HIVE13 made its first Maker Faire appearance exhibiting at the Detroit Maker Faire 2013 on Sunday, July 28. A special thank you goes out to our LVL1 Louisville hackerspace friends, Brad and the gang, who encouraged Jim to display some HIVE works in a corner of their booth on Sunday.
The HIVE banner, Galileo’s Finger, CinD-LOU’s eyeballs, and Jim’s kinematic sculpture ‘Life’ were prominently displayed and drew lots of attention throughout the day. Mostly it was, “OK, what is this strange thing?”
LVL1′s fire-breathing animated and wheel chair mobile pretty pony Buttercup was still the star of the booth and LVL1 had a wide variety of other exhibits including a playschool pi computer, radiation cloud chamber, and a wack-a-shark game for the kids. These guys are awesome and an inspiration to the rest of us.
The rain held off and a good time was had by all. We should do this more often!
It’s like Christmas in July! The HIVE’s new MIG welder has arrived. DaveB trucked it over and set it up on the cart just today.
HIVE13 is the proud owner of a brand-new Millermatic 211 Auto-Set w/MVP (link) with the M-100 Gun (link).
This is serious equipment. Electric shock can kill. Hot parts can burn. Fumes and gases can be hazardous. Arc rays can burn eyes and skin. Welding can cause fire or explosion. Flying metal or dirt can injure eyes. Build-up of gas can injure or kill. Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) can affect implanted medical devices. Noise can damage hearing. Cylinders can explode if damaged, etc. Only qualified persons should install, operate, maintain, and repair this unit.
Does this new tool sound like as much fun to you as it does to us?
Stay tuned and drop by to see developments progress as the experienced HIVE welders and prudently cautious implementers make preparations to enable eager newbies to learn to weld safely with appropriate precautions.
HIVE13 is the place to join to learn new skills and use new equipment to make things.
Last week, Hive13 member Rick showed off a rather impressive project: An electric motorcycle he’s building. He started it near the end of 2011, inspired by his father who started building an electric car years back but due to funding issues could not complete it. A lot of online resources helped greatly by providing information on what people had tried, what worked, what did not, what parts they were using, and so on. (Did I really need to mention that part? This is a blog for a hackerspace.)
Whatever its stage of completion, he says he has about 100+ miles on it so far and it can do 54 mph. (Update: This doesn’t mean the bike has a range of 100+ miles, but that he has ridden about 100+ miles on it so far. Actual range is more like 20 miles. Sorry, Hackaday.)
The frame of the bike is a 1989 Honda VTR 250 he had around for spare parts for other bikes. To replace the Honda’s 24 HP gas motor, he used a common golf cart permanent magnet DC motor, 24 V – 72 V, driving it with a fairly standard 48 V electric controller. Four Optima Deep Cycle Yellow Top 12V batteries power it (two of them are visible in the top photo), and he added a 48 V charger to manage them. (Update: Batteries are AGM [Absorbed Glass Mat], not lead acid, for the record.)
Headlights, taillights, turn signals, and other accessories run from 12 V that a DC-DC converter provides. (I think this also included the ridiculously loud horn, strictly for safety reasons because the bike makes practically no noise otherwise. He says he’s only had to use it twice so far…)
Rick estimated the total cost at about $2800, and that was using mostly new parts with warranties rather than used ones from Ebay. In addition to this, he purposely built it with a removable battery rack if we wishes to swap in a different battery type later on – he mentions LiFeMnPO4 batteries and a new controller & charger that would have added $1500 to the price, but would have increased the bike’s range and reduced its weight. (He put its current weight at about 400 lb total.)
Actual problems seemed pretty minimal. He made a mistake in the math when choosing the motor’s drive sprocket; a recent change in this brought the top speed from 35 up to 54 mph. The website from which he bought the battery charger advertised it as weatherproof, and he discovered it was not. He has some concerns about the motor getting too hot on hills or longer runs, and intends to add a temperature gauge and a fan.
I also felt I had to ask a token stupid question, “What is it like to ride a motorcycle where you can’t rev the engine?” but received a fairly serious answer: “It’s weird not having a gas motor. The rev thing isn’t as weird as not having any kind of engine brake when you’re going down hills.”
