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Robots & Dinosaurs is located in 10/27 Bank st, Meadowbank . We’re open Saturdays from about 11am and some weeknights, but you should check by asking on our mailing list.

Embroidery using water soluble paper

Making parts for the new laser on our CNC

Recently we ran a small workshop on using the CNC. Although we really only scratched the surface (LOL) during the workshop, later that evening Max and I were talking about brackets for the new laser, and decided the CNC was the best way to make something with the precise offsets needed to keep the beam level. 
I thought I’d do a quick write up, so people can see what’s involved. All up it was probably just over an hour to go from idea to having both parts finished. 

We designed up the part, imported it as a DXF file into CAMBAM.  told it the tool diameter (3mm), the material thickness (10mm), and what speeds and feeds were acceptable (300mm/min for feed, and 200mm/min for plunging), and that it was only allowed to remove 1.1mm of surface material at a time. 

The computer calculated how many passes were needed, and generated the code: 
We loaded up the code in MACH3: 

Clamped our workpiece down and zeroed the machine:
And started cutting:

Here’s the result after 20 minutes of cutting. The edges were nice and flat: 
(We did deburr the bottom surface, though)
And test-mounted on the lasercutter: 

I’d forgotten how much of a joy milling acrylic can be. It behaved really nicely, and the noise wasn’t even that loud (the vacuum cleaner used to clean the mess was much louder). I’m certainly going to use it again in the future. 

New space!

The hackerspace has MOVED!

After a lot of messing about, we finally moved shop and are settling in nicely to our new address, 10/27 bank st Meadowbank! It’s right across the road from Meadowbank station.

We still have of work to do settling in but so far the new space has a much cleaner, brighter and friendlier vibe, so we are all excited and thankful it is over! Below is a time lapse I made of the unpacking.

Housewarming to come soon!

In which we make a wool carding machine for an Alpaca

One of our members, Judit, had a bit of a challenge recently when she got an Alpaca fleece and needed to card it. 

Wool ‘carding’ is the process of teasing and aligning the fibres to remove knots, and it must be done before spinning the wool. Carding machines are vey expensive, but the actual carding brushes are fairly cheap, so we designed a laser-cut set of drums and frame to make our own machine: 

Two power drills provide motion. The process is not quite as gentle as you’d expect…

But the results were pretty respectable: 

Next step is getting practice on our spinning wheel to make thread:

Lasercutters & Lamps

Here’s a few projects that have been made in the space recently: 


Here’s Judit’s Hippo & Fox:

Max also finished his scratch-built lasercutter recently. Here’s  it being used by one of our young members: 


eTextiles - Sewable Circuit Workshop

Here’s some pics of the sewable circuit workshop that we had recently:

Justin showing the group how to use conductive thread:


LEDs, switches and batteries stitched into fabric: 


Annika’s awesome stitched circuit board:

Jars and jars of parts to choose from:


Big big thanks to Justin for coming along and giving us the workshop!

Gerard’s Moulding Box

Here’s a project one of our members, Gerard, made recently:

Well, not so much assembled at the space, but certainly made made far more easily and elegantly with the help of the laser cutter :)

The table is to help remove air bubbles from the condensation cure moulding rubber I’ve been using and it seems to work quite well.

It’s just a small DC motor with an eccentric disc attached to the rotor, and clamped to the table with a bracket printed on an UP printer. 

The table sits on a foam block to minimise the amount of energy escaping into the work bench, and to reduce noise (though the thing is still surprisingly noisy).

As an aside, Dave gave me the idea of 3D printing the masters for the moulds onto a flat plate to ensure an even parting line. I’ve done that and also 3D printed reusable mould boxes.

Some photos attached.


Here’s the moulds:

The table itself. The wood is lasercut and the corners and motor mounts are 3D printed:

And assembled, ready for use: 

ROS Workshop wrapup and pics

Hi All, Gav here.

Last Saturday I ran a workshop in the space on ROS, the Robot Operating System.

We had a great attendance, and lots of good back and forth about how to make a robot and what sort of stuff is possible.

Slides and materials are up here:

Here’s the quick and dirty map we made on the day: 

And I’d highly recommend getting into ROS if you’re interested in robotics. There are tons of ready made software stacks out there and you can use them with very little change. There’s nothing more frustrating than reinventing the wheel. 

Also, there’s been enough interest that we’ve started a new Sydney ROS Users group here:

And we’ll be having a monthly get-together in the Robots and Dinosaurs space to discuss things. Next ROS meeting is 27th April at noon.


Feel free to come along and bring your project for show and tell!

RND BBQ special: Water balloon launcher!

In preparation for the up-and-coming RND BBQ, we tested our first water balloon launcher design. 

It was super simple, only cost $15 and threw a water water balloon over 50m! with some simple mods it should have fairly repeatable accuracy but that’s for others to figure out, I’m going to test a different design… :)
Now we just need a castle made out of tissue paper…


Happy Hacking!!

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