Today, I stopped in at the Makerspace with the plan to work on a small project for a Halloween party this Saturday.
The plan was to take a “Roomba” robot vacuum cleaner that I got for $1.00 at a rummage sale, and covert it into the robot base for a giant spider or some other scary creature that could wander around at a Halloween party.
I started pulling screws out of the bottom to figure out how to remove the brushes and vacuum blower. It took some tinkering to figure out what I could and couldn’t remove and not cause a fault. In the end, it didn’t look like I could remove the blower motor and still have the thing run, so I simply removed the fan blades from the blower.
By that time, I was now thinking about video cameras and how easy it would be to run a 1/4-20 bolt right through the plastic. A bolt and two nuts quickly made a camera mount.
In the other room were some ping-pong balls, and I had a black sharpie. A little hot glue and Roomba-cam has some personality.
Look for Roomba-cam running around the Milwaukee Makerspace and please treat Roomba-cam nice – he is watching you and WILL upload to YouTube!
The video shows the last few layers of the calibration cube “printing” at 414% speed (according to my LCD display).
The Bucketworks 3D printing meet-up on 8/12 paid off big-time! Gary Kramlich helped me debug a problem that was preventing me from flashing the firmware on the controller board for the MegaMax 3D printer. After a few tweaks I was able to get it moving.
Jerry Malek drove his son’s Fisker Karma to the space yesterday. It is a sweet ride! Here are a few photos to give you a taste of how the other half lives… Yes, I asked, but for some reason he wouldn’t let anyone take it apart to see how it works or see if we […]
MegaMax 3D printer based on MendelMax but bigger and minus plastic parts.
This is my on-going project at the Milwaukee Makerspace. It is a 3D extruded plastic printer with about 1 cuft build envelope. I want to print life-size human skulls (among other things) from CT scan data. The printer is made mostly from salvaged parts and materials so the cost has been very low. When it’s finished it will have a heated 12″x12″ bed (13″x13″ if I can find an aluminum plate that big) and dual extruder so it can print in two colors.
I have learned a lot on this project- some things that work and others that don’t work so well, and how to use a milling machine to drill holes precisely and square the ends of the 8020 extrusion pieces used to build up the frame of the machine.
I could not have done any of this without access to the people, materials, and tools at Milwaukee Makerspace. Every time I go there to do some work on this project someone says something that gives me new ideas for improvements to the design. I frequently find materials and parts left for me on the machine’s cart by other members who know what I’m trying to do. If you have a project idea find your local Makerspace and get busy- there is nothing that will get your creative juices flowing like being around a bunch of people with similar interests and different skills and experience!
Today marked the first monthly meeting of The DIY CNC Club at Milwaukee Makerspace. Ron Bean and Tom Gondek, the creators of the router, guided members and guests through the use of CamBam CAD software to generate G-code and Mach3 software to operate and control the router. The day before, Tom and Mike tested the machine’s ability to cut aluminum. On Sunday, Rich created a decorative wooden sign and Brant began making plastic shapes for a project enclosure. As Ron pointed out, in less than 24 hours we had worked in three different materials: wood, metal, and plastic.
Several items were also crossed off our wish list. Two emergency stop buttons were added to the front of the machine and wired together in series. Hitting either one stops all motion in the X, Y, and Z planes and pauses the program. We also built a relay-controlled receptacle box that when wired into the CNC computer, will be able to stop the spindle so hitting the E-stop will kill all motion in all axes and the router. For some reason the pins we’re using on the parallel port are only producing 1.6 volts instead of the 3 or 5 we expected and the relays won’t turn on. All in all, a very productive weekend.
After weeks of revisions and sitting idle, the “Podium” project was completed last night. Constructed from a tri-fold photo booth enclosure and a rolling base, the Podium holds a binder full of Guest Release Forms to introduce visitors to our space while also performing a very practical and necessary legal responsibility.
In addition to the variety of projects that were being worked on last night, Shane and Brant rewired Chris H.’s “American Horseshoes” game cabinet and reconnected the speaker. After a few rounds, we understand why it had been disconnected. It’s definitely a bar game. Regardless, it will make a great addition to the Workshop.
Well, ok, i’m a pretty poor welder, but i’m only making oversized jacks, not bridges, so i’ll take it.
I am making an oversized game of Jacks. Originally i thought i could use some steel rods, someone suggested tire irons and i picked up a 3/8″ threaded rod (Home Depot trip #1) to try out. After i talked with Tom and Rich a bit they suggested that i use Carriage Bolts instead of a bare rod. This looked great because the carriage bolts have a nice rounded end that help make the object really look like a jack. Ok, materials were set, so i ran to Home Depot (trip #2) with Matt G.
After returning with a set of 6 bolts to try things out with, Tom came up with a nice jig for me to use with slots for the 4 bars and a vertical hole so i could stand the bolts up. We dug through the scrap wood box and found a good piece and a few minutes after i plugged in the table saw, i had the channels cut out. Next up was the center hole. Rich gave me a quick tour of the drill press and we found a good hole saw to use and then my jig was complete.
Now onto the welding! Rich set me up with our MIG welder, which is pretty much as simple as it gets. Lay out and secure the pieces, put the clamp on one end, point and pull the trigger. We quickly had our first jack. At this point in my career as a welder, i am a firm proponent of the “More Weld” school of structural engineering. I know some of the academics in their ivory towers may frown on this, but I’m ok with that.
With the proof of concept ready, i headed back to Home Depot (trip #3) to get a couple boxes of bolts. After returning to the space, i cranked out 8 more jacks, low-efficiency assembly line style.
We had some fun tossing them around the space. They make a great sound when you roll out a pile of them and look great bouncing off the cement after being flung 15 feet in the air. The other folks at the space had a good laugh at my ridiculous build.
We’re going to have a test game with the jacks at the space on Tuesday. I’m not entirely sure how many of these things someone can pick up quickly, but we’ll find out soon. Why am I building an oversized game of jacks? Well, that’s a bit of a secret for now. :)
September 27-28 at Wisconsin State Fair Park, the same weekend as Harvest Fair. Admission is free. Maker Faire Milwaukee's Call for Makers is now open.
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