3D printing demos with our Cupcake

We’ve been getting more and more requests for 3D printer demos lately.  Inspired by not wanting to disappoint kids who didn’t even have their first iPad back in the days when it W88LogoRWB1348was magic to be able to 3D print anything – like when our Makerbot Cupcake was hot stuff – Jim has been trying to get the old printer working again.  This W88 logo is one of the latest results.  Not bad for an old 1-color printer!  (Thanks to Bill for the color change tips.)

Its output is no match for current “appliance” 3D printers, but it’s still fine to show the basics in a nice noisy demo.  Details of Jim’s adventures with the printer are captured here.

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Lots of lasers!

Originals0701Mark Edmonson recently donated a big box of pretty high quality used battery powered laser levels to us.  They’re in various states, from apparently completely functional to rather dead.

Each one contains 5 diode lasers, as well as some other parts.  There are fairly complete teardown notes and pictures here.

Parts0769Here are the parts I salvaged from one.

Thanks, Mark!

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Massimo’s great talk

MassimoRachelJimTwo members of Workshop 88 went to hear Massimo Banzi’s talk on Arduino, open source hardware and more.  The talk was part of Ge Garage’s Idea Week.  He gave some great stories of the philosophy, joys and problems of putting the Arduino out as open source hardware.

Among many other insights, he described how the fashion industry – with no intellectual property protection – made a lot more money than the entertainment and music industries with all their DRM efforts.  He told of the value of the many iterations of Arduino and how a primary metric of its success was the time between a new user opening the box and getting a useful result.  We learned it was named for a bar where they held many design meetings.  It was a great talk.

SignedArduino0243-300Rachel also scored some excellent networking time with Massimo, including connections that will be very useful in her upcoming trip to the Rome Maker Faire.  Jim brought home a newly autographed Arduino that had run the dollhouse at Rachel’s New York Maker Faire booth.

(Thanks to Drew Fustini from PS:1 for the lead picture!)

 

 

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Automated Haunted Dollhouse part of Rachel’s Maker Faire exhibit

Pursuing her passion for making technology accessible to girls, Rachel Hellenga inspired a whirlwind project to automate a dollhouse.  After the smoke cleared, the one-room dollhouse she and Jim W and Bill P built was a miniature version of – and is now displayed within – the “Circuit Castle” she’s showing at the New York Maker Faire.  Read her Make Magazine blog post about it.

The Dollhouse Automation System powering it is a collection of small, cheap microcontrollers in a simple network allowing sensors (push buttons, motion detectors, light sensors, etc) in one part of the house to control actions (lights, motors, sounds etc) in another part of the house.

AutomatedDollhouse

Here are some gory details of putting that system together.

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‘Twas the night before Thotcon…

Pics on FlickrHere are some pictures from the space the night before Thotcon.  Quite a few of the boards had been poorly soldered during manufacturing, and we had to do hot-air rework on them to get them to work.  Rudy was the hot-air magic man, but there were a bunch of people working to process all the badges.

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Toroid winding

Inspired by Kirk and the Kobayashi Maru, when Jim was faced with the near-impossible task of winding hundreds of turns of wire through a toroid core, he cheated. :)

By cleanly breaking the core in half and gluing one half to a spindle chucked in an electric drill, the winding became fairly easy.  Super gluing the halves together afterward produced a magnetically and physically sound toroid again.

Several folks at the space helped Jim with his experiment, holding wire, counting turns, operating the drill, and of course taking pictures.  Many thanks to Ti Leggett for his efforts and skills as the photographer.  There are more details in Jim’s project notes, but here’s the video:

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Shapeoko plots!

Our shapeoko has produced its first output under control of g-code!  It’s taped up on the refrigerator at the space. :)

Inkscape converted a bitmap of the logo to a .svg, the  gcodetools extension generated g-code, and vi did the final modifications. :) The .svg needs a little cleanup, but it was more than adequate for this first test.

We now have a profile that’s calibrated to within a few percent for X, Y, and Z, though there’s still work on max speeds and accelerations.  This plot was made with a ballpoint pen in a very crude holder.  The bitmap-to-path converter generated inside and outside paths for the lines, so the mismatch of the actual plotted paths gives us some insight into opportunities for mechanical improvement of the shapeoko/penholder system.  While the penholder is responsible for some of the tracking errors, we still have a lot to do to tighten up the shapeoko.  The plate joining the Y and Z axes wobbles surprisingly.  But it’s starting to work!

Update 10/2/12: Using the very convenient test facilities of the axis setup in linuxcnc’s stepconf tool, I maximized travel speed on all 3 axes.  The shapeoko1 profile is getting pretty usable.  Here’s a little real time clip of it plotting.  This one used a Sharpie, and even though it only stayed in one spot while the Z axis raised or lowered the pen, the paper bled the ink into very noticeable dots every time it stopped.

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