD$50-70 cost to get your hands on some of this interesting filament. 

It’s called “Functionalize F-Electric ultra-conductive 3D Printing Filament”, and it can be used in most personal 3D printers using plastic extrusion techniques. 

Project founder Michael Toutonghi of Seattle was helping his son with a science project and realized they required conductive filament - but found there were no options. After throwing together a home nanotech lab (above), Toutonghi was able to create a filament formulation that achieves some remarkable characteristics.

The F-Electric filament exhibits resistivity under 1 Ohm per cm, which is at least 1,000X less resistant than currently available conductive filaments. This means you can actually 3D print circuits capable of performing useful electronic functions, such as powering an LED light. 

If this filament proves practical - not only for conductivity, but also for actual use in real 3D printers - it could open up a new world of 3D printed designs. Imagine a machine equipped with two extruders, one of which is loaded with F-Electric. You could then print objects including electrical circuits. Motors need only be dropped into position, as printed wiring would be embedded in the plastic structure, for example. 

This could require some new software tools to efficiently design objects that include basic circuitry. 

For now, you can order samples of F-Electric from their Kickstarter page in varying quantities. They expect to deliver product in March of next year. 

Via Kickstarter

14 Nov 09:58

Not All Sciencemasters

by jon


It’s Day 2 of Sciencemaster Adler‘s Science Rampage! Today’s he’s taking on delusional politicians. Who’s next? Amorous leopards? Bank thieves? Modern dancers? Almost anyone could come under attack by Adler’s reign of fact-based terror. Tune in Monday and find out!

Hey! Buy a t-shirt, willya?


13 Nov 06:51

Philae Attempts Comet Nucleus Landing via NASA...

Philae Attempts Comet Nucleus Landing via NASA

12 Nov 16:28

Going Rogue

by jon


Sciencemaster Adler and Templeton are back! In comic form! What trouble will they get up to this time? Nobody knows. Nobody.


08 Nov 17:00

Backcountry Drones Made With 3D Printing

by General Fabb

A new personal drone concept by Backcountry Drones makes heavy use of 3D printing. 

The drone market is exploding and Backcountry Drones has been exploring the idea of producing a rugged, easily transportable drone for back country use. Such a device could see over hills and locate landmarks not visible from the ground. But most drones are pretty fragile and would risk damage if hauled through a long hike. 

Backcountry Drones developed a unique concept for their drone involving a cylindrical design with spring-loaded propellor blades. It’s an amazing design that looks very much like a water bottle, which implies it’s easily carried by hikers. Check out the video below to see how the spring-loaded props eliminate the need for landing gear. 

Of course, the product used 3D printing technology to iterate the design of the case. Multiple parts compose the drone, providing not only support for the engine and electronics, but also a robust case capable of surviving in the wild. We can easily imagine such a machine crashing into trees, falling significant distances or pushing the edge of the landing envelope.

The project is still in development, but they hope to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, where they hope to raise funds to transform the prototype made by 3D printing into a manufacturable product. 

Via Backcountry Drones

01 Nov 18:34


07 Nov 02:03

Robotic Spacecraft Poster Series

31 Oct 15:25

Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds: Many Interacting Worlds theory challenges foundations of quantum science -- ScienceDaily

Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds: Many Interacting Worlds theory challenges foundations of quantum science -- ScienceDaily:

"The team proposes that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. That is, rather than evolving independently, nearby worlds influence one another by a subtle force of repulsion. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics."

05 Nov 06:51

Moon and Earth from Chang e 5 T1 via NASA

Moon and Earth from Chang e 5 T1 via NASA

03 Nov 06:46

*It’s a tough, hardscrabble existence for Chinese pack...

*It’s a tough, hardscrabble existence for Chinese pack robots

29 Oct 11:01

*General Electric blue-skying it

*General Electric blue-skying it

27 Oct 18:33

Health Goth


*Goths always think the straights are going to strangle them, even though they’ve been more-or-less around since 1764 AD and nowadays they have more sub-cult flavors than Baskin Robbins.

*If Goths can “discover the color brown” and become steampunks, how come they can’t go to the gym? Lord Byron was a champion swimmer.  Let the guy have his Spandex.

