Archive for the ‘New Equipment’Category

The Mill Arrived Today! Yippee!

Bridgeport-1

Thanks to the effort and generosity of a committed group of PS:1 members and project donors, we now have a Bridgeport milling machine. Special thanks go to Zlotan for keeping up the project momentum. Thanks to Tucker for setting the goals and doing a bunch of research and leg work.  And a big thank-you to Bart Dring for hooking us up with a sweet deal on a great machine and arranging the move.

Bridgeport-2

There will be more to say and more to report as we integrate the mill into our shop. Stay tuned for further announcements.

19

11 2013

CNC Build Club: Shapeoko 2 Demo

Shapeoko

 

At the next CNC Build Club, on Thursday 10/24/2013 at 7:00pm, we are going to have a demo of the, soon to be released, Shapeoko 2 CNC router.  The ShapeOko was designed by local inventor, and PS:One friend, Edward Ford.  The original version was extremely popular.  The new version adds many new features.

  • Larger work area.
  • Easier to expand
  • Open front and rear for feeding stock through
  • Dual motor Y axis is now standard
  • More ridged
  • Belts lay flat and are easier to install

Shapeoko

 

It will go on sale at Inventables very soon.  Inventables will also be giving away one milling bit starter kit at the meeting.  This a a kit of 5 solid carbide 1/8″ diameter bits.  It includes 2 spiral upcut bits, 2 straight flute bits and 1 ball end mill.  You must be registered on Meetup for this meeting and present to  be eligible for the bit kit.  The meeting is open to members and non-members.

Shapeoko

18

10 2013

ShapeOko!

For the past few months, my CNC Build Club project has been building a <a href=”http://www.shapeoko.com/”>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:

shapeoko2small

Then I added the Z-axis:

shapeoko3small

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

shapeoko4small

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!

04

08 2013

SEM, EDX and fun with liquid nitrogen

Our scanning electron microscope came with an Oxford Isis EDX detector that we were told was non-functional. After a little poking around, I discovered that the replacement power supply which supposedly didn’t work was shipped from London, where the default power is 240V. After changing the voltage, the computer suddenly recognized the electronics, and it passed all the self tests. That looked like a good sign, so the next step was to acquire liquid nitrogen, which is needed to cool the detector.

Fortunately, one of our members owns NFC, a company that, among other things, sells liquid nitrogen. He loaned us a dewar of LN2 so we could test it out. After transporting it back to the space, I asked Everett to watch from a safe distance and let me know if anything was spilling while I filled the dewar attached to the SEM. He took some video of the process. The plastic funnel I used was cracking as I was pouring, which in hindsight wasn’t that great of an idea, so maybe we need to find another solution here….

YouTube Preview Image

The detector took over an hour to cool down, but ultimately it worked beautifully! I kicked up the energy of the electron beam to 20 keV which excited the atoms in the sample to give off characteristic X-rays. The EDX unit measured the energy spectrum of the X-rays given off, and was able to suggest possible elements that have those peaks, which I could then label. The next day Susan Young, the microscopist who used this SEM when it was at its former home, came to the space to give me some advice on the EDX and the sputter coater.

At center is an aluminum sample stub, with a square of copper tape and a strip of carbon tape. The SEM is imaging an area showing all three surfaces.

At center is an aluminum sample stub, with a square of copper tape and a strip of carbon tape. The SEM is imaging an area showing all three surfaces.

After calibrating the detector on a copper target, I then tried imaging a sample that consists of an aluminum sample stub, copper foil, and carbon tape, that has some of each of these exposed. I’ve labeled three peaks for copper, one for aluminum, one for carbon, and one for oxygen. The peak at 0 is just an artifact of the detector. Here is a movie of the X-ray peaks building as the detector collects data:

YouTube Preview Image

Here is the complete spectrum:

EDXSpectrum

The EDX detector has the ability to determine not just what is in a sample, but where it occurs in the sample. I did this by defining energy windows, above. One for carbon, one for one of the copper peaks, and one for aluminum. Each time the EDX detects an X-ray whose energy falls within one of the bands, the EDX sends a pulse on one of several channels to the SEM. The SEM operates in X-ray mapping mode and, because it knows the beam’s position when the pulse is received, it makes a dot on a color coded map showing where that element occurs. This map is an overlay on the secondary electron image of the sample.

EDXMap

The aluminum peak is colored cyan, which dominates the upper left part of the sample. Magenta corresponds to the copper peak, which appears primarily on the lower left. Orange represents carbon. The detector didn’t detect that much of the carbon peak (seeing as it’s the smallest of the three), but orange dots are clearly visible on the right hand side. The surface in the middle is the edge of the copper tape, but it is almost vertical relative to the electron beam, so it doesn’t seem to be giving off many X-rays.

All in all, this is seriously cool technology.

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21

07 2013

Beer Church: Beer Tasting, Sunday April 7th, 2PM

Hello everyone!

Since the last Beer Church, Eric & co’s This Is Your Grain On Chocolate has come and (sadly) gone. We’ve got 5 different Beer Church creations hidden away in bottles, and they’re all coming out to play this Sunday. Bring them some playdates in the form of a bottle of your favorite off-the-beaten-path beer – whether your own homebrew, or from a store. We’re not picky (but we are snobs)! Small beer steins will be provided to consume from, but you’re welcome to bring your own chalice.

