I get a lot of blank stares and strange looks when I tell people that I am working on a 3D printer. As such I’d like to set out to explain what one is as well as show off what I’ve completed on mine thus far.
So you ask, “What exactly is one of them there 3-Dee printer things you’re talking about?” In short, it is a rapid prototyping machine. Since I’m sure that clears it all up and removes any further questions you have in your mind, I’m done here and everyone’s good to move on to the next blog right? No of course not. The best explanation I have is it’s a machine that takes a plastic material, melts it down, and places a thin layer of the melted plastic one layer at a time until you have a finished object. It is a printer that works like your old school inkjet printer but also moves on a 3rd axis to make non flat prints.
The idea is as follows. What do you do when you want to develop some brand new, earth shattering, world stopping, sign of the apocalypse product that has never been in existence before and it needs a custom part that even Nostradamus didn’t predict? You design it of course, in your favorite 3D modeling software like Google Sketchup or Blender or any of the other dozens that are out there. The show stopper before was how you went from a digital model to something tangible that you could hold in your hands and break if you are one of those accident prone individuals. It always meant that you had to go pay some exorbitant amount for a machine shop to make you just one of that item, and heaven forbid that item didn’t fit the needs on the first round. I’m sure you can imagine where the price would go up rather quickly in development. So why not just make it out of cheaper material and something that works just well enough to serve as a proof of concept. Well, that’s exactly what the 3D printer does for you.
A handful of months ago two of the other members at our hackerspace and myself all decided we wanted to build our own Prusa 3D printers. No real defined reason behind it other than we knew we wanted our own printers, and that if we had one it would open new possibilities to us. Since there is no real completion point for these things, it would simply be that once we had it “working” we could use it to create new items and repair or replace old ones that were no longer available. That in a nutshell is the appeal of having such a device and the driving force behind our continued development of them. One of the single most awesome things about this particular printer that we are building, the Prusa. Is that it’s relatively cheap, easily reproducible, modular, and upgradeable. Currently we are in the process of getting them fine tuned and working to some extent. From there we’ll be able to spend further time using it to upgrade itself and improve it’s quality. Expect to see more details in the near future right here on my very own blog enlightening all of the saga of blood, sweat, tears, cursing, and agony that is the way of life a homemade 3D prototyping machine is.
Sonny recently shared his current progress of his UAV Quad Copter project and included a test flight video.
So today I had my first real flights with my quadcopter UAV. The setup is pretty advanced and it takes a lot to get up to speed. I’ve learned a lot from my build. I made custom printed PLA motor mounts, which have worked out really well to hold them on the end of aluminum pipes. Unfortunately the cross in the middle which is also PLA could not handle the rough landings and cracked. I’ve secured it for the time being, but I think I’ll be milling something better Wednesday. If I can work out the stability issues, I’ll bring it Friday. Anyway, check out the first flight/set of flights.
We’re going to do a focused cleanup day at the space this Sunday April 10th starting around 10 AM. Feel free to come when you can; we’ll be working till about 5pm or so depending on how much we get accomplished. Bring your work gloves as we’ll be primarily focused on the shop to make some more room for projects and more work area. We want to make visible progress, not attempt to clean an entire mountain. We want to open up the shop area a bit better so that we (and the landlord) have more room to work. We have set goals that we want to complete on Sunday so that we can focus everyone’s efforts. That being said, if you have projects you’re storing / working on in the shop, you may want to make sure any tools or such are put up before Sunday. I know some of you have projects you all are working on, I just don’t want to have to move something that shouldn’t be moved.
Our main goals:
- reorder and reorganize the mezzanine, specifically the right hand half of it
- move enough stuff out of the way to get the metal rack over on that side against the wall
- order and organize the wood that’s on the floor there utilizing the rack and space created on the mezzanine
This doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot to do so we’re definitely going to be using everyone that can show up to help. These three things should keep us pretty busy all day.
This Friday February 18th at Republic Coffee we’ll have members showing off their Arduino projects and answering questions about the Arduino platform. We’ve had a lot of interest in getting started with various Arduino boards so come learn more about the great things you can do with an open source platform.
What is an Arduino? Arduino is a physical computing platform and a software development environment for controlling various things like motors, sensors and even entire devices. The hardware and development environment are open source and there is a very large community of developers and hardware hackers out there working on projects. The hardware is also quite inexpensive. There are also “Getting Started” kits that are a package of items to help you hit the ground running with your Arduino.
Chain Mail Class – Come Learn how to make chain mail with us.
Our NEXT meet will be December 3rd at Republic Coffee. We will be having an abbreviated meeting with a class on how to create chain mail led by John Wood. If you would like to participate in the chain mail class the cost will be $10. You’ll be able to keep what you create as well as the handy pair of pliers you’ll be using in the class. Feel free to prepay by using the paypal link on the front page of http://www.midsouthmakers.org
The class will consist of the start to finish exercise of creating a section of chain mail material out of readily available aluminum electric fence wire. The process will involve taking a coil of electric fence wire, explaining how to make a coil out of the wire using a portable drill and a metal rod. Then taking the coil and creating individual links. Lastly how to construct a section of chain mail material out of the links using hand tools.
LAN Party Part DEUX
The LAN Party will be held at same location as last time: 2203 Freemont Rd. Kevin will be making Cincinnati style Chili and grilling hot dogs. Joe will be bringing Rotel cheese dip and we’ll have plenty of drinks + chips. The exact cost for food is still being determined (should be on par to last time ~$10). If you’d like to bring something to share (1UP Cakes, Strawberry cakes of awesome) please feel free.
If you have any suggestions for games please let us know, I’m going to throw out Left 4 Dead 2 + I’d like to get Walter to carry me through the rest of the hard mode alien swarm! Also a few us of WoW addic…..players will have a fresh expansion to play through so I’m sure WoW will be represented as well. Feel free to suggest anything else. Last time SC2 and UT2k4 was a big hit.