Archive for the ‘Projects’Category

CNC Steampunk Harp – Part 1

 

Side view of harp with pockets routed

Side view of harp with pockets routed

For the past year, Elizabeth and I have been collaborating on a project using the amazingly cool CNC tools at Pumping Station: One. The goal: to build a harp. Not just any harp, mind you. A steampunk harp! The idea was to start with a kit (the Voyageur harp from Music Makers, 33 strings, cherry) but heavily customize it as follows:

  •  CNC cut brass panel inserts, inlaid in pockets routed in the sides of the harp
  • The brass panels would be etched using a galvanic etching process, similar to the one used by the Steampunk Workshop to create their clockwork guitar. Elizabeth would design the shape and custom artwork (gears, of course!) for this.
  • The sound board would be laser engraved with some type of steampunk design. The design is in progress, and we are searching for a laser engraver large enough to handle the sound board.
  • Although not strictly steampunk, I’d considered adding RGB addressable LED lighting under the neck of the harp, which could illuminate the strings, as well as respond to the pitch of the strings being played.
CNC routing brass

CNC routing brass

First, we had to start by routing the brass, using PS:One’s CNC 3020 router. Elizabeth drew the design, including the brass outline and the pattern we will use when we etch the brass. We did this last spring at PS:One, and we ran into massive problems with the brass vibrating and breaking end mills. The project remained dormant for many months until a breakthrough: What if we glued the brass to a scrap board? That would at least keep it immobile so it couldn’t chatter and bind on the end mill. The good news: This worked! Success! The bad news…. The Go To Home button on Mach3 does not, by default, raise the spindle before moving it. And a clamp was in the way. The result: A badly bent spindle. Well, all was not lost….
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23

01 2014

New Year, New Beer, Beer Church is Here

Don’t let the polar vortex’s return prevent you from standing around a boiling cauldron of delicious smelling beer wort as we prepare to create what’s bound to be a unique beer. We usually base our recipes on existing ones, but tweak them in interesting ways.

To start off, we’ll have a beer tasting featuring any homebrew you bring, a Gingerbread Brown Ale that we brewed in December, and the aged return of 14 month old “I Didn’t Mead It That Way”, a session mead made with hops and fermented with wine yeast for a very unique and floral flavor. Tiny beer steins will be provided – please bring a bottle of something if you can. We might even pull some mystery bottles from our homebrew cellar and see if we can remember what it is!

Once we’ve had a taste, met each other, and talked over the basics of brewing in the process, we’ll move on to shopping for ingredients (Brew & Grow is right around the corner, and you’ll get to learn how to weigh and grind ingredients) & of course brewing the beer. This is just the first day of a weeks long journey that a beer takes from the boil kettle to your mouth, but it’s the most labor intensive and the most interesting to see, so we like to show people this step. Watching a bucket ferment isn’t as fun. Since we’re going for something relatively straightforward (recipe to be a surprise), we’ll probably be done brewing in around 3.5 hours. We’ll get into the brew by around 3PM. The steps include mashing, sparging, boiling, chilling, and pitching. You can lend a hand with most of them if you like, and learn a lot in the process.

mmmm, beer

Nitty Gritty

When: Sunday January 19th 2014, 1PM
Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
Why: Because beer is a fun way to spend for your Sunday afternoon

18

01 2014

Lock Picking and SEM

spoolpinBack in October, Pumping Station: One hosted an event called Locktoberfest, an annual event run by the Chicago chapter of TOOOL (The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers.) It features, well, lockpicking, beer, and brats. (The beer is necessary to relax one’s hands. Really. I mean it.) A number of nationally known people came out to Chicago for this, including Deviant Ollam and Babak Javadi.

Lock picking involves manipulating small components. Small metal components, which are conductive, and would image well in a scanning electron microscope. And it just so happens that we’re probably the only hackerspace with a working SEM.