Once we’re done with the tasting, Eric will demonstrate how to use a Soxhlet Extractor to create flavor extracts from a fruit or herb (undecided yet) – so far, we’ve used 2 of them – in our dearly departed friend, This Is Your Grain On Chocolate.

After we taste & make some flavor, we move forward to build out fun time. Our current fermenter was built hastily to get us off the ground and we’re going to try to get started replacing it with a better designed and larger home for brews. Chillmon has a new circuit board courtesy of Ryan, and we might find the time to get it working with the new fermenter. Along the way, we’ll figure out a superior storage solution for our gear (this time, with organization!). No brew today, but we’re hoping for a productive and fun day of woodworking, tasting beers, electronics, programming, and tasty science.

tl;dr

When: Sun April 7, 2:00PM-5:00PM
Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
Why: Because you like tasting beer & building things
What: Potluck & Beer Church’s brews beer tasting, Buildout
Extra Credit What: Demonstration of Soxhlet Extractor flavorant creation for use in beer making
Who: Anyone 21 years or older

05

04 2013

Scanning Electron Microscope Update

SEM and RyanBack in January, we got word that Philip Strong, a past member of PS:One, worked for a company that needed to get rid of a working scanning electron microscope and was considering donating it to PS:One. While we have an existing SEM in the space (a Leica S440, owned by JP, a member), this one supposedly was fully functional, had documentation, and we could get some help from the microscopist, Susan Young, who used it. Of course we were interested!

On Monday the 18th, I learn that yes, the donation was approved, but with a catch: It had to be moved on Saturday the 23rd! Read the rest of this entry →

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27

03 2013

Beer Church Extreme Makeover: Bar Edition 10/7

Oh come all ye faithful! Beer Church has 3 beers in the fermenter, and some of them are just about ready to go in a keg to get all carbonated and cold and… we don’t have any taps on our bar, or a fridge with lines! This Sunday, we’ll fix that (or get started on it, anyway)! Come help us turn our bar (thanks Greg for building it) into a real bar, with taps!

Beer Church’s first 3 beers

We’ll start off with a quick introduction to Pumping Station: One for newbies (you don’t have to be a member to attend Beer Church), with beers in hand. Bring your favorite unusual beer to share, and we’ll all get to try something new and exciting. We’ll check out the Raspberry Pi powered computerized brewing system that we’ve got going and go over our last few successful brews. The focus for project work will be on improving our dispensing and keg system, but if we have enough people we might go nuts and brew something!

The Meat

  • When: 12PM Noon, Sunday 10/7/2012
  • Where: 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL
  • What: Potluck beer tasting, brewing discussion, and fridge/taps buildout!
  • Why: Because you like beer and people who build things.

06

10 2012

Beer Church – Sunday the 22nd!

Beer Church returns! Do you like science, doing things rather than buying them already done, and beer? Then this event is for you!

Beer tasting: bring a few bottles of something you like that you think others may not know. We will do a potluck beer tasting. Tiny beer steins (for tiny beers) will be provided but bring your own chalice/mug/other drink receptacle if you prefer. Homebrews are highly esteemed, and you will get some beer peer review from your peers in beer!

After (and during) the tasting, we’ll discuss the science of beer brewing and other scientific questions and pursuits. Peer review of projects will happen if people have something to show; 300 seconds of non-fame with frequent interruptions.

For this Beer Church event, we’ll be exploring homebrewing at the space further. Last time we broached the subject and had some homebrews brought down from the Evanston Homebrewing club – this week we have a fridge that could get modded to be set up as environmental control for brewing and we’ll look at the possibility of using the safe room as a cold storage location. An unknown (to me at least) benefactor has also deposited a carboy and a corking machine on premesis! I’m not sure whether we can use those (holler if they’re yours) but I’m hoping so.

You are of course welcome to come even if you do not consume beer or other alcoholic beverages! You must be 21 to drink at beer church. Come on down to 3519 N Elston at 12:00 PM on 7/22!

18

07 2012

Belt Sanders, Swordsmithing & Free Watermelon

It’s hot out. So very hot out. Jewel was selling watermelons. That’s a no-brainer right there.

Except… I couldn’t find a large knife at PS:One to cut it! Oh no! However, belt sanders are pretty good at sharpening metal… and we had this practice sword lying around (not sharp by any remote stretch). Fix that, boom!

Sword: at the ready

Now to put on my war face. Watermelon, I will sup on your flesh tonight! Today is a good day to die. Kaplah.

Watermelon vs. Sword

P.S. we’ve got some watermelon left, come and get it!

10

06 2012

I like High Voltage

Van de Graaf generator

Steve lets his hair down and puts it to use evaluating the performance of the high voltage Van de Graaf generator. Hair is a natural high voltage corona detector since the strands stand up as they become charged by the electric field. The generator was basically junk when it arrived at the space, so Steve used the opportunity to experiment with different collector electrode geometries and belt materials. The most obvious change in the machine is the belt material. Several types were tried out. In terms of producing a charge and being mechanically stable, nylon fabric with a stitched seam is so far the best. The Van de Graff will deliver approximately 1 inch sparks about 2 seconds apart. And yes, they hurt.

Can the particle accelerator be far behind?

04

05 2012