Last night Jon and a visitor to the hackerspace, Al, spent a good amount of time working on getting this set up. It is now securely mounted to the wall and thanks to Jon we have an assortment of chalk waiting to be used for your drawing and diagramming pleasure. The chalkboard came from a member of Ars Clan who offered the chalkboard to us over a year ago. Pickup coordination fell through several times, however a month or two ago the chalkboard arrived in all its glory.
*Note* While we have plenty of chalk, we appear to be missing erasers… We should probably rectify this situation.
Hodapp’s laser cut business cards are really cool, but they take ~7 minutes each to etch and cut out. I was curious if perhaps we could instead etch a business card stamp and use that to mass produce some business cards.
I did some research and found out that while Linoleum print blocks would be safe to etch, many cheaper print blocks are no longer made from true Linoleum, instead they are made with a cheaper PVC plastic. With that in mind I stopped at a couple hobby stores and picked up a variety of print blocks.
The first one I tested was the one I was most doubtful of, a greyish flexible substance which looked suspiciously like a PVC plastic. The burn tests were not very conclusive, there was no solid bright green flame, but there were spurts of green flame. It was enough that I did not want to risk it.
The second material tested is pictured above and it came through the burn test without any issues and it looked like pictures I had seen of real linoleum with a glue backing.
Using the B/W gradient pattern that Hodapp created I did several test runs to determine how much power would be needed to get a good depth. I also shamelessly stole the Hive13 logo from his project file.
The first result turned out pretty well except for a couple mundane details:
As you can see I forgot to mirror the image, and the thin line that goes around the 1 & 3 is too thin to survive stamping more than once or twice. It still stamped pretty well though:
For attempt #2 I mirrored the image and used Gimp to beef up the outline. Since I was in a rush I did not really try to make it have a super smooth outline after “growing” the perimeter of the logo. This resulted in a rather pixelated border.
Total cut time per stamp was ~30 minutes, but could probably be sped up by optimizing the cut power // speed. Also I think this stamp a fairly large stamp and smaller ones would obviously be faster to cut out.
Final stamping action:
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.
Special thanks to Dave B, Jason, Chris Davis, and all of the other people who have been working hard to help construct additional workspaces for the hackerspace.
The workbench to the right of this post was built from plans purchased by Jason. It has wheels that can be raised and lowered easily. When the wheels are raised up the workbench provides a very stable surface to work on.
One of our newer members Dave Blundell donated a workbench and Chris Davis assisted him in moving it to Hive13. It is a very solid workbench with two shelves under it. It has a vise mounted on it and pegboard behind it. Since the picture was taken we have moved the drill press onto it and mounted a couple power strips on the wall behind it.
At Hive13 we have a 5′ × 5′ glass block wall/window in our space and the first thing we thought of when we saw it was a 7 × 8 pixel grid.
We want to build a programmable full color, lo-res display using RGB LEDs.
To do this we obivously need LEDs – lots of LEDs. The brighter the better.
We could use these nice ShiftBrite modules, but we’d really rather go all out and get the ShiftBrite’s big brother – the MegaBrite.
ShiftBrites are about $3.50 each and MegaBrites are about $7.75 each. And we need 56 of them. We’ll also need some cabling to connect them all up. The cables are about $1.50 each too. Finally, we’ll need a a good power supply to power it all; that could be as much as $100.
($3.50 + $1.50) * 56 = $280
($7.75 + $1.50) * 56 = $518
All told, we’re going to need somewhere between $300 – $700 to do this. We’re shooting for $400 here. If we go over and get to $700, awesome. If we only get to $300, we’ll make do. Any funds raised here, but not used, will go directly to the Hive13 general fund.
Here’s the stuff on our shopping list:
Here’s the project page with our progress and prototypes so far:
CJDavis and I were at the hive until about 1:20 am this morning working on finishing up a second strand of LED lights for the Glass Block Matrix LED Display.
In this image we are diffusing the LED’s with a sheet of paper towel which causes a nice soft glow, however it greatly reduces the brightness. Therefore we are leaving the paper towels off even though they make for a great picture and viewing experience from inside the bathroom.
We have had some technical issues with both the RGB LEDs and the wiring system we are using. A good amount of the LED’s seem to have an issue where they will turn on even when the anode wire is not connected to anything. We are talking nothing, like it is just soldered into a proto-board. Current speculation is that either the LED’s are bad or the proto-boards are bad.
Another problem we have been having is that originally we were using Cat-5 to wire up each anode for the 8 LED’s in a column, however the current in the twisted pairs was enough to induce a current in the second pair causing issues with LEDs coming on when they are not supposed to. This is a fairly limited problem so far as the LEDs only glow faintly. In any case we are altering how we wire up future anodes.
I had some spare time down at the hive last night so I finished assembling the framework for the RGB Glass Block Matrix display. The next step is going to be to mark out where to drill the holes for the LED.
After that is done we can start soldering up the LEDs.
A few of our members stopped up at the UC surplus sale on saturday and picked up a couple of largeish projectors. One of them had a working bulb and a bad powersupply ($25), the other had a bad bulb ($50).
After moving the bulb from the projector with a bad powersupply to the projector that just had a bad bulb we discovered that we now had a very nice working projector.
This should provide a nice start for our Laser Graffitti projects, also, we still have the other projector that needs a new powersupply but could serve as the base for testing more powerful light sources.
This is another project initiated by PlayerTwo. This is an older arcade game called Meltdown. The way the game works is the game will move a goal box up and down a center tube. Inside the center tube is a radioactive sample that the gamer must keep centered inside the goal box by adjusting the flow of the air through the center tube.
The main problem at the moment is that the goal box is on a cable that keeps getting snagged and is a bit stretchy so it slips. Once this problem is worked out there is a bit of surface work that needs to be done.
Some of our members picked up five flouresent light fixtures that would normally mount under a shelf in a cubical at the University of Cincinnati surplus sale. I was down at the hive tonight and decided to look into how we might mount them on the workbench and have worked out what seems to be a good method.
First take the bulb out, then drill out the rivets that hold the light fixture to the case of the light. Then use the holes left by the removed rivets for screws. The end result looks fairly nice and seems pretty sturdy.
Now… just need to mount the remaining four light fixtures.