Archive for the ‘CNC’Category

CNC Build Club – ShapeOko Night


This Thursday at 7:00pm  Edward Ford will be hosting a ShapeOko night.  Edward can help you build, complete, setup and use the ShapeOko router.

He will also give a quick overview of the web based MakerCAM program.  MakerCAM can be used to create toolpaths for CNC routers.  Edward and Inventables are working to develop this program into a full featured CAM program.


For those without ShapeOkos, we can talk about your CNC project or work with some of the digital fabrication equipment at PS:One like the laser cutter, CNC router or 3D printers.

Please RSVP via





05 2013

Bitbeam Presentation – CNC Build Club


This week we have a presentation by Jason Huggins (@hugs) on Bitbeam and the Tapster robot he built with it.



Thursday, May 9th @ 7:00pm, upstairs in the electronics area


Jason will give an overview of Tapster, his open source, 3D printable, mobile app testing robot. In addition to explaining why creating a mobile testing robot is not the worst idea you’ve ever heard of, Jason will give an overview of Bitbeam, the open source building toy that he developed, which Tapster’s made out of. He’ll cover his making journey as he’s experimented with laser cutters, CNC mills, and 3D printers to make Bitbeam. For fun, the talk will also include live demos of Tapster playing Angry Birds.

About Jason:

Jason Huggins is CTO and co-founder of Sauce Labs, a software test infrastructure company, and is the original creator of Selenium, a popular open source web testing tool. In 2011, for an art project he was working on, Jason created Bitbeam – a 3D printable LEGO-Technic-compatible construction toy. Jason lives in Oak Park, Illinois.


CNC Stuff

Following the presentation we will break away to work on various CNC projects. The ongoing group project continues to be the mid-sized CNC Router. The machine is now fully functional under Mach3 control. We can talk about the Mach3 setup and cut a few things.

YouTube Preview Image


05 2013

Intro to the Microsoft Kinect – Recap

Us in 3D

We had a great presentation by Jarvis Schultz on the Microsoft Kinect last night as part of the CNC Build Club.  Jarvis works with the Kinect as part of his PhD research in robotics at Northwestern University.  We had an overflow crowd of close to 30 participants.

Us on Kinect

The presentation was an introduction on how to get started with hacking the Kinect.  He described what is known about the internals and the data you can get out of it.  He talked about the preferred open source software tools and libraries.

Kinect Depth Field

He gave several live demos.  The pictures you see above are shots of how the Kinect saw the crowd at PS:One.  The still shots don’t do justice to the coolness of watching it live.  His presentation is in PDF format here.







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05 2013

Microsoft Kinect Presentation – CNC Build Club


Thursday, May 2 @ 7:00pm


This week we have a presentation from Jarvis Schultz on using the Microsoft Kinect motion sensor input device and other related devices.  He is going to give an overview on how they work, what kind of data they can produce, what software is needed to interact with them, and what you can do with the data once you have it.  He will include some live demos of what the data looks like, and what you can do with it.

Jarvis is a fourth-year PhD student in Mechanical Engineering working on robotics at Northwestern University.  He is part of the Neuroscience and Robotics Laboratory, and he has been working with the Kinect since it was first available, and it has become an integral part of his PhD research.  Further information is on his research webpage in case you are interested

Thanks to Steve Finkelman for arranging this.

CNC Router

Starting Pile Of CNC Parts

Following the presentation and discussion we are going to continue with the CNC Router project. We are going to add the limit switches for the X,Y and Z axes. Limit switches can protect your machine from over travel, but also provide an accurate and repeatable home position.


We are also going to setup Mach3 as the machine controller. We will try to do this while hooked up to the projector, so everyone can participate in the process and learn how to do it. Mach3 is a professional level commercial controller and is a huge step up from the typical DIY solutions, like GRBL.


After a few projects with Mach3 we will probably also install EMC2 which is an open source, Linux based alternative to Mach3.

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04 2013

Last Night’s CNC Build Club


We had a great meeting last night.  We had over a dozen people working together to wire up a CNC control box.  At one point we had three soldering irons going at the same time.  Here is the pile of parts we started with.

Starting Pile Of CNC Parts


Here are some people wiring the box.  A really nice job was done using wire ferruls wherever we could.  How many hands can fit in that little box?

CNC Team Work

Here is the nearly completed box.

Box Almost Done


Thanks to Chris, Matt, Aeva, Patrick, Donald, Steve, Jason & Alex, Cat, John, Will, Gabe, Norm, Allen and Colin.  Next week we will be testing the motors, adding limit switches and configuring the software.

We will start with Mach3, then switch to EMC2 when we find a dedicated PC for that.  Chris and John I think mentioned they do time at Free Geek.  I am sure they could find a little PC.

Special thanks to Automation Technologies Inc for giving/lending all the parts.

