As a maker space, we always love sharing knowledge! Recently a member of Workshop 88 started helping out a local group called the Hacker Scouts. The Hacker Scouts are a group of young kids who meet every two weeks to learn something new about science and technology. They reached out to Workshop 88 members to help teach. I wanted to share this article with you to help you get an idea of the amazing things they do. They are a great group of people with a great mission, and I encourage you to get involved! Simply send email the main organizer: Elaine Luther at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Last Thursday I read on Dangerous Prototypes forum about doing making PCBs by printing on vinyl and heat transferring to PC board, then etching. Vinyl was reported to transfer 100% of the toner easily, better than the sheets designed for the purpose. Since I was in need of a board, Andrew had recently gotten some vinyl at the space, and there’s a laminating machine there, it seemed worth a try.
The process is simple: laser print the circuit on some vinyl sheet that’s glued to a piece of paper, then run both the printed piece and a blank board through the laminator to transfer the toner to the copper. Paul Reich just finished a circuit board design that looked pretty challenging to etch, so that seemed a good test.
Initially I worried that putting the vinyl through the laser printer might be a little risky. Running a few small patches through didn’t show any obvious issues. The vinyl for the vinyl cutter isn’t ideal: it could be a little thinner and it’s nearly opaque so it’s hard to see whether the image is on the board.
The first quick test was quite encouraging.
Although far from perfect, in the areas that transferred the detail was quite good. Since the board hadn’t been cleaned and the board was only run through the laminator once, results were better than expected.
Saturday back at the space, I thought to try some other materials instead of borrowing the supplies for the vinyl cutter, and try some ways of cleaning the copper. Browsing the hardware turned up some Con-Tact low-tack shelf paper that seemed to be vinyl, as well as steel wool and polishing compound to clean the copper.
The shelf paper didn’t work out, as it didn’t stick to paper enough to go through the printer. Steel wool and polishing compound both appeared to clean the copper pretty well.
After some further experiments, Paul and were able to make a couple of double sided boards that were good enough to use for some of the tests we were hoping for.
Two of the questions we often get at Workshop 88 are: “How many people show up to your public meeetings?” and “What usually goes on at your public meetings?”
If you’ve been wondering the same things about Workshop 88, take a look at what was going on during our last meeting:
If you’ve never been to Workshop 88 before, the video gives a sense of how the makerspace is laid out. We have four areas from front to back: meeting room, wood/metal shop, electronics/rapid prototype lab, and multimedia room. All the rooms get a lot of use; it just happened that when the video was shot there were not many people in the back rooms.
Workshop 88 member Jim Williams shared these breadboard photos for our “What’s on Your Breadboard series
This board had a electret microphone with preamp on it, for use in an arduino class that we ran. As you can see, he eventually put the circuit onto a PCB.
Image credit: Jim Williams
The second breadboard shows that sometimes a breadboard is just a convenient way to connect one sensor to an arduino. In this case, it was an ultrasonic rangefinder that Jim wanted to test with the arduino. He reported that it worked well.
One of our newest friends of Workshop 88, Lewis, posted this awesome project he’s prototyping on the breadboard. It’s an intervalometer for a camera. Here’s how Lew described it:
“The camera is too new to hack, so I made a holder out of 1/8” plywood for an RC servo that would slip onto the camera body and could be held in position with a couple of thumbscrews. An Arduino micro controls the servo and handles the timing. The project is still in the breadboard stage. I’ll probably add an LCD and either an encoder or joystick switch so that I can change the time interval when I’m on the road.”
Workshop 88 member Jim Williams shared a few of his breadboards with us for our WOYB feature. Here’s one:
Image credit: Jim Williams
He says: “This is the proto for a Tiny85 “bling board”, trying to run as much stuff as possible on a Tiny85. It will be the opening demo for the Tiny85 class (which will actually happen Real Soon Now).”