Long time since an update, so I might as well talk about two recent laser upgrades. First I converted an unused exit sign box into a big hey-don’t-forget-laser-station-is-on indicator light. A couple of times we (/I) have forgotten to turn it off and have left the computer + pump + vent fan running. Not horrible, except that the pump runs quite warm and that ain’t good. Plus, I’d been thinking of ways of making turning on the laser more awesome, so this was a good opportunity. Read on after the break!
I’ve spent some time lazzoring acrylic keychains as prizes for the retro gaming fest this Sunday. They’ve turned out pretty sweet!! I should really be using differently colored materials, but whatever. There’s talk of lazzoring a giagantore trophy character but we’ll see how much time is left til Sunday. Hope to see you then!!
Oh, and tomorrow night (7pm) is the hackerspace Salon here at the thinkhaus. Hope you can make it then too!
Hey everyone! We’re running a retro gaming day on Sunday and you should come!
When: Sun, September 25, 11:30am – 7:00pm
Where: think|haus, 25 Dundurn St N, Hamilton ON (map)Description: Come play retro and not so retro games, eat sugar cereal, and relive your childhood days. We will have the following game systems on hand:
* Nintendo 64
* Atari 2600 flashback
* dosbox with Carmen Sandiego
* Xbox 360
We have one big teevee, a projector, and a bunch of monitors. Bring yourself, your games, your system, and maybe your pjs? Come hang out and play games just like the good old days.
$5 entry – everyone welcome
We have wanted to add some features to the laser like Air Assist and possibly aiming sites for the laser to assist in seeing where the laser is going to cut. Recently George has been printing a cable chain, using a design from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:10946 that he enlarged a bit, for it. A cable chain is special in that it can curl in one direction but will remain straight in the opposite direction. At the same time it is hollow inside to allow, as in our case, for wires and tubes to safely run inside it.
We are going to have to print two chains, one to go along the x-axis and another for along the y-axis, but we are going along well. There is more than enough room within the cable chain for everything we want.
So I’ve been experimenting with a new feature I’m adding to the Inkscape plugin – basically it allows for assisted double-sided cutting with the laser. You can run the laser at less power (or higher speed) by cutting halfway through one side, flipping over the material, and cutting through the other half. Read the rest of this entry »
So from time to time bad things can happen with the laser, usually in the form of things burning and/or breaking. These past couple of weeks I’ve been building a box to monitor various status conditions of the laser. Initially this will be coolant flow rate and temperature, but could eventually include an air flow sensor, tube temperature, power consumption, etc. Basically this box will be an independent system for checking the overall health of the laser system, and signal to the user when things look wonky. Possible actions include audible alarm, triggering an estop, or praying to a preprogrammed god of your choice.
Anyhow, here are some progress photos:
The box is laser cut hardboard (designed in Inkscape). The charring gives a smart border. Inside is an Arduino, Nokia 3310 LCD screen and some connectors for interfacing with sensors. The temperature sensor is a simple thermistor, and the flow sensor is a FS-4400H. I’ll be posting source code, schematics and designs when I’m closer to finishing.
think|haus members spent the last couple of days representing Hamilton’s hackerspace at the MiniMakerFaire in Toronto and had an absolute blast. If you’re in the GTA and you missed it… well, you missed a whole lot! Plan on being there next year I guess.
You should join us this weekend at the Toronto Maker Faire
Toronto Mini Maker Faire is the ultimate celebration of making, crafting, DIY-ing, tinkering, hacking and sharing. It’s a weekend where makers of all kinds will show off their projects and hold how-to workshops, with hands-on activities for all ages. Exhibits on display will include robots, laser cutting, letterpress printing, a 3D print gallery and kinetic sculptures.
Here’s what we’re bringing…
Think|Haus is Hamilton’s shared work space / social space and collective all about hacking, crafting, DIY and doing awesome stuff. The history of Hamilton is intertwined in the “make it happen” ethos of the DIY mechanic, the basement engineer, the warranty violator, the patent ignorer.
Members of Think|Haus will be on hand at Toronto’s Mini Maker Faire to soak in all the maker goodness, and to show off some of their own projects. Come see their entry into the Great Global Hackerspace Challenge, a CNC egg decorating machine, some robots, an ornery do-nothing box, a magic mirror, and other great stuff. They’ll also have an operating ham radio station, where they’ll be talking and texting people around the world, using HF radio waves and amateur satellites. And if we’re really lucky, they may even make a radio contact with the International Space Station.
This is the final video documentation in the Element14 sponsored Great Global Hackerspace Challenge of 2011.
think|tubes by think|haus
Our concept for think|tubes was to make an expandable, modular system which allows the measurement and recording of various physical phenomena. We’ve built some sample exercises, such as a device to measure how hard someone can punch. This fun activity engages students, while teaching concepts of levers, acceleration, and force. Other sensors, such as light, temperature, barometric pressure, etc. are easily added to the think|tubes, allowing for customized usage. Any lesson plan that would benefit from experimentation and measurement can use think|tubes.
Beyond measurement in the classroom, however, think|tubes can be used throughout the school. An applause meter at a school talent show, a game show buzzer system for fun quizzes, or a timing system for track and field – all of these uses are easy to add to think|tubes due to its modular design, standard Arduino hardware, and the bus which allows communications between modules.
think|tubes make learning tangible. They provide a hands on way to interact with the physical world. Think it, do it, measure it, learn it. With think|tubes.