More 3D Printing Projects From Wevolver: Make Your Own Smartphone, Security System, and Film Equipment

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wevolver-logoFor those makers who like challenging 3D printing projects that result in useful and out of the ordinary items, one of the best sites to check out is Wevolver. The open source technology platform isn’t solely dedicated to 3D printing, but 3D printing does feature in a good number of the projects on the site, often combined with robotics or other technology. Lately, staff at Wevolver has been keeping in regular contact with us at to tell us about some of their favorite or most popular projects, and we’ve really enjoyed highlighting them for our readers.

Last week, for example, Wevolver shared some of their favorite space-themed projects in honor of the entrance of NASA’s Juno spacecraft into Jupiter’s orbit. A couple weeks before that, we took a look at some 3D printable robotics for all skill levels. Today, we’re highlighting some more advanced technology, including some sophisticated photography equipment and a couple of smart devices – all of which make ample use of 3D printing.

Time-Lapse Motion Control System by Doug Urquhart


Urquhart is an award-winning filmmaker with Upthink, a production house focused on time-lapse films. To capture the gorgeous natural imagery featured in his work, Urquhart spends a lot of time in the wilderness, hauling around a lot of equipment. His first foray into 3D printing happened when he started searching for a way to reduce the weight of the 3-axis motion control time-lapse dolly system that he took with him on his frequent multiple-day backpacking trips.

52d678c9-0634-4429-a483-9a456dcea083Urquhart modified the design of an aluminum motion control system from Dynamic Perception and 3D printed it in polyamide-12 nylon, creating a system that was about half the weight of the original product. Once he started working on the project, he discovered that he could make a lot of other modifications to the design that ultimately reduced power consumption, increased efficiency, offered options for customization and overall improved user experience. He included components from motion control robotics company eMotimo, as well as standard stepper motors and custom-designed 3D printed hardware.

It’s a complicated build, according to Urquhart:

“I don’t recommend doing a custom build like this yourself unless you absolutely need the lightest possible moco system for hiking and mountaineering oriented time-lapse shooting,” he says.

For serious time-lapse filmmakers, though, it’s definitely worth looking into – and could provide some excellent inspiration for those looking to modify other kinds of photographic equipment, as well.

TyTelli Smartphone by Tyler Spadgens

That’s right – it’s a build-your-own smartphone. A 3D printed case encloses a Raspberry Pi and a 3.5-inch touchscreen, plus an Adafruit FONA that allows you to make calls, send text messages, and check the time. It also has a USB WiFi adapter so you can access the Internet, plus  a 5mp camera module that allows you to take HD photos and send them to Dropbox.

According to Spadgens, the only skills you need for the project are familiarity with Raspberry Pi and soldering. And 3D printing, of course. Check out a more in-depth look at this project from our coverage last spring.

ED-E Home Security and Automation by Tyler Spadgens


Spadgens definitely shows a talent for taking ordinarily expensive equipment and turning it into something you can make on your own, on the cheap. This 3D printable home security system, which has also caught our attention previously, the EDison-Esp8266, or ED-E, is comprised of three parts: a base unit, sensor units, and actuator units.

“The base unit is built with the Intel Edison and six grove sensors,” Spadgens explains. “The Edison logs data from the sensors in a MySQL database and sends it to the Intel Analytics cloud. If any of the sensors detect abnormal activity a buzzer will sound and an email alert will be sent to the system user notifying them of the danger.”

The sensors in the base unit include those that detect flame, gas, air quality, temperature, humidity and sound. ED-E supports two types of WiFi units: WiFi sensors, and WiFi actuators. The sensors contain detection circuits that can be placed in front of doors, windows, etc., and if the door or window is opened unexpectedly, the circuit notifies the user via the Intel IoT Analytics Cloud.

The actuators work in reverse: when the user clicks a button on the Analytics Cloud website, a signal is triggered to turn on lights, start brewing coffee, or even open your garage door, no matter where you are. It’s a host of smart technology in one device, and it’s all DIY.  Discuss this topic further over in the Wevolver 3D Printing Projects forum at You can watch a demo from Spadgens below:


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