Category Archives: Makeblock

Making the Fletcher Capstan Table

This particular table has been all over the internet for years, but I had never found any details on the mechanics that make it work. This video provides some details about the parts that allow all the table segments to move fluidly from the small to the large shape and back.

For the more adventurous DIY freak – pausing the video at the screenshots should give enough details to construct your own! Linear stages available in Makeblocks webstore 😉

MakeBlock visit

It was a wonderful morning as we were excited to go and see the home of Makeblock – see Alice again and meet the founder: Jasen Wang.

There was an indoor market on the ground floor of the building that houses Makeblock (we heard a large number of chickens) and the rest of the floors seemed to be filled with offices built out of glass panelling on top of marble floors.
Makeblock has grown over the past year and now has three of such glass holdings: one for the designers and the engineers, one for the sales and marketing team and one for storage and packaging.

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We were charmed by the constructed designs packed in one of the offices and had sneak-peeks at some of the kits that are being developed and some of the parts for which they are still optimizing the production process. They are organizing monthly construction contests – and have developed a full educational kit (contact them if you are in education).

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We discussed some gear-designs and were impressed by their production standards and their dedication to finding a manufacturer that can produce exactly according to the specifications.  We think this collection of youngsters is unproving the idea that only cheap crap is made in China – they remind us more of our friendly German designers and its culture of Deutsche Grundlichkeit The product is made Design First, it is thoroughly tested and standards are not lowered to cut on costs. Over the past year their products have become better and more polished.

In the storage and packing part we met the father-of-the-founder who was packing DC-motors in individual wrappers. Our very own father-of-the-founder sat down at the table with him to help. The storage consists of a few racks with plastic blue boxed containing lots of goodies. We bought a stack of the new aluminium beams and have instantly made plans for a pick-and-place machine.

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Meeting the team and seeing them at work has made us even bigger fans of Makeblock – “Enthusiastic young people with lots of attention to detail” – we hope that this company continues to thrive and will continue our support.

Much extrusion, such precision, very stepper; wow!

Roman visiting SepiCN and MakeBlock

blog written by Roman Buehler

Yesterday I temporarily separated from my beloved TINRS-friends and went to Zhuhai, where I met my other lovely friend John Wang. I and my brother met him for the first time in our China Trip 2011, when we crisscrossed China on a different kind of business adventure trip in only 12 days. Which was very stupid. And very stressful. And totally overkill. And the best holiday I have ever had. Except that now this China trip may even surpass my last one.
John drove me through a wonderful landscape of Chinese hills and seascapes as we went to see his new LED factory, SepiCN. He has some new products, one of them seems to be based on an idea that we discussed three years ago: a single 50x50cm, 40watts LED material, that illuminates not from a single point, but a wide area; it is not rim mounted LED’s which reflect upon a refractive glass, but the actual material illuminates, creating a diffuse light. AWESOMENESS!
We went on to discuss a few possibilities of what could be done with such lighting, and we’ll see what happens in the next few years.

Shenzhen 2 121Today TINRS had an appointment with the awesome people of Makeblock – WOOOHOOO! We visited their office and warehouse, where they showed us around and revealed the new parts they have in development. Shenzhen 2 142We even got to give them some input on a few specific things, some new parts that we thought could be very interesting to have.

Things that hopefully benefit Makeblock and everyone else that builds things with their products! We spent almost the entire morning there and did a small on-site shopping tour, where Stijn and Krzysztof selected quite a few parts that they were kind of missing in their arsenal of Makeblock materials.

After giving some gifts from the Netherlands and Switzerland, we went on to do the first fitting at our tailor Jeri C in Luohu Shopping Mall. The suits fit perfectly and are very comfortable.

We’ll have another busy day tomorrow, and we are going to visit the Seeed Studio people to see their awesome stuff live and in Technicolor!


Maker Faire Shenzhen – MakeBlock

The colourful logo made us feel right at home as the lab is full of MakeBlock parts.
In the past we’ve built a PCB CNC-mill, a drawing robot, a SMT reel holder, a knife guide for cutting PCB and a small SCARA robot. Many more things will be built with it in the future.

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We met Alice from MakeBlock on the Faire with whom we had e-mailed before, it was really nice to put a face to the connection. She invited us over to come see the company on Thursday – so more on MakeBlock to come!

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Makeblock SMT-reel holder

When you can fix a problem in 5 minutes – do so directly!
In this case, a shipment of reels was uncoiling all over the place.
Something had to be done!

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I used some Makeblock parts to build a quick reel-stand. A simple square base with a holder – like a large toilet roll holder – is now keeping the coils.
Or maybe more like a sticky-tape-holder
reelholder closeup
The blue strip is a tiny bar to keep the spillover plastic protection cover out of the way. Not used as such (yet) in this picture – but you can weave the empty plastic coil back under the blue strip to keep the plastic snakes off your work area.