The first I heard of 3D printing machines was in the mid-90’s; I remember hearing of things described as “Santa Claus Machines” (perhaps this old Wired article https://www.wired.com/1994/05/santa-claus-machine/ had something to do with the name) which used computer-controlled UV light to harden a special resin. Dad bought a little bit of the resin, which I remember hearing was hideously expensive, and we had grand plans for making things with it, but we still haven’t got around to finishing the required CO2 laser’s power supply…
Fortunately, here in The Future, we can easily and inexpensively get UV lasers with power supplies, or even simple UV LEDs (remember, when that Wired article was written, blue LEDs were still a year or two away from Digikey’s phonebook-thin pages). The resin is still fairly expensive at ~$150NZD/L, so you’ll not want to be asking Santa for anything too big, but it’s approachable.
Of course, now everyone and their uncle has an FDM-type 3D printer, so dealing with the expensive resin and UV light isn’t so appealing anyways…
Except! SLA printers work really really well, and you can pay someone else to do the printing for you. Not even very much money – our friends at Dangerous Prototypes sent me the part at the top of this post (along with some circuit boards) for $3USD, and look at the quality!
Tonight, Steve was hard at work on building out the weaving studio in the garage area. It’s great to have the concrete floors available for this sort of work, for obvious reasons:
We gained a new tool in our computer toolkit: a USB-to-IDE/SATA hard drive adapter. This is something I bought for consolidating data off a pile of hard drives from several generations of old computers. It worked great for that job, but now that it’s done I don’t need it anymore – free to borrow or use it at makerspace.
Slightly less visibly – we’re a bit closer to having a new web server, which should be considerably quicker, quieter, more reliable, and more power efficient. Current plans are to provide it with battery backup via a Toyota-makerspace collaboration, perhaps with solar power at some stage! More details to come.
One of the perks of Makerspace membership is access to the 4-post car hoist at the VCW.
I just wanted to share a recent success story from this afternoon: a WoF revealed that my car needed a couple suspension bushings replaced – the shop doing the WoF quoted about $110 to do the job, parts included. As car repair jobs go, I think that was a reasonable estimate. But, I was able to get OEM parts for well under half that amount, and – using the hoist – easily do the job in about 45 minutes this afternoon including cleanup!
Apologies for the low quality photo – just wanted to share some progress with the Pact scoreboard over the last few weeks. The PCBs are mostly assembled, the board itself is mostly ready. Next up: buttons and Arduino firmware!
It was a quiet Saturday this weekend, unless you were either a Jaffa rolling down Baldwin St, or the new 3D printer. We’ve been requested to make a hundred or so of these Grommets for the Loom Room:They’re used like this, in table-top looms:
We’ve had a few recent “Arduinos for Absolute Beginners” classes on, two at the makerspace and one at Hive – all have been successful and a lot of fun! I’ve found it particularly interesting to observe the different programming approaches taken by older vs younger students, and how well the different notification methods influenced people to bring USB cables and computers to the class :).
Last Saturday, we adapted and installed a fixture from the old location at King Edward Court in the Valley Workspace – the bare copper wires for hanging LEDs!
Next up is Learn To Solder night, tomorrow 18 May 7:30pm at the Dunedin Makerspace. Bring yourself (in warm clothes), and a gold coin koha or better your membership!
As usual, if you miss one of our events, either post on the mailing list or come to the next open workshop and we can often get you caught up.
The courier showed up today, with a really neat new board from Adafruit – the Feather M0 Express. It is essentially a break out board for the Microchip (formerly Atmel) ATSAMD21G18, which is the same ARM M0+ micro used in the Arduino Zero, plus a 2MB flash memory, RGB LED, and a LiPoly charger. It’s not too expensive at $20USD, nice and tiny, and I think could be a real hit.
Using the Feather M0 Express from Arduino IDE almost couldn’t be easier – just add the Adafruit Board Manager URL to your Arduino IDE settings, then install the “Adafruit SAMD Boards” – instructions at https://learn.adafruit.com/add-boards-arduino-v164 .
We’ve been doing a bit of work on the maker space lately, and this website too!
For the last several years, our website has been hosted on a VPS provided by Blair (thanks so much!) Now that we’ve got a reliable Internet connection at the makerspace though, we’re able to host the site from an on-site computer that’s already hosting the Valley Workspace, Dunedin Electric Bikes, and Quarantine Island sites, and some makerspace affiliated projects like Dunedin food truck tracker foodoo.nz. If you’re interested in how the Internet works, want to host a site, or have fun ideas for things to connect to the machine, just say the word!
As part of the website move, I’ve upgraded the WordPress install, and am planning to embark on a clean out of the Users (we’ve apparently got ~45k) and Comments databases. I’ll try to keep from deleting legitimate accounts, but if your dspace account disappears, just let me know and I can restore it.
Finally, some donated lights were installed last weekend, in the room adjoining the bike workshop, to light up that web server!
A few weeks back, we had a talk on KiCad (presentation available at http://ianrrees.github.io/KiCad_talk/ ) where we ordered some PCBs to make an inductor tester (Henryometer?) from dirty PCBs. Those boards came in this week, and a few folks have already put theirs together. This post aims to be a quick guide to the usage of the tester; if you’d like to build one yourself just let Ian know, parts cost is $15. You’ll need an oscilloscope and a current-limited DC power supply to make use of it.