*Here, Goth kids: put a little sweat-through in the armpits of this gear, get flat shoes and some lifting gloves, you’re good to go:

PS  Also I have been in MARIE CLAIRE and I suffered no ill effects. I am alive years later and still own the same Missoni tie.

The Chairman says don’t panic.

28 Oct 07:20

*He’s the very soul of social media


*fucking sea lions

*He’s the very soul of social media

27 Oct 01:01

Keep A Straight Face

24 Oct 22:50

archiproducts: It’s perfect for small places: a coffee #table...


It’s perfect for small places: a coffee #table into a dining table by @duffylondon

03 Oct 13:50

Rapid manufacturing: Iteration and Industry

by bowman
Oh yes, we did.

“Oh yes, we did.”

For the past year we have been busy building, testing, documenting and refining the process of taking 3D printed parts and using “Lost PLA” burnout to cast for parts for more robust applications. The documentation is bordering 100+pages, with 20+ pages of brute force data. We will try to keep it simple, show off with a few shiny throwbacks, hopefully inspire ideas for the potential, and give some technical specs to boost the capabilities of those open source open hardware folks who love a good clean walkthrough. [click here for more information]

This is a rough sketch of how to assemble a mini blast furnace

This is a rough sketch of how to assemble a mini blast furnace

This design prevents the vacuum from sucking up molten metal if the plaster in the flask fails to seal.

This design prevents the vacuum from sucking up molten metal if the plaster in the flask fails to seal.

The sketches go through the simple breakdown of a furnace in basic parts and vacuum trap parts. Blast furnace information can be found here.  Any casting plaster can be used for when investing flasks for casting.


Load Kiln

Load Kiln


This is a generic burnout template, that works for most applications.

This is a generic burnout template, that works for most applications.


Clean burnout occurs ~1000-1300F

Clean burnout occurs ~1000-1300F.


Flasks are primed over a vacuum chamber before receiving the charge of molten metal

Flasks are primed over a vacuum chamber before receiving the charge of molten metal.


The test metal was scrap 6061 aluminum, and/or silicon bronze to ensure anyone could replicate the process easily.

The test metal was scrap 6061 aluminum, and/or silicon bronze to ensure anyone could replicate the process easily.

This is how parts look after they have been quenched, with no cleanup, simply rinsed with water.

This is how parts look after they have been quenched, with no cleanup, simply rinsed with water.

These parts yielded data about hole size requirements and edge cases. The goal was to quantify what was likely to succeed.

These parts yielded data about hole size requirements and edge cases. The goal was to quantify what was likely to succeed.


Casting Data

Parts can have clean interior corners, where CNC machines would fail to accomplish because of the cutter size. Self intersecting geometry is also not a problem. Edge case castings have been hearty with 13 fins space 1.6mm apart extending 15mm up and continuous for 40mm. This means complex geometry for cooling fins has little cost to prototype.The hard part is conceptualizing how volumetric shrinkage occurs. Basically the part will shrink ~2-3% depending on the alloy, but holes will get bigger as metal contracts from the side walls of the plaster. This means that parts need to be scale up ~2% while holes need to shrink by 2%. This allows parts to be well toleranced if machined afterwards.

The best part for testing the capabilities of any machine or process, thank you Loic.

The best part for testing the capabilities of any machine or process, thank you Loic.

A simple linkage cast separately and then assembled.

A simple linkage cast separately and then assembled.

Extremely complex parts that cannot be machined can easily be cast in production volumes allowing standard 3D print/cast parts to; withstand high temperature applications, parts have higher strength to weight ratio, parts can be custom bearing/bushing systems(when bronze is used), and parts can be used to create custom heat sinks (when aluminum is used).

The goal was to see if multiples could be cast simultaneously to minimize cost

Scalability for print to cast can minimize labor cost because sprue trees snap together like legos.

Scalability for print to cast can minimize labor cost because sprue trees snap together like legos.

Rapid manufacturing being applied to test injection molded screw caps [blue material is LDPE]

Rapid manufacturing being applied to test injection molded screw caps [blue material is LDPE]

Rapid manufacture of injection molds allows for even the smallest of shops to become competitive with standard injection molding. 3D printing adds ease and flexibility for companies to change their designs/molds faster and keep up with the demand.

More in depth information can be found here…  Rapid Manufacturing MK3

Cast bust of a 3D scan

Cast bust of a 3D scan