Archive for July, 2011

I don’t always eat cereal, but when I do, I make business cards from the box.

July 24th, 2011 3 comments

This idea was shamelessly lifted from another space after Craig showed us a business card cut/etched from cereal box cardboard from them. I think the space in question is in Hawaii. (Update: That space is Maui Makers and Jerry Isdale in particular. Look to the first comment – he posted a link to the card he made that was the inspiration for this.)


Anyhow, no one had yet engraved a bitmap successfully with the laser cutter, so I set out trying to do this (more or less coincidentally – I couldn’t figure out how to export a filled shape from Inkscape in a vector format LaserCut would grok, so I rasterized it).

I tried first on the corrugated cardboard that we have a near-infinite supply of. However, this didn’t engrave well for me – its top layer is too thin and once you’ve burned parts of it off you have only the sparse ridges holding the other parts of it on. Maybe someone else will have better luck with less power. (This is not the first corrugated cardboard issue we’ve had…)

Cereal cardboard, interestingly, both cuts and engraves really well (though in the following photo, I set the power far too high and it visibly burned through). I would have preferred to etch from a vector logo, but it seems easier to get different shades if you start from a raster image and Floyd-Steinberg dither it to a halftone monochrome image, as LaserCut requires monochrome.


The LaserCut file is here: If anyone wants to make a better-designed variant, please do – I consider this to be just a draft. A faster version might also be good. This one is around 7 – 8 minutes per card, but the speed probably could be cranked up a bit.

P.S. I suffered a cereal-induced sugar headache in the process of making these business cards. You all better be nice to me.

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First Meeting of the Northern Kentucky Linux Users’ Group

July 22nd, 2011 1 comment

I have been talking with Josh Jones about starting a LUG in Northern Kentucky. Here are the details:
July 27, 2011
19:00 – 20:00
1 Hour
Meet and greet, share ideas, generate officers, etc…
7905 Mall Road
Florence, KY, 41042

Be sure to check out their new website:

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Hive13 Laser Class 7/18

July 18th, 2011 Comments off

This is a reminder that the 2nd Hive13 Laser class is happening tonight at the hackerspace.

Even if you are currently signed off on using the laser, if you have not attended the class I strongly recommend you do so.  Our previous “certification” of just showing each other what we knew was haphazard and incomplete.  Each time I talk with another one of the operators it seems that one of us is showing the other one something new about the laser cutter.  I think the class would be an excellent time for us to get together and share our individual knowledge.

*Note* For now the class is only open to Hive13 Members and there is no registration page.

Plan for the class is there will be a presentation giving an overview of the laser and how to run it.  Then there will be a hands on portion where each person will go through the steps for cutting on a project from turning the laser on to cutting something out.

Each participant in the class will be cutting out the Adafruit spirograph.

What: Hive13 Laser Class
Where: Hive13 Hackerspace
When: 7:30 pm 7/18/2011
Cost: $20, People who helped fund the laser purchase can take the class for free.

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Teensy Contest

July 17th, 2011 Comments off

We are hosting a teensy contest at Hive13!

Provide a proposal to what you would build using a Teensy 2.0 development board on this form.  Teensy is a super small AVR board (less than 2 inches!!) It has an ATMEGA32U4 micro-controller and you can use the aduino software to program it.  Each board comes with a detailed printout card for easy look up of pin layouts.

Six projects will be selected on Friday July 22nd to receive a free Teensy board.  The contestant will then have until August 30th to complete their project and demo it for the group during that Tuesdays meeting.  If you are not an arduino master do not worry, simply submit a basic idea of something you feel you can complete in a month and you may be selected.

You do not have to a a Hive13 member to participate but you will have to be at the Tuesday meeting on July 26th to pick up your board if you are selected.  Have fun and happy hacking!

Submission form is here (July 22nd is the submission deadline!)

Board details are here

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Custom bokeh with laser cutter

July 12th, 2011 2 comments

This is an idea cjdavis had mentioned some weeks back: Using the laser cutter to cut out custom filters that mount to a camera’s lens and create custom bokeh shapes. I finally tried it yesterday.

We had on hand a large pile of little card-stock rectangles salvaged from the garbage; we thought they were blanks for playing cards and we had no use for them. However, I discovered, our laser cutter can cut them very quickly, and they are large enough that a 52mm circle fits inside (which matters because 52mm is the filter size of all my lenses).

My first one looked something like this:

…and it fit perfectly inside my 18-55mm lens (perhaps a little too perfectly, because it was sort of a pain to remove…). Here are a couple test images I shot:
I could have centered it better, and I still should calibrate the size a bit, but I’m impressed with how it turned out for something that took all of 5 seconds to cut.

Here’s one with another pattern (this time on my 35mm f/1.8):

Full Flickr album is here. I can have SVGs or DXFs up if anyone asks, but really, these patterns are dead-simple to put together by hand in Inkscape or something similar.

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