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.
Recently we completely re-built our aging 2nd story porch. During the process I took the opportunity to add a little flair courtesy of the makerspace’s CNC Router. The idea was to place an emblem into the railing of the porch as decoration. After thinking about the emblem I’d want I decided that I’d never be happy with just one, so I incorporated spring hinges (look carefully below the cat in the photo) that allow me to pull back and replace the emblem at will with ease. With that done the only thing to do was decide on the first emblem. I decided on seasonal/occasion emblems.
Rich showed me a great site with free CNC artwork, some of which was Halloween themed. I downloaded that artwork, selected the screeching cat and had the CNC router cut the cat out of a 2′x2′ plywood. I installed the cat as part of the porch railing as you can see in the photo. I’m now looking to round up a turkey for Thanksgiving, a snow man for winter, etc.
During the design process TomG had the bright idea to shine a light through the cutout. So I took a high brightness LED out of a malfunctioning flashlight and attached it to some sheet metal on a malleable aluminium boom. The result is that I now have a screeching cat projected down onto the sidewalk below. (It’s too dim for me to capture on camera)
I’m really looking forward to cutting out more shapes on the CNC Router!
We had quite a night at the space! Thursday is “Builder’s Night Out” when we are open to the public, and if you want a tour, want to meet the members, or have a project you need help on, bring it down. Last night we helped Gary work on a project for his BarCamp session on Rubik’s Cubes. (And let me tell you, using PVC on the belt grinder creates a white dust the likes of which you’ve never seen before!)
Team Kegbot (also known as Kevin, Jason, and Adam) did a bunch of Arduino hacking, and made some progress. They may have also imbibed some of the malted beverages in the name of science.
I even got to contribute to the Kegbot project when Jason asked for a 64×64 1-bit file of the Milwaukee Makerspace logo. Of course he then demanded a 48×48 logo. (I’m just glad he didn’t ask for a 32×32 or the dreaded 16×16!)
Brant spent a little time with the Mini-CNC Mill trying to cut a key out of a piece of plastic. I offered to try printing a key on the MakerBot, but he got it done with the mill. (Plastic seemed to lack the strength needed for the key though, and we may look at a stronger material next time.)
As for me? Besides helping out other folks, I managed to get a little quality time with the MakerBot, and printed a few more cookie cutter designs, which we should be testing this weekend. I did a little bit of web site updating as well, which is always an on-going effort.
And you know what happens next week Thursday? Builder’s Night Out! Yup, every Thursday… so come on down and hang out with us!
Here’s a recent Egg-Bot experiment, putting the Milwaukee Makerspace logo on an egg… in 3D!!!
Well, it’s not really 3D exactly, as I just plotted with blue, then again with red, and the fact that registration isn’t perfect makes it look like 3D printing. But you know, we do have a box full of 3D glasses at the space, so maybe we should test it out.
I also made this egg for BarCampMadison, which happened this passed weekend. The Sector67 guys were there, and gave a session on 3D printers which included the RepRap, and the MakerBot. Speaking of the MakerBot, we’ll be doing a demo of it this week Thursday, September 1st, 2011 at the space. The demo will start around 7:30, and it’s open to the public, so come on down. You can also RSVP on Facebook if you like.
Here’s a brief synopsis of two projects currently underway.
Ron is leading the construction of a CNC router. A workpiece will rest on two platforms, salvaged from a defunct laser cutter, and stepper motors will drive them in the X and Y-axes. Another stepper motor will move the a router up and down in the Z-axis from a mount above the work. When complete, the device will be able to produce 3-D objects out of wood and some light metals. So far, the two heavy platforms have been installed on a wooden frame and Ron is busy working on a carriage that the router will mount to so it can travel in the Z-axis.
Here we see Adam testing his latest creation. Using an Arduino board, he has built a device that registers a ‘hit’ whenever a magnetic pellet strikes a sensor. The ultimate goal is to build a vest of sensors, lights, and buzzers that airsoft enthusiasts can wear. Whenever a gamer is shot, it will light up and make noise. Other possibilities include real-time score keeping and ways of recording who shot who, where, and how often during games.
More next time!
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