Archive for the ‘coopmakership’ Category

Solar Panel Fabrication Set Up


All the necessary equipment to make reliable solar panels is now set up at LVL1.  This includes a custom built oven with a vacuum sealing system capable of making panels up to 15×21 inches, but no worries for bigger projects individual panels can be wired together in series or parallel and with the right framing anything is possible.  A further break down of this oven and the panel making process is coming in the future.  Along with the oven a tile saw has been set up with a 0.015″ thick diamond blade.  This saw can be used to cut scrap or non-scrap of mono or poly crystalline solar cells into usable custom sizes to fit the needs of various projects.  The only other equipment needed to make a panel is a soldering iron, which LVL1 has plenty of.  Only some materials for making solar panels will be available the rest will need to be purchased.  For more info contact Sam Ellis at

The set up:

Example of a solar panel made using the equipment followed by a table of its performance characteristics:

Isc:   0.4485 A

Voc:   16.8 V

PowerMax:  5.1 W

Imax:  0.3845 A

Vmax:  13.28 V

Fill factor:  0.6697

% Efficiency:  12.36%


Trent Lowry’s 1st Blog Post


With the sudden occurrence of the sink hole outside of LVL1 I thought this would be a great time to make my first post updating you all on what I’ve been doing this semester.

I am working with Dr. Harnett on the Salamander Sensor Project.  I am developing a water proof housing that will be easier to produce and use than the current one.  The entire process of how the current housing is produced is very difficult for the temperature sensors because it can involve a lot of gluing and requires some very precise laser cutting.  To eliminate this I have been developing a housing that will be one solid piece with a slit for the temperature sensor to stick out of.

So far this semester I have spent time developing this part with the assistance of LVL1’s Makerbot Cupcake CNC in order to quickly acquire real physical parts from the designs on the computer.  I have spent time learning the ins and out of this machine as well ReplicatorG in order to improve the quality of the parts I was producing.  At first the parts I was getting were not very consistent in size compared to the models I was making on the computer, but I have managed to figure out different settings that help produce much higher quality parts.  With the arrival of the new replicator I hope to be able to produce even better pieces.


Here are some of the parts that I printed using the Cupcake:


As you probably are able to tell just by looking at these two pictures, the Cupcake does not produce the most consistent of parts.  Just looking at the region containing the helix there is quite a significant difference between the one on the left and the one on the right.

2 Co-ops Started This Summer!


Co-ops Trent Lowry and Sam Ellis started their LVL1 Co-op Makerships this summer. Stay tuned…

A Makership for U of L Engineering Students


People soldering kits at LVL1 on May 1

People soldering kits at LVL1 on May 1

Hackerspaces are starting to change engineering education. Let’s put two University of Louisville Co-op interns in the LVL1 hackerspace! We are exploring how to get students working on hands-on projects sooner in the engineering curriculum.

As a Co-op at LVL1, you can contribute to an ongoing project or even launch your own project. The first Co-ops will start in summer 2012. You must be a Speed School student seeking a Summer 2012 Co-op to apply for this program.

If you’re seeking a Co-op position in Fall 2012, Spring 2013 or  Summer 2013, stay tuned! There will be another application session for each of those semesters.


LVL1 Hackerspace
1205 E. Washington St.
Louisville, KY 40206