Categories
Uncategorized

Ball Feeder Mechanism

Here’s this week’s progress on the wax ball feeder mechanism. These are actually 2D files that were laser cut, but I sort of like the look of making them 2.5D so you can see the dimensionality.

Oh, to make the 3D render I exported a DXF file from Inkscape, load it into OpenSCAD and then use the linear_extrude function.

And yeah, these files are already outdated as there was one mistake (which I fixed with the bandsaw) and I’ve assembled it and found room for improvement.

You can see some earlier iterations here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Which is to say, if you want to see minor updates with very little context, follow @raster on The Instagram.

You’ll notice an issue with the balls getting stuck in the chute, so there’s a bit of work to do there. I’ve got a few ideas, just need time to test them.

And don’t worry, at some point this might all make sense, once you see the rest of the thing. Or maybe it won’t… who knows!?

Categories
Uncategorized

Enclosure Prototyping

I’ve made a lot of laser cut enclosures over the years. I typically make them out of 3mm or 6mm Baltic Birch plywood, and sometimes I even mix the two sizes, which is fun because you need to remember which tabs need 3mm and which need 6mm.

As much as I’ve made a lot of enclosures, I still occasionally screw up, or get things not quite right the first time. Typically I design the entire enclosure in software and then cut things out. If I’m smart I’ll first cut it using cardboard to prototype how it all goes together. Cardboard isn’t always the correct thickness, but it can often get you close enough and reveal flaws in your design that you can correct before you start cutting wood.

One of my recent discoveries is that if your cardboard is too thick you can squish it in the hydraulic press and it’ll stay pretty squished. There’s a little bounce back, but it’ll be thinner than it was originally.

Categories
Uncategorized

Designing an Omni Wheel

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.

Categories
Uncategorized

Milwaukee Makerspace Collateral

mms-collateral-4934

Billy, one of the new Board Members at Milwaukee Makerspace, was interested in having some letterhead made up so he could solicit donations in a more professional manner, so I designed a letterhead and also made up new cards while I was at it.

mms-collateral-4923

In case you didn’t know, I actually have a degree in Graphic Design. I don’t do a lot of “classic” graphic design for print, and most of my design work nowadays is in developing products and projects and physical things. Still, it was fun to do a little design work.

card-generic

Here’s the front of our “generic” card which we hand out to anyone, at events, etc. Basic info about the space. I brought back our old “Conceive, Collaborate, Create!” motto. (Weird spacing at the top is due to issues.)

card-back

On the back I added the part about being open on Tuesdays. Telling people to come on a Tuesday at 7pm is the most common thing I say.

card-pete

Each member of the Board of Directors also got a card designed. They could choose if they wanted their phone number on it. (Not all members wanted cards.)

letterhead

The letterhead itself has a clean look, and a line that says “Milwaukee’s Hackerspace and Fabrication Lab” which is also found on the web site and a call back to the early years of describing ourselves.

Since this is a makerspace (or hackerspace) at least one member had to argue about the cost of having letterhead made. We pointed out that the cost of letterhead was a fraction of the amount of money Billy had already saved us by soliciting donations and getting us cheaper services from our waste collection company and Internet service provider. (Some people just like to argue.)

mms-collateral-4931

We got the printing done using one of those “cheap” online services where you upload your files and then show you a preview and you hope it’ll all work out. Things are not 100% perfect. The cut lines and bleed were not totally right, but they’re good enough for our purposes. (Spacing on the letterhead is much better than the cards, but again, we’ll survive.)

mms-collateral-4904

Big thanks to Billy for pushing me to get this done, so he can do more awesome things for Milwaukee Makerspace.

Categories
Uncategorized

Jewelry versus Objects (and art something)

green-button-box

I tend to make objects. Things. Pieces. Sometimes I think I can apply the word “sculpture” to them, mainly because sometimes there isn’t a better word to describe them (especially if they are to be considered “art”.)

Many of the things I make are “functional” in that they do a thing. But what is that thing? What does it mean to do a thing? They might make something happen, or move, or light up. The might be kinetic or reactive or interactive. They may solve a problem. They may make the world a better place. They might look pleasing.

And then there’s jewelry…

I’ve had a strange relationship with jewelry. I never really cared for jewelry. Beyond the relationship humans have with jewelry, and how it fits into society, I just never really cared about making jewelry. I think that some art instructors use jewelry making as a way to teach process and making, and maybe use it because many (most?) people like it and would like to have jewelry, or maybe because it’s such a personal thing. I mean, it’s work on the body. That’s personal, right?

ring-vise

I even ended up making a piece of jewelry for a class titled “Machines that Make”. I designed a hammer ring. I learned a bit more about Rhino, and I got a print made by Shapeways, which was a good experience, but as far as a piece of jewelry, I didn’t care about it. (I mean, It’s an interesting object, but I’m not going to wear it. Like many of the things I make, there’s humor somewhere deep inside of it. Or maybe on the surface. I don’t know, I’m still figuring this out.)

Much of my art & design background involved 2D work, which, let’s be honest, often hangs on a wall, or is just seen and doesn’t do a thing. But doesn’t it do a thing? Does it provoke thought or emotions? Does it instruct or inform? Does it make you feel something? Does it make you happy? Things do things.

I remember back in a high school art class we had to make a ring. I had zero interest in wearing a ring or making a ring, and I really dragged on the project. I think I eventually finished it (late) and I don’t even know what happened to it. It was a piece I just didn’t care about. I probably could have learned about etching metal, and creating different kinds of resists, but I just wasn’t invested. (I know, this is all a person thing.)

My daughter has started to make jewelry. I’m excited about it. Not because I like jewelry, but because she likes jewelry. Or, maybe she just likes making things. It seems therapeutic. She’s mostly doing wire wrapped jewelry. I use wire for electronics and for securing things. Making jewelry with it? I guess some people do that.

ring-mads

She also learned how to do metal casting, which is awesome. I know a little about metal casting, and it’s something I wish I knew more about (but there are only so many hours in the day.) I’m glad she has the opportunity to learn it.

Also, Daleks…

What? Daleks? Yeah, well, Jon H. at Milwaukee Makerspace is the Jewelry Area Champion, and besides helping people make Daleks, helps people make jewelry. Or, learn how to make jewelry. Jon is an interesting guy. I’ve heard him called a “Retired Magician” though maybe he still is a magician! He’s got a lot of skills and is willing to share them. So yeah, sometimes you see Dalek parts being made in the jewelry area, because, the process is similar, sort of. Right? I don’t know…

Where is all this going? I’m really not sure. As I said, I’ve had a complicated relationship with jewelry. I don’t wear it, I’m not a big fan. It’s a personal thing. I don’t really like drawing attention to myself. I mean, my self. My physical being. I don’t mind using words to make myself known, or sharing my work, but I don’t want the focus on my physical body. That’s just how I am. I’m weird. Maybe. I don’t know.

dalek-jewelry

Well that turned into a rambling mess about art and objects and jewelry that I wasn’t fully expecting. Writing can be like that sometimes… What do you think?