Dremel Build Day – Sat. Aug 2, 2014 11am-4pm

Maui Makers presents “Dremel Build Day”   with sponsorship from Instructables.com
(for full background on sponsorship see the Instructables.com post)

When: Saturday August 2, 11am-4pm
Where: Home of Richard and Lynn Rasmussen – 3191 Baldwin Ave, Makawao Hawaii 96768
(map link http://goo.gl/maps/3hVNF )

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Who: Open to Public. Under 18 requires presence of parent or legal guardian.
Liability wavers (available on-site) must be signed to attend.
No children under 10yrs, please. And only if they are participating.

What: Learn to use Dremel rotary and multi-max tools, help us make at least 2 “instructables” documenting how-to projects with them.

The event itself is free. We will have a small quantity of materials for use. Perhaps some larger pieces available at cost. Instructables has provided us with 5 dremel  Model 4000 rotary tools and three Multi-Max MM30 Oscillating tools, along with a supply of bits (5x of the 3 sets pictured below) etc.

Dremel parts 2 Dremel 4000 & MM30 Machines

What to Bring:

  1. Your Project Ideas (and supplies – wood, plexiglas, glue, nails, etc)
  2. Your own eye protection, dust mask, and other safety gear.
  3. Your own dremel and/or other tools (while we have some, more is more!) MARK YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT!! write your name on it so it leaves with you.
  4. Sack lunch, beverage, and something to share if you like.
  5. Digital Camera/Video/laptop/smartphone – to help document the projects

(Note Instructables has apps for both IOS and Android
What Kind of Dremel Project?
Great question.  Most projects might use a Dremel for only a small task (cutting bolts, sanding finish, etc) This would be fine for practice and maybe an intro-to-dremel instructable. Other projects might feature the tools – carving/engraving wood/acrylic sculptures, trimming pet’s nails.

Dremel has a video showing some quick ideas: cut metal pipe, wire shelving, nails; remove grout, drill/shape/sand wood

Why: we have been given over $1000 worth of Dremel tools for our makerspace, on the condition that we host a build night (day), give a 15minute safety presentation, and create at least two “instructables” (text/pics/video how to for the website http://www.instructables.com ) Again, the background on their sponsorship is on their blog page: http://www.instructables.com/community/July-2014-Build-Night-with-Dremel/

If we do a good job with this project & make some cool instructables (extra points for blog posts), Instructables will keep us on the list for more supplies and tools.

Please come out and help! If you don’t have a project in mind, come help document.

SpaceShop – a makerspace at NASA AMES Research Center

Mid-November 2013 I visited SpaceShop at NASA Ames Research Center – a makerspace built for NASA Engineers. Matthew Reyes is the man responsible for setting up the space and being my host for the afternoon. He is also an advisor to SpaceGAMBIT (our DARPA funded Hackerspace Space Program grant)


The SpaceShop shares a building with the Ames copy center and what is (to date) the most impressive machine shop I have ever been in. Lets start with the upstairs, where you find the SpaceShop itself.


Matthew outfitted the space with most of the equipment required for a FabLab. He found a whole lotta desks and other equipment on the NASA Ames site, much of it slated for disposal. I am seriously jealous of his dumpster diving location. (not all was actually going in landfill/dumpster. Some would be sold – usually at scrap prices.)

The first room through those doors holds the laser cutter and 3D printers – he as at least 3 printers so far, with the UP being his current favorite (that is NOT an endorsement by Matthew or NASA – merely what I gathered from casual conversation.) Matthew and his NASA crew (namely the talented Andrew Filo) have created 3D Models of a number of spacecraft AND the asteroids they have studied. These models are available on Thingiverse (note many of these were NOT created by SpaceShop).


The next room holds the full size shopbot, and some other shop tools.
One of the projects Matthew and the Ames Makers have been working on are carved foam terrain maps of Mars. See that pink sheet on the shopbot? That’s a bit of the Mars surface. In the flickr set (see below) there is a shot of more of em standing in Matthew’s office. Note also that gray drill press. Thats a mid-20th century beast that Matthew rescued from the dumpster.