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15

12 2013

Knitting Machine Workshop

Threading the tension masts

Threading the tension masts

Carl, Nathan, and David

Carl, Nathan, and David

Tension Swatching

Tension Swatching

Sheila on the chunky machine

Sheila on the chunky machine

Two Brother knitting machines: the chunky 230, the standard 930

Two Brother knitting machines: the chunky 230, the standard 930

 

Patrick can't resist..

Patrick can’t resist.

 

Because why wouldn't you carry a knitting machine on a bicycle when it's 20 degrees outside?

Because why wouldn’t you carry a knitting machine on a bicycle when it’s 20 degrees outside?

09

12 2013

3D Printing Cage Match: 7pm Dec 12 at Beauty Bar

3DPCM LogoWe’re throwing a 3D Printing Cage Match Party at 7PM at Chicago’s Beauty Bar.

See factory teams, local businesses, and hobbyists compete to print a medieval weapon as fast as possible, and then fire marshmallows at their slower competitors!

Our own DJ Adam Dzak will be spinning, Jim Burke will provide commentary, and PS:One’s Lulzbot AO-101 and Makerbot Replicator will both be competing as well.

Want to attend? RSVP (free) here.

Want to compete? Register (free) here.

More information at the 3D Printer Cage Match Homepage.

Please note that this event will serve as the CNC Build Club meeting on the same evening.

02

12 2013

Silicon ReSEMblance

Every year, the UIUC chapter of ACM has an student-run conference called Reflections|Projections . One (rather excellent) speaker at the 2013 conference was the well-spoken (and wickedly-smart) Todd Fernandez , who spoke about the state of the semiconductor integrated circuit industry. As a nice bonus for those brave souls who asked, or answered, a question during his talk, he was giving out junked silicon wafers. Not being much of a brave soul myself, but realizing that the wafer would make for an awesome sample in our now-functioning Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), I answered a question about Moore’s Law and scored a wafer.

img_0007

Here’s a picture of a similar wafer we had on hand (Not the one we put in the SEM. We shattered that one.)

Saving you a trip to Wikipedia: the wafers are slices of an impressively large and pure single crystal of silicon (known as a boule) on which semiconductor devices (such as transistors) are fabricated. These devices are usually incredibly tiny and incredibly numerous.

What happens after that is that the SEM rasters a beam of electrons across the surface of the wafer sample and, in this particular case, utilizes its ability to detect secondary electrons kicked off the wafer by the beam. Because the surface is the important part and because the SEM’s resolution is so amazing, before we mounted the sample, we had to sterilize it in an acetone bath suspended in the space’s ultrasonic cleaner.

 

Now the cool part. Because, if you look at the picture below, you can easily see leads on the wafer that are 4 microns in width (and resolve gaps between the leads that are 2 microns wide). For reference’s sake, the diameter of a human hair is given as 100 microns on average. And that is awesome.

sem003

Many thanks to the exceptional Ryan Pierce, who helped me with this every step of the way.

 

-Jerry Lebedowych

22

11 2013

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 – 4 Axis Milling

4th-axis_large

 

(picture from CNCCookbook blog)

This week we are going to play with the rotary axis on the little CNC mill.  We are going to assemble it and calibrate it.  We will use a demo of DeskProto to run a job on it.  We will of course start with the CNC Ninja Squirrel, then try some other projects.  It you have something cool to try, bring a file in STL format and a round piece of material to mill it out of.

hs

 

Join us Thursday Nov, 14th at 7:00pm.

 

13

11 2013

A 3D Printed Pinhole Camera

It started simply. On October 3rd, I tabbed over to XChat and saw a highlight waiting for me:

<NegativeK> loans: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:143882

Clicking the link took me to a Thingiverse page for a pinhole camera.

