3D printing demos with our Cupcake

We’ve been getting more and more requests for 3D printer demos lately.  Inspired by not wanting to disappoint kids who didn’t even have their first iPad back in the days when it W88LogoRWB1348was magic to be able to 3D print anything – like when our Makerbot Cupcake was hot stuff – Jim has been trying to get the old printer working again.  This W88 logo is one of the latest results.  Not bad for an old 1-color printer!  (Thanks to Bill for the color change tips.)

Its output is no match for current “appliance” 3D printers, but it’s still fine to show the basics in a nice noisy demo.  Details of Jim’s adventures with the printer are captured here.

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IOLab: The Pocket Physics Lab

The University of Illinois has developed a new device called IOLab which allows students to explore physical principles and concepts in one all-in-one unit which can easily fit in a pocket. Andrew, a physics professor at Joliet Junior College, has high hopes for the device in the classroom and beyond. IOLab features a variety of sensors, many of which can be found in a physics lab, in a portable and affordable form. Built-in wheels record the displacement of the unit, measuring acceleration and velocity. It also features a force sensor, a barometer to measure air pressure, as well as a light, magnetic, temperature, and sound sensor.

IMG_2742Andrew is excited about IOLab because he hopes that the device will work in a way that engages our particular population of students today. It’s a great kinesthetic learning tool, encouraging creative exploration of physics in a non-threatening way. He mentioned that an additional benefit is that it has expansion capabilities to discover other yet to be determined inputs and outputs. Due to the utility flexibility of the device, it can be used in a variety of settings and serve a plethora of purposes. Andrew has a lot of imaginative ideas of how to use the device in his classes; one thought he has is to take some data, give it to the students and tell them to recreate the graph and figure out the experiment.

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Tesla Coil Parts Built at W88

I thought I’d start posting some photos of Tesla Coil parts I have built with the help of some of the great resources available at Workshop 88

Primary Coil

Completed primary coil, built at Workshop 88

Tesla Coil Capacitor Bank, built at Workshop 88

Tesla Coil Capacitor Bank, built at Workshop 88

tesla spark gap

My simple static spark gap – built at Workshop 88

tesla table

This what I like to refer to as my “Tesla Table.”

I have more photos, showing some of the details. I might add them if there is any interest.

I hope to have a demo of at the space sometime this summer.

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Bart Dring talks LinuxCNC and BeagleBone Black

Bart's Delta Router - Probably not going to be there on Saturday, but look at how awesome it is!

Bart’s Delta Router – Not going to be there on Saturday, but look at how awesome it is!

Bart Dring of MakerSlide fame is going to be out at Workshop 88 on Saturday, March 1 demonstrating CNC concepts and giving a brief talk about how he has constructed several CNC builds.  This talk immediately follows Arduino 301: Controlling The World, so come out for both! He has designed and built many great tools, such as a laser cutter, several types of 3D printers, including delta style printers. One of his most recent creations is a delta-style CNC router. Very cool! We look forward to having Bart out at Workshop 88 to share his expertise.

This event is FREE and OPEN to everyone! Please come out and bring a friend.

 

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Upcycled LCD Entertainment Center… and Paper Elephants

This past Thursday night gathering at the Workshop, Rick Stuart showed up all smiles- though I’m not sure if this was due to his enthusiasm to show off his new gadget or in anticipation of Rachel’s shortbread which had been announced earlier via email.

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Rick with his entertainment center

Rick has built a personal entertainment center which has the capacity to display high-defintion videos and music through an upcycled touch-screen LCD. Rick had recovered some of these screens from his previous workplace and had decided to put them to use in a new project. He has created a running loop for the system to operate: he utilized a Raspberry Pi running OpenELEC in order to run XBMC (a media center) and connected an HMDI cord to a LVDS adapter board. The adapter runs to the LCD, which is connected by USB to the Raspberry Pi. For sound, the system will be attached to speakers. Files are stored on an SD card inserted into the Raspberry Pi, and streamed files are accessible through connecting an ethernet cord.

By using HDMI instead of the normal video output connection, Rick was able to make his display high-definition. Rick said that a great advantage about his system is that he was able to essentially create his own media center out of materials he already had on hand plus the low cost of a Raspberry Pi.

Meanwhile, Zach showed me how to create very intricate origami elephants using printer paper. While there’s no hope of me recreating one on my own, I thought it was important to highlight how awesome they turned out.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

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Arduino 301 – Controlling the outside world – March 2014

Workshop 88 is offering a continuation of the Arduino classes featuring a concentration on interfacing the arduino with external devices.  solid state relays, H-bridges and other ways of controlling high voltages sources and motors.

If you already have an arduino, you have all the materials you’ll need for this class.  Otherwise, you can order a kit and we’ll have it for you when you come to the class.

What you need to bring to the class: a laptop with the arduino environment already installed, your arduino, and your breadboard. What you’ll get from the class: an understanding of how to work with the arduino to control higher current and higher voltage DC devices, 110-volt AC devices, and various servos, steppers and motors.

The class was originally scheduled for 2/15/14, but is being rescheduled.  Watch this space!

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Using Eagle CAD PCB design Software – March 2014

This class will cover Schematic capture, PCB design, and CAD File generation.

What you should know before coming to this class: You should be somewhat familiar with electronic circuits.

What you should bring with you to the class: You should bring a laptop with the free version of CadSoft Eagle PCB installed and running on it.

What you will leave the class with: After the class you should have the ability to capture a electronic circuit into a schematic, build new components, layout the physical printer circuit board and generate the files needed to have a PCB manufacture make your board.

(This is the first in a series of 4 classes on printed circuit board design and prototyping.)

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More on Using Eagle CAD PCB design Software – March 2014

This class will cover topics in Eagle related multi-page schematic design:

  • Learn pcb layout, completing the layout in preparation for generating gerber files.
  • Using the PCB auto router
  • Using various scripts

What you should know before coming to this class: You should be somewhat familiar with electronic circuits. You should be familiar with all the material covered in the first class on using Eagle.

What you should bring with you to the class: You should bring a laptop with the free version of CadSoft Eagle PCB installed and running on it.

What you will leave the class with: After the class you should be familiar with creating multi-page schematics and using the auto-router tool. You will be prepared for the third class in the Eagle series.

(This is the 2nd class in a series of 4 classes on printed circuit board design and prototyping.)

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Using Eagle CAD Software to prepare files for PCB fabrication – April 2014

This class will start with a review of pcb layers Gerber file generation then cover:

  • Sending the packages out for fabrication
  • DIY, and Professional Service
  • Bill of material and parts ordering

What you should know before coming to this class: You should be somewhat familiar with electronic circuits. You should be familiar with all the material covered in the first class on using Eagle.

What you should bring with you to the class: You should bring a laptop with the free version of CadSoft Eagle PCB installed and running on it.

What you will leave the class with: After the class you should be familiar with creating multi-page schematics and using the auto-router tool. You will be prepared for the final class in the Eagle series.

(This is the 3rd in a series of 4 classes on printed circuit board design and prototyping.)

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Introduction to DIY surface mount – April 2014

This class will cover: 

  • How to apply solder paste and place parts in PCB assembly 
  • How to reflow your pcb to solder your components 
  • How to test your board. 

What you should know before coming to this class: You should be somewhat familiar with electronic circuits. You should be familiar with all the material covered in the first three classes on using Eagle.

What you should bring with you to the class: You do not have to bring anything with you. 

What you will leave the class with: After the class you should be familiar with preparing circuit boards for surface mount soldering.

(This is the 4th in a series of 4 classes for learning how to design and prototype printed circuit boards.)

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