Once again the Sheffield hardware hackers and Makers attended the Maker Day 2014, but only this time it was hosted in The Yorkshire arts space just opposite of Access Space.
We had our own stall set up with:
- 3D Printers
- A Raspberry Pi
- A fair few Arduino’s
- Our High Altitude Balloon Project
and lots lots more…
There where three 3D Printers on display. There was the Mendel 90 and Pursa Mendel witch belong to the group and a Pursa Huxly witch belonged to a group member. The Mendel 90 witch was on display at the event was built at an event called “Festival Of The Mined”, this is where a group received funding to build several 3D Printers. At the end of the event the “Golden Spanner” award was presented. Teams where judged on how well they worked as a team, the quality and neatness of the build and the final print quality.
There was also a Raspberry Pi set up with scratch running on it, it was open for people to come along and and have a play. There was lots to talk about to the public about, it attracted a wide audience.
One thing that we did accomplish was getting together 4 Arduino kits. This then means that we can now let people have a play and learn using these kits. An one person who we must say Thank You to is Darran from “We Do 3D Printing” – We Do 3D Printing Store, who sorted us out with some of the kit.
As a group we want to put together some Arduino projects together with the intention of introducing people in to programming the Arduino. One of our members put together a template using Fritzing, an open source program witch lets you creat functioning circuit diagrams for Arduinos and other circuits. The template created displayed below.
With the discussion of the groups High Altitude Balloon project, we had our prototype gondola hanging from a baloney in exhibition hall. There was the sound of telemetry data that could be heard from the other side on the exhibition hall.
Overall it was a very successful weekend. We want to thank everybody who came along to the event on the day, as well as the organises of Maker Day Sheffield and the staff at Yorkshire Arts Space. Not forgetting everybody who came along to help us set up :-).
Whilst visiting Leuven on other business recently I put the time aside to visit FabLab Leuven. The FabLab is embedded at KU Leuven but promotes free open access to both students and the wider local community. As Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers aspire to joining or founding a full time FabLab it was a good opportunity to find out how it is done and how others have succeeded with similar challenges. Marc and Thomas run the fab lab with Jose, they were quick to point out that initial funding and finding space was only a small part of the problem. Sustainability is something that has killed several FabLab startups that had shown initial signs of doing very well.
I would like to thank Marc and Thomas of FabLab Leuven for putting the time aside to show me around, make me feel welcome and share their experience and enthusiasm for their FabLab. I can definitely recommend visiting them if in the local if only just to see how well they are doing, it is inspirational. It would be even better though to do a spot of making and hacking whilst sharing with like minded folk.
First in through the door I was struck by their own floor tiles with the FabLabLeuven Logo superimposed on the FabLab Movements Logo. The FabLab is open to all including students and drop in public users. Access and usage of machinery is free but materials are either self supplied or can be bought at the FabLab. Fab lab supplied materials are purchased in as being suitable for the machinery that it will be used with. This should make it easier to get reasonable results without needing to know in advance what materials are suitable.
The main room is a large open flexible space with tables as work spaces that are shared by those visiting the Lab. Essential services like electricity and networking drop down from a roof distribution grid. This removes tripping hazards and leaves the work tables free to be moved around as needed. The managing staff have dedicated desks in this main room so are an active part of this making community.
To the front of the building leading off the main room is a well organized area with a number of laser cutters and small CNC machines. I asked Thomas about keeping the optics aligned and cleaned. He showed me how the laser cutters were built such that the optics were not readily accessible from the cutting compartment which both shields them from combustion products and twiddling fingers. The lasers are plumbed up to a common air extract. It was noticeable how the air was good even in a small room stood next to 5 working laser cutters. All the machinery in this room had dedicated PC’s to drive them with the correct CAM software to make the most of their capabilities. Taking all of these elements together it was clear that Thomas and Marc had been doing this for some time and had worked ways around the issues that crop up from time to time.
