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.

nomcon-map

While I’m sad I’ll be missing NOMCON (the first annual Nation of Makers conference) this year, I’m glad I could still contribute in some way.

nomcon-parts

Dan Schneiderman, one of the leads for Maker Faire Rochester, organized a group to create pieces of a US map that will serve as the stage backdrop for the conference. He sent me the files for pieces to be cut and then we were free to attach whatever we wanted to the front, though there was a color scheme to (try to) adhere to.

nomcon-piece-03

I cut the pieces on the 150 watt laser cutter at Brinn Labs. Since I didn’t have 1/2″ plywood I used 1/4″ Baltic Birch which we then glued together to get the proper thickness.

nomcon-piece-02

I had a few ideas (one involving wax) but ended up cutting up a bunch of old Make magazines (ironic, I know) after carefully selecting purple images that would match the designated color of my piece.

I spray glued all the paper pieces and stuck them down to the wood, overlapping as needed. I then trimmed the pieces that were overhanging the edges, and then applied polyurethane to protect and beautify the surface.

nomcon-piece-01

Here’s my final piece, which is #69. Carl and Kathy H. at Milwaukee Makerspace took care of the rest of the pieces. (Hopefully they got photos of theirs as well!)

I expect to see some photos of Adam Savage and Dale Dougherty standing in front of this!

acrylic-bed

Contrary to what the photo above may suggest, I am not using a laser cut acrylic piece for the Y carriage of my RepRap… What I am using it for is a template to make sure things work properly, and once I’m sure I’ll use it as a drilling template to mount things on the Aluminum Y carriage I have. (Which Frankie gave to me, oh, maybe six years ago!?)

y-plate-metal

Here’s the Aluminum Y carriage. The photo looks weird because it’s from my flatbed scanner. I often scan objects so I can bring them into Inkscape and trace them to get a vector drawing I can work with. (And I had to scan it in two passes and stitch it into one image.)

y-plate-drawing

Here’s the SVG file created in Inkscape by tracing things. Notice I added more holes, which will be used to hold the bearing blocks.

acrylic-fake-bed

It seems to slide pretty smoothly. I mentioned in a previous post, the igus drylin slide bearings want to be under some pressure to work properly, so I adjusted them just right with the blocks I printed and did some slide tests. So far I’m pleased!

Next up will be the holes in the Aluminum. I’m not sure if I should drill and tap for 3mm bolts, or drill for pass-through of 3mm bolts and hold in place with nuts. My thought on the first method is that my alignment via drilling has to be perfect, while with the second method I can adjust just a bit with some slop. Thoughts?

omni-wheel-01

I was at a robotics event a while back and saw so many omni wheels I got inspired to try to design one. I remember looking up omni wheels years ago and seeing how expensive they were, so 3D printing my own seemed like an obvious choice.

omni-wheel-model-01

I mostly succeeded in designing and making one, but it’s also quite a bit of a failure. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun exercise, and I tend to enjoy a design challenge, but these aren’t gonna work.

omni-wheel-03

I had planned on brushing Plasti Dip onto the wheels to give them some grip, or maybe casting them from Silicone. (Someone else suggested printing with TPU filament.) If I get back to this project I might consider some of those ideas…

omni-wheel-model-02

So where was my big mistake? When I modeled this, I did not model in the hardware. Sure, I modeled in the holes for the hardware, and what I thought was enough space for the heads of the bolts, but the bolts stick out just a bit too much. As I said, this was a fun exercise, and maybe I’ll revisit it in the future but…

omni-wheel-02

I went looking for omni wheels again and found this VEX IQ 63mm Omni Wheels (2pk) for about $10, which means for $20 I got 4 really nice omni wheels. They might also serve as a reference if I try redesigning my wheels, now that I have a good example to go from. Maybe my choice of 3mm hardware was a poor one. Hmmm, I’m already thinking about the next iteration.

neoprene-03

I recently built two custom controllers. The first was a joystick that sends key commands depending on the position. It was a simple electronic build, just incorporating a SparkFun Arcade Joystick into an enclosure.

joystick-02

The person I built it for ask for the enclosure to be as small as possible, so the joystick is in there tight. I also painted the ball white and the screws holding things together black.

joystick-01

The bottom piece of the enclosure does not use finger joints, as it’s head in place with screws. I ended up drilling holes for the screws later after I cut down some scrap wood into corner pieces that helped hold the enclosure together when gluing, and provided a place to screw the screws into.

neoprene-02

The other controller was create using Neoprene. I did not laser cut the Neoprene, but did cut a template from wood that I used to lay on top of the Neoprene and then carefully cut with an X-ACTO knife, which worked well enough.

There are two round laser cut pieces of plastic as well, that are covered with metallic tape, and then the two wires got taped down to the discs. The wires are attached to a Teensy LC on the other end, which has built-in capacitive touch capabilities.

neoprene-01

Some gaff tape holds together the sandwich of Neoprene to keep it all together. It’s pretty much impossible to pull it apart without destroying the Neoprene (I left that photo out) so hopefully it just works and no maintenance is ever needed.

This controller also sends keystrokes depending on which pad you touch. Oh, I also used a laser cut template to spray paint the two large white target areas. I wasn’t too pleased with the look of spray paint on Neoprene, but it’s the best I could do with a short timeline.

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