This week’s selection is the third iteration of the porch pirate-defeating Glitter Bomb by YouTuber Mark Rober.
Rober, an engineer and now full-time YouTuber, has been designing amazing devices for his channel. It’s quite a turn of events for someone that previously designed components for Mars rovers.
Two years ago Rober attempted to defeat the phenomenon known as “Porch Pirates”; thieves who steal loose packages recently delivered to doorsteps. His solution was to devise a fake package that, when opened, would spray the unfortunate perp with mounds of annoying glitter. Even worse, the pseudo-package would emit foul sulfuric smells, all in an effort to dissuade the thief of further misdeeds.
The fake package was largely 3D printed. Equipped with mounting slots for cameras, cell phones, batteries, and of course sprayers, the design was an ideal project for 3D printing: unusual custom design and a low number of units.
Rober doesn’t say what 3D printer was used to produce the large part, but it is clearly big enough to warrant use of a large device, or perhaps it was broken into multiple segments. Either way, it shows you can make some pretty hefty parts with 3D printing these days.
This year Rober has just published V3 of his Glitter Bomb project, and the “bomb” has been improved significantly with a number of new design features. It’s fascinating to see how Rober has iterated through three different versions of the design. Each instance provides learnings that can be used to improve subsequent designs, and this is the essence of design using 3D printing technology.
In the video you’ll see the clearly 3D printed parts, but they are only one part of a complex design. This is how it should be: 3D printing is merely one tool of many in a workshop, and the best projects are made by combining the capabilities of many tools together. Rober’s Glitter project is a tremendous example of this approach.
It’s a fun video, particularly watching — and hearing — the perps open the box and encounter the surprise. I am especially fond of the audible “countdown” feature that caused several perps to rush the box outside before it … did something.
One notable finding from Rober’s latest Glitter project is that while it’s targeted at thieves, well over 90% of people encountering his pseudo-packages treated them well and many even attempted to properly hide or deliver them.
The world may be having a bad year, but there are still many, many good people in it.