The big CNC is starting to work pretty nicely. There’s some backlash issues, and it’s not going to make a perfect jigsaw anytime soon, but good enough for a lot of stuff.
Cutting the parts carefully. This is a long and noisy process. Basically you’re putting a chunk of wood in there and removing everything that’s not the part you’ve designed:
Test fitting the parts together. Gluing was done with a jig to hold everything flat and screwed in place:
Voila! A completed part for Nick’s Sand Table:
The wood is Merbau, a nice hardwood which is cheap and pretty easy to work with.
Some specs and info on our wiki here, for people that want to know how to use it:
Special thanks to Kean, Ada, Nick and everyone that helped get the big CNC running again last night.
The results came out pretty nicely (very rough cut of some text):
Specs and some instructions on the wiki for people that are interested.
And on SundayI had a crack at making a box to hold a wax tablet to practice cuneiform:
On Wednesday a few of us went out to view the last transit of Venus for the 21st Century. Venus was passing in front of the sun, and we were determined to catch a glimpse of it!
I was hoping to use this as my ‘Science Tripod’ for the day, with batteries, motorised movement and inverter for charging the laptop, but sadly it had a mechanical failure about an hour before we were due to leave. Grabbing duct tape, we improvised!
Fortunately everyone else came well prepared too:
The night before, when it looked as if the weather in Sydney would be terrible, we’d headed over the Blue Mountains to Bathurst and spent the night. Getting up early we headed to Mt Canobolas, on the grounds that higher was better. When we got to the summit it didn’t look too good. In fact we couldn’t even see the top of the radio tower we’d parked at!
Fortunately moving down the mountain a bit worked well, and we were able to get some good shots of the transit starting. Everyone was eventually able to see the transit with their own eyes, and also get some shots with their cameras. Success! From this point on anything else was a bonus.
We eventually jumped back in the car and started to head down to Yass, in the hopes that it was clearer out there. It started to get bright in patches on the road, so we got into a routine of pulling over for a few minutes, frantically setting up tripods and cameras, snapping for a bit, then packing everything down and running off to the next patch of sunlight when the clouds moved in.
We were lucky enough to get a few more good shots in, before the clock told us that Venus was well and truly gone, even if the clouds opened up now.
Here’s some of our images:
More images can be found here:
and Tim made a time-lapse of the day here:
Everyone had a fantastic time, and we’d highly recommend doing something like this in the future. Keep your eyes out for the next major eclipse, Nov 14th 2012 in Carins!
You might have seen an unusual plastic called polycaprolactone, which also goes by the name of Polymorph, Polycap or Plastimake. It’s small white pellets of plastic that will melt in hot water and can be shaped like plasticine. When it cools, it’s rock hard and perfect for engineering applications.
The trouble up till now is that it’s quite hard to get a hold of decent quantities of it in Australia. But it turns out there’s now a local supplier, called Plastimake:
If you’ve used polycaprolatane before, you should check them out. In addition to being local and quite cheap, they’ve spent a lot of time making tutorials on what you can do with it. The roses are my favourite: (Pic shamelessly stolen from their site)
and there are loads more examples here: http://www.plastimake.com/examples
So, we put in an order for a bunch of plastic, and in addition to being very prompt, inside the box a freebie sample of colouring material, and also this drawing:
How awesome is that?
The image was made by the very talented Alice Caroll, who’s website is here:
The new space is located in Gerard Lane, Gladesville. We’re located inside the same space as Quick-Fit muffers.
Here it is on Google maps http://g.co/maps/zbfve (Thanks Madox)
Go through the garage door to the right until you see Daleks!
Being about 50m from Victoria Rd, there are oodles of busses on a regular basis even past midnight, and it’s only 30mins from Central.
http://www.131500.com.au/ for info. (Hepburn Avenue, Gladesville is a good cross-street to use)
Stuff in the space:
Compared to the previous location, the new space is huge and pretty open, but it’s shared between 3 groups of people. Robots and Dinosaurs (RnD), the Sydney Robot Workshop (SRW) and the Beehive. RnD & SRW are both community clubs, and Beehive is a startup business specialising in digital fab.
Regular Hacking Sessions:
There will be several regular times the space is open:
RnD’s Saturday Hacking from 11am till late every Saturday
Wed night from 5pm onwards, the Sydney Robot Workshop have a regular build session which a lot of the RnD people attend as well
Sunday afternoon from 1pm onwards, hosted by the Sydney Robot Workshop.
