CNC Steampunk Harp – The Sector67 Field Trip – Part 2

 

Finished Sound Board

Finished Sound Board

[See Part 1]

The sound board of the harp had always been the wild card. Elizabeth and I began the project last year knowing that we’d want to use a laser cutter to etch it with some kind of Victorianesque steampunk design involving gears. And we knew that PS:One’s Epilog, with its 24″ x 12″ bed and no feedthrough capability, simply couldn’t fit a 49″ sound board. While design focused on the brass panels, as we did have access to a CNC router, the sound board was left for later, especially because we didn’t know if we could find a smaller laser cutter with feedthrough, meaning we needed a design that could be etched in pieces, or a large laser cutter that could engrave the entire sound board at once.

Elizabeth and I were planning a trip to Madison, WI, and we heard rumors that Sector67 had a colossal Chinese import laser cutter. I reached out to them asking if they would be willing to help with this project, and Chris Meyer, director of Sector 67, responded, inviting us to their space. Knowing what we had to work with, Elizabeth was able to create the design in Adobe Illustrator. Read the rest of this entry →

01

02 2014

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….
Read the rest of this entry →

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

CNC Build Club Double Feature – 1/23/2014

fsl3d

 

In addition to having Alden Hart talk about the TinyG and motion control in general, Andrew Boggeri of Full Spectrum Laser is going to show off their new sub $2000 SLA resin 3D printer. This is the printer that is currently crushing the goal on Kickstarter.

Stop by and check out the machine and see some of the prints.  Resin printers are a little messy to move around so we probably won’t see it print, but plenty of samples will be shown.  He will be able to demo the drawing speed, software and cloud interface.

prints

 

The CNC Club is free and open to members and non members.  If you want to attend, please RSVP on Meetup.

13

01 2014

CNC Build Club – TAZ 3 Unboxing

TAZ 3

 

Thursday (1/9/2014) night at 7pm we will have an unboxing party for Pumping Station One’s new 3D printer – the Lulzbot Taz 3! The Taz 3 prints larger and faster and in more materials than the other printers we have at the space. Come check out the mysterious BOX, see the printer set up, and maybe we’ll even get to Hello Squirreled.

Also, Ryan Pierce will be presenting “The Hard Knocks School of CNC Milling” covering how he made every mistake possible, and how you can avoid making them yourselves! This will include a lot of useful, practical tips, and a demo of the method he is using, showing the entire tool chain process, to route precisely aligned pockets for his and Elizabeth’s “CNC Steampunk Harp” project

08

01 2014

3D Printed Replacement Parts

Our shop has a few Black & Decker drills. They’re not contractor grade tools by any means. I was using one the other day for a project, and as I was walking back to the tool crib to put stuff away I was idly clicking the drive direction switch back and forth, as one does with a drill. I heard a snapping noise and the button now moved freely, no longer engaging the electrical switch responsible for direction reversal. Bummer. I figured I’d pop it open and see if I could repair it.

B&D Drill

The drill in question

DSC_5621

The factory part that broke. Note the distressed, white plastic at the bottom center.

The issue was a small plastic pin that engaged a switch with a matching cutout. Not a very complex mechanism. I drew the part up in Sketchup:

drill-fix

 

I skipped the nicely radiused leading edge, but this part is otherwise dimensionally similar to the factory piece. My initial attempts to use an entirely 3d-printed part failed, as the ~3mm pin was just not large enough to get a sturdy printed feature. I decided to drill it out and use a #2 screw to replace the pin. This one should outlast the rest of the drill.

DSC_5629

DSC_5632

At this point you might be wondering why I didn’t do that with the original part to begin with, and that’s valid. My only answer is, “Because I didn’t think of it.”

DSC_5634

The part’s installed, and the drill is back in the tool crib.

It’s a simple result, but it’s the sort of thing I love about 3D printing.

-Derek

 

07

01 2014

CNC Build Club with Alden Hart: 1/23/2014

AldenHart

Alden Hart, the creator of TinyG and the grblShield will be in town later this month and will give a talk at the 1/23/2014 CNC Build Club @7:00pm.  The meeting is open to members and non-members.  If you want to attend, please RSVP via Meetup.

The grblShield is a basic stepper motor driver Arduino Uno Shield.  It is part of the standard parts list for the Shapeoko and there are thousands of these in the field. It can also act as a shield for the Arduino Due and run a special version of TinyG firmware.

grblShieldv4-800-600x399

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TinyG project is a multi-axis motion control system. It is designed for CNC applications and other applications that require highly precise motion control. TinyG is meant to be a complete embedded solution for small/medium motor control. Here are some of the main features of the v8 hardware.

