$5 Upcycled Desk Clock

Last summer I came across a collection of car parts at a garage sale; instrument clusters, lights, gauges, and some digital clock displays.  For $5, I became the proud owner of a JECO Japan, vacuum fluorescent clock display.  The plastic housing held all the clock electronics, membrane buttons for setting the time, and a four-pin connector.  After powering it up, I realized one of the pins could be used to dim the display, which is a pretty nice feature to have.

I’ve worked on it off and on for a few months, but finally decided to finish it this weekend.  On Saturday, I tweaked some dimensions and laser-cut the final enclosure.  I wasn’t happy with the button holes and text I had on the front of the first iteration, so I got rid of them for the final.  You can adjust the time by slipping a jeweler’s screwdriver or a paper clip through a gap in between the plexiglass sides and pressing the buttons to add hours or minutes. 

I added a small single-pole, double-throw toggle to switch between bright and dim, then soldered the connections before closing it up.  The whole thing is clamped together by a single #10-32 machine screw and a wingnut.  The final result doesn’t look half bad.

Camera Accessory Mounting System

CAMS pieces

Those who know me know that besides being cheap (hey, it’s part of being a maker and being DIY) I tend to use cameras a lot. Well, on occasion camera related things break, or I’ll need a part that doesn’t exist yet, or exists, but it too expensive, or isn’t designed right, or whatever.

All of the issues mentioned above lead me to create “CAMS” the “Camera Accessory Mounting System”, which will be a modular system that allows me to mount things to cameras, and mount cameras to things.

The connecting pieces of CAMS are 3D printed, and design is happening in OpenSCAD. The other parts of CAMS consists of standard 1/4″ hardware, nuts, bolts, screws, etc. There are also knobs that fit onto the nuts to allow for easy finger tightening.

CAMS Arm

There’s a wiki page for CAMS, which doesn’t have a ton of info yet, but you can also check out blog post #1 and blog post #2 about the arm.

Staying Stocked Up

The idea was simple: make something to help keep track of our supplies so we know when we’re running low on the essentials.  After weeks of kicking the idea around and various rough doodles, this project finally took shape.  Two days after the first cut on the laser cutter, it was complete.


Made from multiple layers of acrylic, cardboard, and wood, the “Milwaukee Makerspace Consumables Super Analog Status Board” is a clipboard-sized device with nine sliders installed in enclosed slots.  Sliding the tabs right displays more green to indicate “full” or “lots” and sliding left reveals the red acrylic below to indicate “empty” or “low.”  The user can carry the board around the Space with them as they check on supplies and when done, a large hole centered at the top allows the board to be hung up and displayed on a wall.

The hardware holding the whole thing together can be loosened and the layers disassembled.  The cardboard insert that the text resides on can be swapped out should we decide to change the list of items we want to keep tabs on.  The supplies being tracked currently include:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Paper Towels
  • Hand Soap
  • Welding Gases
  • Welding Wire
  • Propane
  • Soda
  • Duct Tape
  • Painter’s Tape

A digital version may or may not be planned for future release.

March 3D Printing Meetup

MKE3DP

Join us on Saturday, March 9th, 2013 from 1pm to 4pm for the Milwaukee 3D Printing Meetup! We’ll be hosting it at the new Milwaukee Makerspace located at 2555 S. Lenox St. in Milwaukee.

The Meetup group is over on meetup.com, but we welcome anyone to come to the meeting and learn about 3D printing. We’ll have a few printers on-hand (as well as many printed objects) and will provide a nice introductory talk to the subject by one of our members. After that we’ll melt some plastic and create some real-world things.

This event is free and open to the public, so come on down at learn about 3D printing!

MAKE

MAKE

Kevin did a great job updating Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture “LOVE” into a piece he titled “FEAR”, and it inspired me to create something to give us hope in these dark times…

Rather than use a cold, harsh material like aluminum, I opted for something a little more comforting… plastic. Also, mine comes in a handy desktop version!

(See Also: The Making of MAKE.)

Vacuum Forming

Due to repeated collisions with the ground, walls and every other structure in the area,  my miniature Quadcopter required some plastic surgery.  I contemplated using the large vacuum former at the space to make replacement bodies, but my quad is only 4 in. 101.6mm in length, so I decided to make a mini vacuum former.

My first step was to aquire a heating source, so I picked up a toaster oven for $6.00 US, at a local thrift shop.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90705910@N06/8236346286/in/photostream

I  used CamBam to design the frame to fit in the toaster oven.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90705910@N06/8235277147/in/photostream

I used the CNC Router to cut the pieces. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/90705910@N06/8236347072/in/photostream

I assembled the base and inserted a piece of Non Glare Picture Glazing in the frame.  The first time I tried it I set the oven at 400 f /5 minutes.  The plastic was too pliable and turned out very brittle.  The next attempt was using 300 f /3 minutes (using some thicker plastic I found in the scrap heap. That didn’t seem to be enough heat or time.  The final attempt I used more of the Non Glare Picture Glazing at 350 f / 4 minutes, and that turned out to be perfect.

Comm Badges for Artemis

Artemis

So there’s this game called Artemis, which is a multi-player video game where six people play the roles of helm, communications, science, weapons, and engineering stations and follow the orders of a captain aboard a starship. It sounds like the sort of thing Star Trek nerds might love. (And yes, I’m a Star Trek nerd!)

Comm Badges

There will be a game of Artemis at BarCampMilwaukee7, and I thought that people who play the game might like to make things a bit more realistic, so I made some comm badges I found on Thingiverse. I made them on my RepRap, but let’s just pretend I made them on the Replicator we have at the space, as that would be so much more awesome… (Did I mention I’m a Star Trek nerd?)

A Tribute to Steve

Apple][+

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the MakerBot at the space lately. (And yes, it’s now much quieter and doesn’t force you to yell in the lab when it’s running.)

Last night Dustin stopped by to work on calibrating it a bit more. (He maintains one of the MakerBot Thing-O-Matics at Discovery World.)

We made a bit of progress by tweaking things in Skeinforge, and after much calibration test printing I thought we should print one “fun” thing before the night ended.

We chose the 1:9 scale model Apple II+ from Thingiverse. It seemed a fitting tribute to Steve Jobs.