Stuff for making stuff: PETG filament


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Have you tried 3D printing with PETG filament instead of PLA or ABS? A few of Workshop 88’s experts in 3D printing swear by PETG for most of their prints – here’s why:

  1. PETG is durable and heat-tolerant like ABS is. PLA has the reputation of being a bit more brittle than ABS. PLA also tends to warp under moderate heat – no leaving PLA components inside a car on a hot summer day, for example.
  2. PETG is easy to print like PLA. PLA does not have the thermal expansion issues that ABS has, which tends to cause ABS to curl up off of the print bed.
  3. PETG is affordable. Check out the (affiliate) links above and below which support Workshop 88.

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Workshop 88 Open House

May 16, 2019

Workshop 88 has an open house every Thursday from 7:00pm – 9:00pm where we welcome visitors and give shop tours. If you would like to see what’s available and what’s going on at your local makerspace or if you’d like to talk about a project you have in mind, come check us out!

As a result, Thursdays also are typically our most social night too. This week we had members working on many interesting projects including metal casting preparation, 3D printing, CNC milling, electronics, and more.

Here’s a look…

More projector fun! (see previous blog post for more details)

3D printing a space ship model to create a mold for a bronze casting

Bronze casting from the PLA model.

Meanwhile GailJo was 3D printing weatherproof sign components for illuminated Workshop 88 signs. The signs were so effective someone stopped by to check us out within 2 hours of them being placed!

I love when we have two or more 3D printers working at the same time. If you’re curious about 3D printing check out our step by step tutorial here.

Cutting up bronze casting scraps so they fit in the crucible for another casting. We used the band saw, bolt cutters, a ball peen hammer, and a vise. Copper is soft, tin is soft, mix them together you get bronze. Bronze is hard… really hard.

Jim is working on stepper motor driver electronics for a kinetic sculpture.

CNC’ing a cubic hole in a graphite block to be a mold for a future silver cube casting.

(Actually hybrid manual/CNC control in this case.)

All are welcome, we hope to see you one of these Thursday nights!

Custom Workshop 88 Projector

Tonight at CNC Build Club we discussed the enclosure for the MPCNC electronics and while Tom continued to work on the design and GailJo was busy 3D printing pieces for Workshop 88 signs, I (Scott) experimented with new projector inserts for GailJo’s holiday projector.


I found some transparencies and using the Workshop 88 logo I grabbed off this website I printed a few sizes.

I found the one closest in size to the images included with the projector, cut it out, and installed it.

Voilà! It worked perfectly!

We grabbed a long extension cord, took it outside, and projected it on everything. Fun!

Taste of Glen Ellyn this week!

This week is the annual Taste of Glen Ellyn street festival. If you are coming to this festival on Thursday evening, please consider swinging over to Workshop 88 for our open house hours from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

If you were planning to come to Workshop 88 this week, please be aware that the parking lot closest to our door will be unavailable for parking. You’ll have to find street or public lot parking before walking over.

See you at Workshop 88!

New lights on the sign at W88!

Image from iOS

Solar lights on the Workshop 88 sign!

We’re always looking for ways to make getting to Workshop 88 a bit easier to discover. Recently, one of our members donated and installed light string on the sign post outside of Workshop 88.  These lights are battery-powered, and the batteries are recharged daily by solar cells.  If you arrive to Workshop 88 after the sun has set these lights will help you know you’re in the right place!

Learn more about becoming a member of Workshop 88!

Adventures in vacuum repair

When using the Shop-Vac the other day I noticed all the dust I was sucking up was being blown out the back of the vacuum… all over me.  Intrigued and filthy, I decided to investigate…

I emptied the vacuum and took the filter outside to knock as much dust and crud off of it as I could.  I employed the standard method of smacking it on the building and quickly twisting it back and forth in the breeze being careful to stay upwind so as not to breathe the fine and disgusting particles liberated.

When replacing the filter I immediately found the problem, or more accurately I didn’t find a key part of the vacuum cleaner.  The filter retainer was missing.  Without it, whatever the vacuum sucks up can shoot through the open bottom of the filter through the impeller and get blown all over me.  Fabricating a quick replacement from parts on hand took no time at all.  Sure, I could have bought the replacement part for $9 and had it next day from Amazon, but where is the fun in that?

I found a suitable scrap of 1/4″ acrylic onto which I traced the inner and outer diameters of the filter.

Using a jigsaw with a coarse blade I cut just outside the outer diameter.  Cutting acrylic or polycarbonate with a jigsaw (or CNC) can be tricky, friction heats the blade and the chips can weld the opening closed behind the cut as pictured here.  This piece was easily broken away with my hand, but I’ve had polycarbonate heal itself apparently stronger than the uncut material when cutting too fast without any coolant or compressed air to clear the chips.