  • Integrated motion control system with embedded microcontroller (Atmel ATxmega192)
  • 4 stepper motor drivers (TI DRV8818) integrated on a ~4 inch square board
  • Stepper drivers handle 2.5 amps per winding which will handle most motors up thru NEMA23 and some NEMA34 motors
  • Accepts Gcode from USB port and interprets it locally on the board
  • 6-axis control (XYZ + ABC rotary axes) maps to any 4 motors
  • Constant jerk acceleration planning (3rd order S curves) for smooth and fast motion transitions
  • Very smooth step pulse generation using phase-optimized fractional-step DDA running at 50 Khz with very low jitter
  • Networkable via SPI to support off-board devices and for networking multiple boards into multi-axis systems
  • Microstepping up to 1/8 (optimized DDA makes this smoother than many 1/16 implementations)

tinyg

 

05

01 2014

Prompts with the Writer Zen Garden

20131122_0006

Tonight the Writer Zen Garden met in the lounge for another Prompt Circle.  Using various kinds of writing prompts, we write for between 10 and 20 minutes at a time, experimenting with lots of little new ideas or linking each of the ideas together. This is a great, low pressure way to get onto the page, whether you’ve always wanted to write and haven’t taken the plunge or if you’re a seasoned writer but need some new inspiration.

We started with a freewriting exercise to “prime the pump.”  Freewriting is just like it sounds:  start with where you are right now and just write.  We set the timer for ten minutes but if you’re trying this on your own, use whatever time works for you.  Write whatever is in your mind, and let it flow out of your pen.  Freewriting exercises are better done with a pen and paper because it more intimately connects you to your thoughts than the keyboard (working on a keyboard involves both hands and therefore a cross-hemispheric operation on the brain).

We then experimented with some prompts from Ursula K. LeGuin’s book, Steering the Craft.  The first was to write a scene with no punctuation whatsoever.  A good scene to write is something that has a lot of action; she suggests the opening of a revolution or a one-day sale.  I have found that when we read what we wrote out loud, it naturally develops its own syntax and is much easier to understand.

Next we wrote a scene with sentences of seven or fewer words.  This forces the writer to focus on the words used to get the story across and trims the fat, so-to-speak.  After that we experimented with one from Josip Novakovich’s book, Fiction Writer’s Workshop.  Describe a scene with a party or gathering that you observed, and see if you can fatten it up with imagined details.  We then switched gears to play with a dream; writing a scene from one of our own dreams and peppering it with fantastical elements.

The final prompt was a light one: write a scene of a space opera (think Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy).  While no one at the table self-identified as a science-fiction writer, it seemed to be the most fun prompt of the evening.

If you’ve been tempted to write before but don’t know where to start, or you’ve always wished you were more creative, then join us for a couple hours of fun, conviviality, and writing prompts.  All you need to do is bring a pen and notebook or, if you prefer, a laptop.  We’ll do the rest.

How does it work?  That’s easy!  We bring an assortment of writing prompts (a “prompt” is something that gets you started with a story, scene, or description), and we write for short bursts of ten to twenty minutes.  You’d be surprised at how much you produce and how fast the time flies.

Why not give it a shot?

The next one is Saturday, 01/11/2014, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M. in the Lounge.  Hosted by PS:One members Amanda Clothier (writing as A. Catherine Noon) and Lyn Cole.

Hope to see you there!

For more information about Writer Zen Garden, please check out our Meetup page.  We are an online and in-person creative community with a forum, blog, and supportive members.  You have nothing to lose but your skepticism.

Write on!

28

12 2013

Next NERP Jan. 6th, 2014 with Rev. Todd Freeman

Please remember that NERP will not meet on December 30th.

On Jan. 6th, Rev. Todd Freeman of the OpenSource Temple will be giving a short talk called “How an Embedded PC bonanza can save mankind”.

The good Reverend has used a variety of small embedded PC’s for data acquisition and control and embedded networking applications related to the various ministries of the OpenSource Temple. Some of these systems overlap the functional capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone, but live in market niches that are not usually encountered by the average maker/hacker/diy-er. At NERP we want to know about these kinds of things.

I asked Todd if there exists a website that catalogs for comparison the features of a bunch of these dark horse platforms. He replied that “While there is not a site I am aware of that has a comparison of every display-less mini pc, I think it’s primarily due to the difficulty narrowing down what that means.” He went on to describe a rather long list of devices, categorized by a couple of different schemes. I for one am eager to learn how we can use this “bonanza” to save mankind!

NERP is not exclusively raspberry pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is Jan 6, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14,
Pumping Station One

28

12 2013

Holiday Open House Schedule

PS:One Bar Decorations

With Christmas Eve and New Years’s Eve falling on Tuesdays this year, we won’t have official open houses or member meeting on the 24th and 31st of December. Both will resume January 7th; please join us in the new year.

In the meantime, happy hacking!

21

12 2013