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Two Applied Sciences Events this Tuesday, Sept. 23rd!

As written by Ryan:

First up is SEM Office Hours at 7 PM

We’d previously had problems with the SEM’s vacuum system that prevented us from looking at new samples. This is now fixed! So to celebrate, I intend to do some sample preparation. (We’ve got a 3D printer nozzle to measure and examine, and a piece of color slide film covered in mold.) This will be the first time I’ve opened the sample chamber for a public demonstration.

I’d also like to thank two people who made this possible. Bruce McConachie donated the funds to purchase the parts to repair the scope. And Fitterdave did some very difficult TIG welding to fabricate a custom adaptor.

We we will be ending SEM Office Hours early to accommodate the second Applied Sciences event of the evening. At 8:30, Elizabeth Koprucki will be presenting a lecture: Explore Our Solar System: Data from Space and What You Can Do With It.

So come on out, and, in the words of the venerable Sarcastic Rover:

Let’s Do A Science!



09 2014

ShapeOko Building Adventures So Far

Inventables donated a ShapeOko 2 CNC Router “The Works” kit to Pumping Station:One, and we’ve been doing a group build over four sessions so far. It’s been a chance for people to learn about open hardware and CNC firsthand from the ground up, and participate in making PS:One’s next machine. We’ve had participants with various levels of experience working together, and I think everyone learned something new.

During the first session, we assembled wheels and bearings, and attached them to plates for the x, y,and z axes. We started the next session with parts that looked like this:


The instructions describe the z-axis assembly as the most intricate, and they’re not kidding. It took a lot of fiddly work and some mistakes to get here:

shapeoko2-7Here are some of the participants, planning what to do next:

shapeoko2-2We assembled the carriages, then the gantry and machine frame. The machine came together well during this session:

shapeoko2-8I think #1177 (“Minion”) the ShapeOko1 is jealous of its newer, larger, and shiner sibling #5549 (so far unnicknamed):

shapeoko2-1During the third session, we squared and wired the ShapeOko and installed the drag chain (“e-chain”) with some help from Zach from Inventables.

shapeoko2-5During the fourth session, we nearly finished the wiring and made a custom holder for the emergency stop button:

shapeoko2-4Thank you to everyone who helped so far! Our next build session will be Thursday, August 28th at 7pm in PS:One’s shop. We’ll be testing the motors, troubleshooting, and sending the “hello world” job. Come see the machine move!

Thank you Ron (I think) for the Session 2 photos and Allen for the Session 3 photo.


08 2014

Group ShapeOko Build, Part Two!

The adventure continues! We had a great turn out at the last ShapeOko build event. Now it’s time to assemble the gantries and do some wiring. Join us this Wednesday July 30 from 7-10PM in PS:One’s shop to see the machine really take shape, and maybe we’ll get to see it move, too. Learn about open hardware and the ShapeOko 3D carving machine. This event is open to the public and is great for newbies and experienced CNC’ers, too.



07 2014

ShapeOko 2 Group Build This Wednesday!

Curious about computer numerical control and open hardware?
Want to meet and help build PS:One’s newest machine? Join us
for a group build of an upgraded ShapeOko 2 CNC router,
donated by Inventables! Everyone is welcome, newbies and
experienced alike – if you can tighten a bolt, you can
assemble a ShapeOko. Please RSVP to the Meetup group or cahira_mirrored [at] yahoo [dot] com, so we
have some idea how many people to expect.

Wednesday, July 16th
7-11 PM
PS:One’s Shop

Everyone is welcome, although only members will be authorized (at a later date) on the machine once it’s completed.



07 2014


For the past few months, my CNC Build Club project has been building a <a href=””>ShapeOko CNC mill</a> from a kit Jeff donated to PS:One to replace the machine hacked into a pick-and-place. The ShapeOko belongs to PS:One and will (hopefully) be a permanent part of the space.

On July 21st, I moved the machine to its home in the shop, finished wiring it up, and tested the motion of the stepper motors. It moved like it was supposed to on the x, y, and z axes, so I moved on to drawing the Hello World job (the ShapeOko logo) in the air. That worked perfectly, too. So now it was the moment of truth – time to find a drawing implement, tape it to the gantry, and send the GCode to draw the logo on paper.

After several attempts at finding the right pen or marker, and figuring out how to tape it securely, this was the result:

helloworldsmall1 helloworldsmall2

A very happy me, and a successful Hello World.

I started this project to learn more about CNC projects from the ground up. Along the way, I learned a bit about tapping, soldering, and Arduinos too. Here’s a look back at it:

This was the beginning:

shapeoko1small   Then I tapped more Makerslide and added the frame and rails:


Then I added the Z-axis:


Edward Ford, the Shapeoko’s inventor, happened to be at the space the night I finished the mechanical build of the Shapeoko:


After tweaking and tightening up the mechanical build, I assembled all the electronics I would need, mostly from donations to the project. (Thank you!)  Edward came back for ShapeOko night as part of CNC Build Club, and we got the machine wired up. Unfortunately, the x-axis didn’t move properly, probably because the GRBLshield controller got damaged during rework. So Bart donated another GRBLshield, and Ryan did some heroic rework on its connectors, and this one worked!

Colin donated a Dewalt spindle to the project, and the next step is to get some end mills, test the machine’s milling, and certify some people. I’m also looking at installing some limit switches on the machine. Of course, there are also options like a different spindle, a dual-driven y-axis, or a more robust z-axis. Those will be things for the CNC Build Club and other interested members to decide on.

I got this far with more than “a little help from my friends”. Thank you to the people who offered help, parts, or advice (in no particular order): Jeff, Jay, Steve, Colin, Ryan, Edward, Cat, Bart, Jeremy, Fernando, Jesse, and Everett. If I accidentally left you out, I’m sorry!


08 2013