– Bart




04 2013

CNC Build Club

Automation Technologies 3D Gantry

The CNC Build Club meets just about every Thursday at 7:00pm.  This is a weekly meeting of Chicago area people passionate about designing, building and learning how to use digital fabrication equipment.  Non members are welcome .  Each meeting starts with a round robin introduction followed by a little discussion and often a presentation or training session.  We also often have a group project going on.

This week we are going to start putting together a small CNC milling machine.  The machine was lent to us by Automation Technologies Inc.  Right now the machine is just the mechanical platform.  We need to add the motor controls, limits switches and setup some software.  The goal is to create an easy to use work center that we will do some projects on.  The plan is to sell the machine at a discount to someone in the group when we are finished. If you don’t know anything about CNC, don’t worry, you can still help.  The goal is to teach, learn and use.


We have a meetup group you can follow for upcoming events

We have a Google Group too.



04 2013

CNC Build Club

Every Thursday night…

The CNC Build Club meets to build, use and learn about CNC machines.

April 18th at 7:00 PM.
Open to non- members

Quantum Delta 3D printer

Quantum Delta 3D printer

Over the last three weeks we built this little delta 3D printer.
There are a few little changes to make to it this week, like a spool holder on top.

This medium sized CNC Router Read the rest of this entry →


04 2013

Automated Manufacturing Night – Thursday, 3/21 at 7pm

Mike Vasquez will be giving a talk “The Printed Athlete – How 3D Printing is Changing the Face of Sports.”  It is free and open to the public.


Over the past two decades 3D printing has radically shifted the way that many industries design new products.  The medical field uses the process for creating bespoke hearing aids and aerospace companies use it to design more efficient aircraft.  However, one of the sectors that is on the leading edge of this revolution is sports.  All the major sporting goods brands have started to adopt the technology.  From 3D printed high end parts for F1 race cars to multi-colored 3D printed footwear prototypes at Nike; the opportunities offered by the new manufacturing process has the chance to transform how athletes and customers interact with the games they love. This talk focuses on how 3D printing technology already has and will continue to revolutionize sports using examples from Mike’s time at Burton Snowboards and Loughborough University’s Sports Technology Institute.  Additionally topics such as the future of the technology and growing areas of innovation including mass customization and protective equipment will be discussed.

About Mike Vasquez

Mike recently finished his PhD at the Sports Technology Institute at Loughborough University in England.  The institute is the world’s largest research facility completely dedicated to solving technical engineering problems in sport.  As part of his work he helped Burton Snowboards design new materials that could be used to 3D print snowboard binding components.  Originally from Minnesota, Mike made his way out to Boston to attend MIT.  While there he was able to combine his passion for sports and engineering by working at the MIT Sports Innovation Center.  He earned a BS (’08) and M.Eng (’09) in Materials Science and Engineering.  He was a captain of the MIT baseball team and continues to stay active by playing baseball, snowboarding, and distance running.  He finished his sixth marathon last fall.  He is the co-founder of the Sports Technology Podcast and has worked with Burton Snowboards, New Balance, Rawlings, Easton Sports, Wimbledon, 3M, and Progressive Sports Technologies.

About Automated Manufacturing Night
Automated Manufacturing Night is a monthly event where a speaker will discuss a topic related to Automated Manufacturing on the third Thursday each month. It is affiliated with the CNC Build Club (, a group where folks work on automated manufacturing machines at Pumping Station: One. It is also open to the public.

Pumping Station: One is a Chicago hackerspace located at 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL 60618.


03 2013

NERP tonite: Pick-n-Pi

NERP is Not Exlusivey Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.


Boardforge gantry Ver 0.3a in development (Ed_B)

Several members of Pumping Station:One are collaborating on a project to produce a pick and place machine. PnP machines are robotic assembly devices that place electronic components on circuit boards as part of the soldering process. The software that will run the machine is made of several distinct subsystems including motion control and computer vision. Jay Hopkins has been doing some experiments to determine whether a Raspberry Pi can serve as the on-board controller for the machine. Tonight he’ll show nerp some of his progress. Teaser: OpenCV _will_ compile on the Raspberry PI!

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One

NERP meets at 7pm 2-25-13 at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago. NERP is free and open to the public.



02 2013

your jealousy is understandable

… because how awesome is my laptop now?


It’s a wave…


… of bunnies!

I have long loved Kozyndan’s ‘Uprisings.’ It’s a play on Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ with bunnies. I got my anodized aluminum Macbook Pro, and saw someone had laser etched theirs in a laser cutter. I thought this was a great choice to put on mine. I bought the poster, had it scanned at a shop with a large-format scanner, pulled it into the Gimp open-source graphics package (comparable to Photoshop), and messed with it a fair amount. Then I brought it into PS:One and etched it on our laser cutter. I have to give credit to Will McShane for his assistance in showing me how to edit the image and operate the laser cutter. Both operations fall in that category of things I do rarely and are sort of complicated, so my memory doesn’t hang on to them well. It came out perfectly. Thanks so much for your help, Will.

[Addendum: I posted a more complete account of the process on my personal blog.]


01 2013