<loans> NegativeK: why am I not printing that right now

<NegativeK> Print that camera, loans, and I’ll share some dev kit and chemistry

So it started. Over the next week or so I spent some amount of time in front of the Lulzbot, coaxing the camera into existence. The prints all went fairly well, with no catastrophic issues. I had to print a body, a filmholder carrier, tripod mounts and shutter parts, and a ‘lens’ tube. I’d estimate it was less than 10 hours of printing, all told. I assembled the camera using with ABS slurry and fasteners, only needing to do a little bit of touch-up here and there to get everything fitted. I tested for light-tightness in a dark room with an LED flashlight. I made a pinhole out of some aluminum cut from a soda can. I took a stab at the ‘dimple and sand’ technique, though I think it’s something that will take some practice.

PINH5AD and shutter parts

The body/lens combo, shutter parts and tripod mount.

Shutter assembly

The completed shutter assembly.

Now I had a mostly-finished camera. The last ingredient was to be some adhesive-backed velvet, which would act as the gasket material. Someone (Everett), however, couldn’t wait. So on Sunday the 13th, we loaded up some film holders and cobbled something together in true hackerspace fashion.

2013-10-13 15.46.09 2013-10-13 15.46.06 2013-10-13 15.45.47

Don’t judge me. Then we carried the mess out into the alley, because we wanted to minimize exposure time. We set up to take a picture of our rollup door, because what else is out there?

2013-10-13 16.00.42

Metering was accomplished with a DSLR and a piece of scratch paper. This camera’s ‘lens’ is f/225 and the film was ISO400. We calculated a 12 second exposure time. We double checked everything, pulled the dark slide out, prepared a timer on a cell phone. Then we hit go and opened the shutter. Twelve long seconds went by, I was sure I was ruining the photo by shaking the camera  with the hand that was operating the shutter. Then the phone beeped, the shutter closed, and we were done.

Not being the sort to waste time, we quickly moved into the processing phase. I haven’t developed film since a high school photography class, but Everett was ready to go. It went down at the shop sink (In the newly cleared hot metals area), and soon enough we had our exposure. The negative looked good. Surprisingly good. Scanned with a DSLR, we had our photo:

10284447543_0874ba42f1_h

It isn’t perfect, but it’s a result. It’s even a reasonably well-exposed result, considering. The camera will benefit from a more precisely manufactured pinhole.

Our next goal is to try some exposures on positive paper, which is a process that gives you a print directly. The downside (maybe not?) is that it will be an hours-long exposure. We’ll see how it turns out.

 Until next time, hackers. -Derek

20

10 2013

Raising the BAR

New Bar Front ViewIt all began with a dream: a cerebral lubrication station worthy of our fine hackerspace, serving as focal point to transform the lounge from a seldom used area into PS:One’s central communal nexus. From there, a collaborative project was born. PS:One member Greg Daneau built the first incarnation of our bar. He built the bar top from an unfinished door, an open frame supported it, and it had a foot rail made of pipe. The result was impressive, even if it was but a small shadow of the glory that the bar ultimately became. Thus began an asynchronous collaborative project, with hacker inspiring hacker to hack the bar to higher pinnacles of zymurgical greatness. And it arguably served as an “altar” for the budding Beer Church.

Kegerator InteriorSeeing the bar in all its inebriating glory inspired member Ryan Pierce to build a draft system and kegerator from a donated refrigerator. It can hold up to six 5-gallon Cornelius kegs (used frequently by homebrewers) or a single 15.5-gallon beer keg. A fan forces cold air through an insulated hose carrying the beverage lines to the draft tower. The draft tower itself was built from PVC pipe, fittings, and drain flanges. An insulated return hose carries the air back to the refrigerator. This air loop keeps the beverage lines and taps cold, which reduces the tendency of beer to foam in the line. Jeremy used our TIG welder to weld a drain pipe to a stainless steel drip tray, directing any spills into a bucket.

The existence of the bar and draft system steered the focus of Beer Church towards kegging. Cornelius kegs can hold finished beer and can be used for natural carbonation (caused by additional secondary fermentation from priming sugar) or forced carbonation supplied directly from a CO2 tank.

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04

09 2013