Twitter: lvl1hackerspace

LVL1′s Hackerspace Passport Stamp is here!

Last night I made LVL1′s hackerspace passport using our Full Spectrum Engineering laser. It really was not that difficult. I used Chris Cprek’s LVL1 logo image for the stamp. It is the Plenary Gear logo at the top left of this page.

I used laserable rubber for this project. Even though it is low-odor you can still smell it. It smells like burning rubber from a car.

To laser the image, I took the original image and made it black and white. I removed the blue background and cleaned it up a bit using Gimp. I then imported it into Inkscape where I mirrored the image. The letters have to be in mirror image or it will not stamp correctly. Next, I ‘printed’ to the laser cutter. The Full Spectrum Engineering interface to driving the laser is pretty darned good. If you are reading this post and do not have a laser, check out Full Spectrum, they are a real good value for your money and highly recommended.

For the laser settings, I raster printed the image using 50% speed and 100% power. I tried to cut the rubber around the image, but the rubber does not cut well at all. I tried multiple passes and everything. I ended up using an exact knife.

I also cut a wooden back for the rubber out of some 1/8″ baltic birch plywood scrap I had laying around. I used double stick tape to tape the rubber onto the plywood backing. Easy. Finally I hot melt glued a handle onto the stamp. Interestingly, the handle came from the Louisville Slugger Museum and it is a scrap from when a baseball bat is cut out on their lathe.

I used a stamp pad from office depot which worked well and Jon was able to stamp his passport for the first time! I also made another stamp with the Lady Ada graphic from Adafruit. That also came out well.

Today, as I wrote the post, I saw that Becky Stern from AdaFruit posted an excellent ‘how to’ on stamp making… http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2012/04/03/how-to-laser-cut-your-own-hackerspace-stamp/. It is funny how sometimes you discover someone is doing the exact same thing as you! AdaFruit sells Hackerspace passports if you need one.

Hack on!
Brian

Laser Cut Gear Clock – with ChronoDot!

I just finished programming my gearclock that I showed off last week.  I added a Chronodot real time clock so it keeps perfect time!  I also wrote up an instructable here:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Laser-cut-gear-clock-with-Chronodot/ so you can build your own.  I also have some stepper motors if you want to buy them from me (cheap!).  Put your Arduino to work!  Learn how to use the lasercutter!  Brian

Some more pics…

Using Inkscape for front panel layouts and PCBs

I’m working on a new synthesizer module for my rig called a ‘Klee’ sequencer. I’ll detail more throughout the build process, but I want to share my experience using Inkscape to design a front panel.

Inkscape is great! It’s an open source, cross platform vector graphics program with many uses. I started playing around with it a couple of years ago to create show fliers. I’m by no means proficient, but I know how to get around.

Back to the panel… I’m trying to cram lots of potentiometers, jacks and LEDs into a smaller panel in order to save space. I found some Alpha clear-shaft potentiometers that you can position a 3mm LED underneath. Very cool, although I have yet to find clear acrylic knobs to match.. In addition, I want to layout the sequencer lights in an oval pattern. Normally I’d use gEDA’s pcb program to do a circuit design. But my components are very uniform and the layout is straightforward so I’ll draw it up in… inkscape!

First I can use the datasheets for my components to get precise dimensions. Inkscape allows you to create shapes with precise units in px, mm, inches, etc. I make the footprints for each component and they look like this.

The blue circles are guides for drilling holes in the panels. The red shapes show how large the components are. The black circles are via pads for a solder mask. I copy, move, rotate all of these elements to fit everything into my panel layout. Then I draw traces between these pads for the PCB layout. I can also label them so I remember what’s what. I’ll come back to this with a more detailed process at some point, but here’s the final drawing after all of that.

Click on the image for the full size awesomeness. Next I can separate all the colors into different layers with Inkscape’s XML editor. Here’s what I’ll use to etch the PCB bottom layer.

There’s also a top layer, but we can skip that. Here’s the drill layer template I’ll use to drill out all the panel holes.

That’s all for now. Next in this series, I’ll show you how I prepare and etch the PCB. Inkscape rules, it’s good for lots of things beyond making web graphics.

Upcoming Events

Loading...

814 East Broadway

Photos