Towards the rear of the room there was a display of a selection of projects made at the fablab. Thomas explained that over the last year alone there had been literally thousands of projects coming through the FabLab from both Student and Public makers. I wondered how they had managed this. Thomas was quick to explain that being embedded within the university meant that they were able to offer voluntary staff positions to students. The students after a suitable training period are able if they so wish to open the fablab at weekends and in some cases 24 hours a day. These extended hours are usually to cope with the high demand that course hand-in’s and assessed student projects generate as dead lines approach. The same volunteer staff also provide support to members of the public coming into the FabLab. Moving back through the main room there are a number of 3D printers ranging from a Makerbot through to a large Dimension printer. To the left hand side as we pass through Thomas draws my attention to their area dedicated to electronics work.
Out across the corridor there is the workshop where all the nosier and dust/waste creating activities are carried out. One end is partitioned off and this is where a full sheet CNC router lives. It has a vacuum bed and sawdust collection. We had a look at furniture items being in various stages of being prototyped and built. The services again drop down from the ceiling leaving the workspace more flexible. A dust and waste vacuum extract is also plumbed in across the ceiling with drop tubes to remove the dust from band-saws, drills sanders and the like. Again a well equipped space light and airy with a lot of thought put into keeping it serviceable. Thomas and I both agreed keeping the Lab zoned to minimise disruption from noisy machines as well as dust etc is a good design feature.
Marc the FabLab manger joined us and we went outside for coffee. I complimented them on their FabLab. Marc was quick to explain that it had not happened over night they had gone through 3 main expansion phases as well as the usual raft of tweaks and improvements that go into running such a place on a day by day basis. I asked about sustainability Marc and Thomas explained that they thought embedding FabLabs within a larger organisation such as KU Leuven was good symbiosis and ensured a degree of sustainability that other FabLabs may struggle to achieve, The university gained extra maker-space enabling more assessed projects as a component of their courses. Sharing of resources between university departments and the local community on a non partisan basis. Volunteer students enabled and supported their peers as well as members of the public. Marc acknowledged with a smile that having KU Leuven’s name on application for EU and Regional initiatives probably did not do them any harm either. All in all a win, win for everyone.
All in all an inspirational visit it gave me plenty to think about as I rode back into town on the Bicycle I had rented for the day from the train station. In summary then, a vibrant, happening and above all successful FabLab catering for Students and Public on a first come first served basis. Open all year round and often into extended hours courtesy of student volunteer staffers. FabLab Leuven has a wide range of capabilities and sufficient active machine, flexible manufacturing machinery and supportive staff to meet the needs of most projects, from newbie through to accomplished maker..
Wish I could say I was’nt jealous……. Time to drown my sorrows with some Belgian beer.
As you may already know, the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers group are participating in a High Altitude Balloon launch. We have been busy at the “Hack Shack” making preparations for a kite test flight. Witch is why it has been quite around hear.
All the different parts that group members have created are being bundled up in to a small polystyrene box and are taking flight via a kite. However there are still some parts witch need to be sorted. A half build day and half field day has been proposed. The theory is that we will spend half a day at Access Space adding the final hardware components to the prototype, then the plan is to drive down to Graves Park with radios, laptops, 3G Dongle ext… and conduct some proper field testing.
This is going to help us take another step forwards in getting to launch our proper balloon. We have also put together a video to show everybody what stage we are up to. This included a look at the hardware and payload camera test.
On top of this if there are any radio amateurs or shot wave listeners in that area that are interested in receiving or decoding RTTY data, we will write a post with the radio details.
So… With preparation for our High Altitude Balloon launch well underway, we thought that we would let the community know what we where up to on this challenge.
The bits that we are working on at the minuet include:
- The telemetry hardware (the radio transmitter sending GPS data ect)
- Selecting a suitably sized gondola (the payload box)
- Constructing a parachute
- Experimenting with different methods of reviving the telemetry data
The telemetry transmitter module is now in the stage where it is being made more permanent. It has been soldered on to some strip board with a whole host of components, including a GPS and pressure sensor.