And of course RnD Members can use the equipment (lasercutters, 3D printers, etc.), or just hang out any time the SRW or RnD have opened the space. Feel free to visit any session, but if you’ve got a particular question head to the main event for that group. (E.g. If you want to know about 3D printing, lasercutting & quadcopters, check out Robots and Dinosaurs. For advice on making a Dalek, stormtrooper costume or resin casting, the Sydney Robot Workshop are the experts)
And don’t forget to join the mailing list http://robodino.org/mailing-list to stay informed of the various things happening at the space and what people are working on.
This Saturday was the first ever Maker Faire in Australia. Maker faires in the US have been absoultely huge, with hackerspaces, builders, makers and tinkerers of all types coming together, so we’ve been chomping at the bit for something similar in Australia.
The place was absolutely packed!
There was a good representation of makers in Australia. The Robots and Dinosaurs (Sydney) and Creative Community (Melbourne) hackerspaces had booths set up and representatives from Artifactory (Perth) and Make Hack Void (Canberra) were running workshops. It was a load of fun talking with people all day about what they can make and what interests them.
There was an impressive array of things to see. Like giant LED cubes (details here)
Rubik’s Cube solving robots:
There were heaps of workshops going through the day for people to learn electronics skills, soldering and more:
The kids had a great time making cardboard mazes and houses out of scrap cardboard:
There was an impressive collection of circuit bent synths and repurposed objects:
Science was present:
As well as all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff like DNA copying machines, felted dolls, advice on wood framing, laser cutting & 3D printing galore, steampunk sewing, and much more.
There’s some more photos up here for the curious:
Big thanks to Paul, Amon, Andy and all the organisers and volunteers that helped make the day go amazingly smoothly. And congratulations to CCHS for getting their new hackerspace location!
This Saturday was an absolutely packed day at the space!
Photos don’t describe the sensation of 20+ people crowded in the main room, eagerly chatting, bouncing ideas off each other and hacking away on their projects.
We were also visited by Daniel, Brett and Jenna from the Perth Artifactory. They’ve got an amazing community and huge hackerspace over in Perth, and they’re currently travelling all around Australia to various hackerspaces in preparation for the Maker Faire and Linux Conf in Melbourne.
Brett built a TV-b-gone and managed to fit it into the handle of a sonic screwdriver:
I had a crack at some fluid-filled coasters. Here’s the rough prototype, but the design is looking encouraging:
Tim did some prototyping on his Lasercut RC car. It’s certainly fast. In fact it was fast and torquey enough to break its own wheel off the axle!
You might have seen the Hackerspace Passport concept recently. Mitch Altman, inveterate hacker and noisebridge organiser came up with the idea, and it’s taken off like wildfire.
Make sure you get your hackerspace passport stamped next time you’re in the space! If you don’t have a passport you can:
• Get your notebook stamped instead!
• Download the PDF here and print your own
• Buy a passport from Seeedstudio here for less than $3
Next time you’re going travelling, you might want to check the list of hackerspaces to see if there’s a place you can drop in and see what they’re up to. It’s getting harder and harder to find a city where there isn’t one now!
Members from RnD have visited hackerspaces all around America, Japan, China, Europe and also been visited by people from all over the world in return.
It’s actually quite easy to make your own stamp, if you have access to a lasercutter. And it turns out common lino (easily obtainable at a craft shop) works like a treat with raster engraving.
Here’s the lino being laser engraved and cut: (Note: it’s important to check your rubber material doesn’t contain PVC or chlorine before lasering. Use the ‘copper stick in a blowtorch test’ for this!’)
The Big CNC:
A while ago Scott McDaid kindly donated to the space a large ‘Joe’s CNC’ he built. It’s a beautiful machine and has had many hours of work put into its construction.
The work envelope of the machine is huge, 600x1200 at least and it’s capable of milling wood, plastic and some metals.
We’ve just gotten it set up in the garage and got the cabling sorted out. Need to add some e-stops and things, but it looks pretty good so far!
Big thanks to Ada and Pauline for the setup.
Here’s a vid of the machine in operation. It’s cutting a depth-mapped version of our logo. Sadly we only had 6mm tools, so it’s a little like drawing with a crayon. But you can see the concept:
Here’s a project done by Luke Emrose this Saturday on the space’s CNC. It looks pretty cool and was made entirely with free tools!
Here’s some wiki info if you want to make a board yourself:
Without further ado, I’ll hand it over to Luke:
First the copper etching stage:
Then the holes are drilled for the parts:
Then the board is milled out to it’s final shape:
aka evolutionary theory