Announcing – Teknista Inventing Lab for girls ages 10-12

Workshop 88 is thrilled to announce the Teknista Inventing Lab – a nine week program for girls ages 10-12 who are interested in combining crafting with high-tech tools.

Where: Play Moore Studio in Wheaton, IL

When: Wednesdays, 4:30PM-6:30PM from September 16 – November 11
Maker Madness Session Dates:
Monday October 12 (Columbus Day), 10:00AM – 4:00PM
Saturday, November 7, 10:00AM – 4:00PM

How much: Tuition: $660 Tuition is $22/hour for 30 hours of instruction including
the Maker Madness sessions. Family members are
invited to participate in the factory tour at no charge
Lab Fee: $200
Early bird discount of $100 by August 31.

Full details and application form here.

Share

Making a replacement extruder for the Workshop 88 Kossel Clear Delta printer.

Our hackerspace had purchased a Kossel Clear Delta Printer.  In retrospect, it seemed like it was a forever project getting the printer assembled and operational.  For months, it was in the box in the back room with lots of talk about putting it together but no action.  One of our senior members, Andrew, had finally had enough.  He grabbed the kit and spread it out on the table in the front room of our space.

Well, once the pieces were just laying out there, it was sort of like a jigsaw puzzle just asking to be put together.  Like moths drawn to a flame, hackerspace members contributed and we got it assembled over the course of a couple of weeks.   Actually, in hindsight, it’s somewhat amusing.  We have our open nights on Thursdays and we frequently have guests come in to check out the space.  It seems like they couldn’t resist the jigsaw puzzle effect either.  Everyone enjoyed the assembly process.

Unfortunately during the timeframe we were assembling the Kossel, there was some major cleaning/rearranging taking place due to  renovations in our back room which caused things to be moved around the space.  The Kossel was basically done less the extruder which was in a box along with the laser cut outs.   The extruder portion of the kit had basically vanished. (We surmised that scrap cutouts from the kit were in its box, so it might have been inadvertently thrown out with the trash).

We debated what to do.  Did we actually get the extruder portion with the kit? (Yes. I remember laying hands on the pressure fittings, so it did come with the kit)   So do we order a replacement kit?  What?!  No!  We’re hackers/makers! We’ll make a new and better one!

One of workshop 88’s friends, Ryan who periodically visits and has a Kossel Clear, suggested we try out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:245677

This is actually a very clever design; it uses part of a paper clamp (binder clip) to tension the bearing against a hobbed gear.

There a couple of minor features in this design that I thought could be improved on.  I’ve seen Bowden-style extruders where there is a pressure fitting mounted on the input side of the extruder (The Kossel Clear extruder we misplaced had that feature).  Having a PTFE tube on the input side offers lots of options on how to route the filament of the extruder.  In addition, it seems like the post that supported the bolts to the Misumi 1515 frame could have could have been beefed up a bit as well.

The thingiverse file only included the STL’s, which I loaded into Freecad.  Below is the original base as part of assembly. Display properties of the original files where transparent so it was easy to wrap a new solid model with the same proportions over the original model with the new features I wanted.
  Here is the base with modifications:

Initially, I had donated a spare MK7 hobbed gear that I had made for my Rockbot printer to the space for use on this printer;  but the short length of the MK7 gear caused some problems(which you can sort of see in the assembly drawing) The setscrew I used protruded from the wheel and was contacting the 608ZZ bearing.  Another issue  was with the wheel itself: it was a not my finest work.  The set screw hole overlapped the hobbed portion of the wheel.

I set out to make a new one.
First thing I did was turned down a piece of bar from the scrap bin and sized the hole with a 5 mm reamer.

The blank was then mounted on the stepper motor and basically marked to where it should be hobbed.

Next step was to hobb the blank using a spin indexer.  I used a 10-32 tap to do this and Unfortunately, I didn’t have a R8 collet of the correct size to grip the tap… So I put it in a drill chuck and hoped for the best, i.e.,  that the chuck wouldn’t get sucked out of the morse taper.

The spin indexer really does a nice job of hobbing with a tap and I was very pleased with the result.

After that the cross hole was center drilled, drilled and tapped.

Afterwards, the part was cut off from the bar with a parting tool.

And here is an image of the finished unit assembled.

So far I’ve been exceedingly pleased with the performance of this extruder but there are a few things that need to be addressed before the mod can be considered done.