Using a ruler and pen I measured and marked the center of the diameter along several angles.  Using the hammer and punch, I punched the mark for drilling (the dimple allows the drill to center more accurately).  This level of precision was not necessary but I find striking things with a hammer fun and habits like punching before drilling are good to reinforce.

I clamped the burgeoning new cover in the vise and drilled the center hole.  The bolt hardware is the ubiquitous 1/4″-20 (1/4 inch diameter, 20 threads per inch, super common stuff), so I’m going to drill the hole a little larger, 3/8″ to make it easy to slide on and off.  I don’t want to drill a hole that large to start with in the acrylic because it will catch a lot and cause chipping or cracking, so I started with a smaller 1/8″ drill and worked up through a couple sizes.

Now I need to install a mounting rod in the bottom of the vacuum cleaner.  Marking the center of the bottom of the vacuum cleaner filter holder was even easier.  I just connected the lines between the edges of retaining tabs on the outer edge.  This plastic is thin and soft enough to drill directly with the 1/4″ bit.

Then I installed the filter holder pin by putting a 4″ 1/4″-20 bolt through a lock washer, then a fender washer then fed it through the hole from behind (from the vacuum cleaner side) to stick out the bottom.  I followed that with another fender washer, a lock washer and a nut.  The fender washers sandwich the plastic to spread out any load and prevent cracking around the hole.  The lock washers keep the nuts tight even under the vibration of the running Shop-Vac.

The filter slides over the outside, and the cover slides over the bolt to seal it in place.  Another fender washer, lock washer, and convenient wingnut secure the assembly with a good tight seal.

At this point the filter replacement was functional but by no means done.  Workshop88 is a makerspace, and that means nothing is done unless you’ve used the laser or a 3D printer, so Christine engraved the lid.

IMG_5309

Voila!

I could have easily ordered the appropriate replacement and had the fresh new part the next morning, but by creating one myself I get the satisfaction of a job well done, and I was able to vacuum up the acrylic chips from the jigsaw and drill right away.

D. Scott Williamson
Compulsively Creative

 

 

Who likes FREE software?

Image result for who likes free

It’s amazing how much you can get and do for FREE today.  With a modest laptop or desktop computer and access to the internet, you have a huge selection of free operating systems and high quality software to do just about anything you want to do.

Depending on the application, I install most of this software on any new machine I set up.  I like them all, my favorites are marked with a ““.

Updated November 14,2018 marked with 11/14/18
Updated November 21,2018 marked with 11/21/18
Updated December 7, 2018 marked with 12/7/2018

Cross platform

For me “cross platform” usually means Ubuntu Linux and Windows 7 or 10, but much of the software listed here is available on Mac and other versions of Unix/Linux too.

General Purpose / Utility

  • Firefox Mozilla browser (and web debugger)
  • Chrome (or Chromium on Linux) Google’s powerful browser
  • TightVNC Great VNC remote desktop server, client, and java client for portability, features file sharing and scale-able remote desktop windows.
  • VirtualBox Virtual machines are awesome!  Want to try a new OS in your existing OS? Want to try some software before installing it for good?
  • WinRAR File compression/decompression tool that handles all the formats with great Explorer integration
  • AVG Antivirus Free Free antivirus software that has saved me many times.  Recently, AVG has tried harder to get me to buy the full version but the free antivirus is really the star of their offering.  As with any antivirus software, watch for false positives too (files you want to keep ending up in the virus vault)

Communication

  • FileZilla Mozilla ftp and sftp client and much more
  • WireShark Network sniffer, inspector, debugger

Programming

  • Visual Studio Code Free powerful IDE for developing all kinds of code
  • Eclipse IDE Powerful cross platform IDE for C++, Java, and other languages
  • Arduino IDE IDE for developing and debugging software for Arduino and other embedded platforms
  • KDiff3 Best diff and merge tool, works on files or directories, and only tool to feature 4 way merging with re-sync.
  • Git Distributed source control
  • Python One of the most popular, well supported scripting languages
  • Ruby Another powerful popular scripting language

Office Suites

Art

  • ImageMagick Powerful image manipulation tools, especially from the command line or in batches
  • Gimp Powerful bitmap graphics tool (comparable to Adobe Photoshop)
  • InkScape  Powerful bitmap and vector tools (comparable to Corel)
  • Darktable Virtual light table (11/14/18)
  • Pencil2D Hand drawn animation studio (11/21/18)

