jlcpcb-website

Musical maniac Hal over at Milwaukee Makerspace told me about JLCPCB and suggested I try them out. Since I had a coupon due to signing up as a new customer, I ordered 100 boards and chose the free shipping option. The boards were ordered on July 21st and as of August 8th I’m still waiting for them. Since I’m getting 100 printed circuit boards for about 13 cents a piece, I’m okay waiting for them!)

friting-pcb

Meanwhile, I had a project at work where I was trying to decide how to wire something and not create a messy rat’s nest of wires, so I decided a PCB would be the best solution. I whipped up a simple board in Fritzing (Yeah, I know… Fritzing is “garbage” except I know how to use it, can use it very fast, and it’s fine for simple boards.)

pcb-traces

One tricky thing with this board was that the traces had to be pretty thin to route around the solder pads. I exported the files as SVGs and took a look, and it seemed good. Since I needed these for a work project, and I needed them fast, I chose the expensive shipping option. The 5 PCBs were $2.00 and the shipping via DHL was $16.81, so in total it was $18.81 for 5 boards that I got in about 4 days! Seriously… I uploaded the files on July 25th at 04:40 (GMT+8) and got them delivered July 29th at 14:31 (GMT-5).

mux-epander-pcb

The first thing I did was pull out a meter to check all the traces… all good! The board looks great. I soldered header pins into three rows and now I need to solder 48 wires onto it. Wheeeee! (Oh yeah, the board is plugged into a Mux Shield II.)

laser-cutter-exhaust

Someone on the Milwaukee Makerspace mailing list posted an email with the subject line Laser cutter expert, so I could not ignore it. The person was specifically asking about exhaust systems. Above is a photo of what I built for the 40 watt laser cutter in my basement, and below is most of my reply.

laser-stock-exhaust

The exhaust from my laser cutter is a 4″ diameter vent hose, which I connect to a 6″ hose with an adapter I got from Home Depot. (In this photo you can sort of see the while plastic piece that attaches to the back of the laser cutter. It has a small and inadequate fan that came with it.)

laser-inline-fan

The vent hose coming out the back of the laser cutter connects to an inline fan that is mounted to the ceiling…

laser-exhaust-coupler

The output of the inline fan goes to another step down adapter and then a quick connector that twists to lock into place.

I’ve also got an AC Variable Voltage Converter which allows me to run the blower at lower speeds if desired. (I sometimes dial down for paper, thinner material, etc. to reduce suction and noise.)

laser-exhaust-mounting

I then have a basement window that I replaced with a piece of wood on the outside and pink foam on the inside which has a hole in it (covered with a laser cut screen) on the outside, and on the inside the quick connect that I connect up when I use the laser cutter.

This just gets all the fumes out of the tiny room the laser cutter is in. It doesn’t scrub the air. I am not cutting for hours at a time. My main goal was to not have my spouse come home and say “why does the whole house smell like melted plastic!?” and I think I’ve achieved that goal.

Here’s the list of all the components I could remember:

Oh, and if you want to see a real laser cutter exhaust system, or at least the details of building one over many years, check out lasercutterventingsystem on the Milwaukee Makerspace wiki.

printpi01-browser

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on “Time Lapse Bot” for almost 10 years… I mean, you’d think I’d be further along by now! ;)

But seriously folks, the Time Lapse Bot project(s) got much better once the Raspberry Pi camera module came along. It allowed for a small, low-cost, portable camera device with great capabilities. I’ve been using a version to monitor my printer at home for quite a while now, and I turned my old PowerBook version into the Milwaukee Makerspace Webcam long ago, but in recent times it’s seen the most use to… monitor prints at the space.

printpi01-setup

So Mark, our 3D Printing Area Champion, asked about building some Pi camera rigs for print monitoring. So I did. I haven’t really built a proper enclosure, or made it very adjustable, but so far it works.

Basically, it captures a photo every minute, which you can see by connecting to the Pi with a web browser while on the network at the space. If you are not at the space, you can visit a web page that will show a new image every five minutes. (There’s a script that does an SCP of the file to a web server.) The other fun thing it does is compile all of yesterday’s images into a time lapse video you can download. Oh yeah, you can browser through old images and videos on the Pi when on the network, though they get deleted after X number of days to save space on the inserted thumb drive.

printpi01-back

Some scrap wood gets it just about at the right height to see the print bed. (Well, we wedged it up a bit… new version coming soon!) I’ve also got a second one in the works, along with a few enhancements I won’t reveal quite yet.

printpi01-mobile

Since there’s no screen on the Pi you need to pull up a browser on a device and check that it’s pointing where you want it pointing. I had a screen working with one of these and then one day it just decided to never work again. Annoying, so that means no screen for now.

And yes, I really do love the Raspberry Pi.

red-matte-box-rail-mount-stl

Many years ago (approximately five) I was using a RED ONE Digital Cinema Camera at my job, and I’d often use digital fabrication to create camera accessories and parts. One of the parts I made was my own version of a RED Matte Box Rail Mount.

I guess I never got around to uploading the file to Thingiverse or Youmagine, but I did have a blog post online since 2014, so I guess it shouldn’t have been too surprising when someone emailed me asking if I could sell them one. Since I 3D print things all the time, I let them know I could certainly print one and send it off to them, which I did.

red-matte-box-rail-mount

I’m glad Sarah is enjoying a cost effective way of holding her matte box in place. If you need something designed and created, let me know… I might have already done it and have the model sitting around waiting to be fabricated again.

stand-01

I’ve found that I prefer firing up OpenSCAD and writing some lines of code to actually trying to sketch simple 3D objects on paper. I grabbed a notepad and thought I could knock out a sketch, but then decided I preferred a model I could spin around and easily edit, and in no time I had what I needed.

stand-02

I’ve found that mocking up cabinets in OpenSCAD works for me. These are not final plans to fabricate something, just quick sketches to communicate ideas with others.

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