One issue that annoys me is that changing the filament is more difficult than it needs to be.  I was having difficulty getting new filament to feed through the tiny hole in the lever arm.   It seems like there is enough room to add some type of tapered pilot hole to help make feeding the filament a little easier.   Also, it seems that lever arm has split along the holes of the spring.   (This part was printed in our space’s original printer, a Makerbot Cupcake.  The Cupcake has seen better days so I’m thinking this separation was more of an issue with extrusion settings vs a design issue)  Even so, it should shouldn’t be too difficult to increase the strength around the holes slightly.

The modified design I created needed to have portions ground away with a Dremel tool for clearance.  I didn’t take into account how the the filament would push against the bearing.   (I was under some time constraints to get the printer ready for a STEM event I was attending, so I wanted to get this project operational vs perfect).  The model I had cloned was originally  drawn in metric, so was pretty easy to duplicate the nominal dimensions, but I will need to increase the clearance on the stepper motor pilot bore as well.

I’m also currently designing/building a custom Kossel Style Delta printer I’m calling the Wedgie. It’s a fun but slow-to-finish project for me at the moment.   It’s uses Kossel Clear proportions and rail arrangement as a starting point.   I’m adding some interesting features as well as incorporating the next iteration of the extruder design that was used for this printer.

The calibration of the Kossel Clear seemed like it was more painful that it should have been.  This is the first Delta style printer I’ve calibrated and it was a bit of learning experience.  I hope to share these insights in a future post.

Share

Dale Dougherty at Workshop 88 – TONIGHT!

Dale Dougherty, founder of Make Magazine and creator of the Maker Faire will be stopping by Workshop 88 TONIGHT (March 23rd) at about 9:00 pm.  Please feel free to stop by and say hi!

He is in town for an event at the University of St. Francis tomorrow.  See the flyer (PDF) that you can download below. Here’s Dale’s TED talk from 2011: 


Dale Dougherty event at University of St. Francis – Tuesday, March 24

Update:

Dale+W88-0193We had a great time visiting with Dale, answering questions about our space and hearing stories of makerspaces around the world.

Thanks for visiting us, Dale!

Share

Cognizant awards a Making the Future grant to support Workshop 88 outreach to girls

We are thrilled to announce that Workshop 88 has been awarded a “Making the Future” grant from Cognizant, a technology services company based in New Jersey.  The grant will allow us to offer a Maker summer camp geared specifically toward 10-12 year old girls.  The summer program will be led by Workshop 88 member Rachel Hellenga, who has over 20 years experience planning educational exhibits and programs for museums and libraries.

This pilot program will celebrate girls’ ingenuity and involve them in making flexible circuits by combining LEDs and paper-thin batteries with everything from Legos to paper crafts. Girls will use a circuit printer to produce circuits with conductive ink and work with other flexible materials such as conductive tape and conductive Velcro.

Cognizant’s Making the Future education initiative was created to unleash the passion of young learners—particularly girls and underrepresented minorities—in STEM disciplines by providing fun, hands-on learning opportunities. Two years ago Workshop 88 members teamed up with the DuPage Children’s Museum to lead Sewing Goes High Tech  with support from Cognizant, and Rachel invented the name Teknistas to describe the tech-savvy, style-savvy girls in the summer camp. You can see their projects at www.teknistas.com along with updates showing young makers at Workshop 88’s Duct Tape Bling booth (winner of an Editor’s Choice Award 2013 New York Maker Faire!) and Rachel’s Fashion Technology from Chicago showcase at the inaugural Rome Maker Faire. We are involving some of our current Teknistas in planning our next activities and hope to inspire more young makers this summer! If you’d like updates on the upcoming summer camp, drop us a line at info@workshop88.com with the subject line “Making the Future” and you’ll be the first to know when we finalize the dates and program description.

Share

Shapeoko 2 progress

JustBecauseSign4988The Workshop 88 Shapeoko 2 is coming along nicely.  It recently cut this 18″ foam sign, taking advantage of the SO2’s “frontless” design that allows working on arbitrarily long pieces, even though its active work area is only about 10″x10″.  Some details are here.

The Z axis auto touch-off switch, inspired by the Carvey “Smart Clamp” is now working as well.  There’s a little clip of it here.

While it’s machined handles for some of its clamp bolt and even machined the scales for a knife handle replacement, its most ambitious project to date is full 3D machining of the body of a pinewood derby car.  That’s still work in progress.  Stay tuned!

Share

What have we been up to this summer?

It’s been a bit quiet around on the blog this summer, but that’s mostly because we’ve been pretty busy.  I thought I’d put up an update on what’s been going on around the space.

Thursdays!

We’re always out at the space on Thursday nights for our public meeting, so drop on by! We had a lot of fun last week playing with some Tormach stepper drivers that Tom M. brought in, but every week brings something new and exciting.

Libraries!

