3D Hubs recently announced a collaboration with the BeagleBoard Foundation to develop a 3D printable portable lab for the BeagleBone Black. According to Simon Martin of 3D Hubs, “The case offers Makers and developers a 3D solution for taking projects and prototypes on the go.” Designed in collaboration with designer Helder Santos, the portable lab is a functional and easy-to-print accessory for anyone using a BeagleBone Black.
The BeagleBone Black is the latest iteration of their credit card-sized, single-board computer. For those unfamiliar with the BeagleBone Black, don’t let its small size fool you. It’s an incredibly useful little computer that can be used for a variety of purposes. Produced by Texas Instruments, the Beagle Board Black has a 1GHz ARM-based CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 2GB of on-board storage, expandable with a MicroSD slot. While it may not be your primary PC, it can load up Linux in seconds and can perform a number of computing processes admirably.
In addition to being a great tool for learning about Linux-based OS, it can also be used for a number of projects. Users from the community have posted about a diverse range of projects: portable gaming consoles; motion, temperature, pressure, ambient light, and humidity sensors; controller boards for 3D printers; and one user even designed an underwater robot using the BeagleBone Black. Just a glance on BeagleBoard.org will lead you to a number of projects in robotics, computing, gaming, and home automation with seemingly limitless functionality.
The BeagleBoard Foundation is a non-profit corporation based in the US. Their stated goal is “to provide education in and promotion of the design and use of open-source software and hardware in embedded computing.” Their website, BeagleBoard.org serves as a forum for its fast growing number of users. Through their new partnership, 3D Hubs and the BeagleBoard Foundation were able to develop the perfect companion to the BeagleBone Black. “As avid fans of BeagleBoard, we set out to create a 3D printable design that improved upon the existing capabilities of the BeagleBone Black,” explains George Fisher-Wilson, Business Development Manager at 3D Hubs. “The result is a durable, easy-to-print case that both protects the BeagleBone Black and allows users to quickly access the board for prototyping anywhere, any time.”
3D Hubs has posted an Instructable for anyone with a 3D printer to create this case. Additionally, those without a 3D printer can order the portable lab from one of the 22,000+ hubs on 3D Hubs. The portable lab comes with a half-size breadboard, a compartment for housing small project parts like resistors and LEDs, as well as a compartment for the BeagleBone Black. Once printed, the process is straightforward and you should have your portable lab set up in minutes. The instructions come with recommended print settings and the design is open source, allowing anyone to modify the design as they see fit.
As someone who uses 3D Hubs, I love their engagement with the Maker community. Not content to sit by idly and watch as their user base increases, 3D Hubs continues to take an active role in enhancing the 3D printing and Maker communities. If you are not aware, 3D Hubs has a network of over 22,000 printers around the world, capable of providing on-demand printing services. As a hub owner, I can say that 3D Hubs offers a remarkable service for both customers and hub owners. And, now, they’ve added one more project that I and Makers like me can start using as soon as the filament is loaded.