The Flickr album of pictures is here (first 5 are courtesy of Dave Myers; remainder are my own until the last 5, which are Rick’s). Rick also provided some photos and videos of the initial tear-down, assembly, and first rides:
(Disclaimer: Neither Hive13 nor Rick advocates riding without protective gear. The only reason this is absent in the pictures is that these were very short test runs.)
Hot off the presses! Er, well, laser cutter! We bring you the new pinning tray. This tray is more portable than before. The other one was small but the square shape often made it hard to fit into some carrying cases with your other tools. This new design by Brian keeps the tray small but adds length to better go with the tools you normally carry.
And that’s not all! With this new design you can use the holes on the side and a lid to secure your pins for further storage. By placing a lid on top and using some small screws you can fasten the lid down and store the pins for later use. This is ideal if you are working on a progressive lock and need a place to store your the extra pins until you work your way up. It can also be used to keep some extra security pins grouped together or potentially for storing the pins from control locks used in lock forensics.
We are still testing out the design but once we finalize it we will have some available if anybody wants one.
The bases were a bit more advanced than the suggestion, and all were created by a friend of the groom. They consist of a block of wood, a battery holder and 3 red LEDs.
The plates were etched & cut on our laser over a period of about 15 hours. It was about one hour per plate, 12 of which we used, 3 were used to perfect the process. This video shows a time lapse of the process. We had some trouble initially with clouding on the plate, especially around the letter “o”. We fixed this by adjusting the power and speed of the laser and refining our post etching cleaning process.
After the plates were etched and cut they were soaked in water & simple green for about 30 seconds, then wiped off with a microfiber cloth.
The cards were then set up at the reception hall prior to the wedding, and remained lit throughout the evening.
The wedding party:
We didn’t have the names of all of the dates guests were bringing, so some people got their very own +1.
And of course we had to create a bonus plate for the Hive:
The Bride & Groom were pleased with the results as were we. While it was a lot of work, the project resulted in a unique keepsake for each wedding guest and the wedding party.
Short version: Using an Android tablet, you can draw things on our Glass Block LED Matrix from the street, and it’s pretty awesome. Video here, photos here.
Things have progressed recently on the Glass Block LED Matrix which Chris Davis and Paul Vincent started. For a couple weeks, the code was already in place to let Processing talk to it via simple serial commands to the Arduino & ShiftBrite shield. We wanted to use the tools from Project Blinkenlights to control things over the network; while this didn’t entirely work as planned, the project offered a lot of ideas and inspiration.
The most recent addition I made was the inclusion of oscP5 to the Processing sketch to let it listen for OSC (Open Sound Control) messages. As it happens, a brilliant piece of free software already exists (Control from Charlie Roberts) which turns Android/iOS devices into control surfaces that send out OSC messages. On top of this, Control comes with a handful of example UIs, one of them being “Multibutton Demo” which provides a UI with an 8×8 button grid, sort of like a monome. (The tablet in all of the photos is running Control with that Multibutton Demo UI.)
As our LED matrix is 7×8, this UI was a good initial match. I set Control’s destination URL/port to the backend machine that was running Processing, set the sketch to parse the pretty simple OSC messages Control would send out at every button toggle, and then I was able to control what was on the LED matrix by drawing on that 8×8 grid on my tablet.
I finally got to show it off outside on Tuesday evening when it was dark, and it’s working pretty well, as the video shows.
Making a Control UI that allows for color control. These are RGB LEDs, after all – we can control intensity and color, not just whether they’re on or off.
Making this web-enabled. I think Control allows this?
Fixing the glitchiness that I didn’t show in the video; something cryptic is going on on the Arduino side.
Check out the github project here and the project wiki page here.
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.
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: http://hodapple.com/files/hive13%20business%20card.ecp. 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.
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.
Hive13 aims to create a place where a diverse community of makers can collaborate and pursue creative projects. Hive13 promotes science & technology education, open source values, and skill sharing amongst it’s members and the community.