Audio/Video

  • Audacity Powerful mult-itrack audio editing and mixing tool
  • VLC Super portable cross platform audio/video/CD/DVD… player
  • youtube-dl Download and convert videos and playlists from YouTube and many other video sites to audio or video files
  • Any Video Converter Easily convert video between many formats with defaults to target most mobile devices
  • Handbrake Video transcoder, rip your DVD’s and watch them on your mobile devices
  • LAME mp3 encoder
  • FFmpeg video encoder and much more

3D Modeling

  • OpenSCAD ♥♥♥ “The programmer’s 3D modeler”, my go-to tool for creating most models for 3D printing.
  • Meshmixer Super powerful 3D model creation and editing tool (UI is a little quirky)
  • Meshlab Powerful 3D mesh editing & visualization tool (even quirkier)
  • Blender Powerful 3D modeling, animating, and rendering software

3D Printing

  • Slic3r Prusa Edition 3D printer slicer software, enhanced by Josef Prusa
  • Ultimaker Cura Another powerful slicer for 3D printing
  • Pronterface (available in the bundle) 3D printer controller software
  • Octoprint control your 3D printer over your network with powerful cool plugins, record time lapse videos, and even run from a Raspberry Pi.
  • GPX tool that will allow you to convert gcode to x3g files for Makerbot printers

CAD/CAM

Windows

General Purpose / Utility

  • Everything by Void Tools – Index all your hard drives and find files instantly
  • WinDirStat Simply the BEST disk/filesystem usage tool
  • AstroGrep Search file contents for strings with nice interface
  • ImgBurn Burn CD’s and DVD’s
  • Notepad++ Great editor with lots of features and plugins
  • SciTE Another good editor I use for Ruby development
  • Rapid Environment Editor Best tool for editing Windows environment variables (remember to run as Administrator)
  • 7-zip Another file compressor/decompressor with Explorer integration
  • Drive Image XML Disk backup and recovery tool (my favorite for Windows XP and older machines)
  • AutoHotKey Programmable hotkey macros
  • Putty Free ssh, scp,sftp,telnet and other tools for secure communication
  • HxD Hex editor
  • Win32DiskImager Used to write and backup USB, SD, MicroSD cards (my favorite Raspberry Pi image tool)
  • YAWCAM Webcam software: motion detection, time lapses, live streams…
  • VirtualDub Powerful video editing software with plugins and scripting
  • iTunes Install iTunes to get Bonjour which will enable you to access machines by their host names (i.e. raspberrypi.local) on Windows
  • Cygwin Linux tools and lightweight environment in Windows
  • MSYS/MinGW Another Linux tools and environment for Windows
  • fldigi spectrum analysis and decoding software for amateur radio
  • Magical Jellybean KeyFinder – Recover Windows, Microsoft Office, and other installed software serial numbers.  An excellent tool for data recovery or if you need to re-set up a system from scratch. (12/7/2018)

Linux

OS

There is a HUGE variety of Linux flavors to choose from, https://distrowatch.com/ is a great website to see what’s popular and read about the pro’s and con’s of each of them. (Check out this GNU/Linux Distributions Timeline from Wikipedia)  One of the great things about Linux is that most distributions (“distros“) have live CD’s available; download a disk image, copy image to USB drive or burn a CD or DVD, reboot your computer from the USB drive or disk and you can try the OS before committing to a full installation.  You can also run them from (and later install them to) a virtual machine like VirtualBox to try them, keep them around, and copy them between physical machines, even if they are running different operating systems.

Some of my favorite distributions

  • Ubuntu (Debian) – Most popular
    • Lubuntu – Lightweight version of Ubuntu
    • Xubuntu – Another lightweight version with Xfce desktop
    • Linux Mint – Popular Ubuntu derivative
  • CentOS (Fedora)
  • Puppy Linux – ♥♥♥ Super lightweight, brings life to old machines

Software

  • KDirStat File and directory size analysis tool (similar to WinDirStat)
  • LinuxCNC CNC controller (11/21/2018)
  • MachineKit a fork of LinuxCNC that has additional features and supports the Beagle Bone Black controller (11/21/2018)
  • Most of the Linux tools I use are cross platform and in the list above

Command line

  • htop interactive process manager that can run in a terminal
  • ncdu No Curses Disk Usage – disk usage tool that can run in a terminal
  • mc Midnight Commander file browser/copy tool with great terminal ui

Stand alone boot disks (CD/DVD/USB)

  • CloneZilla Best disk/partition/file system backup and recovery tool (my favorite)
  • Ultimate Boot CD Huge collection of powerful tools on one live bootable CD

Online resources

I hope you found something useful here!  If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear about them, please comment or contact me at Workshop 88 (info@workshop88.com).

D. Scott Williamson
Compulsively Creative