posts tagged with the keyword ‘lasercut’

2015.09.15

Pen Holder

If you remember reading about my Turndrawble, the turntable-based drawing machine, you may remember that I use Fine Point Sharpies with it. The last time I used it in public I just had the pens in a jar, which is not ideal.

The original design was going to have the pen holder built in, but I changed things and decided against that, so I needed something else, and this is it.

If you want to see this thing in person, and make some art with it, I’ll be at the Hidden River Art Festival at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts on September 19th & 20th, 2015.

Wood

The wood pieces are cut from 1/4″ Baltic Birch plywood. The blue parts are set to cut before the black parts. You usually want to cut the insides of things first. (Often this leads to many colors if you nest objects.) Not all laser cutter software requires you to do this manually. Some software is smart enough to always cut the inside objects first.

Acrylic

I also cut some rectangular acrylic panels to go on the inside. Two red, and two black, to match the Turndrawble acrylic colors used.

Pen Holder

I glued the wood pieces together with wood glue, sanded them, and did a stain and polyurethane coat. (Next time it would be better to sand everything completely before assembly. The sanding removed some of the burned wood look, which I wanted to preserve.

Pen Holder

The acrylic pieces fit nice and snug, but just to be safe I put a few small dabs of hot glue on the before putting them in place. There’s also four rubber feet on the bottom to prevent sliding around on the table.

Pen Holder

Pen Holder

(You can read more about this thing on the Turndrawble project page..)

2015.05.17

Turndrawble

If you’ve been following any of my adventures since I first mentioned a Turntable Drawing Machine, this is the result. The Turndrawble is a machine that uses a spinning platter and a movable arm to create drawings.

Turndrawble

Unlike many of the things I’ve been working on lately, the Turndrawble leans more towards the “art object” side of things than the “here’s all the files/you can easily make one” side of things. That isn’t meant to say you could not make one, but the prime objective was to create an aesthetically pleasing machine that was unique. (I hope I did that!)

I also wanted to build a machine I could bring to events and allow people to use in order to create drawings. Often in the past I’ve brought drawing machines places but I’ve ether operated them or they’ve operated (semi-) autonomously. The Turndrawble presents a chance for the viewer to become a participant.

Turndrawble

(I’ll be posting photos of some of the drawings soon as well. There’s also a video.)

Check out the Turndrawble project page for more info, links to files, etc. if case you want to try to build your own. (I’ve been thinking of building a much smaller and simpler version as a kit you can purchase and assemble. Stay tuned for updates on that.)

2015.05.12

One of the pieces I needed for my turntable drawing machine was something to hold a bearing in place underneath the platter to support it and let it spin easily. If you’ve ever taken the plate out of your microwave oven to clean it you may have seen a “Microwave Roller Wheel / Turntable Support” thing. (Really, that’s what it’s called. Check Amazon.)

Spinners

I decided to use 608 bearings, mainly because I had a lot of them on hand, but they’re also really easy to get for a low price. (I think I got 30 608ZZ bearings for under $20 from Amazon.)

Bearing Mount

I designed these two arms that would fit into slots cut into the base of the machine, below the platter. Each piece would be locked into place with a 3mm bolt, so there’s holes and t-slots for those. The extra piece you see on the bottom (with the 4 slots and 2 holes) is the mating piece. This was designed based on the arm pieces fitting into it, and I would only need to cut one (hopefully) to test the fit.

The arms are slightly different. The one on the right has a hole large enough for the 8mm bolt to fit through, while the one on the left has a slightly smaller hole. The plan was to tap the smaller hole so the bolt could screw right into it without needing a nut. Do a search for metric tap drill size and you’ll see that a 6.8mm hole is needed to tap it for an 8mm bolt. (Sometimes you can just look on the tap and it’ll tell you what size to make the hole.)

As a bonus, when I share the files for this you can decide which pieces suit you better, depending on the availability of an 8mm tap in your workshop. No tap? Just use the larger hole version and a nut instead.

Bearing and Bolt

When you’ve got a laser cutter and lots of scrap acrylic, it makes a lot of sense to make your own washers and spacers and standoffs. (Assuming acrylic is up to the task of what you’re designing.) The spacers were sized to match the inside part of the bearings allowing the outer part of the bearing to spin freely.