We have been able to acquire some various shaped polystyrene boxes for gondolas. We just need to decide witch one will be the most suitable to carry our payload.
We have also been very lucky to have a group member construct us a parachute for helping the payload get back down to the ground in one pice.
The Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers now has an official logo, with thanks to John. Over the weekend he created us a fantastically, well thought out and prestigious logo. We can now put a name to our face and start to show who we are.
I think that we can all agree that a large laser cut version of the logo is on the TO DO…. and maby even with some key rings…
Don’t forget! There is an Open Lab Planned for Saturday the 15th in the Refab Lab at Access Space.
This time, at the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers build day, we had everything from Arduino to 3D Printers (obviously ) and everything in between.
But first, we where reunited with our Pursa Mendel. One of the group members had taken it away to get it up and running. We can’t thank him enough for doing so! When we first started building the Mendel we always kept in mind the idea as using it as a educational tool as it was being built. But we just needed that final big push to get it running.
Below is the machine in a state almost ready to print. The X, Y and Z end stops – micro switches, needed to be re aligned because they had been knocked out of line during transit.
We where able to get the X and Y end stops re alined, but we would haft to sort the rest out on the next build evening.
- More to follow…
The Mendel 90 fixing
Within the build day we where able to get hold of some micro drill bits and other things and stuff…
After successfully removing an amount of burnt plastic from the extruder. We did this by heating up the extruder up to temperature and digging out the burnt plastic.
The first image shows the “things and stuff” bought and the second one shows the print quality after the extruder has been un blocked (how it should look).
We also had a group member bring in an Arduino robot an AAR-04. It was programmed from the Arduino IDLE. There are two motors that drive the device back and forwards and a ball bearing at the front that keeps it in line. There are also some sensors at the front of the board, just by the ball bearing, these allow the robot to stop before it hit a surface.
You can take a look at the video below of the robot working…
On december the 14th we had our monthly build day at Access Space. We had a large array of 3D printers and electronic projects
being worked on, some of the things that went on throughout the day include...
- 3D Printing parts to improve the hack space
- Laser Cutting
- Tinkering with electronics
3D Printing parts to improve the hack space
We have been hosting our meet-ups at Access Space for around 9 months now. From the start Access Space has very kindly given us a space in there Refab Lab for us to store and use our 3D Printers. We where asked to put forward suggestions for in ways witch we
could improve the hack space. We discussed with Access Space about making it an easier space to work in. We decided to create and print some coat hooks. We drew up some 3D coat hooks in Open SCAD, a free open source 3D CAD programme.
Once the object had been Compiled and Rendered it was exported as a STL file, it could then be sliced and printed. altogether we
printed four of the coat hooks, in total we had three printers on the Job. Including the small foldable, portable printer that
has been made by one of the group members (we will try any get picture).
This above is this is the finished product. The coat hooks where mounted on to a pice of wood witch was screwed on to a shelving
One of the 3D printers that was brought along to the build day was a SUMPOD Delta, this printers X,Y and Z axis sit on three
threaded rods. Some pieces where designed using Ink Scape (a 2D open source CAD programme) and laser cut. The pieces where to
mount the stepper motors on to the printer.
Among all of this we also had some people with Arduino's creating projects, including light synthesisers.
We would also like to thank Access Space for providing us with a work space and access to tools and machinery in there Refab Lab.
The next meet up will be held at Access Space on the on January the 27th.
You can keep in contact with us by following us on Twitter @SHHMakers or on our forum at: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sheffield-hardware-hackers
This meet up we had many things to be discuss. Some of the things that we went through…
-A review of the Hacker Day at the Hallam University
-Festival of the Mind 2014
-3D Printing in Sheffield
-When the next build day will be held
Following a successful Hacker day at Hallam University we returned to Access Space. At this event we had met a fair few number of new people who showed interest in the group.