We’ve been doing a lot with libraries all over the burbs.  You might remember this thing that we built for Glen Ellyn Public Library back in May.  In addition to that, we also do a lot of classes and DIY fairs.

This summer, we ran events at Bloomingdale, Glen Ellyn, Indian Trails, Winfield, Lisle, Addison, and at Lake Park High School.  We’ve got even more events coming up in the next few months, at the libraries I mentioned before as well as Roselle and St. Charles.

Improving the space!

We’re currently updating the back room, with the front room next on the list.  There’s been a lot of great discussion about what to do with the front room, and we’ve got a team working on getting it all done.

Paul R. did a bunch of work to rehab Prof. Braino’s Enco mill, and it is now up and running.  We’re going to be offering a class to members this summer to get them up to speed on how to use the mill.

Classes!

We’ve been a bit lax in getting classes scheduled, and we’re trying to address that.  We have a bunch of classes scheduled this summer, so check back for scheduling details once they’re announced.  Next up on the list are Electronics 101 and Basic Networking, both this July.

We’ve got a bunch of other topics coming up, here’s a condensed list:

  • Electronics
  • 3D Printing
  • CNC Machining with Shapeoko
  • Networking Basics
  • Running the Lathe
  • Linux Basics
  • Cloud Computing
  • HAMP (see this for more info)
  • Intro to Hadoop
  • Running the Mill
  • Using the RPi GPIOs
  • Arduino 101
  • Arduino Music

Let us know (info@workshop88.com) if you’ve got requests for other classes, we’ll see what we can do about getting them scheduled!

 

Share

Another makerspace serving the Chicago suburbs!

Our friends over at SpaceLab are running a KickStarter this month to raise funds to move into a more functional location.

SpaceLab started out as a co-working space, but they realize their members and the the south suburban community will benefit by adding the resources of a makerspace to their offerings.

Workshop 88 is thrilled to support SpaceLab’s kickstarter! We were an early backer:


At Workshop 88 we believe that makerspaces and hackerspaces grow smartly by working with other like-minded people in our area. Please consider supporting SpaceLab and sharing their campaign with anyone you know! They are about 2/3 of the way to their goal as of this post. Help them get all the way there!

Share

Revamping Workshop 88

Spring is in the air, flowers are emerging, and Glen Ellyn is slowly climbing out of what has been an incredibly trying winter.

The new season has inspired us to take a new look at Workshop 88 and revamp our main room. While it’s a homey basement that holds many fond memories, members have been encouraging me to come up with some new ways to change the space around to be welcoming to new members. I wanted to post some photos of the current layout so that we can work on rearranging some things.

Workshop 88 members spend so much time working on their projects and discussing new ideas that they don’t pay much attention to the space around them; but space is important. Space communicates what we value, inspires our creativity, and develops our sense of belonging. Therefore, it is really important that we spend time recreating Workshop some in order to make our space more inviting.

What do you think we should do to revamp Workshop 88? Maybe some color? Reorganizing the layout? Please comment with your ideas!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 5

Share

IOLab: The Pocket Physics Lab

The University of Illinois has developed a new device called IOLab which allows students to explore physical principles and concepts in one all-in-one unit which can easily fit in a pocket. Andrew, a physics professor at Joliet Junior College, has high hopes for the device in the classroom and beyond. IOLab features a variety of sensors, many of which can be found in a physics lab, in a portable and affordable form. Built-in wheels record the displacement of the unit, measuring acceleration and velocity. It also features a force sensor, a barometer to measure air pressure, as well as a light, magnetic, temperature, and sound sensor.

IMG_2742Andrew is excited about IOLab because he hopes that the device will work in a way that engages our particular population of students today. It’s a great kinesthetic learning tool, encouraging creative exploration of physics in a non-threatening way. He mentioned that an additional benefit is that it has expansion capabilities to discover other yet to be determined inputs and outputs. Due to the utility flexibility of the device, it can be used in a variety of settings and serve a plethora of purposes. Andrew has a lot of imaginative ideas of how to use the device in his classes; one thought he has is to take some data, give it to the students and tell them to recreate the graph and figure out the experiment.

Share

Tesla Coil Parts Built at W88

I thought I’d start posting some photos of Tesla Coil parts I have built with the help of some of the great resources available at Workshop 88

Primary Coil

Completed primary coil, built at Workshop 88

Tesla Coil Capacitor Bank, built at Workshop 88

Tesla Coil Capacitor Bank, built at Workshop 88

tesla spark gap

My simple static spark gap – built at Workshop 88

tesla table

This what I like to refer to as my “Tesla Table.”

I have more photos, showing some of the details. I might add them if there is any interest.

I hope to have a demo of at the space sometime this summer.

Share