I originally was going to make acrylic nuts as well, but decided on tapping the holes with threads. I still wanted the “hex nut” part of the design, as it’s used to hold the platter in place. So that, in conjunction with the tapped parts, prompted me to make the hex shape at the top of the arms. (It’s the details, right?)

Bearing Holder

The one thing that making and using acrylic nuts would have allowed would have been adjusting the height of the bearing. I could have created a slot for raising or lowering the bolt and bearing combo, so with this design featuring the tapped holes, there was no room for adjustment. Luckily I got it right by the second (or third) attempt.

Arm Spacing

Here’s a shot of the spacing of the bearing holders below the platter. It worked out well and I got the math (mostly) right. I may end up making a new bottom in the future to account for other faulty measurements this time around, but I’ve already adjusted for them and things work well enough.

(For other posts about this turntable, check the posts tagged with dcrlmtm.)

2015.05.03

Arm

You can’t have a turntable without an arm! Well, I guess you could, but where would you put the pen? Here’s some of the design files for the arm. The hole pattern on the larger part was made to match a servo hub from SparkFun, which is also from ServoCity, which provided a STEP file. (Ignore the heart-shaped thing for now. It’s experimental!)

Servo Hub Rhino

Luckily I was able to open the STEP file in both Rhino and in FreeCAD! It’s like I won the CAD file lottery or something. But seriously, if there’s ever a competition to convert from one format to another and then another and another… I think I can win.

Servo Hub FreeCAD

I was able to get what I needed to get the hole spacing right, which is all I really needed this time. The holes are tapped for 6-32 screws. Once again I’m mixing Imperial and Metric. Sigh… Mission (somewhat) accomplished, I guess.

Arms

The arm consists of three layers of laser-cut pieces stacked up, and screws to hold them together. I played around with materials a little bit, trying wood in the center, but finally choosing the red acrylic. I thought about clear, but there is at least one other red element right now, and possibly more to come, so I chose the black and red combo. Always a good choice!

Arm Hinge

There’s also a hinge I cut from a 1mm thick plastic I got from the Midland scrapyard. (Windell from EMSL thinks it might be polypropylene.) The laser cut it fine once I figured out the proper settings… and covered it with masking tape on both sides.

Pen Mount

And yes, I did borrow a few ideas from the Egg-Bot design. Sharpies, FTW! Pen holder designers unite, and all that. There’s a 8-32 square nut in there, really snug. I do not have a nice thumbscrew like EMSL uses… yet!

2015.04.26

QWERTY Keyboard Rendering

I’ve always been fascinated by typewriters. I find them to be curious machines, and their history is no less interesting. (Go on, take a look!) Of course I’m also fascinated by digital technology, and how it empowers people to creating things. Above is a rendering of a QWERTY keyboard, and below is an actual QWERTY keyboard I created using digital fabrication and a tiny computer called a microcontroller functioning as the “brain”.

QWERTY Keyboard

The keyboard is fully-functional. Plug it into the USB port of your laptop or desktop computer and you can start typing. Of course you can only type the letters Q, W, E, R, T and Y… but it does work. Like all of the things we use, it has limitations. Like all of our technology, it doesn’t do quite all of what we’d like it to do.

QWERTY Keyboard

The QWERTY Keyboard is made from wood. (Just like the early prototype of the Sholes, Glidden & Soule typewriter seen below.) My father was good at working with wood, and his father before him was probably even better at it. I am not that good at working with wood, but I am good at creating things digitally. There is perhaps an inverse skill scale at work here. Are we losing the ability to craft real-world objects in exchange for creating digital objects? Maybe digital fabrication is the answer, bridging the gap between the two.

Sholes, Glidden & Soule typewriter

The Sholes, Glidden & Soule typewriter is a weird looking device, as is my QWERTY keyboard. I think there’s a place in the world for both of them, and perhaps a place where the two can meet.

QWERTY Keyboard

For more information on this piece, visit the QWERTY Keyboard project page. There are more thoughts and more photos, and as always, I welcome your comments.

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