Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tardis Assembled

Stopped off at the Milwaukee Makerspace tonight to assemble the pieces of the Tardis.  I glued on the window pieces and the top of the light.  It really looks nice.

Gave it to my son Dmitry as a (slightly) early birthday present.

Also, I brought Joe from work to the 'space to show him around.  He had a small project to make some kind of adapter for a motor.  It was a problem that he had been trying to solve for months.  We talked to Tom and Jim from the Makerspace about it.  They had an idea to fix it in about five minutes.  After about one hour, they had fabricated exactly what Joe wanted out of a 3/4" nut.

Another great day at the Makerspace.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tardis Printed & Painted / First Laser Cutting

Its only about two weeks until Dima's birthday and I need to get the Tardis finished.  I spent a few hours at the MakerSpace this afternoon working on that.  I managed to print the final two sides of the Tardis with no problems.  Next, I spray painted all of the parts navy blue.  I'll give them a day to dry and then assemble them.  I might have to punt on the electrical for now just to get it done in time for his birthday.

While I was here I got someone to help me laser cut some pieces for Anna's rabbit hutch.  It came out okay.  I had to print the shapes four times to get the laser to cut all the way through.  Even then, I had to pop out the pieces.  The sides needed sanding because there were some share edges and the edges are not exactly square.  I guess I need some practice but these pieces will do fine for now.  I need to cut two or three more pieces to cover all four sides if the cage.

Another great day at the Makerspace.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

3D Print Figured Out (?) and Other Stuff

Jacob and I went to the Milwaukee Makerspace this afternoon.  I worked on several things.  Jacob played a lot on the pinball machine and was bored some of the time but I think he enjoys himself.

First of all, the Makerspace hosted an event called "Fix-It Milwaukee".  People were invited to bring broken stuff to the space and the Makers would try to fix them.  I was surprised about how many people were bringing in their things to get fixed.  It was really well attended.

My main goal today was to laser cut the acrylic for Anna's rabbit hutch.  I have a piece of acrylic that I can cut 10cm high rectangles out of.  The pieces will get attached to the insides of the hutch at the bottom.  The acrylic will keep the bedding (and poop) from getting kicked out of the hutch and all over the floor.  I made a drawing of a 24"x16# piece of acrylic.  Then, I drew rectangles in that piece.  I did all of this in Inkscape on my Ubuntu laptop.  I was told that I could then import the Inkscape document into Corel Draw.  Corel is what controls the 60 watt laser cutter at the 'space.  The reality is that Corel Draw does not work well with Inkscape documents.  I tried several things including saving the document as a PDF file and then trying to import that into Corel.  Nothing worked.  When I asked people who use the laser cutter how they make their documents, they all either have a paid for version of Corel or Adobe Publisher.  I need to figure out a better way.  All I want to do is cut out a rectangle.

I was able to make good progress 3D printing Tardis parts.  Dave Buggs helped me get the right settings for the base and sides.  I was able to successfully print the open base and the front door.  The settings I used were:
  • infill: 30% 
  • shells: 2
  • layer height: .20 mm
  • extruder temp: 235 degrees C
  • build plate temp: 110 degrees C

Next time, I will try to re-print the sides.  If these print okay, I will have all the pieces printed.  I also bought a can of navy blue spray paint.

In between prints, I got some help with my rocket launcher from Dave Buggs and Bill Murray.  What we finally figured out is that when the button is pushed, the current is going to ground and not to the rocket.  I think I need to re-design the circuit slightly.  I did some research and came up with a new circuit design.  When I get time, I will re-do the wiring.  Hopefully, that will fix the problem.

Finally, there were some guys there talking about alternative energy.  They told me about a solar kit that Harbor Freight sells that would be good for experimenting.  That is a project for another day.  I'd like to install that on my shed and use the power a light and fan.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Bit More 3D Printing

I spent a few more hours at the Makerspace tonight trying to print more Tardis parts.  This time, I changed the Infill setting on the Makerbot Replicator to 0% and raised the temperature on the stepstruder to 235 degrees Celsius.  It seemed to complete the side panels more than it did the first time but they still are not 100% complete (see the picture below).  It did not fill on all the gaps.  Not sure why.

When I got to the space, someone was printing Star Trek badges.  However, the extruder was blocked and not printing anymore.  I took some time to print eight of the badges (see below).

Finally, I bought a BeagleBone Black the other day.  It arrived yesterday and I fired it up tonight.  Plugged the included USB cable into my laptop running Ubuntu Linux.  The computer found the board just fine.  However, I could not get Cloud9 to show me any of the code installed on the Black.

Someday, I hope to install this in my Home Environmental Sensor Array instead of the Raspberry Pi.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

First motion sensing light switch installed

I took a few minutes to install a motion sensing light switch today. I originally bought it for the bathroom but thought it would be better to try the first one in the dining room.
The installation was very easy. I just had to attach the built-in wires on the switch to the existing wires in the outlet. I was a bit concerned that it would not fit in the box but it did with no problems.
The Beckers took the first step on the path of green energy.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rocket Launcher Still not Working

I did some testing on the rocket launcher today.  The good news is that the LED does work.  Yay!  Also, the switch lights up (faintly) when the launch button is pushed.  When I connect everything, the launcher works exactly as designed.

On the down side, the launcher is not setting off the ignitor.  I can't figure out what is wrong.  The launcher is pushing out 6 volts.  That is supposed to be enough to launch a rocket.

Another bad thing is that the 12 volt battery pack has something wrong with it.  Yesterday and at first today, I could connect to it and get 12 volts out.  Now, I have to connect to the leads that put out 6 volts.  That is another reason I could not get the launcher to ignite the thingy.  Not sure if the battery pack broke or what.

Friday, August 2, 2013

More 3D Printing and Other Stuff

I spent a few hours after work at the Makerspace tonight.  My main goal was to print more of the Tardis pieces.  I was moderately successful.

The Makerbot Replicator finished eight more of the parts -- the two pieces of the top, all four windows, and the two parts for the light on the top.  The extruder stopped printing once or twice.  I had to remove the filament and reload it.  Now, I know how to do that.

Also, I could not get the base or front to print correctly.  I am not sure if it was the settings I used or something with the printer.  The settings for these pieces was:

  • Infill: 5%
  • Shells: 1
  • Layer height: 0.2 mm
The settings for the pieces that worked better had an infill of 0%.  Maybe I will try printing again with 0% for the infill setting.

While I was waiting for the pieces to print, I helped Dan do some blacksmithing on the forge.  I held the heated piece on the anvil while he used a hammer and chisel to make a line on it.  Dan cut the work into small pieces that he then wrapped around other metal parts that he had forged earlier.  The end result was a trivet.

Finally, I spent some time soldering the wires in my rocket launcher.  It will now accept power from external sources.  The stupid LED still does not light but I was able to pass about 12v through the circuit.  The next step is to test it with a rocket ignitor.