Because the Mendel 90 had been transported around it needed some work doing to it. The printer did not seem to be homing it’s Z axis. It was soon apparent that one of the cables for the Z micro switch had worked its way off. This was an easy fix, the cable was re-soldered on to the micro switch. When we tried to home all of the axis, the Z axis did not want to move at all. On closer inspection, the right hand threaded rod was screwed in so tight at the bottom that the stepper motor was unable to move it. Once we had loosened the threaded rod the z axis were free to move. Before we were able to move the machine the Z axis needed to be levelled we did this by positioning the Z axis at about 100mm above the heated bed. Then using a spirit level placed on top of the extruder assembly, the Z axis was levelled by twisting the coupling on the threaded rod.
We then cleaned out the extruder this was done with a small piece of flexible wire bent in to a long U shape. The extruder was then heated up to temperature. The extruders idler was then removed and the hobbed bolt was cleaned. The thin wire was then inserted down the extruder. The extruder was then turned off and left to cool by 20°c. The wire was then removed from the extruder. This process was repeated several times. Once we had completed that we reassembled the extruder and pressed print. It worked just as new!
We also had a discussion about Festival of the Mind 2014, the themes for next year are:
We talked about doing something along the lines of hacking and maybe some Arduino projects, but they were only things that we drafted up at the meet up. If you can think of any other ideas regarding Festival of the Mind 2014 then let us know on Twitter @SHHMakers or our forum.
3D Printing in Sheffield
We only recently found out about a company called ‘We Do 3D Printing’ who are based in Sheffield, they sell items and components for 3D Printers. The company has a online shop set up on eBay. Because of where Sheffield is located it is an ideal focal point for collaborating on projects as well as having places to use 3D Printers and Laser Cutters.
Next Build Day
We now have a build day planned for the 14th of December between 10am to 4pm. You can bring along your projects, get advice from other group members and have access to the Refab Lab in Access Space with the Laser Cutter, CNC Router, 3D Printers and more.
Let us know if you are coming ether by our forum or on Twitter @SHHMakers.
On May the 9th of the November the Sheffield Hardware Hackers and Makers participated in the Maker Day at Sheffield Hallam University. In this event we had three 3D printers, one of which was the SHHM’s Mendel 90. We also had a large collection of small projects that members had made (including a Geiger counter). As well as one or two Raspberry Pi’s. On top of this we had some Arduino projects witch featured some RGB LEDs.
The three 3D printers that we had on display in the picture above where (from left to right): A Reprap Huxley, a Reprap Prusa Mendel and a Mendel 90. The Mendel 90 was being driven by a Raspberry Pi. The Pi had Print Run installed on it, the open source software for driving 3D printers with. This allowed us to have full control over the printer just as you would if you where using a computer. The slicer settings still needed setting up on the Pi, but you can still take a look at the time laps below.
The printer was printing a small Android fridge magnet test piece.
This 3D printer being driven by the Raspberry Pi, called a “Mendel 90″ was built at a event called “Festival Of The Mind” this took place over two days on a weekend where 5 of these printers where built.
The selection of projects that members had brought along to the maker day included: A Geiger counter, Arduino controlled egg incubator and Arduino controlled ambient lighting. All of these kits had been made from scratch by group members.
We also had another Raspberry Pi set up with Scratch on for people to play on and learn.
The next group meet up will take place on the 25th of November at Access space. New members are always welcome! For more Information on meet up’s and the group you can visit our Forum
Or alternately you can follow us on Twitter @SHHMakers
This meet up on the 29th of July, we had a man from BBC Radio Sheffiels come in and interview people about 3D printing. This was to try and get an understanding of what 3D printing is, how it works and how it has progressed over the years.
It was broadcast at 6:50 AM and in more detail at 7:30 AM. The show is available on iPlayer.
The 6:50 AM part is available hear at 1 hour 50 minuets.
Then the 7.30 AM part is available hear at 1 hour and 3 minuets.