The Benefits of a HackerSpace

Some of the really great things about having a HackerSpace, and being a member of it,  are that you get access to some really cool tools, like lasers cutters, and thinks that people have brought into the space, like the kit from MakerBeam from their successful KickStarter campaign, as well as the ideas of the members.  And having access to great Open Source Hardware ideas like the Nautilus Gears by MishaT (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:27233) can lead to some interesting works in progress.

 

I took the initial .dxf file included in the Nautilus Gears and expanded it 375% to get something that was about as large as the laser cutter could handle. But that left me to figure out the best spacing for the gears.  For that I constructed a small frame using the Aluminium extrusions, along with assorted other parts, that we got as part of the MakerBeam KickStarter campaign, which allowed me to easily adjust the spacing to find the best distance between the hubs of the gears.  With this I was able to easily move the center points back and forth and to know that they would not move otherwise.   I had also needed to make a small part on the laser to attach the gears but that was easy using a few small scraps.

 

Some of the ideas that were discussed with various members also expanded the potential of the original design and gave me more ideas on where to look at making the original gears even more assume.  The original gears were really interesting to begin with but expanding them makes them even better.  It is really interesting to watch as they rotate.

This test rig has allowed me to try a few things and to ensure that further progress will indeed work.  And it is all possible by being a member of a HackerSpace and having access to the things within it.

 

Now to make it even better.

 

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key|haus

Laser cut thinkhaus keychains! I put all my keychain know-how into designing them:

  • Etching and cutting!
  • Double-sided content!
  • Stick font text for surplus legibility! (used CamBam fonts)
  • Motivation slogan “Be excellent to each other” on front, thinkhaus url on reverse!
  • Double split-ring action for increased doesn’t-break-in-your-pocketness!

We’ll be bringing them out to events like art crawl and software hamilton, plus handing them out to guests who stop by on open house nights (Tuesday starting at 7PM) Come by and grab one!

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Lazzor upgrade

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!

Read the rest of this entry »

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Adina’s message to us

 

Have a safe trip and we are looking forward to your return.

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Lazzored keychains!

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!

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Retro Gaming Day –

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
* NES
* 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

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Cable Chain for the Laser

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.

MakerBot CupCake

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.

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2x success!

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 »

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Laser update

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.

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MiniMakerFaireToronto == Awesome

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.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the weekend.

If you think MakerFaire is cool, keep your eyes peeled for SoOnCon2011 this fall and SoOnCamp2012 next summer.

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