The next room holds a nice big optical bench (yep, another item slated for disposal). That model on the bench is a 3D print of the Sofia Telescope (Stratospheric Observatory for Infared Astronomy). The model is about 10 years old and predates the Makerbot era of inexpensive printing. Even today that large a print would be quite an undertaking. Beyond that room is the electronics and vinyl cutter room. More surplus benches gathered from around the Ames campus.


Matthew has found a fair bit of great maker stuff there at Ames. Check out this gear drawer!

Draw of random gears at NASA Ames

We will ignore the copy/printing center that is also upstairs. It looks sorta like a FedEx Office. Nothing really awe inspiring there. (no offense to the hardworking people there.)

Downstairs… OMG. this is where amazing stuff has been built in decades past. Scroll back up and take a look at that panoramic shot at the top. (or check out the full size image by clicking HERE) This has to be the biggest collection of high end CNC machines, lathes, milling machines, grinders etc I have ever seen. Many of them are solid cast iron beasts that are probably as old as I am (or older). That big blue Cincinnati on the right (and below) was the first 3 axis CNC mill on the west coast (of mainland usa). It is BIG. Zoom in on the panoram and look down the aisle of CNC machines on the left. There is a machinist sitting in from to the last one – that gives you some sense of scale of these machines.


That panoram was of one side of the downstairs shop. I could not get a good panoram of the other side so here are some separate pics. It appears to be mostly manual machines with DRO (digital read outs). Note that some of those lathes are outfitted with microscopes. Microscopes on a lathe!!!


There are a few more pictures in the Flickr Set.

It is very impressive to me that NASA has built a makerspace on one of its campus. There is perhaps a bit of a disconnect perhaps between the Maker DIY culture and the machine shop on premises of the past. The old style was that you gave the basic design to a highly skilled machinist who fabricated the part for you. A makerspace, on the otherhand, expects you to make the parts yourself. It remains to be seen whether this will work for NASA. There are unfortunately not that many people left that are skilled in running the downstairs machines … and also a bit sad that there was so little activity there.

Bronze Casting from Makerbot Printed Original

One project I hope to undertake at Maui Makers is doing some metal casting using originals made on our Makerbot 3D Printer. This is something that has been talked about in the forums since inception and at every demonstration of the ‘bot that I’ve given/seen. Mostly it was about how cool it would be if you could do this but rarely has anyone actually said they did it.

Well FINALLY someone has come forth with detailed information on bronze casting using ‘bot made originals. The great folks at theband new (sept 2010) Quad Cities Collaboration and Hackerspace (QC Co-lab), of Davenport Iowa, have been making their hackerspace coins using their ‘bot and bronze casting. Back at the beginning of October 2010, MBI posted a blog report interview with David Hinkle and QC-Cola. It had lots of info and nice pics. Now MBI blog brings us two videos from QC Co-lab, showing how they prep a ‘bot made coin, make the sand mold, cast it, and a bit of cleanup. Very Cool!!

Here is Part 1, the mold preparation:

and Part 2 where they fire up the furnace:

Ok. I’m going back to refitting the Mk5 printruder onto GoldBot! Hopefully it will be operational later today.

23b Shop sign

Visit to 23b Shop in Fullerton, CA

On Saturday April 17, The hackerspace 23b Shop in Fullerton CA had an open house and giant birthday party for Amber.  I had read up on the space a while back and wanted to check them out, so I drove down mid-afternoon.  I should have checked sigalert before driving, as the I-5 had some serious delays and it wound up taking me almost 2.5hr to drive 70miles.  The space is tucked away in an alley of an industrial park, with little to distinguish it from the more commercial neighbors.   They do have a rather unique sign in their window…

23b Shop sign

Sign in window for 23b Shop - Dolphins with flamethrowers vs Unicorns with guns!!

Anyway, 23B Shop is different from many other places I’ve seen.  It was formed by a group of friends who wanted a place to hang out and setup their machines.  Unlike many hackerspaces, 23B has welding and machine tools in its inventory – perfect for making the odd killamajig and gunsmithing.  It s a fairly small space – about 1000 sq ft not including the ‘storage’ loft.  The most prominent feature is the UV curtained off welding area – those orange curtains do stand out!  It holds a small bench with Oxy/Acetylene, MIG and TIG welders.  Behind this are a good sized lathe, a Smithy mill, drill press, horizontal & vertical band saws, grinders, etc.  They have a sand blasting glove box chamber, and a kitchen oven modified for powder coating outsized objects.  They’ve also got a small electronics bench, and a foundry, etc.  Quite a bit to cram into a small space.  The space had a storage loft in the back when they moved in.  They scrounged up some cool honeycomb composite flooring and made it serviceable for people – creating a lounge with a couch, tables and small liquor cabinet upstairs along with the overflow storage.

