A member review

A member of the Workshop 88 mailing list posted a review of a new sewing machine she recently acquired.  With her permission, we’re posting it here:


Sewing Machine Review

Janome /  New Home Derby 1/2 Size, 10 basic stitches
I purchased this as a second machine, because it is simple, small, and very light — the opposite of my complex computerized full-size heavy motor Elna 9000 machine.
     Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Elna.  Truly.  But the idea of an ultra portable machine, that I could take along when I’m meeting up with other crafters had a lot of appeal.  And then I saw the Derby models online at Amazon, in 10 beautiful color choices, and it was time to save up my coins to get one.
     What’s in the box?  The sewing machine itself, user manual,and a small plastic bag containing the foot pedal, power brick/cord, 2 spare bobbins, 1 spare needle, and a needle threader.
     Setup:  It took only about 5 minutes to unpack, plug in, thread up the machine to wind a bottom full of thread, load the bobbin into the machine, and rethread the machine for sewing.  The threading diagrams were clear and instructions straight forward.
     Sewing:  Ok, the machine was ready, and it was time to sew.  I started with a piece of polarfleece.  I was turning the raw edges of the fleece over to give a stadium blanket a nice solid hem, so I was using the largest zig zag stitch, stitching through 2 layers of polar fleece.  I left the upper and lower tension on the factory presets. Unlike most machines, the foot pedal does not control sewing speed; it’s more of an on-off switch. There is only one speed. This feels a little weird when you’re used to speed control, but isn’t bothersome once you’ve sewn for 10 minutes or so.  Overall, the machine was smooth and even, and less noisy than I expected from a primarily plastic machine.  The machine had no problem sewing the polar fleece, and the feed dogs advanced the fleece evenly.
     Switching to cotton fabric, the machine breezed through a a simple seam. Next I sewed in a zipper.  The machine has no zipper foot, but it does have one stitch that moves the needle to the far left position so you can sew alongside the zipper coil.  It was old school sewing, but it got the job done.
     Next I sewed a cotton panel onto a sturdy canvas bag. It required sewing through the tough canvas (multiple layers) and seams. It required using the reverse stitch, straight stitch, and using the free arm to sew “into” the bag. (The cotton band creates a set of organizer pockets on the outside of the bag, and the fabric adds a nice accent.)  I was concerned that the small size of the machine would make it hard to sew things that are complex shapes (not flat) and that need to be stitched “inside”.  The machine passed with flying colors!  Janome / New Home did a good job designing the machine so that there is ample clearance, so you can sew things like cuffs, collars, and other items that are dimensional. The machine handled the medium weight canvas well, even up to 3 layers.  But I would not recommend the machine for sewing heavier materials than that, because of the power limitations of the machine.
     Pluses:  The machine is really cute, and very light.  It sews well.  It meets all expectations.
     Minuses:  There is no built in light, so you might want a portable lamp to help see during needle threading.  The machine has only one speed, which takes a little getting used to.
     Overall: 4.5/5.0  Would recommend as a second machine, or a starter machine.

Teknistas Inventing Lab program is now free!

We have some great news! Workshop 88 will be able to offer the Teknistas Inventing Lab programs free of charge in 2015–the $330 Tuition and the $100 materials fee will be covered by a grant from Cognizant Making the Future program. In addition, we have opened up the age range to include 8- and 9-year-olds due to the enthusiastic participation of some young but crafty and creative kids at our September preview workshop. The girls will start with a Halloween project and I can’t wait to see how they light up their costumes, make candy glow, decorate their front doors, and invent other things we haven’t thought of!

Just as a reminder, the LED Circuit Crafts program that will be held Wednesdays 4:30-6:30 Oct. 7-November 4. If you have a daughter age 8-12 who loves crafts, please encourage her to apply for one of the remaining four slots.

I’d love to see girls in our community take advantage of this great program while the cost is subsidized by a grant. We need your application by Monday or Tuesday of next week at the latest.

Click on this link to download the brochure & application (you can disregard the tuition & materals costs):

Updated information and application

P.S. Some parents have expressed interest in trading pick-up vs. drop-off duties so we can put families in touch with each other once we finalize the admissions.

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.

Updated 9/9/15:
Updated information and application

 

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.

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!

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.

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!

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!