I built a QWERTY keyboard that types the letters Q, W, E, R, T and Y, and nothing else. No space, no return, no escape.
It’s a fully-functional USB device, you know, as long as you just want to type words that can be composed with Q, W, E, R, T and Y. (WET, WRY, YET, TRY, there’s a bunch of them!)
I wrote plenty more about this project on my blog, and if you want to read about the history of the QWERTY layout, and its connection to Milwaukee, and why the way we interact with technology is interesting and sometime ridiculous, well… I got that too.
I found this nice vase on Thingiverse and printed it at 75% scale a couple weeks ago.
75% scale vase looks fine from this angle…
It came out pretty good except for the area near the bottom where it was overhanging. 3D printers don’t handle overhangs without support material very well. I tried reslicing with support material added, but didn’t like the way it looked in either Cura or Slic3r so I didn’t try to print it again.
Overhang caused poor print quality for the first 6-8mm of the vase.
Then I tried printing it upside down- the overhang is much smaller.
100% scale vase printing upside down.
About 12 hours later, here’s the result: perfect!
The two vases, bottoms up- the 100% scale vase is perfect!
I finally got around to using Python mode for Processing 2.x. I have used pyprocessing for 1.x in the past but the current version is supported by the official IDE. While I am not very good in either, I am more comfortable with Python over Java, Processing’s default language.
I create a few simple “sketches” to get used to the format. After comparison of a few animations in both languages, Python mode was noticeably slower – around 2-3 FPS versus > 15. I worked around this issue by saving each frame as an image and combining them with GIMP to make a .GIF animation. Here are a few sketch outputs – both static and dynamic.
Hopefully a few crafters out there will appreciate the measures we’ve taken to protect tools that have been loaned to the group. Deterring misuse is only one feature of this upcycled sheet metal enclosure. It’s also incredibly stylish! A padlock could easily be added in the future, but surely it won’t come to that.
In following the internet chatter about the FTDI bricked-chip dust up some months ago I came across mention of a Silicon Labs USB-Serial chip, the CP2110, that worked a bit different. The device enumerates as a regular HID device and uses a standard OS driver rather than a manufacturer specific one. Being a HID device, there is no COM port. Instead you link a library into your application that knows how to engage the standard HID driver to talk to the chip in a serial-like fashion. In effect, this moves the driver from the OS to your application.
So I grabbed some of the chips and made up an OSHPark board that implemented the minimum passives and broke out the pins. Tonight, during Builder’s Night Out, I finally got around to soldering it up. The worst part about the CP2110 is that it is a 4mm x 4mm QFN with a 0.5mm pin pitch. I used the space’s 50W laser to make a solder paste stencil out of some of the giant roll of 3 mil mylar we have. My first go at it with one pass of the solder paste squeegee didn’t put down enough paste on the QFN and my second go with 3 or 4 passes in orthogonal directions put down too much solder paste. There is probably a middle ground there.
Anyway, I used the space’s Zallus reflow toaster oven to reflow that second paste attempt and wound up with a number of the QFN pins shorted together. (I should have wiped the paste off and looked for that middle ground.) To fix the shorts I used the space’s hot air rework gun to pull the QFN chip off. That allowed me to solder wick the pads to a point free of shorts and then use the hot air gun once again to put the chip back. I over heated and burnt the tantalum caps and the LEDs in that rework process. So I used the hot air gun to remove those components and then hand soldered replacements back on to the board.
The moment of truth came when I plugged the freshly soldered board into my laptop’s USB port. I fully expected it to say “over current limit”, but to my delight it happily installed the HID driver! I’m looking forward to trying out the link library.
MegaMax was a great 3D printer, but it was time for some changes. He was difficult to transport because the electronics were in a separate housing with many cables to disconnect and reconnect, barely fit through doorways, and required a positively gargantuan enclosure to keep the temperature up to control ABS delamination. Though it hurt to do it, I tore him apart and did a complete redesign/build into a form that is more like what I would have done had I known anything at all about 3D printing when I started building MegaMax.
I reused what I could including a lot of the 8020 extrusions in the frame, the Z axis screw assemblies and drive belt, and the X and Z axis motors.
ball screw drive Y axis with high torque motor- precise but noisy
linear guides in X and Y axes instead of 1/2″ round guide rails and linear bearings
SmoothieBoard controller instead of Arduino/RAMPS
BullDog XL extruder and E3D v6 hot end
RepRapDiscount graphic LCD control panel
narrower frame design without giving up print volume- easier fit through doorways!
polycarbonate panels to enclose the print area yet provide a clear view of the print
electronics in a drawer for easy service and transport and neater appearance
DSP motor drivers and 32V power supplies for X and Y axes
Liberal use of screw terminals to make servicing easier
Modular X and Y axes that can be removed for service and replaced in minutes.
SoM will be making his public debut at the Milwaukee Makerspace very soon…
Yesterday some of us went on a little field trip to a couple local scrap yards. We met the people there and learned the ropes of how to do things right and not get hurt while digging for treasure in the piles of stuff they have laying around. Wear gloves, old clothes, safety glasses, and sturdy shoes! Stay away from moving cranes!
Here’s one of the discoveries from yesterday’s trip- explosion proof mercury vapor light fixtures:
A pallet full of explosion proof lamps at the scrap yard.
And here’s what can be done with about an hour to figure out how to get it apart to remove the mercury vapor lamp and ballast and clean it up a little. Another 10 minutes went into installing the hardware, wiring, and a 6W LED bulb. I wouldn’t call it finished yet- the base is crying out for installation of pipes to act as feet, a little more cleanup, and maybe a dimmer switch. Total invested: $18 to get the fixture from the scrap yard, and another $12 for the hardware and LED bulb.
Explosion proof industrial lamp turned into table lamp.
This a follow up post to this one. I’ll list a few more ongoing classes and collaborative build efforts at our space.
This class is required before working in the ceramics and pottery area. It teaches you the general rules of housekeeping and basics of materials used in this process. Class details here.
Polymer Clay Basics
This class is designed to give you an overview of the Polymer Clay process. This medium can be used to make a wide variety of small accessories and jewelry pieces.
Felisha has been introducing the addicting process of wood turning to many makers. The beginner class covers tools, sharpening, turning spindles, basic work holding strategies, and finishing. By the end of the class each person will have completed a bottle stopper! Students actually learn on Felisha’s professional machine at Our Daily Salt. Class details here.
Trash to Cash
Tom had an ingenious scam idea to clean the makerspace. He shows you how to take a pile of junk and determine what has value and how to take it to the scrap yard and get cash for it! The money made from recycling is used to improve the space.
Keep your eyes open for more classes on the mailing list!
September 26-27 at Wisconsin State Fair Park, the same weekend as Harvest Fair. Admission is free. Maker Faire Milwaukee's Call for Makers is now open.
Connect with Milwaukee Makerspace
Join our public mailing list to talk with Milwaukee Makers about projects, techniques and more.
Check out some behind the scenes info on our wiki.