Aug 25 ’11 Meeting, attempt to build MyDIYCNC

Our Aug 25th meeting was dominated by a the attempted build of the MyDIYCNC bot.  Before we get into that, Crystal Jean Baranyk attended our Intro to Laser Cutter class for members a week or so earlier, and took hoome some scraps I had laying around.  At the 8/25 meeting, Crystal brought back the gecko she cut along with the scraps… with some artistic embellishments. She had used colored pencil to give life to the gecko and turned the scraps into some dang impressive necklaces

[slickr-flickr tag=”laserscrapnecklace” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

Ok back to the MyDIYCNC Build

I participated in the kickstarter for the MyDIYCNC bot way back at the beginning of the year. They were highly successful, raising nearly $70,000 when they asked for only $15,000. With such success came consequences… they had to build a LOT more product than they were expecting. You can read up on the history on the kickstarter updates. The manuals were made available back in June and looked pretty good, although I did not (unfortunately) read them in detail with an eye towards building. The large number of parts arrived at project HQ over time and were finally ready to ship out in July. They shipped mine via USPS Parcel Post, which unfortunately means it took 3-4 weeks for the boxes to arrive. They also goofed and first sent me the Basic Kit, and then sent me the extra parts needed to make the Complete kit. They goofed a bit more and forgot to include some small parts in the last batch so they sent those — by USPS Priority Mail. This last box arrived first.

3 boxes Box 1 - little parts, little baggie Box 2 contents - stepper motors and boards box3 contents - frame

I held off on building anything until I had all the parts and then brought them to the space. I had high hopes we could get it mostly complete in one good night of building. Hah.

I started setting up on the bench at the far back of the container. My son Brian started off before I even had everything laid out. Which was actually good ’cause people started arriving and I had to greet em. First step was to assemble the bottom frame. It should be straight forward – two long tubes on each side hold the short tubes between them. The first hiccup came when trying to get the nuts on the screws inside the tubes…
Frame AssemblyP1030197BrianI building MyDIYCNC
A good teaching moment! I showed Brian how to use a couple screwdrivers and wrenches to hold while turning. He got it and in a few minutes the frame was assembled! Oops. The end pieces need to go in the right orientation – one bar has holes all the way thru it, the other side has holes only thru one side. The manual said nothing about this and Brian had gotten them backwards on first try. Disassemble, Redo.

Whats next? Hmm the manual is not very informative. It shows how to machine the holes into the tubes and then shows the base & side panels assembled. Poof! Hmm. ok lets try attaching the side panels…P1030206

Oh wait, these holes are NOT symmetric. There is a top and bottom bar for each of the left/right. How hard would it have been to put the holes right dang center of the bar and avoid the asymmetry? IDK they didnt, so Disassemble Redo.nope not quite centered

At this point Brian, Cole and Brian T are all getting in the act. There is barely room around the bench for them to work, let alone for me to see what’s happening! P1030207

What’s next? Hmmm… I went back to trying to figure out the steps in the manual. This is NOT an assembly manual. Its more of a discussion on how to build the parts. The diagrams are not well dimensioned, so I’m not sure how anyone would build from scratch properly.

We got the full frame together…P1030227

However, now it says we should attach the X Table, carefully aligning the holes in the table so they line up with the angle bar that rides on the rails. Except 1) the table is not drilled and 2) you cant get to the holes when it is on the rails. So how do you line up the holes and drill? Well its a CNC machine, perhaps the build specs show the dimensions? nope. It shows the overall size and hole location but no dimensions on hole positions. Drat.

So here we stop. An email and forum posts to the project boards and we find that The Builder is currently working on the Assembly Manual. I suggested he include the full DXF files so we can download and use them ourselves for diagrams we need. I think I should be able to take the table dxf and convert it to a laser cutter file. This will allow me to at least etch the hole locations in the table, as guides for the drill press.

Later we might use the DIYCNC to redo holes for the next table.

MauiMaker Update Aug25 2011

Oops. Its been over a month since I posted here. Our makers have been busy, just not posting here. Most of the activity has been over on the GoogleGroup, with a smattering of updates to the Flickr Sites (Jerry’s, and MauiMaker) and Picasa albums. I signed up on Google Plus and its been a busy there too. I like it better than Facebook.

We’ve had a whole lotta busy meetings with a fair number of new faces showing off a number of good projects. Check the above links to see pics. There were a couple googlegroup posts about the meetings.

Our Aug 4th meeting turned into a cool show-your-hack night. Ben Ward brought down his rear projection multi-touch table. It uses a set of IR-LED/senors around the rim and a Windows machine. He has it setup with a DJ application which we all had fun playing with it. Ziz (who recently joined us) brought in a guitar to which he has wired an rgb LED. The color depends on which frets are touched by strings. Very cool hack! There is a video of it in my flickr set:

[slickr-flickr tag=”meeting080411″ descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

We held our first Laser Cutter Orientation Class for members. Brian Thomas, Chris Taylor, Kim Haueisen and Crystal Jean Baranyk attended. Pics from the class are on Flickr
[slickr-flickr tag=”LaserClass” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

My birthday was a week or so ago, and my wife gave me an Eggbot from Evil Mad Science. This is basically a pen plotter for small round(ish) objects like eggs. I built it during one of the maker meetings and got a few test prints done. I was able to do a few more later at home and then took it to a fundraiser for Jungle To Jungle. I was able to sell about a half dozen eggs for $2 each to raise money for the program.

[slickr-flickr tag=”Eggbot” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]

Hopefully we will get posts here more regularly. Meanwhile, subscribe to our google group