Giving back to the Community

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 elaineluther@chicagogiftedcommunity.org!

 

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Toner transfer for PCBs

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.

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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.

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Workshop 88 walk-through at public meeting

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.

Come out some night and make something with us!

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WOYB – Prototyping arduino sensors

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

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.

Image credit: Jim Williams

Image credit: Jim Williams

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Learning Python Programming for non-programmers

Python is a cross-platform programming language which is a popular choice for novice and advanced programmers. The design of python emphasizes the readability of code, making it easier for beginning programmers to learn.

In this class we will look at the basic framework of python programming and explore how to begin to design programs in python.

Who this class is for: People who are NOT trained programmers, but are interested in getting started with learning python. This class is OPEN to the public. You do not have to be a member of Workshop 88 to attend.

What you should bring to the class: Your own laptop on which you should download and install one of the stable versions of python from the python website.

What you will get from the class: understanding of the python interpreter, how python classes are used, a basic understanding of how to write programs in python

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3D printing – a primer

Model 500 Plugbox Render (top)3D printing is a great way to rapidly produce small parts for just about anything you can think of.

Workshop 88 has a 3D printer that we use often to make things for use in our projects. If you’d like to see what 3D printing is all about firsthand, this demonstration is for you!

This class is OPEN to the public! You do not have to be a member of Workshop 88 to attend. Registration for this is $5.00

What you should bring – something to take notes with and all your questions about 3D printing.

What you will get from this session – you will see how the 3D printing process works, from concept to finished part. If you are a Workshop 88 member, you will get the knowledge and experience necessary to start using the Workshop 88 Makerbot.

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