View from doorway into 23b Shop

View from doorway into 23b Shop

Some of the machine tools on back wall

Another view of the machine tool corner

Electronics bench in back corner

The 23b Shop folks are true hackers of the old school.  They are long time attendees of Defcon and several are Security Goons.  These are definitely folks I’d prefer to have on my side.  They were quite a likable and friendly bunch.  They had set up a small inflatable pool in the drive way, complete with air bubbler – unfortunately using the bubbler kicked off the air compressor completely overwhelming any conversation.  They also had a decent outdoor dj/music rig setup complete with flashing lights.  I had to leave about 8:30pm, just as the party was getting rolling.   It was a good time and I enjoyed meeting the 23b Shop people.  They are welcome to visit us at Maui Makers – when we have a space!

23b Shop crew chillin outside

Chicks, rollerskates, automatic (airsoft) weapons and alcohol - Yeah! Thats Amber the b-day girl in green.

Desktop Fab, Basic Machining and CNC

Desktop fabrication, as discussed in Gersenfeld’s book (Fab: The Coming Revolution on your desktop), and the related Fab Labs pretty much stick to the new small devices – laser cutters, small CNC routers, etc. However manufacturing has long used computers for fabrication on larger machines. CNC (Computer Numeric Control) has been around for a few decades, with Numeric Control predating it by a few more. The underlying machines (lathes, mills, etc) have been around for quite a bit longer.

As I got started on my path to Maui Makers in ernest last summer, I found a local adult school here in So Cal had classes in welding, basic machinist and CNC operation/programming. The welding class is highly regarded and has a 6mo waiting list. I put my name on the list and then turned to the CNC classes. The school (Simi Valley Adult School) requires new students to start with the Basic Machinist class unless they have significant experience and can test out of the class. Since I had minimal experience, I signed up and started the class. It was a great experience learning to use a metal lathe, surface grinder, vertical milling machine, etc. The class has print reading and math components as well as hands on creation of 8 projects. The projects lead you through the basics of using the machines -turning, boring, drilling, milling, tapping, threading, tapers, etc. The print reading was pretty simple for me – thanks to that drafting class way back in high school, before the age of CAD.

The math was very basic review… Odd tidbit here. The instructor (Oygar, great guy) told me american students have a much easier time with the math than europeans and others who grow up with the metric system. Much of the math involves fractions – basic add/subtract/multiply/divide, as well as conversion to/from decimals. This is very important when using SAE/English measurements (inches, feet), since those regularly use 1/4, 1/32, 1/64 etc. People in metric based countries apparently dont do a lot of work with fractions in regular schooling. Anyway, i had no problems with the math portion.

The Basic Machinist section took me a bit over 6 calendar months to complete, mostly because I took off from mid-Nov till end of January. It was very instructive and FUN to learn the bridgeport mill and metal lathes. I got clothes reeking of machine oil now, and a few more scars on my hands. It was a lot of good fun – and I developed a whole new level of respect and understanding of the basic manufacturing biz. Now I’m on to the CNC class – which is pretty trivial basic cartesian coords plus manually creating G-code to run the big Haas CNC machines the facility has. Manually writing cnc code is a pain and nearly archaic approach since there are lots of good CAD/CAM tools that eliminate the need to work in the machine code. However, just like knowing computer assembler (machine code) is (IMHO) essential for software engineers to understand the computer, it is important for CAM designers to understand.  I’ve also been learning g-code as my Makerbot runs on it. The Haas has a much more elaborate set of commands it understands, but essentially its all g-code. pretty cool.

I’ve also started the welding class at SVAS. I think these basic manufacturing skills are essential and am considering including a mill and lathe in the equipment I put in my workshop.  There are some nice small CNC bots as noted on the CrashSpace wiki.  Having one of these would be a great compliment to a laser cutter. A big Haas CNC would be nice, but they are quite a bit more expensive!